C’s WIN ON A SUNNY SUNDAY AT BWP, BREAKING BOULDERS, 9-6, plus THE PLANET GIVE YOU THE COLOR with “This” & “That”
C’S BATS COME ALIVE, BULLDOZE THE BOULDERS
PLANET VALENTI Sports
(Pittsfield, Sunday, May 29th, 2011) — Boomtown. That’s what the fans got at Beloved Wahconah Park on Sunday as the Pittsfield Colonials ripped off their third win in a row.
Sunday afternoon, however, the Colonials finally found their hitting shoes, pounding out 16 hits in a 9-6 victory over the expansion Rockland Boulders before 688 loud fans at the old ballyard.
Hit Early and Hit Often
Pittsfield would get to Boulders’ starter John Muller immediately out of the gate, tallying all of their nine runs within the first three innings. With minimal bullpen arms available and with a relatively low pitch count for his starter, Boulders’ manager Dave LaPoint elected to remain with Muller through the fifth inning. Muller would ultimately give up nine runs on 13 hits, walking three while striking out seven.
Colonials Manager Jamie Keefe explained that despite any game situation, the C’s offensive approach will always remain the same: “We are an aggressive team, and I’d much rather be aggressive than passive. We’re going to run, run, run, run, and then run some more.” Case in point: The C’s stole bases — three each from Jerod Edmondson and Danny Bomback, two from Matt Nandin).
Pittsfield tallied an early run in the first on a Bomback RBI single to center, plating Jerod Edmondson. However, a bigger threat was averted when Matt Nandin was thrown out at home plate by shortstop Bridger Hunt on the back end of a double steal. Angel Molina (0-5 on the day) then struck out, and Rafael Cabreja popped out to shortstop to end the threat.
The Colonials would continue to be aggressive against Muller in the 2nd inning, taking advantage of two Boulders errors to score four more. After a leadoff single by Johnny Welch, a hustle double by Billy Mottram placed two Colonials’ runners in scoring position. After a Chris Torres walk, Quentin Davis’ 2-0 single to right plated Welch and Mottram, giving Pittsfield a 3-0 lead. Nandin then beat out an infield single, with Torres coming in the backdoor, but an errant throw by Hunt allowed Davis to score as well, giving Pittsfield a 5-0 advantage.
Pittsfield would come back with four more runs in the 3rd inning against Muller, the result of a two-run double by Edmondson and a pair of RBI singles by Nandin and Bomback.
Keefe cited the leadoff hitter Edmondson’s 4-5 day with two RBI as the catalyst for the C’s offensive outburst: “(Recently) he has just been missing some balls. He is as dialed in right now as anybody, and today it paid off for us.”
Stronach Unsung Hero Out of C’s Bullpen
Meanwhile, Colonials’ starter Dan Cevette, making his first professional start since 2009 due to arm injuries, struggled through his 3+ innings of work. On a 75-80 pitch count, Cevette allowed four runs, walked seven, and struck out four, yet allowed only one hit to Boulders’ batters. Keefe said that despite his walks, the movement of his pitches played well for the team: “He was all over the place, but he was effectively wild.”
After one inning from Mike Zenko, who allowed two inherited runners from Cevette to score, Keefe turned to reliever Tim Stronach in the top of the fifth. A native of Haverhill, Mass., Stronach gave Keefe the shot in the arm that the Colonials’ pitching staff needed to get through the wild game: “We wanted to give him a clean inning in the fifth to begin. He’s our long guy out of the pen, and we we’re going to ride him (today)”. Stronach delivered five innings of relief, allowing two runs on three hits on seven hits, walking one batter while striking out six.
Stronach avoided serious injury in the sixth inning on a line drive off the bat of Norm Hutchins. The ball smashed off his pitching hand and leg, bounding in front of the mound. Stronach couldn’t make the play and Hutchins reached first, allowing Dustin Smith to score and narrow the score to 9-6. After two warmup tosses, Stronach told the Colonials’ training staff he was fine, and was able to settle down for the rest of the game, retiring his final 10 batters.
Catcher John Fitzpatrick and Hutchins would contribute two hits apiece for the Boulders, who mustered eight off of Colonials’ pitching.
