High School baseball: Longmeadow holds off Amherst Regional, 4-2

For the Gazette
Published: 5/4/2017 11:20:08 PM

AMHERST — For the second straight day, the Amherst Regional baseball team fell to Longmeadow by two runs, this time a 4-2 loss for the Hurricanes on Thursday.

Trailing by one run, Amherst loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth inning and with one out in the sixth, but could not push a runner across the plate to tie the game.

“They executed in the key spots,” Hurricanes coach Greg Vouros said. “Their pitcher was really good, he was able to bear down and get the key outs that they needed.”

Amherst took the lead in the second inning when Brett Evans drove in Matt Essig and Seth Bella-Hunter with a two-out single.

“It felt really good. It was my first (RBI) of the year so it felt good to get the bat going,” Evans said. “I’ve been working at it a lot so to finally put one in play and get a couple runs in for the guys feels really good.”

Added Vouros, “It was a huge hit and I thought that was a great example of the approach that we’re looking for at the plate where he didn’t wait around, he went up there and hit the first pitch he saw with men in scoring position, and that’s what happens, great result.”

Evans took advantage of hitting in the No. 9 spot of the lineup and anticipated what Longmeadow pitcher Tyler Achatz was going to throw to start the at-bat.

“I knew the guy was coming fastball. He hasn’t seen me yet, so he’s coming fastball so I just jumped right on it,” Evans said.

Evans also played well defensively at shortstop, including a barehanded play on a slow rolling ground ball to end the top of the seventh, saving at least one run.

The bottom of the lineup produced for Amherst, with 7-9 hitters Essig, Bella-Hunter, and Evans finishing a combined 2-for-6 with four walks.

“I thought the bottom of our lineup did an excellent job getting on base, we just weren’t able to execute with those guys in scoring position all night long,” Vouros said.

Longmeadow tied the game in the fourth inning when a single by Brendan Philbin got past Hurricanes right fielder Dylan Donaghue, plating a pair of runs, one of which was unearned.

The Lancers took the lead for good an inning later when Nathan Masteralexis hit a batter with the bases loaded before Longmeadow added an insurance run in the top of the seventh to close out the scoring.

Masteralexis threw six innings and struck out seven in the start for Amherst. He allowed two earned runs off six hits with one walk and two hit batters.

“He always pitches really well, he always gives us a chance to win and we just don’t do a good enough job of getting behind him,” Evans said.

With two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth, Amherst center fielder Will Budington bunted the ball off his foot.

The home plate umpire initially raised his hands as if to signal foul ball, but ultimately ruled that Budington had already left the batter’s box when the ball hit him, ending the inning.

“He didn’t really explain it to me and that was frustrating,” Vouros said. “He didn’t really say much. They got together and talked about it. I’m not sure what they talked about. There’s nothing we can do.

“We didn’t want to blame one play on the loss, so I just thought we had a lot of opportunities to score runs in the game and that was just another case of where we weren’t able to get the job done tonight.”

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