PITTSFIELD >> To be named an All-Star is an honor. To get to play in the Futures League All-Star Game in your other home stadium doubles the pleasure for Pittsfield Suns reliever Declan Cronin.
"It's a pretty special experience," said Cronin. "Being an All-Star is obviously a big honor. Anytime you're named by the coaches around the league, it means something.
"The fact that I'm playing at Holy Cross' field is pretty special, in front of my friends and family, in a place I'm familiar with."
The right-hander plays collegiately at Holy Cross, and will be one of six Suns players who will play in next week's Futures League All-Star Game. The game will be played Wednesday, July 13, at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field on the Holy Cross campus.
Cronin and fellow Pittsfield reliever Matt Cuneo are part of the 10-pitcher West Division staff.
Joining Cronin and Cuneo on the team are Suns infielders Eric Hamilton and Thomas Hughes, along with outfielders Colin Gimblet and Al Zachary.
"It's pretty cool. It's definitely an honor," said Hughes. "This is a pretty good league and to be named one of the top players in the league is pretty awesome."
Pittsfield pitcher Ryan Simpler has a chance to make the All-Star Game lineup. He is one of 10 players, five from each division, who are on a ballot for fans to vote on. The top vote getter from each division will make the All-Star Game.
The Worcester Bravehearts are hosting the 2016 All-Star Game. Gates open at 4 p.m. with the All-Star Game starting at 7.
In addition to the game, there will be Scout Day activities where the All-Stars, plus selected other players, will get a chance to run through a series of drills in front of scouts from all 30 Major League Baseball teams. There will also be a pregame Home Run Derby, and Futures League home run leader Hamilton will participate.
"The baseball itself has been fantastic," Futures League commissioner Chris Hall said during the webcast announcing the All-Star teams. "The talent level has definitely been up. We have some really good hitters in the league. We've got some guys on the hill that can really bring it.
"I think that during the All-Star Game and the Scout Day portion that we have, major league scouts will be really impressed with what we have."
Hamilton's stellar season continues with his being named to the West team. The infielder from SUNY-Oswego leads the Futures League with nine home runs and 42 runs batted in. He was the league's player of the month for June.
"I was watching part of [the selection show]. I was in and out," said Hamilton. "I literally got back to my computer when the West infielders were [named], so I stuck around and watched that."
Hamilton also watched the part of the show where they named the Home Run Derby contestants.
"It's a great feeling. I feel like I got off to a good start so far," he said. "I'd just like to match up with some of the other guys around here. It's going to be a great experience."
Hamilton will compete against former Pittsfield Sun Zach Tower of Worcester, Jake Farrell of Martha's Vineyard and Alex Brickman of North Shore in the Derby.
The four Suns fielders are the top four hitters on the team. Zachary is batting .308, Gimblet is hitting .294 and Hughes is batting .280. Gimblet is second on the team with 17 RBI. Hughes has nearly as many walks (29) as hits (30).
Cronin and Cuneo have been two of the league's top relievers. Cuneo has a league-best four wins and has a 1.44 earned-run average. Cronin leads the Suns with two saves and has a 1.25 ERA.
"I really didn't know what to expect," said Hughes. "This is my first year of summer ball. Looking around the league at the numbers of other players, there are a lot of good players out there. My numbers stacked up pretty well against them."
Pitchers — Mike Munson, Mike Kreiger, Bristol; Declan Cronin, Matt Cuneo, Pittsfield; Nick Mondak, Torrington; Frankie Moscatiello, Greg Stagani, Pat McGowan, Tyler Lonestar, Worcester.
Catchers — J.D. Anderson, Martha's Vineyard (moved from East); Mike DeMartino, Torrington; Scott Manea, Wachusett.
Infielders — Tyler Roberts, Bristol; Eric Hamilton, Thomas Hughes, Pittsfield; Michael Purcell, Torrington; Mike Coggeshall, John Friday, Dante Ricciardi, Tom Wolraven, Worcester.
Outfielders — Colin Gimblet, Al Zachary, Pittsfield; Yanni Thanopoulos, Nashua (moved from East); Mikey Arman, Nick Lamberti, Torrington.
Utility — Austin Chauvin, Bristol.
Pitchers — Dan Rajkowski, Brockton; Jack Nelson, Martha's Vineyard; Seth Pinkerton, Jake Nelson, Nashua; Jake Dexter, Brian Burke, North Shore; Mitchell Powers, Nathan Robinson, Casey Aubin, Clayton Chatham, Seacoast.
Catchers — Mickey Gasper, Nashua; Mike D'Acunti, North Shore; Marshall Gei, Seacoast.
Infielders — Alex Lewis, Jake Farrell, Martha's Vineyard; Ryan Sullivan, Cam Disarcina, Harry Roberson, Nashua; Joey Pena, North Shore; Kyle Pangallo, Seacoast; Kyle Bonicki, Wachusett (moved from West).
Outfield — Eric Feliz, Brockton; Jacob Rhinesmith, Dillon Nelson, Martha's Vineyard; MacDaniel Singleton, North Shore; Michael Hart, Seacoast.
Utility — Chase Smartt, Brockton.
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.