Colonials clinch playoff spot, sweep twinbill
PITTSFIELD -- The Pittsfield Colonials are playoff-bound again.
Miguel Flores tossed a complete-game, four-hitter and Jerod Edmondson hit his 16th home run as the Colonials beat the New York Federals 6-2 in the first game of a twi-night doubleheader at Wahconah Park.
The Colonials scored six runs in the first inning en route to a 14-2 win and a sweep. Edmondson, who was 6 for 8 with three runs scored and four runs batted in for the doubleheader, hit his career-best 17th homer in the nightcap.
"Last year we were so close" to winning the Can-Am League title, second baseman Danny Bomback said between games. "This year we came back with the mentality that we wanted to get there."
Bomback went 5 for 8 in the doubleheader, improving his league-leading batting average to .356, seven points ahead of Worcester's Chris Colabello.
"After everything we've been through this year, it's great to know that this great group of guys will get a chance to go at it again," added Flores.
The Colonials entered Friday as healthy as they have been all season, and it showed from the start. Bomback reached first on a one-out bunt single, stole second and scored on Angel Molina's double to center field.
Pittsfield got its margin of victory in the next inning. Matt Nandin, who is now fully healthy after injuring a hamstring, singled home Peter Fatse with one out. After Quentin Davis flied out to right, Edmondson ripped a Brett Moore pitch over the fence in right -- between the two buildings that make up the 1791 Club. That made it 4-0.
It was Edmondson's sixth home run in the last 11 games, and added to his personal-best number of dingers. Edmondson's previous best was 13 in 2009, and he had 26 career homers coming into 2011. The Pittsfield center fielder was asked if the ball looks like a beach ball when it reaches his bat.
"A lot of times they say that," Edmondson said. "I'm trying to get a pitch I can handle, try to hit it hard and on the barrel and put it in play. They've been going over the fence. It's been going pretty well right now."
The Colonials added single runs in the third and fifth innings. Peter Fatse closed the scoring with a solo home run, his first since Aug. 5. Fatse had gone 82 at-bats without a homer.
Flores gave up a two-run dinger to Tom Maloney in the top of the seventh inning. The Pittsfield right-hander had retired 12 of 13 batters and faced the minimum in innings 3-6. In the seventh, he gave up a leadoff single to Scott Dubbin and then the homer. Flores finished the game with a flourish, retiring the side without further damage.
Flores was pretty much in command from the start. He only gave up two hits over the first six innings, walked one and struck out 10. That marked the third time this year he had double-figure strikeouts. He has 110 strikeouts this year, two behind league leader Isaac Pavlik.
"The last couple of starts, I've been feeling throwing good," said Flores. "I felt good today and we got the win. That's all that matters."
Pittsfield put the game out of reach with six runs in the bottom of the first inning, sending 12 batters to the plate. Molina's two-run single was the key hit of the inning. Molina later scored on the back end of a double steal with Bomback.
Molina had three RBI in the doubleheader and that gives him 78. He is now tied with Colabello and Worcester's Keith Brachold for the league lead.
If the Colonials sweep the Federals tonight and Worcester continues to lose, Pittsfield will clinch the No. 3 spot in the playoffs, which begin Sept. 7.
"Once those playoffs start, it's anybody's game," said Edmondson. "We're just trying to do our thing like we have all season."
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