Pittsfield Suns fall in 12 innings

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PITTSFIELD >> Pittsfield Suns manager Tom Conley said that the Third Thursday off day couldn't come at a better time for his team. Coming up short in 12 innings will allow that thought to cross his mind.

Back-to-back RBI singles by Matt Diesel and John Friday broke a tie and enabled the Worcester Bravehearts to leave Wahconah Park with a 9-7 win on Wednesday night.

"It's never fun losing, especially in extra innings," said Conley.

But the fact that the Suns left 15 runners on base in the 12 innings, leaving them loaded in the sixth and eighth, was especially painful.

"We had plenty of chances to win too," said Conley. "When you get 16 hits, you're hoping to come out on the other side of it."

Pittsfield (6-6) had early leads, but needed two runs in the eighth inning to help send the contest into extra innings. Thomas Hughes' two-run single to right scored Devin McGrath and Trent Bryan, making the score 7-7.

The Suns had a golden opportunity to win the game in regulation. Spencer Tinkel hit a one-out single to left and pinch-runner Kevin Donati ended up on third after stealing second and going to third on a throwing error by Worcester catcher Nick Barry. But McGrath and Bryan both struck out looking with the winning run 90 feet away.

Three innings later, the Bravehearts used some small ball to take the lead.

Kevin Hassett, the fifth Pittsfield pitcher, walked Mike Coggeshall on a 3-2 pitch to open the 12th. Pinch runner Rafael Bournegal was sacrificed to second by cleanup hitter Matt Rothenberg. That's not traditional to bunt with the cleanup hitter. But it worked because Diesel scored Bournegal with a single to left. After taking second on the throw, Friday singled in Diesel to make it 9-7.

Bryan led off the 12th and was robbed of a hit on a leaping grab by shortstop Tom Walraven. Hughes, who went 4 for 5, walked on four pitches. Hamilton, who came into the night leading the Futures League in home runs and runs batted in, hit an 0-1 pitch up the middle. Taylor Williams, the fifth Worcester pitcher, tipped the ball with his glove. That enabled second baseman Dante Ricciardi to field it and tag Hughes for the second out. Colin Gimblet struck out to end the game.

Hamilton went 2 for 7, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. He's had at least one hit in every Suns game. Hughes and McGrath each had four hits for the Suns. Diesel finished up 4 for 7 for Worcester. The Bravehearts also had 16 hits and left 17 on base.

"It's probably a good thing we have an off-day tomorrow, to just kind of reset," said Conley. "It's like I told these guys after the game, now we have a normal weekend — playing one Friday, one Saturday and one Sunday. That's what they're used to.

"Hopefully after a day of rest, we'll come back ready to play on Friday."

Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.


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