Pittsfield's Dill named MVP of FCBL All-Star Game at Wahconah Park
PITTSFIELD -- It was a very good night to be a Futures League All-Star pitcher. It wasn't very good for the hitters.
The second annual league All-Star Game was played at Wahconah Park Thursday night and both teams combined for six hits. Massachusetts managed two runs on three walks and an infield hit by Pittsfield catcher and game most valuable player Steve Dill as the Massachusetts All-Stars beat New England 2-0.
Dill's single to shortstop plated the first run and a sacrifice fly by teammate Frank Crinella scored the other run of the game. Eleven Massachusetts pitchers kept the New England offense under wraps.
"Both sides have great pitching," said Martha's Vineyard manager Mike Miller, the manager of the winning team. "If you were here seeing our bullpen guys throw, and you saw everybody throw tonight, the pitching is real good in this league. Pitching is always going to conquer hitting, no matter how good they are."
Dill earned MVP honors for his base hit and for the work behind the plate. In his five innings, the New England All-Stars managed only two base runners. One was on a one-out walk in the third inning and the other came on a one-out single by Torrington's Jake McGuiggan in the fifth.
"I can't believe it. It's amazing," said Dill after receiving a custom bat as the MVP trophy and an ovation from the announced crowd of 3,297. "It's an honor to be the MVP."
Miller used one of his starters, Trevor Breton, to pitch the first inning. The 5-foot-7 left hander set the tone with a 1-2-3 first inning. Breton struck out the first two hitters he faced and retired Matt Pagano on a grounder to Crinella at second.
John Sheehan, who gets credit for the victory, came on in the second and threw a 1-2-3 inning of his own. The Brockton righty needed only six pitches to retire the three hitters.
"We're all All-Stars, so you didn't really expect anything less," he said. "We threw really well. The pitchers on both teams threw really well.
"I don't think anyone would have expected that type of pitching. Everyone expected good pitching."
Massachusetts got the lead for good with two runs in the second inning. Nashua's Matt Tulley walked leadoff hitter Lorenzo Papa on a 3-2 pitch and then walked Wachusett's Jamill Moquette. After Martha's Vineyard's Nik Campero struck out, Wachusett's Josh Raymond walked on another 3-2 pitch.
Dill was the next hitter and he got just enough on a 1-0 pitch to ground deep into the hole. Shortstop Johnny Adams of Nashua fielded the ball but couldn't throw Dill out. Papa scored to make it 1-0.
Crinella was the next hitter and he hit a towering drive to left that Nashua's Matthew Sanchez caught on the warning track. Moquette trotted home to make it 2-0.
"You have to get it done somehow," said Dill. "I was looking for a fastball, just trying to put it in play and score a run. It found a hole."
That was the only inning where a zero didn't go up on the scoreboard. The Massachusetts All-Stars' only other hit was a two-out single by Kevin Hendricks of North Shore. The Massachusetts Stars only had five base runners after the second.
The New England All-Stars were stymied all night as well. They managed four hits but some nifty Massachusetts defense did them in.
The best defense came in the top of the eighth. Brockton's Dylan Driscoll gave up leadoff singles to Aaron Wilson of Old Orchard Beach and D.J. Martinez of Nashua. The next hitter, Sean Lyons, smoked a liner down the third base line. Campero handled the smash, stepped on third and gunned down Lyons at first to complete the double play.
"I knew it was going to be pitching dominated," said New England manager J.P. Pyne, who is the Nashua manager. "It was a similar game to last year, which was 3-1. I'm happy it was a clean game. Everyone played well and pitching dominated."
Crinella played all nine innings and went 0 for 2 with the sacrifice fly. Kyle Singleton was 0 for 3 and Dill was 1 for 2. Pittsfield's Aaron Plunkett threw a scoreless fifth and reliever Adam Whitt tag-teamed with Wachusett's Michael Yerina for a 1-2-3 seventh.
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