High schools: South Hadley baseball shakes off slow start, runs past Granby

Visar Kryeziu

By GARRETT COTE

Staff Writer

Published: 04-24-2024 9:26 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — After being blanked the first time through the lineup and entering the bottom of the third inning trailing 1-0 to Granby, the South Hadley baseball team woke up.

The Tigers led off the frame with the top of their order, and they were determined to get back to the offense that had put up 53 runs in their last four games.

Well, South Hadley combined to hang a 10 spot over the next two innings to break the game open, and went on to defeat Granby 13-3 in six innings at Landers Diamond on Wednesday afternoon. Following a long, late trip to Mount Greylock on Tuesday, the Tigers shook off early signs of fatigue and run-ruled the Rams for the second time in 10 days.

“It was a tough game mentally for the kids, because we were out at Mount Greylock yesterday and got home really late, and we played Granby over vacation and got on them early,” South Hadley head coach Matt Foley said. “I was a little concerned, but I think the kids did really well. The first two innings were 0-0, then Granby scored a run and the kids responded well. I think it snapped our kids into it, and the following inning we got a comfortable lead.”

Granby couldn’t have asked for a better start. Starting pitcher Anthony Santiago worked around a couple of early jams and got through two frames without surrendering a run, and the Rams added a third-inning run when Colin Murdock scored on an error via a Spencer Labonte ground ball to third.

Wednesday was much different than the 22-1 thumping the Tigers delivered to Granby on April 15. The Rams came ready to play.

“We’ve been making improvements, and today was a little bit better, especially to start the game – we just couldn’t hold it up,” Granby head coach Jim Woods said. “It was more of the same defensively for us, and offensively, we just couldn’t get much going toward the tail end. South Hadley is a good team, give them credit.”

The second time through the lineup wasn’t as friendly to Santiago as the first. Logan Carpenter led off the bottom of the third inning with a single, Gavin Carpenter reached safely on an error and Matt Drobiak brought Logan Carpenter home with a single. Memphis Huertas ripped a shot to left that bounced off a Granby glove, scoring another, and John Viola walked to load the bases.

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The first five South Hadley hitters reached safely without an out recorded.

“I thought they adjusted really well,” Foley said. “We put the bat on the ball in those first two innings, but hits weren’t falling. They responded well the second time through and they were more focused. We strung a few hits together, and our base running was good today.”

Jack Maziarz and Burke Belsky both hit sacrifice flies to score two more runs before Jackson Keller flew out to left to end the inning, not before the Tigers grabbed four runs.

A 1-2-3 fourth sent South Hadley right back in the box for more. With two outs and runners on second and third, Huertas sent another shot to left, scoring both Carpenters while he legged it out to third. Three straight doubles from Viola, Maziarz and Belsky and a single from Keller plated four more to make it 10-1 at the end of four.

Granby had plenty of chances to stop the bleeding, but errors and miscues kept the Tigers’ inning alive.

“You gotta make the big play when it’s hit to us, you gotta make the play with two outs, you gotta make the plays when they’re routine,” Woods said. “Right now we’re just too inconsistent in those situations.”

Viola tossed four innings for South Hadley, giving up the one run in the third while walking one on four hits. Foley pulled him to save him for upcoming games later in the week, and threw sophomore Justin Moskal on the bump in relief.

Moskal struck out four in two innings of work, surrendering two runs on one hit, one walk and three hit batters.

“John was great, and he could’ve kept going but we wanted to manage his pitch count so he could be available later in the week,” Foley said. “I thought Justin came in and pitched well, too. He got some ground balls that we didn’t make behind him, but he didn’t let it rattle him and he stayed focused.”

Throughout the course of the game, Granby only struck out four times. The Rams put the ball in play nearly every time up, but aside from one run in the fifth (Murdock scored on a Brandon Carillon fielder’s choice) and one in the sixth (an Anthony Gregorio single which plated Gavin Moreno), there weren’t enough hits strung together.

