|Rand Pitches Cornerstone to Berkshire Adult Baseball League Title|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports|
01:51PM / Sunday, August 26, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Jake Rand was roughed up for four runs in the first inning of Sunday’s Berkshire Adult Baseball League championship game.
In the second, he faced runners on second and third with one out and the heart of Housatonic’s lineup coming to the plate.
And then, Rand got to work.
The Taconic High grad struck out the next two men he faced to start a run of 15 straight outs in leading the Cornerstone 90s to a 6-4, come-from-behind win to clinch the BABL 20-year-old division title for the second straight season.
“It was just loosening up and bearing down,” Rand said. “Having fun, ultimately. We’re out there -- we’re all old and washed up vets, basically. But just come out here on Sundays and have fun playing baseball.”
Cornerstone, which came into the playoffs seeded fourth in the league, swept the best-of-three championship series with Sunday morning’s win behind strong performances on the hill Rand and Game 1 starter Jake Boilard.
“Worst to first,” Cornerstone player/manager Brandon Bushey said. “We snuck into the playoffs and made a run.
“It’s Jake and Jake, the two pitchers. Jake Boilard had 14 or 15 innings in the playoffs -- or the last game of the season into the playoffs. Jake Rand threw out of his mind. … Last week he threw nine innings. We texted him last night, and he said his elbow felt like it was about to fall off. So we were pretty scared coming in here.
“But he threw, obviously, fantastic today.”
Rand struck out 11 in the seven-inning, complete-game win.
The last of his 15 straight outs came on a sterling defensive play by Bushey and first baseman Joe Bastow to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Bastow came in to make a play on a slow roller to the right side, and Bushey raced over to cover the bag and get the throw just ahead of the batter.
Finally, Preston Webb gave Housatonic its first base runner since the second inning with a one-out walk. Pinch-runner Nick Pow moved up on a wild pitch and reached on a two-out single from Tanner Bird that the put the tying run on base.
But Rand got the nex man on a fly ball to right field to end the game.
Things started out well for Housatonic, which needed a Sunday morning at Pellerin Field in order to extend the series.
After Bird gave up a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first, his offense got that back and more in the bottom of the frame.
Ben Snow started by dropping a leadoff single into right field. And after a couple of outs, Zach Lancia and Jake Simon each drew a walk to load the bases.
Ryan Shook singled to right to bring in Slayter Aubin, who had reached on a fielder’s choice. Then Troy Kobylarz crushed a double to right center to clear the bases and make it 4-2, River Monsters.
Cornerstone got one back in the second, scoring the third of five unearned runs off hard-luck loser Bird (three hits, six Ks in four innings) when Jeff Fields worked a bases-loaded walk.
In the fourth, the 90s took the lead when Jared Hotaling and Kris Ireland came home on a two-base error in the outfield to make it 5-4.
Rand got a little breathing room in the top of the sixth. Hotaling earned a leadoff walk, moved up on a groundout and a Fields single and scored on Bastow’s single to left to make it a two-run game.
Rand said the league, which also offers a 35-and-over division, provides a great opportunity for baseball players to find opportunities to compete.
“It’s huge,” he said. “You go through all the players on our roster, and we’re all PHS, Taconic, St. Joe kids, just continuing to play baseball. Pittsfield’s known for baseball. Look at the Little League team that just went to the New England Regional.
“It’s an ongoing thing, and it’s fun. You hang out with a bunch of friends on Sundays. … People who want to continue to play baseball after college, reach out to Berkshire Adult Baseball. It’s a good opportunity to meet some cool people.”