GREENFIELD – The Greenfield Post 81 Senior American Legion team looked to keep their unbeaten record on Tuesday against Northampton Post 28.
Northampton pitcher Seth Finnessey had other ideas.
Finnessey allowed just five hits and struck out eight in five innings and two-thirds of work to secure the victory over the mound as the Post 28 took a 4-3 victory over host Greenfield in a key clash from Zone 1 to Vets Field.
“He put out the lights,” Northampton coach Chuck Holt said. “He hasn’t pitched in about two weeks since his last tournament appearance with Northampton [High School] but he had his things today. He launched well. He was throwing hard and I was really impressed.
Post 81 scared Northampton at the end of the seventh.
Trailing 4-2, Greenfield’s Jake Sak had a one-out single. Kyle Barnes called with a single, and both advanced a goal on a passed ball to put the runners in second and third. David Carey was knocked out but scored Sak in the process to reduce the Post 28’s lead to 4-3 with two strikeouts.
Jacob Quinn and Max Edwards shot back-to-back goals from Northampton reliever Ben West to charge the goals, but West was able to pull out Ben Martino to seal the victory for post 28.
“It was a close game,” said Holt. “The story with Greenfield is that they’re usually the toughest team we play. Not just because of their talent, but also because of the way they are trained. They are full-fledged players. You know that no win will be easy here, so I wasn’t surprised that it was played out on the wire.
Greenfield would certainly like a pickup on a few games that turned the game around. Northampton opened up a 2-0 lead in the second inning after Owen Shelfo reached out on a mistake, scoring Colin Ferarra and Braeden Tudryn in the process.
A hesitation from Greenfield starter Tyler Baranowski – who went the distance, striking out seven batters and allowing just seven hits – early in the fourth inning scored Jack Diggins, and in the bottom of the fifth, Carey was hit. flying home to keep a run off the board for the green wave.
“It was a few games that decided the game,” said Greenfield skipper Kevin Luippold. “We tried to fly home and be aggressive. I thought it was the right call and the right move, David did very well but the call didn’t go our way tonight. It’s baseball, you have good nights and bad nights.
Northampton built their lead in the fourth inning, while Ferarra started with a single. Another base struck by Diggins tackled Ferrara to put Post 28, 3-0, and Baranowski’s backhand scored Diggins to give Northampton a four-point cushion.
Greenfield took the lead at the end of the fifth. Sak hit with a single and was then brought home with a triple from Carey, his second 3-bagger of the night.
Post 81 tried to do more damage at the end of the sixth, starting with a simple Martino. Jason Quinn then hit a single and after they both stole a goal, a passed ball allowed Martino to come home and make it a 4-2 game.
Quinn was caught stealing home to close the round.
“We need to hit the ball better,” Luippold said. “We have to do it sooner. I knew we would have a point where we chickened out, but I’m glad it was a close game and not a blowout. Their pitcher was amazing, as was Tyler.
For Northampton, the victory takes them to 5-0 this season.
“We won two really exciting games where we didn’t play our best,” said Holt. “We have the impression that we have a lot of room for improvement. I love my team. This is the best group of guys I’ve been with in a very long time. I’m excited for this season because we have a lot of potential.
The two teams will meet again on Friday at Arcanum Field in Northampton, with the first pitch set for 5.45am.