High schools: Big inning propels Northampton baseball past Easthampton

  • Northampton’s Ben Sledzieski (1) makes a leaping grab at the fence in center field for an out against East Longmeadow earlier this season in Northampton. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer 
Published: 5/17/2023 9:37:57 PM

EASTHAMPTON – A six-run third inning offensive explosion gave the Northampton baseball team the boost it needed against Easthampton on Wednesday.

The visiting Blue Devils won their third game of the season in a 14-2 victory in five innings. Pitcher Pete Sullivan went the distance on the mound for Northampton (3-15), striking out one while his defense cleaned up behind him. 

Ben Sledzieski led the charge for Northampton, slamming two ground-rule doubles on three hits and falling just shy of a home run on his third hit, a bomb to left field. He also finished the game with five RBIs. 

“I wanted to be aggressive. I was just trying to go yard, I wanted to hit one out,” Sledzieski said on his approach at the plate. “The last at-bat, I was really trying to put one out there but it didn't go anywhere. I think my approach today I was trying to be a little bit more aggressive than usual.”

Easthampton (3-14) allowed eight hits and struck out six between pitchers Christopher Reardon and Zak Thibodeau. The Eagles offense finished with three hits. 

Northampton head coach Ryan Parent said he was pleased with his team’s performance at the plate, especially seeing the improvements from the beginning of the season to now.

“It's one of the first times this year we've really put our bats together and had some good contact, even some of our outs were well hit, so it was nice,” Parent said. “Sometimes it comes together like today and sometimes it doesn't, but it was good to see the progression of it.” 

Easthampton was able to get some momentum early, trailing 3-1 through the first two innings, but the Blue Devils were able to capitalize on their mistakes on a cold and blustery day. 

“Today we made a lot of mistakes in the field. I think that really made the score look a little more lopsided than it had to,” Easthampton head coach Ed Zuchowski said. “That doesn't take anything away from Northampton's ability to hit the ball or run the base as well. It just means that if we could have made a few more plays, then the game would have been a little closer.” 

Easthampton will honor its seniors in their last home game of the season against Monson on Friday at 4 p.m. 

Granby 2, Monson 1 – Patrick French tossed a gem, striking out nine in a complete-game outing to help the Rams to a tight 2-1 victory.

French scattered five hits to go with three walks for Granby, which scored both of its runs in the bottom of the third inning. Trailing 1-0, the hosts received RBIs from Dan Gauvin and Joshua Chateauneuf to spring ahead. Shane Gaj had two hits for the Rams and scored one of the runs.

Mahar 17, Smith Academy 7 – The visiting Senators racked up 16 hits, building a 10-1 lead en route to a 17-7 victory on Wednesday in Hatfield.

Griffin Smiarowski tripled and drove in a run for the Falcons, while Cam Graves, Isaak Baranoski and Robert Slysz all had a hit and an RBI.

Hampshire 14, Greenfield 5 – Mikey Thompson slammed a triple and a double and Liam Pond had two hits, including a double, and scored a run in Hampshire’s win against Greenfield. 

Thompson scored three times and Jacob Sicard added a double for the Raiders. Jack Boyle got the start and the win on the mound for Hampshire, striking out eight batters and allowing just four hits. The hosts broke it open late, turning a 5-5 game in the fifth into a 14-5 win.


Hopkins Academy 20, Smith Academy 0 – Just two days after her teammate Izzy Palmisano became the first player in Hopkins Academy history to record 100  hits, Taylor Barry became the second. 

The senior drilled a single between third and shortstop for her 100th hit, but had no idea until the Golden Hawks  coaching staff called a timeout for the celebration to start. 

“I found out after I got to first [base], they called time and then everyone was freaking out and I was so confused,” Barry said. “Honestly, I was just really shocked and then I was really excited.” 

The milestone was made all the more special because of the timing. Palmisano and Barry have been playing softball together since they were much younger, and to reach the milestone just days apart was a serendipitous surprise. 

“It's really cool, just because we've been playing together since Little League,” Barry said on hitting the milestone with Palmisano. “Having that accomplishment together, it's really cool for us.”