“We obviously did put a lot of bats on the balls, but South Hadley just made a lot of good plays, and their positioning was pretty good,” Woods said. “They played us a little shallow, but it was the smart thing to do with the wind blowing in. They made some tough catches in the outfield.”

Granby (2-5) hosts Hampshire on Friday at 4 p.m.

South Hadley will be playing Southwick on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Bullens Field in Westfield for the third annual pediatric cancer awareness game.

“It’s a great fundraiser game that we’ve played with them for the last three years,” Foley said. “It’s for pediatric cancer, and it’s a great cause. We’re looking forward to it. Not just for the game, but for the fundraiser aspect of it.”

Frontier 6, Amherst 5 – Tied 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh, Nico Fasulo singled to put a runner on for the Redhawks. Fasulo swiped second and with a base open at first, the Hurricanes opted to walk Rosco Palmer.

Fasulo and Palmer executed a double steal to put two runners in scoring position for Wyatt Edes. Edes smashed a base hit up the middle to bring Fasulo home, lifting Frontier to a walk-off 6-5 independent victory.

The win was the fifth in a row for Frontier (6-1). 

Amherst’s Thatcher Rudnik had a big game on the mound to contain Frontier. The junior went the distance, scattered six hits, struck out six and allowed just one walk. Matt Vassallo led Amherst with three hits in three at bats. Elijah Rubinstein and Neil Cunniffe each drove in a run.

Hampshire 19, Mount Greylock 10 — The Raiders erupted for nine runs in the first, then held on for the win in a slugfest in Williamstown.

Mikey Thompson had three hits, three RBIs and scored twice, Phil Morin added three hits and two RBIs, Liam Pond went 3-for-3 and scored three times while Zach Phakos, Vynce Carr and Jacob Sicard all had run-scoring doubles.

Thompson struck out two to get out of a bases-loaded jam with the tying run at the plate in the fourth to preserve the Hampshire lead.

Softball

Belchertown 30, Hampden Charter East 5 — Olivia Lafeyette’s grand slam and eight RBIs paced the Orioles in an offensive outburst on Wednesday.

Lila Roy went 4-for-5 with a double, two triples plus six RBIs, Sophia Mitus recorded three hits and two RBIs, Avery Cooper blasted a three-run home run and Natalie Rose and Julie Cozine had solo home runs. Abby Almeida tallied two triples and two RBIs, while Lila Roy pitched five innings in the win, striking out six in the circle.

Franklin Tech 22, Northampton 10 — The Eagles scored in every frame, highlighted by a nine-run third as the Blue Devils couldn’t keep up in a high-scoring bout.

Northampton responded to Franklin Tech’s crooked number with eight runs of its own in the fourth, but the Eagles scored 11 more over the next three frames to pull ahead for good.

Westfield 2, Easthampton 0 (8) – A classic pitchers’ duel saw the game stay scoreless into the top of the eighth inning before the Bombers finally broke through with a pair of runs.

Westfield ace Shea Hurley struck out 17 and allowed just six hits – all singles – and no walks to hold down the Eagles.

Easthampton pitcher Rosie Follet was also outstanding on the afternoon, striking out 13 and allowing just four hits and four walks. Ana Growhowski and McKenzie McCarthy had two hits apiece for the Eagles (3-3), which held a 6-4 advantage in that department.

Frontier 18, Pioneer 0 (5) – Three home runs, two from Skyler Steele, helped the Redhawks to a fourth win in their last five games on Wednesday at Zabek Field in South Deerfield.

Steele was 3-for-3 and added a double, helping Frontier score 11 runs in the first inning to set the tone in what was the team’s highest-scoring output of the season. Delaney Fifield also smacked a home run as part of a two-hit, four-RBI outing for the Hawks (5-4).

SICS 14, Smith Academy 2 – The Falcons led 2-1 after the first inning but couldn’t hold off a vaunted Bulldogs offense on Wednesday.

Smith Academy pitcher Sophia Jagodzinski struck out a pair, while Emma Moynihan had two hits, including a triple, and scored a run. Caitlin Graves also had a hit and scored the other run for the Falcons.