Former Pittsfield Suns, local products dot Futures League rosters
The Futures League, minus the Pittsfield Suns, takes center stage tonight with a pair of games on opening night. Three former Suns players are back in the Futures League this summer, and when the league begins, will be playing.
Two former Suns, infielder Drew DeMartino of Pittsfield and outfielder Andre Marrero, will be playing for the Westfield Starfires. Left-handed pitcher Alex Price, who played for the 2019 Suns, will be part of the pitching staff for the new team in the league, the New Britain Bees.
DeMartino will not be the only player from Berkshire County on the Westfield roster. Future UMass-Lowell infielder Cedric Rose, a teammate of DeMartino's on Taconic High School's first MIAA Division I state championship baseball team, will be a teammate of DeMartino in Westfield.
The Futures League is set to begin play on July 2 with two games. North Shore is at Nashua and Worcester is at New Britain. The first games in Massachusetts won't be played until July 7, when Nashua visits Brockton and Worcester travels to North Shore. Westfield's home opener is June 8 against Worcester, while the Bravehearts are scheduled to open July 11 at home against New Britain.
The Bravehearts, however, will have to find a new home for at least the start of the 39-game season. The College of the Holy Cross' athletic facilities are still closed, so the Bravehearts cannot use Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field.
DeMartino, who won the FCBL All-Star fan vote to play in the 2018 All-Star Game, hit .295 for the Suns in '18. He had two home runs and 19 runs batted in, striking out only 23 times in 112 at-bats. He played primarily second base and some shortstop.
Last year, DeMartino led the Sanford Mainers of the NECBL in the following categories: batting (.319), hits (51), runs scored (39), doubles (18), total bases (89), on-base percentage (.392) and slugging percentage (.556). He was second on the team with six home runs and 31 runs batted in.
Nick Dombkowski, a graduate of West Springfield High School and a University of Hartford teammate of DeMartino's, is also on the Westfield roster, as is outfielder Devin Kellogg, a resident of Florence.
Marrero, a West Springfield native, hit .257 for the 2017 Suns, with six home runs and 33 RBI. He made the Futures League's All-Star Game in Bristol, Conn.
In 2018 with the Valley Blue Sox of the NECBL, he hit .310 with five home runs and 32 RBI.
Rose, meanwhile, will begin his Division I college career with UMass-Lowell. His final year at Herkimer County (N.Y.) Community College was in 2019. He hit .378 with four homers and 32 RBI. Rose said he expects to play third base at Lowell, but is one of three catchers listed on the Westfield roster.
Of course, DeMartino and Rose probably spent as much time playing baseball at Bullens Field in Westfield as anywhere outside of Pittsfield. Westfield and Pittsfield have historically been Little League and Babe Ruth baseball rivals.
Price, a left-handed pitcher from Middlebury, went 2-1 with a 4.24 earned-run average for the 2019 Pittsfield Suns. He made nine appearances and started eight games.
Price did have a mystifying start of 2019, as he went four starts without a decision. In those starts, he threw 26 innings and had a 2.42 ERA, striking out 20 and walking four.
He finally picked up a win on July 8, beating Worcester. He pitched six innings, gave up two runs, one earned, on four hits. He struck out five and walked two.
"It was kind of funny. Me and Geddy [manager Matt Gedman] had a thing with him asking me if I would ever get a win," Price said with a laugh after his first win. "We were kind of hoping to go the entire season without a win, and with a record of 0-0."
The other thing of interest about this year's rosters are that most players will be able to drive to-and-from their homes. Of the players on the Westfield team, 14 are from Massachusetts and nine of them are from inside of 80 miles from Bullens Field. Of the nine Connecticut residents, only one — outfielder Braydon Seaburg of Quinnipiac — lives more than 70 miles from Westfield.
Howard Herman can be reached at email@example.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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