The Berkshire Thunder Sunday celebrates its third straight Berkshire Adult Baseball League Championship and undefeated season.
The North County Kraken Sunday celebrate after winning the Berkshire Adult Baseball League 20-and-over division with a victory at Hoosac Valley High School.
Prior to Sunday's game in the BABL 33-and-over division, the division's post-season awards were handed out. Honored, from left, were Sportsmanship Award winner Jared Martin, Pitcher of the year Cory Hillard, Batting Champion and MVP Jesus Lay and 'Most Obnoxious Player' Kevin Robinson.
A back-and-forth championship series in the Berkshire Adult Baseball League’s 20-and-over division swung toward the Kraken on a big third-inning swing.
In the 33-and-over division, the league’s best team continued to show why they earned that title by holding on late to take a 3-2 win and a series sweep.
Seamus Morrison struck out five on Sunday morning in Dalton to lead the Berkshire Thunder to a 3-2 win over Tunnel City Freight as the Thunder finished the spring/summer season with a record of 18-0 and the program’s third straight BABL title.
At Hoosac Valley High School, a three-run bomb by Corey Meczywor propelled the Northern Berkshire Kraken to a 6-1 win in the third and deciding game of its best-of-three series against the Housatonic River Monsters.
Alex Carusotto went the distance on the mound for the Kraken in the title-clincher, striking out four and scattering four hits.
For the Thunder, Seamus Morrison earned the win on the bump. He threw five innings in relief of starter Joe Bateman, striking out five while allowing just two hits and no runs.
Although the Thunder ended up dominating in the win-loss column, Tunnel City made its rivals work hard for their last two wins.
On Saturday at Joe Wolfe Field in North Adams, Berkshire rallied in the late innings to win the series opener. On Sunday, Tunnel City scored a run in the top of the seventh and had a man on second with two out before Morrison was able to induce a fly ball out to end it.
“It’s an unbelievable season for us,” Berkshire Thunder manager Mike Burns said. “We beat three of the 20-year-olds, and no one has ever gone undefeated in the league. It’s quite an accomplishment for sure.
“We’re a good team. We have good players, and we’re a tight group. It’s a lot of fun. … Thanks to [league COO Lou Orazio]. Everything he does makes this possible for us.
“And Tunnel City is a very good team, and they’re getting better.”
For the second day in a row, Tunnel City jumped out to an early lead.
On Sunday, Nolan Brassard led off the game with an infield single, moved up on a pitch in the dirt and scored on Kevin Alicea’s single up the middle.
TCF had one run in, two men on and nobody out before Bateman settled down with a strikeout. He then got the next two men in order to end the threat.
The Thunder’s offense rallied to take the lead in the bottom of the third.
Bateman reached on a one-out infield single and came all the way around to score when league MVP Jesus Lay crushed a double to left-center.
Jake Barbarotta singled to move Lay to third with two out, and Lay scored when Dan Corbett doubled to left to make it 2-1.
Barborotta (2-for-3) led off the sixth with a double and ended up scoring on an RBI single by Corey Lehmuth to give Morrison a little insurance.
That came in handy in the top of the seventh.
After Lehmuth started the inning with a diving catch of a line drive in right field and Morrison got a called third strike for the second out, Brassard reached on an infield single and went to second on an error to give Tunnel City life.
D.J. Clark then doubled to left to drive in Brassard and get their team within one run.
But that’s where it ended as Morrison got the next hitter on a fly ball to Matt Marquis.
“Seamus, he’s just a gamer,” Burns said. “He’s a real trooper.
“These guys are all baseball players. They’re good players. Nobody panics. We just keep playing. Seamus is just a great ball player, really. Jesus Lay, Joe Bateman, the list goes on and on. It’s just a great team.”
While the Thunder was rolling to its third straight league title, the Kraken was evening the title series in its quest for a championship in the program’s first year.
After dropping the opener on Saturday morning in Dalton, North County was a team on a mission going into Game 2.
“Like I told these guys today, we didn’t play 16 regular season games and win 13 of them to come out here and not win the championship,” North County manager Zach Lancia said. “So we were coming out here with a goal, and we did that.”
After a 6-4 come-from-behind win in Game 2, the Kraken led wire to win in the rubber match.
Darren Jefferson and Mike Carpenter drew back-to-back walks to start the bottom of the first.
Both ended up scoring on a single to left field from Meczywor to make it 2-0.
The River Monsters got one back without a base hit in the top of the third when back-to-back walks and a two-base error allowed Jake Simon to score from second base to cut the deficit in half.
The Kraken answered right away.
Singles by Tanner Bird and Lancia put two runners on with two out for Meczywor, who drove a pitch over the fence in left field to make it a 5-1 game.
“We’ve had a pretty high-powered offense all year,” Lancia said. “And [Meczywor] catching one – right place, right time of year. The guy hasn’t swung a baseball bat in 10 years until now. So he picked it. He’s an athlete. So perfect timing for him.”
Carusotto meanwhile cruised through five innings having allowed just one hit and the unearned run.
In the sixth, a Nick Pou single helped the River Monsters put runners on first and second with two out, but Carusotto got the next hitter to ground to second.
In the seventh, Housatonic again had first and second with two out after singles by Joe Jones and Zach Zerbato, but another ground ball out for Carusotto – this time to third – ended the game.
For Lancia, it ended a second straight title run – just with a new team.
“I don’t want to say it’s personal, but I played with these guys last year, and I love every single one of those guys over there,” he said of the 2022 BABL champion River Monsters. “We won a championship together last year.
“But there was an opportunity to bring a new team into the league, and I took the opportunity, and winning a championship is great.”
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