Upper Deck posts 2-2 mark at West Point tourney

Upper Deck posts 2-2 mark at West Point tourney

WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Upper Deck Post 86/14 Senior Division baseball team competed against some of the northeast’s top American Legion clubs and posted a 2-2 record at last weekend’s Army West Point American Legion Baseball Classic at the United States Military Academy’s Doubleday Field.

Upper Deck, which is currently atop the R.I. standings with a 6-0 mark, opened the tournament with a 3-0 victory over Chillicothe (Ohio) Post 757 and a 6-4 win over defending Connecticut state champion Stamford Post 2, but then lost to a pair of New York teams, the Schenectady County (N.Y.) Indians, 3-2, and Kingston Post 150, 6-2.

The victory over Chillicothe saw Ben Hale pitch a shutout by striking out four batters, walking no one, and scattering seven hits. Addison Kopack collected three hits and Steve Andrews and Drew Szafranski each added two to lead the way offensively for Upper Deck, which scored a run in the top of the fourth inning and two in the fifth and also played errorless defense.

Against Stamford, Upper Deck broke a 3-3 tie with three runs in the top of the seventh inning, with Shane Calabro’s two-run triple sparking the rally. Calabro, who also had a run-scoring single in the second inning, and Szafranski each collected multiple hits, and reliever Addison Kopack was the winning pitcher.

The defeat to the Indians featured an outstanding pitchers’ duel that saw Sean Doris suffer the tough-luck loss. He pitched a four-hitter, striking out five batters, but Upper Deck, which scored both its runs in the top of the seventh, was only able to collect three hits off two Schenectady County pitchers.

Another solid outing was turned in by Brandon Kelly in the defeat to Kingston, as he struck out six batters in going the distance.

Upper Deck, which will return to its Senior Division schedule on Friday with a 5:30 p.m. doubleheader at South Kingstown’s Old Mountain Field against South Kingstown Post 39, had topped (in order) defending state champion Fairmount Post 85 of Woonsocket, 10-0; Riverside Post 10, 3-2; first-year Scituate Auburn Post 19, 4-3; Post 85, 6-3; and New England Frozen Lemonade/Shields Post 43, 7-6 and 2-1.

The doubleheader sweep of NEFL/Post 43, which took place earlier this month at Chet Nichols Field, saw Upper Deck snap a 2-2 tie in the opener with five runs in the bottom of the fifth, but hold on for the victory after their visitors scored four runs in the seventh.

Doris picked up the win by working the first six innings, yielding five hits, two runs, and a walk and fanning 11, and Kopack was called on to put out the fire in the seventh and earned a save. Evan Grivers collected three hits, Tyler McNulty drove in three runs, and Ben Keeler and Andrews each had two hits to guide the offense.

The nightcap saw Corey Mayer pitch a superb three-hitter that included seven strikeouts, and Upper Deck break a 1-1 stalemate with a run in the top of the seventh.

Three days before that sweep, Post 86/14 posted a 6-3 victory over Post 85 that saw Hale strike out nine batters in his complete-game effort and Connor Sheehan’s three hits, Szafranski’s two hits, and Doris’ three RBIs lead the offense.

Doris was the winning pitcher in Upper Deck’s season-opening, six-inning win over Fairmount, as he tossed a two-hitter that saw him whiff 10 batters and walk none. His team backed him offensively with 14 hits.

Upper Deck’s next two victories were of the walkoff variety, as Sheehan drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the game against Riverside, and Doris knocked in the winning run in the contest against Scituate.