WMass Div. 3 baseball: Greenfield gets answers on offense

  • Greenfield pitcher Owen Phelps throws against Mahar in the top of the fourth inning Friday at Vets Field in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Greenfield's Nate Haselton hits an RBI single against Mahar in the bottom of the third inning Friday at Vets Field in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Greenfield third baseman Cam Baird throws to first for an out against Mahar in the top of the second inning Friday at Vets Field in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Greenfield's Jared Hart slides safely into home plate to score against Mahar in the bottom of the third inning Friday at Vets Field in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

For the Recorder
Published: 6/7/2019 11:08:11 PM

GREENFIELD — Despite going 15-5 in the regular season and earning the fourth seed in the WMass Division 3 baseball field, Greenfield High School still had one lingering question mark as it began postseason play Friday night.

While the pitching and defense has been among the best in western Mass. throughout the season, the offense was certainly something that coach Tom Suchanek could have worried about as his team entertained 13th-seeded Mahar Regional School in a first round game at Veterans Memorial Field.

His squad laid any worries to rest early as a four-run first-inning and five-run third helped the Green Wave pave its way to a 11-1 victory. Greenfield advanced to Monday’s quarterfinal round against fifth-seeded Southwick, which will take place at 4 p.m. at Vets Field.

The first five batters of the game reached for the Green Wave and accounted for the four early runs to stake senior pitcher Owen Phelps to a lead he was never in jeopardy of relinquishing. After the hosts tacked on five more runs on three hits and three walks in the third inning, there was little in doubt.

“The pitching and defense has been there all year and we know that if we can score some runs we are going to win every game, so scoring four runs early is just huge for us,” Green Wave starting and winning pitcher Owen Phelps said.

Green Wave freshman center fielder David Carey had a huge night at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a walk in his four plate appearances, scoring twice, stealing two bags and driving in a run. The leadoff hitter got things started for the Wave in the first inning with a single and then stole second base on the very first pitch to Phelps, who batted second. Carey then stole third on a play in which Mahar starting pitcher Andrew Herk appeared to have him picked off.

“It was my job to get on base and just make something happen,” Carey said. “I just tried to not do too much.”

Phelps followed with a walk and Hunter Campbell singled past short to drive in the game’s first run. Jared Hart followed with a single to center to load the bases, and Phelps made it 2-0 when he scored on a wild pitch. Joel Peabody followed with a single back up the middle to plate two more runs.

“We haven’t done that too often,” Suchanek said of the early offensive onslaught. “Scoring four runs in the first obviously puts some pressure on the other team. Owen pitched well and then we had the third inning where we scored five runs. That was key.”

Hart led off the third off Mahar reliever Charlie Barnes with a walk and went to second on a passed ball. Peabody then attempted to bunt him over to third but when no one covered first base for Mahar in time, Peabody found himself safe on the bag, putting runners on the corners. After one out, Jake Sak attempted a safety squeeze bunt that Hart scored on with a close play at the plate. Nate Haselton then hit an RBI single, and Ryan Cote and Carey worked back-to-back walks, with Carey forcing in the seventh run of the night. Phelps followed with a single, and Campbell lifted a fly ball to right for a sacrifice fly for the ninth and final run of the frame.

The Wave tacked on two insurance runs in the fifth as Carey tripled to deep right with one out and scored when Phelps followed with a double to right. Phelps then went to third on a passed ball that Mahar catcher Will Peredina was unable to locate at first, but as Phelps reached third and rounded the bag, he slipped and fell. Peredina attempted to get the ball to third, and Phelps broke for home. Peredina received the ball back as Phelps neared the plate, but Phelps avoided the tag and dove to the plate to score.

While the Green Wave was piling up runs, Phelps was doing well to keep the relatively potent Mahar offense at bay. He did get in trouble in the first when Peredina reached on a one-out error and Barnes followed with a single. Phelps came back to get Herk to ground into a fielders choice, and then got Matt Lyesiuk to ground out to first base.

“It’s been my issue all year. Once I get through that first inning, I sail,” Phelps said.

Phelps did set the side down in order in both the second and fourth innings, and got out of a small jam in the second. He gave up the lone Mahar run of the game in the fifth when Jacob Berry reached on a dropped third strike before Cole Johnson was hit by a pitch. After a sacrifice bunt by Todd Chiasson moved both runners up, Berry scored on a wild pitch. Kyle Devlin came on in relief of Phelps to begin the sixth and had two big innings of relief, striking out five batters and facing one hitter over the minimum.

The Wave offense saw six hitters drive in at least one run and had eight of nine hitters score at least once.

“It’s not something we’ve done consistently all year,” Suchanek said of the production throughout the lineup. “Hopefully, it will catch on and we can keep it going.”

Phelps finished with four strikeouts in five innings, allowing two hits and no walks.

Herk suffered the loss, striking out three and walking two in 1⅓ innings. Barnes struck out two and walked three in 1⅔ innings, and Berry had five strikeouts and no walks in the final three innings.

Greenfield 11, Mahar 1

Mahar ....................... 000 010 0 — 1  2  0

Greenfield .............  405 020 x — 11  11  3

Hits: (M) Barnes, Peredina. (G) Carey 3, Phelps 2, Campbell, Hart, Peabody 2, Haselton 2.

2B: (G) Phelps.

3B: (G) Carey.

RBI: (G) Carey, Phelps, Campbell 2, Peabody 2, Sak, Haselton.

WP: Phelps (5ip, 4k, 0bb), Devlin (2ip, 5k, 1bb).

LP: Herk (1 1/3ip, 3k, 2bb), Barnes (1 2/3ip, 2k, 3bb), Berry (3ip, 5k, 0bb).

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