Baseball notebook: Kinne makes playoffs with summer squad

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The Pittsfield Suns had earned their way into the Futures League playoffs in 2017. A former Suns player also made his league's playoffs, getting closer to a title than the Suns did.

Bobby Kinne of Great Barrington has spent the last two summers playing in the Great West League, a west coast version of the Futures League. Kinne, a rising senior at Vassar College, and his Portland teammates finished one game shy of reaching the championship series.

Kinne was an infielder for the interestingly-named Portland Pickles. The Pickles finished fourth in the regular season, made the playoffs, and dropped the third game of a best-of-three first-round series to eventual league-champion Medford.

Kinne had a stellar summer in Oregon. Fully healthy again this summer, he was third on the team with a .311 batting average. He hit two home runs, drove in 30 runs and scored 32. He was a perfect 4 for 4 in stolen bases, had a slugging percentage of .402 and an OPS of .794.

The Pickles lost the first playoff game at home, as Medford won 7-6, thanks to two runs in the eighth inning. Kinne was 3 for 5 with a double and he scored a run.

Portland forced Game 3 by scoring six times in the top of the ninth en route to a 12-10 win. Portland had 16 hits in the game. Kinne went 0 for 4, but scored a run.

In the final, Medford scored nine runs in the first two innings and went on to win 12-6. Kinne was 0 for 4.

The former Monument Mountain standout was one of five players from east of the Mississippi River. He was one of two Division III players from the northeast on the Portland roster, joining Hamilton pitcher Max Jones. Jones is, however, from California.

Kinne was an honorable mention All-Liberty League selection, hitting .286 for the Brewers last spring.

He played for the Suns in 2015.

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The North Adams SteepleCats did not make the NECBL playoffs, but one of their players has had a big hand in helping a Cape Cod League team reach the final game of that league's championship series.

Blake Whitney, who broke two SteepleCats team pitching records this summer, moved on to Bourne of the Cape Cod League for the Braves' stretch drive and postseason play.

Whitney, who struck out a SteepleCats-record 80 hitters in nine starts during the summer, got a playoff start for the Braves on Aug. 9. The right-hander from South Carolina-Upstate threw six shutout innings, gave up four hits, did not walk anyone and struck out six in Bourne's 2-0 win over Wareham.

In 8 2/3 innings as a member of the Braves (one regular-season game, one playoff game), Whitney did not give up a run, and only four hits while striking out eight and walking none.

The Braves lost in the final of the best-of-three series, dropping a 2-0 decision to Brewster. Whitney took the hill four days after his start, and threw four innings of one-run, three-hit relief. He gave up a two-out solo home run to Hunter Bishop. Bishop plays at Arizona State, where his North Adams teammate Taylor Lane goes to school.

Three Brewster pitchers held Bourne scoreless, giving up seven hits and three walks. The Braves left eight runners on.

Eddie Haus, another former SteepleCat, finished his year with the Cape's Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox.

Haus played in two games during the regular season, going 3 for 6.

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Saturday night, the Futures League crowned a champion. For the second consecutive season, the Nashua Silver Knights earned the trophy.

The Silver Knights, who were the No. 5 seed in the six-team tournament, took two games from sixth-seeded Worcester. They beat the Bravehearts 4-1 Friday and 2-0 on Saturday.

Anthony Lupi, who pitched four innings in the 5-2 win over the Suns and gave up a two-run home run to Conor Moriarty, got the win. He went five innings and did not surrender a run on six hits in five innings. Kyle Murphy, who got the save against the Suns, picked up the save on Saturday. he had four saves in Nashua's five games.

It was Nashua's fourth FCBL title.

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It was, however, a first title for the Valley Blue Sox.

The Blue Sox went 5-0 in the NECBL playoffs, sweeping the best-of-three series from Ocean State 2 games to none.

Valley scored a 6-3 win in the second game of the final series.

Niko Hulsizer drove in three runs for the Blue Sox, who took home the Fay Vincent Sr. Cup.

Reach sports writer Howard Herman at 413-496-6253 or @howardherman.


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