Pittsfield 14U Babe Ruth All-Stars defeat Westfield to advance to Regionals

WESTFIELD — Strong defense and aggressive base running allowed the Pittsfield 14U Babe Ruth All-Stars to overcome an early deficit and earn a 5-2 win over Westfield in the Massachusetts state championship game on Saturday at Bullens Field. Pittsfield advances to the Regional Tournament in Trumball, Conn. starting Friday.

Trailing 2-0 in the second, Leo Arace put Pittsfield on the board with a RBI single. Pittsfield's catcher helped spark the go-ahead rally in the fourth, as well. He drew a walk and was lifted for pinch-runner Wayne Moore. Moore stole second, and with two outs, he scored the tying run on a wild pitch. Jake Risley reached base on a walk, advanced to third on a error and scored the go-ahead run on another Westfield error.

"We like to play small-ball," Risley said. "We like to get into the nitty gritty and cause havoc."

Risley added that the team had some doubt after Westfield went ahead early, but Arace's play behind the plate lifted their spirits.

He threw out Westfield's lead-off hitter on a steal attempt in the first. He caught another runner stealing in the third. His strong arm kept Westfield's runners out of scoring position and he allowed only one passed ball.

"We practice every day, two times a day, every week — it helps a lot," Arace said of his defense.

Pittsfield's pitchers were sharp on the mound throughout. Starter Caden Frazier allowed one earned run in 3 1/3 innings. Christian Marchbanks threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Anton Lazits threw the final two scoreless innings. The trio combined for four strikeouts and only three walks.

Lazits led the offense, going 2 for 3 with a double. Marchbanks went 2 for 3 with a run scored. Kyle MacDonald drove in a run with a sacrifice bunt in the fifth. Eddie Mullin scored Pittsfield's final run on a delayed steal in the sixth.

Westfield's Niko Kapsanis started the scoring with a RBI single in the second inning. David Tirell scored the second run on an error, putting the visitors up 2-0.

"We play our game," coach Greg Marchbanks said. "Our game is playing defense, pitching and making havoc on the bases. ... Usually when we do that, we win.

"These guys believe in each other. They know that they could be down by 1, 2, 3 [runs] and they're going to come back. They're going to keep chipping and chipping."


Westfield     020     000     0          2     9     3

Pittsfield     010     211     x          5     7     1

Brian Strange (5), Joe Dewarski (2) and Paul Shibley. Caden Frazier (3 1/3), Christian Marchbanks (1 2/3), Anton Lazits (2) and Leo Arace. W — Frazier. L — Strange. 2B — W: Luis Enchautegui. P: Lazits, Marchbanks.

Reach sports writer Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252 or @TheAkeemGlaspie.


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