|Lazits Leads Pittsfield Storm to Babe Ruth County Title|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports|
08:58PM / Tuesday, August 25, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Baseball players often are told not to take a bad at-bat into the field.
But their coaches did not say anything about not taking a bad outcome into the field.
In the top of the fourth inning on Tuesday at Deming Park, Anton Lazits was on third base with one out when Stevie Zuccolo lofted a fly ball to right. Lazits came home for what appeared to give the Pittsfield Storm a 6-1 lead over the South County Navy in the title game of the Berkshire County Babe Ruth 16-18 league.
But as the next batter dug in at the plate, South County pitcher Jack Carpenter tossed the ball to third for a successful appeal that Lazits left early, and the inning ended.
Lazits was dumbfounded in the dugout, but quickly regrouped and struck out the side in the bottom of the frame en route to a 10-strikeout performance as the Storm won the title with a 9-2 victory.
Was the frustration in the top of the inning an impetus for his dominant performance in the bottom?
"Oh, yeah, 100 percent," Lazits said. "I was a bit mad that inning, I'm not gonna lie. The extra adrenaline definitely helped."
Lazits later took out his frustration at the plate, crushing a Carpenter offering over the fence in left-center for a two-run homer in the sixth that left no doubt about Lazits' run counting this time around.
The Storm took control of the game in the top of the first and built their way to a commanding eight-run lead in the sixth.
Two South County errors fueled a two-run first inning rally to get the Storm going.
Ben Moulton and Colby Kirchner drove in the runs with a walk and a hit-by-pitch, respectively, to give their team a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the first, two walks, a wild pitch and a John Fielding sacrifice fly cut that margin in half, but Pittsfield answered with a three-run second.
Nick Hall got things started with a leadoff single, and he went all the way around to score on South County's third error in the first two innings to make it 3-1.
The Navy's early fielding woes contrasted with an error-free evening for the Storm.
"As a pitcher, when you have the field behind you and you can trust them, you feel like you can do anything," Lazits said. "If they hit the ball, you know you've got a guy there. If you get strikeouts, that's awesome, too. But with that field, it definitely boosts confidence levels, and you feel a lot better."
Kaden Codey singled to right to drive in a run and ended up scoring on Zuccolo's RBI single to make it 5-1.
Michael Britton walked, went from first to third on a Kirchner single and scored on a Hall groundout in the fifth.
Pittsfield's three-run sixth put the game out of reach.
It started with a one-out single by Codey, who scored on Lazits' round-tripper. Moulton followed with a double and scored on Zuccolo's second RBI single of the night to make it 9-1.
South County got a run back in the bottom of the sixth when Fielding doubled, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on an Alek Zdziarski sac fly.
The Navy used four pitchers in the loss, Kenny Zucco, Carpenter, Fielding and Cliff Flynn.
Codey threw 2-⅓ innings of one-hit relief for Lazits, who did not allow a hit and K'd 10 in 4-⅔ innings.
After seeing the spring high school season eliminated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lazits, a rising senior at Taconic High School, was glad to get the opportunity to get on the field this summer.
"It's always very important [to get an opportunity] because this could have been taken away from us too," he said. "You play as hard as you can because you never know what could happen.
"A year without baseball is a bad year."
LITTLE LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
Pittsfield Americans 4, Pittsfield Nationals 0
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Simon Mele and Jay Codey each homered Tuesday to lead the Pittsfield Little League American Division All-Stars to a 4-0 win over the Pittsfield Nationals in the semi-finals of the 12-year-old county championship tourney.
Christian Barry hit a ground-rule double for the Americans, who move into Thursday's 5:30 title game against the survivor of Wednesday's elimination bracket final.