Baseball notebook: Emerging trends as Suns, SteepleCats continue
As the Pittsfield Suns wrap up week No. 3 in the Futures League, one thing seems certain — it looks like this is going to be an offensive summer.
That's not a bad thing either.
The fourth week of the season will begin Wednesday, and four teams in the league are hitting over .260 as a team, while only one has an earned-run average under 3.30.
The Pittsfield Suns head into weekend No. 3 with a .269 team batting average. That is third in the league behind Nashua (.276) and Worcester (.275).
Individually, Colin Gimblet and Eric Hamilton are two of the top six hitters in the league. Gimblet is third in the league with a .392 batting average and Hamilton is sixth at .367. Eric Feliz of Brockton leads the FCBL with a .455 average.
Hamilton is the only player in the league right now who is contending for the Triple Crown. The slugger from SUNY-Oswego, who has a hit in every game this year, leads the league with five home runs and 21 runs-batted in.
Hamilton isn't the only Suns player among the offensive league leaders. Al Zachary and Gimblet each have three home runs, tied for third in the league. Gimblet is tied for second with 14 RBI, while Zachary is third with 11.
The Suns have hit 11 home runs, second in the league behind Seacoast's 13. The Mavericks play in what has been kindly described as a band box.
Home runs have never played a huge part in Pittsfield's offense. In the previous five seasons, the most home runs the Suns had hit in a summer was 23 in 2014. Last year, Pittsfield hit 17 homers.
Bristol has the league's best ERA at 2.96, with Nashua, Brockton and Seacoast all under 4. Pittsfield is fifth with a 4.06 ERA.
The NECBL, meanwhile, has only finished one week, and one thing is becoming apparent, the league may just be a pitchers' league.
Four teams have ERAs lower than 3.50 and two, Upper Valley (2.77) and Ocean State (2.86) have ERAs under 3.
Eight NECBL pitching staffs have held opposing hitters to a .230 or lower batting average. Three teams, Upper Valley, Ocean State and Valley, have held hitters under .200.
The SteepleCats' Keaton Wright, from Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, went into Friday leading the NECBL with four home runs and nine RBI. His North Adams teammate, Noah Vaughan from Texas-Arlington, is tied for second with three homers.
On the pitching side, Cornell right-hander Peter Lannoo has a league-leading 14 strikeouts for the SteepleCats.
The Suns headed into the weekend with a 6-6 record, but their mark in the financial ledger has been much better.
Through Thursday's games, the Suns are third in the FCBL in average attendance. The Suns are averaging 1,791 fans in six games, trailing only Worcester (2,570 in six) and North Shore (2,086 in five).
The Suns are also third in total attendance, having drawn 10,743 to Wahconah Park. Worcester leads the league with 15,147 fans and Brockton is second at 12,206. The Rox have had eight games at home, averaging 1,526 — fifth in the league.
There are 13 teams in the NECBL, and insofar as attendance is concerned, the SteepleCats are right in the middle.
North Adams has drawn 1,784 fans in four openings for an average of 446. The 'Cats are seventh in the league in average attendance and sixth in overall attendance.
Newport, as is usually the case, leads the NECBL with an average of 1,914 per game, and overall, the Gulls are second to Keene. The Swamp Bats have drawn 6,749 in four games, for an average of 1,687.
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.
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