Pitch perfect: Mount Anthony's Upright strikes out eight in win over BBA
BENNINGTON -- As his start began against Burr and Burton Academy, Mount Anthony Union High School senior pitcher Matt Upright was on the clock.
With the game moved anticipating today's bad weather, Upright had a deadline -- by 6:15, he had to be done with baseball and into MAUHS for Thursday's spring chorus concert.
As the moment approached, Upright was closing in on what was eventually a 5-2 win, but he had to do some convincing to stick around for the end.
"It was like 6 [p.m.] after the bottom of the sixth," said Upright about 10 minutes before the concert. "I had to stay in, so I called the music director (Lynn Sweet), and she completely understood. I'm glad I could make both."
After convincing his father, Mark, to stay, Matt finished off his complete game, sticking around long enough for the postgame handshakes before heading inside for the concert.
"[Participating] in the concert, that's for a grade," said MAU coach Walt Parmenter. "So when [his dad] came in and said that time was up, [Mark] agreed to let him stay. I'm glad [Matt] was able to stay, he pitched a great game."
Upright allowed only one earned run and seven hits in his effort, walking two and striking out eight Bulldog hitters to improve his overall record to 3-1.
"My curve was working great, even though I didn't have as much juice on the fastball," Upright said. "I gave up a few hits, but I tried to keep them off balance."
Tied at 1-1 into the bottom of the fifth, Mount Anthony finally broke through with two runs, the eventual game-winners.
Austin Metcalfe singled to left and Pat Powers bunted for a hit to give MAU two on with one out. Marcus Laflamme reached on a fielder's choice when BBA forced Powers at second, but Shea Mooney brought home the go-ahead run with a single to right.
BBA right fielder Cody Roberts tried to throw out a runner, but his throw sailed out of play, allowing the MAU runners to move up a base, which scored Laflamme to make it 3-1.
"We did an excellent job overall, but two of the runners that scored were on dropped third strikes," said BBA coach Tony Cirelli. Then one of the runs was the overthrow that goes out of bounds. That's the three-run difference. [Cody] held on to [the ball] and hesitated. He was told to throw the ball a different place. We've got to understand if a ball isn't hit right to you, you likely won't have a shot to throw out the runner."
BBA got hits from Noah Rizio and Adam Maitland in the sixth to give the Bulldogs first and third with two outs, but Upright pitched out of trouble, striking out Taylor Muench to end the inning.
"Matt did a nice job, hit his spots pretty well," Parmenter said. "The curve was working well; it had nice downward bite."
A key substitution paid dividends for the Patriots in the bottom of the sixth, leading to two insurance runs.
Carson Cushman reached on a dropped third strike and Ellis Baker singled to put two on. Pinch hitter Ryan Latif came up and after getting in the hole 0-2, cracked a single right back at BBA starter Jon Iris into center field to drive in a pair for a 5-1 advantage.
"I don't play often, but I had to do something for the team," Latif said. "I was ahead of the first two [pitches], and he threw another fastball at my knees, so I hit it and put it back through the middle."
During the sixth-inning rally, Upright pined to stay. Successful in that, he came back out to finish the job he'd started.
Colin McLeish walked to begin the seventh, and after Ryan Smith grounded out, Seth Wilkins drove home the second BBA run.
With Upright's time to pitch nearly running out, he got a fly-out and ground-out to end it.
"If he had to leave, I would have thrown Ellis for the last inning," Parmenter said. "I don't think he wanted to leave anyway, it was his game."
With the win, Mount Anthony improves to 4-6 on the season with six games left in the regular season. BBA drops to 4-7.
"The key today [was that] the whole team was into it for seven innings," Parmenter said. "We needed this."
"At times we played really well," Cirelli said. "Other times, we made mistakes. We're a young team and we have to get back on track."
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