Strong pitching spoils Patriots home opener
After multiple postponements over the last couple of weeks, temperatures were better than 50 on Friday and MAU finally started its season at home against Mount Greylock.
The Mounties got a strong pitching performance from starter Cole Wojtkowski and scored an 8-3 win.
Despite the result, MAU coach Walt Parmenter was happy his team finally had the chance to play, with all the weather-related disruptions over the past few weeks.
"Everybody has been itching to get outside and we had a beautiful day to play," Parmenter said. "It was nice to get out here on the field. It was fun."
The Patriots went with senior Nate Coyne on the mound for the opening day start. Coyne went 4 2/3 innings, allowing six hits. He struggled with command at times, allowing seven walks, but wasn't aided by the defense behind him at times when he induced ground balls. Overall, the Patriots committed three errors in the game.
"Nate did a decent job. We just didn't make the plays on the infield," Parmenter said. "He got a lot of ground balls for us and we just couldn't make the plays when we needed to. It's a learning experience with a lot of these kids. We'll get through it."
Noah Loomis came on and provided quality relief for the Patriots. Loomis started at second base, but came on to pitch during the fifth inning. The senior captain allowed no hits and just a pair of walks to opposing batters.
Even though Greylock scored eight runs in the contest, they only mustered the six hits off of Coyne. Two Mounties' players had multi-hit contests. Third baseman Eli Ostheimer had a pair of singles and a run batted in, while left fielder Phil Guest had a single and a double, batting in two.
"We didn't make the plays and gave up eight runs, but they probably only earned four of them. Take those other one's away and it's a good game."
The Mounties really shined on the mound, only allowing a single in the first and four hits in the fourth. Wojtkowski went four innings allowing all three MAU runs, while striking out five. Guest came in and was dominant in relief for the Mounties. He went three innings for Greylock, retiring all nine batters he faced, while striking out three along the way. He induced three ground balls and the only batted ball out of the infield was a fly ball out to right hit by Loomis.
The Mounties have long been known for their strong pitching, so Parmenter wasn't surprised with how they threw the ball on the mound and he thought his team put some good swings on the ball.
"They always have good pitching. He may be one of the better ones we see all year," Parmenter said. "These guys battled through it after a few at bats. We made some contact today, so that was a good sign. It'll come. We still have 15 to go."
The Mounties are one of the better teams playing in Western Massachusetts and made it to the Division III West sectional final last year. Playing a tough non-league opponent like Greylock can only be beneficial for MAU as they prepare for the rigors of tough Vermont Division I opponents like Burr and Burton and Hartford, among others.
"I like playing those teams. I wish we could play more of them," Parmenter said. "It's good competition for these kids and it's good baseball."
Adam Aucoin can be reached at email@example.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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