Baseball: Senators bow out gracefully

  • Mahar's Andrew Herk puts the ball in play against Greenfield in the top of the fourth inning Friday at Vets Field in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar baserunner Jake Tenney (20) steals second base ahead of the tag from Greenfield's Ryan Cote in the top of the third inning Friday at Vets Field in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar pitcher Charlie Barnes throws against Greenfield in the bottom of the third inning Friday at Vets Field in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 6/7/2019 11:06:54 PM
Modified: 6/7/2019 11:06:41 PM

GREENFIELD — The Mahar Regional baseball team faced a crooked deficit for the duration of its WMass Division 3 first-round game against Greenfield High School, Friday night.

The No. 4 Green Wave brought out the heavy metal with multiple first-inning hits in Greenfield. The No. 13 Senators huddled together with coach Art Billings, trailing 4-0.

“When we went down early we had to stop the bleeding,” Mahar coach Art Billings said. “We had a couple chances but they shut us down. When we were down 4-0 we had to try to pick at it.”

While the lead eventually ballooned to 9-0, Billings had to instill confidence with his team in between innings.

“I was pretty much saying everyone needs to stay up,” Billings said. “There was plenty of game left. These guys didn't hold their heads down.”

The Senators made some pitching changes but could not get anything going at the plate against Greenfield in the 11-1 loss. One change that worked for Billings was the insertion of senior Jacob Berry onto the mound in the fourth inning, Berry stabilized the Senators, giving up only two runs in three innings.

“Every time I go on the mound, I try to do what I need to do to help the team win,” Berry said. “I had to pitch my game. I came in there with confidence. Confidence was a huge thing in stopping the bleeding.”

Berry, along with Will Peredina, played their last game for the Senators in the 11-1 defeat at Vets Field.

“It's been fun,” Berry said. “I kept working because I wanted the big moment right here. It's been a lot of hard work and I am grateful for all the opportunities I have had.”

In his first inning of work, Berry plunked Greenfield’s Joel Peabody. The sound of the pitch hitting Peabody pained those watching the play. Down nine runs, Berry came and checked on Peabody, who doubled over after taking the fastball to the upper back.

Peabody and Berry are teammates during the summer on the Greenfield Post 81 Legion squad.

“I have complete respect for this team,” Berry said. “When I accidentally hit someone with a hard fastball, especially square in the back, I felt bad about it so I went over there.”

The two greeted each other positively, and Peabody trotted to first after a short delay.

Berry scored a run on a wild pitch in the fifth inning.

“He let it all hang out,” Billings said of Berry. “That’s a feather in his cap.”

Cole Johnson made the start at second base for the Senators, which was unexpected. A playoff game under the lights gave the freshman some pause.

“I was nervous, a lot,” Johnson said. “Especially when I got the ball hit to me. It was all adrenaline right there.”

Johnson eventually moved to shortstop and took a hard grounder. Johnson bobbled the ball at first, gathered himself, stuck with it and made the throw to end an inning.

“I know I will shake it off if I mess up,” Johnson said. “And I know my teammates have my back.”

Johnson also reached base for Mahar, getting hit by pitch.

“I don't mind the hitting,” Johnson said. “It’s a varsity pitcher, I am not expected to hit it. But I feel confident getting contact.”

The Senators finished the season 10-11, making the playoffs after beating Mohawk in the final game of the regular season.

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