Portsmouth West Scores seven unearned runs in 8-3 win over North Adams-Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
When you move into postseason play in any sport at any level, there is little margin for “errors” and the North Adams Green Devils baseball squad took a hard lesson in that fact on Saturday, May 13 when they made the trip to Portsmouth West to battle the Senators in a Division III section championship contest. Five errors in the field led to seven unearned runs for Portsmouth West and the Senators were able to use a big six-run third inning to end the North Adams season, knocking off the Green Devils 8-3.
“Defensively we just struggled throughout the game,” said North Adams head coach Rob Meade. “Routine plays have got to be made. All season, we had trouble avoiding the big inning. We gave too many teams additional outs by making errors and you can’t beat good teams by giving away outs. Six-run innings are tough to overcome.”
Senior left hander Seth Daulton got the starting nod on Saturday and the North Adams defense got off to a rocky start as two first inning miscues led to a pair of runs for the Senators and an early lead for the home team. The Devils went scoreless in their first three at-bats against Senators starter Dylan Bradford and then the West offense, combined with the Devils’ defense, spelled doom for the visitors in the bottom of the third.
Three consecutive singles to open the inning loaded the bases and a base hit to center by Bradford drove home two and made it 3-0. Another walk filled the bases again and then the Devils caught a break when the next West hitter was called out for using an illegal bat for the second out of the inning. That led to a nearly 20-minute delay in the game as the umpires had to determine the correct procedure for the situation, finally deciding to call the batter out and confined the Senators’ head coach to the bench for the remainder of the game.
Perhaps the layoff hurt Daulton as his first pitch after the delay was hammered to center field by Buster Boggs, a ball though that was usually a routine play for North Adams center fielder Colt Shumaker, but Shumaker took the dreaded “first step in” and the ball got over his head, scoring two more and making it a 5-0 West advantage. The onslaught continued when the Senators pulled off a double steal, with one runner stealing home and then an error on Daulton kept the inning alive and a ground ball off the bat of Cade Powell got right past third baseman Tyler Horsley allowed two more to score and the home team was sitting pretty with an eight-run advantage.
The Devils recovered enough from that distrastrous half-inning to finally get on the board in the top of the fourth. Horsley was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame and two outs later, he advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then scored when Dalton Gardner poked a base hit to center.
In the bottom of the fourth, Ryan Shupert came on in relief for the Devils and did a stand-up job, throwing three scoreless innings, which at least gave his team the opportunity for a comeback. North Adams picked up one more run in the top half of the fifth when Bryant Lung and Shupert both singled and Lung later came barreling across home plate with a head first slide on an RBI ground out by Austin Parks that made it 8-2.
The Devils’ offense had a golden opportunity for their own big inning in the top of the sixth after a base hit by Ben Figgins and walks to Layne Williams and Gardner loaded the bases with no outs. Pinch hitter Ethan Thompson popped out to the pitcher for the first out and a fielder’s choice ground out by Bryant Lung got Figgins home. The threat ended when Shupert grounded out to second base with the scoreboard still reading 8-3 West.
Shupert set down the Senators 1-2-3 in the bottom of the sixth and the Devils came to bat in the seventh with one more chance to somehow keep their season alive. Parks led off the inning with a base hit to right, but Horsley struck out looking, Daulton flied to left, and Figgins grounded to second for the final out in an 8-3 sectional title game win for the Senators.
“We knew going in that Portsmouth West was a solid team and knew we would have to play well to win,” said Coach Meade. “It’s frustrating to get to this level of play and lose focus during the game. Give my guys credit, though, they didn’t quit. We battled and put ourselves in position to score some runs but unfortunately we were unable to string some hits together.”
“We talked all year about taking our program to the next level. We want to be recognized as a solid program throughout the Southeast District. In order to get that recognition, we have to be able to play solid baseball and compete with the top programs in the area. All year our pitchers threw the ball well, Support for them from the other phases of the game, offense and defense, has got to be more consistent if we want to gain the credibility we are looking for.”
The loss left the Devils with an 11-11 overall record to end their 2017 campaign and the program says farewell to a trio of seniors- Austin Parks, Seth Daulton, and Ben Figgins.
“We will miss the three seniors as they filled big roles for our ball club this year,” said Meade. “Austin and Seth got the bulk of our innings from the mound and Ben played multiple positions while having a solid year. All of them hit in the middle of our lineup and took leadership roles. I appreciate their efforts and the work they gave our program over the last six years including junior high baseball.”
“Moving forward, we have a good core of guys returning. It’s important that players build on the successes we had this year but stay hungry to get better. I hope they all want to improve their skills in order to compete for playing time at the varsity level. I am pleased with the talent level of our underclassmen and it’s vital that they work to maximize their potential and turn it into productivity on the diamond.”
000 111 0 -3
206 000 x –8
N. Adams Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): B. Lung 4-1-1-1, Shupert 4-0-1-0, Parks 4-0-1-1, Horsley 3-1-0-0, Daulton 4-0-0-0, Figgins 4-1-2-0, Williams 1-0-0-0, Gardner 1-0-1-1, Shumaker 1-0-0-0, Thompson 1-0-0-0, N. Lung 0-0-0-0, Team 27-3-6-3.
P. West Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Knittel 4-0-1-0, Powell 4-2-1-0, Hurd 3-1-1-0, McNeil 4-1-1-0, Bradford 4-1-3-3, T. Staggs 3-1-0-0, C. Staggs 3-0-0-0, Boggs 3-1-1-0, Arnett 0-0-0-0, Patrick 1-1-0-0, Team 29-8-8-3.
N. Adams Pitching: Daulton (L) 3 IP, 5 H, 8 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 68 pitches
Shupert 3 IP, 3 H,, 0 R,1 K, 31 pitches
P. West Pitching: Bradford (W) 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 121 pitches
Powell 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K, 12 pitches