Tuesday July 17, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- In baseball, pitching and defense win games.

The Pittsfield Suns were deficient in both categories on Monday night, and absorbed an 8-6 defeat to Martha's Vineyard at Wahconah Park.

The Suns won a previously suspended game against the Sharks, 7-1, meaning the day wasn't a total loss.

In the second game, the Suns sprayed the baseball hither and yon on offense, collecting 15 hits, including a pair of doubles and a home run. But they committed three errors, which led to three unearned runs, and never put the visitors away, allowing Martha's Vineyard to come from behind three times in the game.

"We hit the ball very well," said Suns manager Jamie Keefe. "But we didn't play very good defense. You can't win games with just hitting."

The Suns took leads of 2-0, 3-2 and 6-5 in the game. The latter score held up until the top of the ninth, when the Vineyard got back-to-back singles from Cale Hanson and Andrew Barry, the No. 8 and 9 hitters in the lineup, respectively.

Keefe replaced reliever Mike Meszoros with Adam Krebs, but the move didn't pay off.

The Sharks' Tad Gold dropped a soft single into shallow center field to load the bases and Jack Colton socked a harder ball into center to score Hanson. The Suns' center fielder, J.J. Elseser, made a brilliant throw to catcher Brendon Slattery to save a run and keep the game at 6-6.

Krebs punched out Erik Brenk for the second out. He worked the count to 2-2 on the next batter, Justin Meier, and his next pitch painted the outside corner with a low fastball. Meier didn't swing, and the pitch was called a ball, which sent a collective groan throughout Wahconah Park.

With the count now 3-2, Meier ripped a single to deep right field, scoring two more runs.

In the bottom of the ninth, Brendon Slattery smacked a two-out single, but the Sharks' reliever, Ryan Morris, got the last out to end the game.

The home side took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second on a two-run home run to left by Anthony Corona. Martha's Vineyard tied the contest with two unearned runs on two singles and an error in the top of the third inning.

Pittsfield regained the lead in the bottom of the third on back-to-back doubles by Chad Funkhouser and Ryan Deitrich, with Funkhouser scoring.

The Sharks put up three more runs in the top of the fourth. The big hit was a two-run double by Colton.

The Suns chipped away, scoring single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to tie the contest. Alex Davison and Anthony Corona had RBI singles in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, and Deitrich had a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Davison was 3 for 4. Corona had two hits, including the homer, and three RBI for the Suns. Colton had two singles and d double, three RBI and a run scored for the visitors. Corey Laliberte got the win for the Sharks, and Meszoros took the loss.