PITTSFIELD - Wahconah Park was overflowing with Pittsfield elementary school students who were pinning the decibel meter. It looked to be a great Monday morning for the Pittsfield Suns. Somebody forgot to tell Alek Morency to do his part.
The Merrimack College right-hander and reliever Cole Warren shut the Suns down on two singles by Ryan Deitrich over 72 3 innings before a morning-long rain forced the umpires to call the game. That gave visiting Nashua a 3-0 win over the Suns, handing the Pittsfield nine its first loss of 2013. And sending 3,573 school kids home unhappy.
"He's from my college and he was lights out during the whole season," Pittsfield second baseman Frank Crinella said of Morency. "I knew what I was getting into. He performed up to my expectations."
It was quite a 180 for a Suns offense that in its previous two wins had cranked out 23 runs on 27 hits. On Monday, the Suns didn't get their first hit until Deitrich slammed a single to left-center leading off the fourth. He also led off the seventh with a single.
Otherwise, it was Morency keeping the Suns bats under wraps. He finished six innings, giving up one hit and two walks while striking out eight. In fact, Morency struck out John Kinne, Morgan Phillips and Devon Reed in order in the sixth. The right-hander struck out five of the last six hitters he faced.
Pittsfield starter Jon Luthe gave up one unearned run on no hits in four innings of work and was tagged with the loss. He walked the first two hitters of the game and the run came around on the second of two errors by third baseman Reed. Luthe got Nashua's Brian Toland to line into an inning-ending double play in the first. It was the first of 10 consecutive outs he recorded in his four innings.
"He was all amped up, obviously, with the crowd we had. He was just overthrowing a little bit," Suns catcher Derek Gardella said. "Once he got going, he was really good with his fastball and changeup on both sides of the plate. He kept his changeup down. When he got behind guys, he threw his changeup, they swung at it and hit weak ground balls."
Like Luthe, Morency got better as the game went on. The Suns' only threat came in the first inning when Phillips and Deitrich worked walks, but the righty got Kyle Singleton on a foul pop and struck Brendan Slattery out looking to end the threat and the inning.
The first home run was hit at the old park, and the hitter was a familiar face. Jimmy Ricoy, who played for the Suns in 2013, is a member of the Silver Knights this year and he hit the first pitch he saw from UMass Lowell teammate Thulani Denari over the wall just to the left of the manual scoreboard in left-center field.
Denari was in his first inning of work and he got two outs on six pitches. But the first pitch to Ricoy was just too inviting.
"I was sitting fastball. He left it up a little bit and I got into it," said Ricoy, who hit a bunch of balls hard last year, but none of them left Wahconah.
"There were dozens of balls that I thought, any one of them could have gone and didn't even come close," he said. "The ball doesn't travel here until later in the summer."
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