Massachusetts pitcher Matt Stansky wasn’t worried.
True, despite four perfect innings to start Game 1 of the American Legion World Series on Thursday, Stansky and his teammates found themselves trailing.
“We’ve done it all year, we’ve been down, we just fight back,” Stansky said after his team’s 3-2, 10-inning win over Michigan in the ALWS opener at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C.
Stansky was perfect through 4.1 innings. But Stansky hit Michigan’s Martin Money with a pitch, then threw wide of first base in trying to pick Money off.
Money reached third, then scored when Garrett Willis reached based on a fielder’s choice.
“It happens, as a pitcher it happens, you hit guys,” Stansky said. “But I still felt confident in all my stuff, and luckily we were able to come out and fight very hard to get this win. That’s huge coming into this tournament and getting the first win. That’s big.”
Money also broke up Stansky’s no-hit bid with a single to right center in the bottom of the seventh. It was one of just two hits allowed by Stansky in the complete game win.
Stansky threw 123 pitches; by Legion pitching rules, he won’t be able to pitch again until Tuesday, assuming Massachusetts reaches the championship game.
“You got to work hard to get back, so tomorrow I’ll be running for a while,” Stansky said about his plans for the next few days. “Make sure I’m stretched out, loose for Tuesday, cheer on my team.”
Massachusetts (35-6) was getting the hits but were unable to score until the eighth inning when they took a 2-1 lead on singles by Nick Martin and Jack Gardner, scoring Christian Jordan and Adam Twitchell. But Tyler David’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth scored Zach Schirmer, tying the game at 2-2.
In the top of the 10th, Pat Galvin reached on an error, scoring Dylan Degon for the game-winning run. Stansky walked Logan LaCourse with two outs, but forced a groundout by Noah Ingram to end the game.
Both teams will play again on Friday, with Michigan (40-3) facing Nebraska at 4 p.m. and Massachusetts taking on Nevada at 7:30 p.m.