Pittsfield Suns struggling to win extra-inning games this season


PITTSFIELD — The Pittsfield Suns have been a .500 team in regulation this summer. It's when they have to play overtime that they run into problems.

The Suns have played seven extra-inning games in the first half of the Futures League season, with five of them going 12 innings or longer.

"It gets a little frustrating when you can't close the deal, especially at home," Suns center fielder Al Zachary said. "A couple of the games at home, we had a chance to put a team away, but instead we just tie it up and make them come out for an extra inning. We give up a run and we can't close the door to finish it."

Going into Thursday's home game with Nashua, the Suns were 12-17 overall. In nine innings, they have been an average 10-12. But in those extra inning games, Pittfield is 2-5. Every loss has come in 12 or 13 innings.

"We definitely all have the confidence that we can walk off with a win and get the momentum back in our way," said Zachary. "The last couple of games that have gone extra innings have been tough losses.

"We're all positive. We're all out here ready to work."

The extra-inning streak started at the home opener on June 2, when the Suns dropped a 5-3 game to Bristol.

Twice in that streak, the Suns had played extra-inning games in rapid order. They went 10 innings in a 6-4 win at Martha's Vineyard on June 14, and then lost to Worcester in 12 innings the next night by a 9-7 count.

Then there was this week. The Suns went 13 innings on July 4, losing to Nashua 7-5. Two nights later, Pittsfield went 12 and lost to Torrington 10-9.

"I guess the way we're trying to look at positively is, take [Wednesday], in the 10th, we go down a run and then we tie it up," Pittsfield manager Tom Conley said. "In the 12th inning, we go down two, we score a run and have the tying run on third.

"The guys are fighting and competing."

To a man, Suns players say they have never seen anything like this run of extra-inning games they've been on. In his four years managing the Suns, Conley has never been through a run like this either.

"That must be something like a league record or something. I don't know," Suns outfielder Colin Ridley said. "I've never been in like so many in a row.

"When you, night after night, when you have them, it just gets really tiring mentally and physically.

"I remember after the Fourth of July one, I went home and I was sitting at a table and I could not move. I was so sore."

Being tired is just one of the things Conley has to be concerned with. Pitching has come into focus this week. On Monday, he used five relief pitchers in the 13-inning loss to Nashua, and four relievers in the loss to Torrington on Wednesday.

"The easy thing to do is roll over, especially in the 10th inning," said Conley. "It's good to see them competing.

"I think I'm one of just everybody that wants to get in the win column."

Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.


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