Monument Mountain baseball's late push not enough to overcome Frontier in Western Mass. D-III semifinals
The No. 3 Spartans committed four errors and lost 8-5 at Veteran's Memorial Field to the second-seeded Red Hawks.
"It could have been nerves involved," Monument coach Tom Hankey said. "We do have some young kids in some areas."
Frontier (21-1) scored three runs on two errors to take the lead for good in the following inning. Frontier advances to play Taconic in the Western Mass. finals on Saturday.
"They are a gritty team," Hankey said of Frontier. "They put the ball in play and don't strike out much. They did just enough to put the pressure on us. We just didn't execute when we had to. They're a good team over there so if you give good teams extra outs they are going to get you."
There were two outbursts from the bats of the Spartans, but a steady performance from Frontier's Matt Hildreth kept Monument's bats mostly silent.
"I was little surprised early on," Hankey said. "I thought we would be more aggressive early in the count. We took too many pitches early in the count. We had nerves the first time through the order."
The Spartans (17-5) got two runs in the top of the fourth on a RBI double by Mike Goretti. Jared Henry and Kade Grover got the inning going with two outs, hitting consecutive singles.
The Spartans graduate a handful of seniors like Goretti, Henry, Tyler Wade and Graham Herrick.
"They were a joy," said an emotional Hankey of his senior class.
Down 8-2, the Spartans saddled up for a comeback attempt in the top of the seventh. Monument got two runs on RBI triples by Wade and Herrick. Jackson Blanchard added an RBI single as well, but the Spartans could not get closer.
Wade took the loss on the mound for the Spartans.
Hildreth pitched five innings for the Red Hawks, with four strikeouts and those two earned runs early.
But the Red Hawks quickly took the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Kiernan Freeman had an RBI double, and two errors by the Spartans led to another pair of runs for Frontier.
The Red Hawks added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth to go up 6-2.
Brian Baumann and Connor Waitkus (4 for 4) had RBI singles in the inning for Frontier. The Red Hawks got another run on a double steal.
Frontier scored two more runs in the bottom of the sixth to increase the lead to 8-2. Another error by the Spartans led to the second run.
Monument 000 200 3 — 5 8 4
Frontier 000 332 x — 9 8 1
Tyler Wade (3 1/3), Graham Herrick (2 2/3) and Max Joyner. Matt Hildreth (5), Dylan Apanell (1 2/3), Connor Waitkus (1/3) W — Hildreth. L — Wade. Sv — Waitkus. 2B — MM (Goretti); F (Waitkus, Freeman, DeForest), 3B — MM (Wade, Herrick).
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