Pittsfield Suns slugger Coley named Futures League's top pro prospect

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In the eight seasons that the Pittsfield Suns have played in the Futures League, they have had only one player win one of the major on-field awards. In 2019, that number improved to two — and it was one of the most important awards given out.

Mark Coley was named the Futures League' top pro prospect among the position players. It's an honor he shares with Brockton pitcher Nick Sinacola.

The only other Pittsfield Sun to receive a post-season, on-field award was shortstop Hal Hughes, who was named the defensive player of the year in 2017.

Coley, a rising sophomore at the University of Rhode Island, was among the league leaders in a number of categories.

Coley was eighth in the league with a .327 batting average, tied for fifth with 7 home runs, fifth with 38 runs scored, third with 91 total bases, second with 15 doubles, tied for third with 3 triples and second with 25 extra-base hits. He was third with an .875 percentage on successful stolen bases, as he was safe on 14 out of 16 attempts.

He led the Futures League with a .607 slugging percentage, was fourth with a .439 on-base percentage and led the league with an OPS of 1.046.

Unfortunately for Coley and the Suns, one of his top numbers came in being hit by a pitch. He was fifth in the league with nine, and the last one rendered him out of Monday's first-round playoff game against Worcester. The Suns might have been able to use his bat in that game.

Coley's best stint with the Suns came from July 20-27, when he had a nine-game hitting streak. During that time he was 18 for 42. He never went hitless for more than three games in a row.

An outfielder by trade, Coley actually played more games in the infield than in the outfield. He had 21 games at second base, and 18 in the outfield.

Coley was a finalist for the Futures League's most valuable player. But that was won by North Shore's Sean Lawlor.

The other winners were: Angelo Baez of Worcester, pitcher of the year; Mike Odenwaelder of North Shore, manager of the year; Buddy Dewaine of Bristol, defensive player of the year; Beau Dana of North Shore was the reliever of the year; Thomas Joyce of Westfield won the batting title with a .370 average; and Scott Creedon of Brockton won the Commissioner's Award.

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One of Berkshire County's summer league baseball players is still playing. If it weren't for Izaiya Mestre's pitching performance on Tuesday, the Martha's Vineyard Sharks might have seen their inaugural NECBL season come to an end.

Mestre went 5 1/3 innings for the Sharks and got the win in Tuesday's 3-2 playoff victory over Newport. The win eliminated the Gulls from the NECBL playoffs.

The right hander from the University of New Haven via Taconic High School held the Gulls to 2 runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out five.

Mestre retired the side in order in the first and did it again in the fifth. He was chased after giving up a walk, a hit batter and a two-run double by Newport's Ryan Toohers.

Mestre was 3-1 with a 4.93 earned-run average in nine regular-season appearances. He started the season as a middle reliever for the Sharks.

He was already familiar with the home field Shark Tank, as last year, the Sharks were opponents of the Pittsfield Suns, and Mestre was a starter for the Suns.

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North Adams SteepleCat Matt Koperniak ended up the No. 2 hitter in the NECBL. Koperniak, a rising senior at Trinity, hit .376 with five home runs and 37 runs batted in. His .376 average was second only to Upper Valley's Cole Frederick, who hit .396.

Frederick was at .400 or over for the last couple of weeks of the season, but he went 0-4 in the regular-season finale against Valley to slide under .400.

Koperniak was at or over .400 until going 1 for 7 in a doubleheader against Winnipesaukee on July 21.

Koperniak's 37 RBI was good for seventh in the league. Mystic's Terry Bowers had a league-best 53.

Nick Payero was tied for second in the NECBL in wins and was tied for first in earned-run average. Payero, a SteepleCats starter from Seton Hall, was second to Upper Valley's Corley Woods with five wins. Payero was one of six pitchers with five victories. Woods had six. Payero's ERA of 2.25 tied him with Ryan Murphy and Alec Huertas of Vermont.

Payero also led the league with two complete games.

Mason Ronan, from the University of Pittsburgh, struck out 56 hitters, and was tied for second with Keene's Luke Albright. Joe Simeone of Keene had a league-best 59.

Pittsfield's Drew DeMartino of Sanford, led his club with a .319 batting average and six home runs. He was second on the team with 31 RBI. He had a team-best .949 OPS.

DeMartino played 38 games at second base and four at shortstop. He made only four errors all season, and his 141 total chances were second-best in the league.

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For the first time, the Pittsfield Suns had a hitter leading the league in an offensive category.

Catcher Jackson Petersen hit nine home runs to lead the league. Jared Dupere of Nashua, Logan Bravo of North Shore and Lawlor were second with eight. Coley was third.

Petersen was also third in the league with 39 runs batted in. Two RBI separated the University of Pennsylvania product from league leader Brandon Miller of Bristol, who had 41 RBI.

The top hitter for the Suns this summer was catcher/designated hitter Matt Malcom, who was sixth in the Futures League with a .336 batting average.

Jon Morrison was sixth in the league with 50 strikeouts, behind league leader Jack Fox of Westfield, who had 79. Alex Price was seventh in the league with a 4.24 ERA. Brockton's Matt Svanson was tops with a 1.45 ERA.

Great Barrington's Jared Henry, who pitches at Southern Connecticut via Monument Mountain, was second in the league with 20 appearances.

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.


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