BURLINGTON >> One team found all its parts, the other was still looking in a 6-0 Lewis Mills win over Litchfield Saturday afternoon at Lewis Mills High School.
“It was a good win,” said Lewis Mills coach Jesse Darcy, whose Spartans move up to 6-4 overall, 5-3 in the Berkshire League. “We had all three parts of the game today — pitching, defense and hitting.”
“We’re just battling ourselves right now,” said Litchfield coach Kyle Weaver, whose young team is mired in a 2-7 struggle to find its formula.
“We’ve got to figure out being ready for a game,” Weaver said. “We’ve got to find our balance.”
Each team has come up just short at times this season, magnifying Saturday’s satisfaction for Darcy, frustration for Weaver.
Mills clicked from the beginning this time. Litchfield smoothed out after the first inning when the biggest damage was already done.
That’s also when Mills junior Gio Peraza-Santiago (6 innings, 0 runs, 3 hits, 6 strikeouts, 1 hit batter) was at his best on the mound.
Peraza-Santiago, a lefty in his third start, gave up a lead-off hit to Nick Ganio in the first inning, then struck out the next three Cowboys.
In the bottom of the inning, it went the other way for Litchfield starter Mike Minucci (6 innings, 6 earned runs, 7 hits, 1 strikeout, 5 walks).
Mills leadoff batter Max Wadington (double, 2 RBI) walked, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a hit by Justin Gallicchio (2-for-4, double, RBI, run).
Minucci got two fly-outs. Then Jack Nepomuceno and Dave Swanson picked up the Spartan drumbeat with two more hits and two more runs for Mills.
Armed with a 3-0 lead in the top of the second, Peraza-Santiago checked in with two more Ks.
Mills’ offense was back in the bottom of the inning.
Nick Gauthier led off with a single down the third base line. Collin Thorn replaced him on a fielder’s choice, stole second and tagged up for third on a fly-out to center field.
A wild pitch made it 4-0, Mills.
“Mills took advantage of our mistakes. We couldn’t take advantage of theirs,” said Coach Weaver.
Chances came in the third and fourth innings.
Litchfield’s Griffon McIntyre led off the third with a single; Cal McKenna bunted him to second. With two outs, Peraza-Santiago hit senior Evan Shortsleeve, then stranded both runners with strikeout No. 6.
Next inning, Nick Andro led off with the final hit against Peraza-Santiago; he made second on a wild pitch, no outs.
A ground-out, pop-up to third and pop-up to first set the Cowboys down.
Meanwhile, Minucci gutted out the bottom of the third and fourth, holding Mills to 4-0.
In the third inning, a walk and an error put Lucas Lanning and Dave Swanson on second and third, two outs. Looking for the third out, Minucci grooved his only strikeout of the day in four pitches.
In the fourth, Mills loaded the bases with a single by Thorn, double by Gallicchio and an intentional walk to Sam Brooke, one out.
A pop-up to short got the second out; a fly to left took the third.
Peraza-Santiago sailed through the fifth and sixth with a flawless defense behind him, then gave way to Gallicchio to close out the seventh.
“I was getting a little tired,” said Perza-Santiago. “I usually go five innings.”
“(Gallicchio) needs to get his work in,” said Darcy. “With all the rain, he hasn’t pitched in a week or so.”
Gallicchio’s no-hit two-strikeout performance in the seventh capped the pitching part of Mills’ formula.
Timely hitting took its final bow in the bottom of the fifth.
With two outs, Gauthier reached on an infield error; Thorn walked.
Wadington lofted a double into the left field corner, chasing Gauthier and Thorn home with the final score.
On the scoreboard, it was 6-0, Lewis Mills.
The emotional score? More lessons learned, Litchfield; satisfaction, Lewis Mills.
Lewis Mills 6, Litchfield 0
At Lewis Mills High School
Litchfield 000 000 0—0 3 2
Lewis Mills 310 020 x—6 7 0
WP: Gio Peraza-Santiago. LP: Mike Minucci. 2B: LM—Max Wadington; Justin Gallicchio.
Records: Litchfield 2-7; Lewis Mills 6-4 (5-3 Berkshire League).