Pittsfield National beats Pittsfield American for second time in as many days to win 11-12 District I Little League crown
The players and coaches of the Pittsfield National Little League team had a lot to celebrate Saturday, as they dug themselves out of a losers' bracket hole to claim the Don Gleason District I 11-12 championship.
"I don't even know," pitcher Tyler Gaudette said, when asked how he felt about being District I champions.
For the second time in two days, Pittsfield National got a quality pitching performance and timely hitting. Gaudette threw a four-hitter and struck out 11 as National beat Pittsfield American 4-1 at Chamberlain Park. It was the second consecutive day that National scored a 4-1 win over their city rivals.
"We came back from the losers' bracket," he said. "We beat them on Friday and came back today with a pretty good game."
Pittsfield National scored a run in the top of the fourth inning and never trailed. Nick Guachione, who also homered, hit a lead-off double inside the bag at third base and later scored on Adam Lazits' sacrifice fly. National added three more runs in the top of the sixth inning.
"We've been waiting four years for this," National manager Darren Lee said. "We've battled these guys for years. We've won some, they've won some. That's a class program. They're phenomenal. They're tough to beat.
"We're proud of our guys for getting it done."
Pittsfield National advances to the Section I tournament. The District I champions will play District II on Wednesday at 5:30, at Clapp Park. The championship game is scheduled for July 22, with the "if" game on July 23.
When these two teams met on July 11, American scored a 11-4 win. But on Friday and Saturday, National's pitchers held American hitters to two runs on 10 hits.
Saturday, it was Gaudette's turn, and the tall left-hander did his job well. He gave up three singles and Chase Racine's solo home run in the bottom of the sixth. Gaudette walked one and had at least one strikeout in five of the six innings. He struck out the side in the sixth to clinch the win.
"Two days in a row, we can't put hits together," American manager Matt Stracuzzi said, adding that Gaudette had more than a big role in that.
"He pounded the zone all day. I thought he had pretty good command," Stracuzzi said. "We just didn't hit him."
Gaudette said that he didn't do anything fancy against the Pittsfield American hitters.
"It was all fastballs. I didn't throw one off speed," said the lefty. "I like to paint the corners a little bit."
Guachione, whose home run on Friday put Pittsfield National ahead for keeps, made it 2-0 with a lead-off home run against American starter Colin Merwin. Three batters later, Matt Lee hit a two-run homer, accounting for National's four runs.
Guachione and Lee each had two of Pittsfield National's five hits. Nick Brindle was 2 for 3 for American.
National 000 103 — 4 6 0
American 000 001 — 1 4 0
Tyler Gaudette and Nate Murphy, Colin Merwin (5 1/3), Brandon Mazzeo (2/3) and Mazzeo, Evan Blake. W—Gaudette. L—Merwin. 2B—PN: Nick Guachione. HR—PN: Guachione, Matt Lee. PA: Chase Racine.
Reach sports writer Howard Herman at 413-496-6253 or @howardherman.
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