PITTSFIELD -- In two seasons, the Pittsfield Suns have done a lot when it comes to baseball in Berkshire County. It had not, however, had any former player drafted.
That all changed Friday when Siena left-hander Matt Gage was taken by the San Francisco Giants in the 10th round of the Major League Baseball First-year Player Draft.
In a press release from Siena, Gage said it was a childhood dream come true.
"I’ve always wanted to play in the major leagues since my dad first put a ball in my hand when I was just two years old," he said. "It’s an overwhelming feeling but I’m really excited that the Giants liked me and have given me a chance to start my professional career."
Gage, the 298th player chosen overall, was 4-7 with a 4.50 earned-run average at Siena. He struck out 90 to set a school single-season record.
The highlight had to be a nine-inning, one-run, six-hit performance against Texas Christian in the Fort Worth NCAA Regional. Gage was named to the All-Fort Worth Regional team after his no-decision in a game where Siena lost 2-1.
"He pitches against all the quality teams on our schedule, so he’s always challenged," said Siena coach Tony Rossi, who just completed his 45th season.
Gage is the third player to play at Wahconah Park, go to Siena and begin a pro career. Pittsfield’s Shaun Sottile signed with Atlanta in 1989 and St. Joseph’s Pasquale Arace signed with Pittsburgh the next season.
In 2012, Gage arrived late in Pittsfield where his brother Dave was manager Jamie Keefe’s bench coach. Gage was 2-0 in three starts with a 3.85 ERA.
"Matt has increased his skill level ever since he stepped on our campus," said Rossi. "He just progressively got better. Obviously, the summers helped -- whether it be in the Perfect Game League, then he went to Pittsfield. He just kept getting better."
Gage pitched last summer for Chatham in the Cape Cod League. He appeared in the All-Star Game and went 4-2. He struck out 25 and walked only seven in 3423 innings.
The Los Angeles Angels dipped into New England with its first-round selection, and Sean Newcomb is somebody Pittsfield Suns outfielder Luke Reynolds knows well -- at least on the field.
Reynolds, who played at UMass-Lowell, faced the University of Hartford right-hander in a regular-season game.
Hartford beat the River Hawks 8-6 as Newcomb bested former Suns pitcher Shane Beauchemin in the first game of an America East doubleheader.
Reynolds went 1 for 4 against Newcomb, hitting an RBI triple in the seventh inning of that game. Zack Tower, who also plays for the Suns, went 0 for 1.
"He’s good. He was definitely a challenge when we faced him," said Reynolds. "We heard the talk all year about him. He was definitely one of the best I’ve ever faced."
Reynolds walked in his first at-bat, struck out and popped up before hitting the triple.
"His velocity is definitely there," said Reynolds, when asked if Newcomb has first-round talent. "His off-speed was OK. It’s definitely going to be the point that he works on."
Pitcher Austin DeCarr of the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks might still be with his team when they come to Pittsfield on June 12, but he may not last the Futures League season.
That’s because DeCarr, a Fox borough native who has committed to play at Clemson, was drafted by the New York Yankees in the third round (91st overall) on Friday.
DeCarr pitched 413 innings without giving up an earned run in the Sharks’ season opener. He gave up one hit and struck out seven.
"It’s tough. It’s really tough. I wish I had that problem when I was in high school," Suns manager Tom Conley said when asked whether he thought DeCarr would last the whole season in the Futures League or sign on the dotted line.
"I had such a good time in college and I got my degree. It’s tough for me to look back now and say I’d want to skip all that. I’m a college guy. I’d like to see those guys go to college and get experience there."
The Suns play the first of consecutive 10:30 a.m. games today at Wahconah Park when they take on Torrington. They will host Worcester on Wednesday morning.
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