Barry finished with three hits total, including a home run, two runs and two RBIs. Pitchers Kaelyn Zakaitis and Cassie Dion threw eight and three strikeouts, respectively. Daisy Venditti had two hits and scored three runs for the Golden Hawks. 

For Smith Academy, Emma Tisdell notched one hit and pitcher Keighley Gworek struck out two batters. 

South Hadley 13, Granby 0 (5) – Isabella Schaeffer struck out 14 and didn’t allow a hit in a five-inning no-hitter on Wednesday night in South Hadley.

Ariana Niles, Erin Bullough, Ara Powers and Jenna Bobrowski all had two hits for the Tigers, and Jae Velazquez drove in a pair of runs.

Lee 21, Smith Vocational 1 - Daelin Murdock scored Smith Voc’s lone run and also had a hit in the defeat to Lee. 

Vanessa Antil also had a hit and threw four innings in the circle, walking 14 and striking out three. 

Boys lacrosse

Wahconah 13, Northampton 3 – The Blue Devils scored two goals late, but couldn’t slow Wahconah’s offense. 

Jack Carpenter led the team with a goal and an assist and teammates Jackson Oravec and Keller Mahoney scored the team’s other two goals. Goalie Henry Fallon made 10 stops and Minti Peterson notched an assist. 

Agawam 13, Amherst 7 – Skyler Ferro led the ‘Canes with four goals and an assist and Linus Hazen, Elias Lundquist and Tri Nguyen rounded out the scoring for Amherst against Agawam. 

Jameson Dion notched an assist and goalie Max Frenette made eight saves. 

Boys tennis

East Longmeadow 3, Amherst 2 – No. 1 singles Miles Jeffries won a tightly contested match against East Longmeadow’s Lucas DeBlok 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (10-8), but East Longmeadow edged out the ‘Canes to drop Amherst’s record to 7-6. 

No. 3 singles Elias Katsaros won Amherst’s other match 6-0, 6-1. 

Girls tennis

Belchertown 5, Westfield 0 – The Orioles cruised to a sweep on Wednesday, dropping just one total game in three singles matches.

Ava Shea (6-0, 6-0) took a win at No. 1 singles, while Amber Drummond (6-1, 6-0) and Emalee Chaisson (6-0, 6-0) nabbed victories at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. Kasey Gibbons and Amanda Murray were 6-0, 6-2 winners at first doubles, and the No. 2 pairing of Alena Karabetsos and Edith Audette capped things with a 6-2, 6-3 win.

PVCICS 5, Central 0 – Elisa Shinn won No. 1 singles (6-1, 6-0), Avery Richards took No. 2 singles (6-0, 6-2) and the No. 1 doubles team of Anna Alcorn and Jiyu Moon bested Rena Son and Alma Monzeuta (6-1, 4-6, 10-6) to secure a win for the Dragons on the team’s senior day. 

No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles were won via forfeit. 

Boys volleyball

Granby 3, Athol 0 – A balanced offensive outing propelled the Rams to a 25-17, 25-21, 25-15 sweep on Wednesday.

Michael Swanigan (nine kills), Robert L’Abbee (nine), Sam Weatherbee (eight) and Jake Gagnon all had solid outings, while Gagnon dished out 17 assists and Braeden Gallagher had 12 digs.

Frontier 3, East Longmeadow 0 – The Redhawks won in straight sets over East Longmeadow (25-21, 25-14, 25-12). 

Tavo Vincent-Warner had 28 assists and Brady Burch led the team with 10 kills. Aleks Carey had nine kills and Jesse Kurkulonis finished with seven kills. 

Youth sports

Amherst Royals 7, Belchertown ESB 3 — Cyrus Arwade hit a three-run home run to give Amherst the lead in the fourth and pitched a complete game one-hitter to get the win on Tuesday at Mill River Recreation Area.

James Moore went 2-for-2 with a single and a double, Jackson Bajnoci doubled for an RBI and Alex Miller singled and scored.

Belchertown’s Evan Gallagher led off with a single to start a first-inning rally and Mason Archambault held that lead from the mound before the Royals’ bats came to life in the third.

Hannah Bevis can be reached at hbevis@gazettenet.com. Follow her on Twitter @Hannah_Bevis1

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