Things haven’t gotten much easier for these Suns.
Pittsfield came up short yet again, falling to the visiting Wachusett Dirt Dawgs 4-3 in 12 innings. It was the Suns’ fourth straight loss, and their sixth in the last 10 contests.
It was a rough start to the game for Suns’ starter R.J. Hall. After loading the bases Hall beaned Wachusett’s Chris Stanford, bringing in the first run of the ballgame.
Hall allowed another run in the second inning, but eventually settled down in what would become a quality start. The Marietta, Georgia native gave up only three hits over the next five innings. Hall came away with the no-decision after manning the mound for seven innings of two-run ball.
The Suns came out of the “seventh-inning stretch” rejuvenated, knotting the score at two runs apiece. Third baseman Eric Hamilton skied a sacrifice fly to deep right field, scoring Al Zachary. Two batters later, Wachusett reliever Anthony Assante faced Pittsfield’s Brian Moskey at the plate. With a 1-2 count, Assante’s pitch scooted away from catcher Scott Manea. Thomas Hughes scored on the wild pitch to tie the Dirt Dawgs.
The game really got interesting in the late innings. Suns’ leftfielder Trent Bryan led off the bottom of the ninth looking for a walk-off hit to send the Pittsfield faithful home happy. Bryan, batting lefty, sliced a pitch to deep left field. It looked like Bryan had at least an extra base hit, but the ball just landed in foul territory at the warning track. Bryan drew a walk, but was caught stealing soon after. The Suns went down quietly and headed to extra innings.
The Suns’ defense proved to be clutch in the 10th inning. Wachusett’s Sean Webster reached base on an error by rightfielder Brian Moskey. Then, shortstop Ryne Ogren laid down a sacrifice bunt. Suns’ second baseman John Nollet went to cover first base, and Ogren was thrown out. Then, seeing Webster bolting for second, Nollet fired to shortstop Thomas Hughes. The throw was in time to get Webster, and the Suns had pulled off an unorthodox 2-4-6 double play.
The Dirt Dawgs tallied the go-ahead runs in the top of the 12th inning. With runners on second and third base, Sean Webster elected to bunt. The Southern New Hampshire University centerfielder beat out the throw to first, and Taylor Cacciola scored.
Webster’s speed continued to be the game-changing factor. During the next at-bat Webster swiped second base, while Ryan Lever took off for home plate simultaneously. The duo pulled off a successful double steal, extending the Dirt Dawgs’ lead to 4-2.
The Suns proved to be tenacious in the bottom of the frame. Thomas Hughes laced a two-out double to deep right field to keep the game alive. Moments later, hot-hitting Eric Hamilton (.333, 7 HRs, 34 RBI) stood at the plate with a 2-2 count, looking to capitalize. The third baseman lined a double to right-centerfield, scoring Hughes and cutting Pittsfield’s deficit to one run.
Justin Morhardt stepped up to bat, representing the winning run with Hamilton at second base. But, Wachusett reliever Joe Enderle struck him out swinging, notching a 4-3 win for the Dirt Dawgs.
Anthony Assante came away with his first win of the season. He pitched five innings of impressive, one-hit relief, striking out four Suns and allowing only one run. Assante issued two walks in the outing.
Enderle earned the save, and Pittsfield’s Matt Cuneo picked up the loss. Cuneo pitched the 12th inning, and was credited with allowing the game winning runs.