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Daily Hampshire Gazette – Legion baseball: Belchertown remains undefeated, beats Aldenville 3-0

Belchertown Post 239 hitter Patrick Fitzgibbons (35) had a one-hitter by hitting a hard ground ball against Greenfield Post 81 in Belchertown earlier this season.

Belchertown Post 239 hitter Patrick Fitzgibbons (35) had a one-hitter by hitting a hard ground ball against Greenfield Post 81 in Belchertown earlier this season.
FOR NEWSPAPER/FROM LITTLE

BELCHERTOWN — How about a dozen for post 239?

It wasn’t the typical offensive attack the Belchertown Post 239 Senior American Legion team has become accustomed to over the summer, but it did its job behind left-hander Cody West on its home field Wednesday night.

Post 239, which has scored at least seven points in its last five games (three games with 13 points or more), was limited to three points against Aldenville Post 337.

But that trio was enough for West, as the Rivier University sophomore and former Hopkins Academy player allowed two walks and seven hits while striking out five in the entire game, leading Belchertown to a 3-0 victory that extended its perfect 12-0 streak this season.

“He’s a tremendous leader,” Belchertown assistant coach Mark Zawistowski said. “He’s one of those college kids who’s back on the field and he’s a tremendous leader there. When he’s on the field, he’s in control. He controls hitters, he controls his emotions out there and that makes it a lot easier to play defense behind him.”

In the absence of a significant portion of its players (due to the holiday and the Bay State Games) and head coach Todd McDonald, Belchertown still put on a spectacular performance, as it did throughout the summer.

Even with Post 239’s entire roster at their disposal, they usually give everyone at least an inning or two of playing time each game, so when a situation like Wednesday comes up, no one bats an eye.

The slogan “next man up” must have been engraved in their own field.

“We rotate players in and out throughout the season,” Zawistowski said. “We want them all to stay fresh so they’re ready for a playoff run, and it also builds team unity. When everybody’s playing, everybody’s involved and everybody’s engaged.”

Both West and Aldenville pitcher Matt Drobiak (South Hadley) went through the first inning without giving up a hit. In the bottom of the second, Belchertown threatened with runners on first and second base and one out after Brady Perkins (double) and Jacob Smith (walk) reached base.

Two batters later, Evan Ferguson reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases with two men on the frame. Spencer Waite stepped up and grounded a slow roller to shortstop. The throw to first went away, scoring both Perkins and Smith.

239. Post has lived off of opposing teams’ mistakes throughout the summer, and they did the same on Wednesday.

“It was huge,” Zawistowski said of the two runs. “One of the things we try to take advantage of throughout the season is when the other team makes a mistake, we’re going to get thrown out. We have a group of guys that are willing to go out there and strike out with runners on base. We’re going to hit, we’re going to run and we’re going to put pressure.”

Drobiak (three runs, one earned, two walks, four Ks) pitched all six innings for Post 337 and added three hits on three hits. Belchertown’s only other run — Drobiak’s only earned run — came in the bottom of the fourth when Perkins singled and scored on Smith’s double.

Drobiak became the first pitcher to hold position 239 to under four points all season, but Belchertown adapted and found another way to come out on top by relying on its strong defense and West’s stellar pitching.

“You’ve seen us win games 13-11 this summer, but you’ve also seen us win games 4-3 in overtime,” Zawistowski said. “We can adapt to what’s happening in the game because we’re ready to play.”

Aldenville was threatening with runners on the corners and two outs in the top of the sixth, but closed the door when Patrick Fitzgibbons leapt to catch a high hit at third base, got to his feet and sent a bullet to first base to catch the runner in time and end the inning.

He showed the leather several times in the pole win number 239.

“(They) play loose, and when you have really talented loose ball players, they make all kinds of great plays,” Zawistowski said. “You saw those great plays today.”

Belchertown (12-0) hosts Westfield Post 124 on Friday night (5:45 p.m.)

West Springfield Post 207 1, Northampton Post 28 0 — Liam Flynn allowed just one unearned run in six innings, but Northampton’s offense couldn’t muster anything in a scoreless road defeat on Wednesday night.

Flynn issued two walks in the third inning, had two strikeouts and allowed only an unearned run.

Post 28 didn’t record a hit until the sixth inning, when Elijah Rubinstein hit a leadoff double off Gavin Hall of Post 207. Three batters later, with two outs in the inning, Trey Kuzmeski singled to left. Rubinstein rounded third and headed home before being hit at the plate by a perfect throw to end the inning.

Northampton (7-5) will play at home against Westfield at Arcanum Field on Thursday night. First pitch is scheduled for 5:45 p.m.