Pittsfield navigates way to win over North Shore
PITTSFIELD — Pittsfield Suns manager Matt Gedman isn't one to spout hyperbole, but it was pretty easy to see that he was happy with the Suns' victory on Wednesday night.
"Up and down the board," he said. "Three homers, [John] Clayton gave us six strong, the bullpen was good. It was pretty much a carbon copy of a clean win."
Two of Pittsfield's All-Star players had big hands in the win Wednesday night. Starter John Clayton picked up his second win of the season in the Suns' 7-3 victory over North Shore. All-Star Mark Coley had a big night at the plate, with a run-scoring triple in the first inning and a two-run home run — his sixth of the year — in the third inning.
The Suns (20-13) extended their lead in the Futures League to two games over idle Bristol. North Shore (19-17), Worcester and Brockton are all 2 1/2 games behind Pittsfield in the standings.
"Any [winning] streak, you want to go as long as possible," said Clayton, as the Suns have won two straight and are 6-4 in their last 10 games.
"The team really thrives on the motto that the Suns are hot, so whenever we can get on a roll, we'll get going."
It's the first game of a home-and-home against the Navigators.
Clayton, who was named the Futures League pitcher of the night, scattered three runs on seven hits in six innings. He did not walk anyone and struck out a Futures League and college-best nine. His previous high was seven, in a UAlbany game against Coppin State back in February.
The right-hander from Glenville, N.Y. struck out the side in the first inning en route to his 9 K game. He had a shutout inning streak end at 24 when North Shore's Keagan Calero hit an RBI single in the fifth.
"It was hot, I'll tell you that. I was sweating even before I got in there," Clayton said. "To me, I felt like I commanded the zone in the first few innings, then the [heat] started to take its toll. You still have to make pitches.
"Three runs is good, but you have to give your team a better chance than that. After they go out and score some runs, you've got to back it up with a zero."
Clayton had three, 1-2-3 innings — the first, the third and the fourth. At one point, he retired seven straight Navigators hitters.
"Me and [catcher Andrew Fernandez], we had a good mix of everything," Clayton said. "We had basically curveball, changeup and then the fastball away or in. It was a bunch of sequences, depending on who we were facing and what hitters were looking for."
Trystan Sarcone got the start for North Shore, and it was the fourth time the left-hander from Dartmouth faced the Suns. The last time out, back on the Fourth of July, Sarcone held the Suns to no runs on five hits in five innings of a 9-0 win for the Navigators. That would not happen again.
The Suns finally got on the board against Sarcone when Coley hit a two-out triple in the first inning, plating Caeden Trenkle. Taylor Beckett, who was 2 for 4 with two RBI, made it 2-0 on an RBI single in the second.
Pittsfield pulled away in the third when Sarcone hit leadoff hitter Jackson Petersen, an All-Star, with a pitch and Coley followed with a blast to center field for a 2-run home run, to make it 4-0. It was Coley's sixth home run.
"He had done a good job against us," Gedman said of Sarcone, who was touched up for six runs on eight hits in five innings. "[The Suns] were fresh from [Tuesday's] day off. It was tough on the Fourth of July because he threw a really good game against us. It was good to answer tonight."
Beckett hit his first FCBL homer on the first pitch of the fourth inning, just clearing the short fence in right. Right fielder Kade Kretzchmar had it bounce off the tip of his glove. Fernandez hit his first homer, also a solo shot, with one gone in the eighth.
Brodie Altiere, Shaun Gamelin, and All-Star Henry Leake combined to shut out the Navigators over the final three innings.
North Shore 000 012 000 — 3 8 2
Pittsfield 112110 01x — 7 10 1
Scarcone (5), Wilichoski (2), Browne (1) and Watson. Clayton (6), Altiere (1), Gamelin (1), Leake (1) and Fernandez. W — Clayton (2-0). L — Sarcone (1-2). 2B — NS: Lawlor. P: Baruch. 3B — NS: Kretzschmar. P: Coley. HR: P — Coley (6), Fernandez (2), Beckett (1). T — 2:40.
Howard Herman can be reached at email@example.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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