Fans return to Wahconah Park, and Suns prevail
PITTSFIELD -- Things returned to normal for the Pittsfield Suns on Sunday, and they got a win to boot.
Playing in front of an announced crowd of 966 at Wahconah Park, the Suns ended a brief losing streak by beating the Martha's Vineyard Sharks 4-3. Steve Dill's two-run single put the Suns ahead for keeps and reliever Adam Whitt threw 123 innings of scoreless baseball to get his first win.
"It was really nice to have people back," said Dill. "Hopefully, the crowds will be bigger and bigger as we progress on."
The Suns lost to Seacoast 5-1 on Saturday night, and the Pittsfield building inspector's office determined that only 100 people -- including players -- were to be permitted inside the park because of the water from an overflowing Housatonic River. The team was given the go-ahead for regular operations Sunday afternoon.
For five innings, the Suns couldn't buy a run, but they outscored the Sharks 4-1 over the final 312 innings to get a needed win.
"It's really early still, so we don't want to overreact," said Suns manager Tom Conley. "Early on, we were sleepwalking still, a little carryover from [Saturday]. We woke up and it was a great win."
Trailing 2-0, the Suns scored a run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double by John Kinne.
In the top of the eighth, Pittsfield reliever Josh Martin loaded the bases with one out. Whitt came on, walked the first batter to force in a run to make it 3-1, but got out of the jam.
With one out in the home eighth, Ryan Deitrich reached on an error by third baseman Nick Sill and the bases were loaded on singles by Kyle Singleton and pinch-hitter Brendan Slattery.
Dill took the first pitch to right, and as the ball hooked away from Donnie Cimino, Deitrich and pinch-runner Gary Tesch scored to give the Suns the lead.
"I know we had a guy on third and less than two outs, so I was looking for something up in the zone to elevate it," Dill said. "I just wanted to put the ball in play. All we needed was a shot to right field and good things happened."
Alex Basso threw six competitive innings for the Suns. The right-hander gave up two runs on six hits and two walks, striking out three. He left the game trailing 2-0. Martha's Vineyard pitcher Trevor Breton was outstanding. The Western New England righty scattered a run on three hits with six strikeouts in six innings.
In Saturday's game, former Suns pitcher Shane Beauchemin dominated his old team. The UMass Lowell right-hander outpitched college roommate Christian Lavoie. Beauchemin gave up one run on four hits in 723 innings. He walked one and struck out eight.
"It was different being on the other side of the field. But it was fun. It's always fun playing against your friends," Beauchemin said. "I have a whole new approach. I'm not going to blow pitches by a lot of people. I just try to work my off-speed stuff."
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