COLONIALS NOTES: Keefe was ejected in the 7th inning by home plate umpire Rick Elrod when a Molina ball hit down the left field line, which would have plated two runs and given Pittsfield an 11-6 lead, was called foul. Keefe was adamant in his belief that the ball was fair, picking up the chalk from the base path and heaving it in the air to illustrate his point: “It hit the chalk. We’re the only baseball park in America which still uses chalk. It kicked up from the lines. It could have been a big hit if they came back on us”…Righty Pat Moran (5-2, 4.12 in 2010) will go for Pittsfield in Monday’s 2:05 Memorial Day matinee against 26 year old Casey Hodges, who split the 2010 in the Northern League between the Winnipeg Goldeyes and Kansas City T-Bones.
THE WORLD IS A CAROUSEL OF COLOR:
SOME OBSERVATIONS FROM AN AFTERNOON IN THE SUN AT BWP
BY DAN VALENTI
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MAy 29, 2011) — We are cooling off this evening after spending the sultry, sunny afternoon with Mrs. Planet watching the red-hot Pittsfield Colonials continue their winning ways, dropping the Rockland Boulders 9-6 in the first of a four-game set at Beloved Wahconah Park (BWP). We bring to you a few observations and color pieces from the Planet’s sun-drenched palette.
— Tim Stronach, the string-bean 6-5/185 righty from Haverill, Mass., went the final five innings, nailing down the win and not giving up an earned run. Stronach had his private fan club cheering him on as a contingency from Haverhill made the trip to the Berkshires to see him pitch. He didn’t disappoint the raucous gallery. This is a bounce-back year for Stronach, who missed last year because of injury. The former New York Mets farmhand impressed. Long relief is an underrated by vital part of any staff, and his five-inning outing today gives manager Jamie Keefe and pitching coach a great addition to their staff toolbox.
— For the second time in two games, Keefe took exception vigorously enough with the umps to get tossed. Today it came in the later innings when Angel Molina rifled what looked to be a double just inside the lf line. Actually, the ball kicked up chalk, leaving a tracer cloud of white. Nonetheless, the home plate ump, who must have been blinking on the play, blew the call and ruled it foul. Keefe came charging in from the third base coaching’s position, hopping mad. After emphatically making his point with a few choice adjectives and syllables that caused the black on the plate to curl, he got the old heave-ho … but not before twice showering the ump with a cloud of lime from the line. Someone should write a song for the occasion: “Limeline: It Just Isn’t Fair.”
— The umpiring was inconsistent at best and dreadful on Molina’s call, as well as two other instances. The first-second base ump, whose name shall remain blissfully anonymous, called Jerod Edmundson out at second on a pick-off play. He victimized the C’s again when he ruled that ss Matt Nandin dropped a ball a t second for the front end of a force out at second. Nandin has gotten the force and was transferring the ball from glove to hand when he dropped it. The ump missed the call but, judging by his resemblance to the Michelin Tire Man, hasn’t missed many meals. The Planet advises him to shed a few pounds. Maybe then he can get into position to make the right call.
— Colonials’ staff, take note: The 1791 Club needs to be moved closer to the rf line, because in its present location, it blocks the scoreboard from view for those in the 1st base beer garden. We got info from The Planet’s intrepid Josh Cutler, who checked out the sight lines himself. We don’t doubt Josh, although The Planet wonders if having plain view of the scoreboard will make a difference to — how shall we put it? — the more, um, “eager” customers of the beer garden, especially in the later innings.
— The team needs to do a better job of alerting the public (for example, with signage at Park Square or at North/Wahconah intersection) that there is a game that day. There were no sandwich boards on Friday night indicating fireworks that night. Cutler reports: “Many people I talked to didn’t even know about the fireworks, or else they would have come. Sure they drew 906, but it could have been higher if more people were aware.” C’s office, take note. We’re giving you gold here. Mine it.
— If the ball club wants to take advantage of the non-profit initiative (in each home game, the C’s team up with a Berkshire County non-profit), the team should publish a list of which organization will be featured ahead of time, at least for each upcoming home stand. Again, from Cutler: “I had no idea that Norman Rockwell Museum was going to be featured opening night, nor was I aware of who was featured today.” Point well taken. Marketing is all about getting the word out. Flog the message is a strategy that never fails. And don’t be shy about it.
— A nice feature in the game today was the seventh inning Cookies and Milk treat, with C’s owner Buddy Lewis donning his soda jerk’s uniform with jacket and hat and doling out free cookies and moo juice mainly to the kids. Buddy did a brisk business. Crescent Creamery supplies the milk. Big Y Supermarkets donates the cookies. The kids did the devouring. Fans are encouraged to make a donation for the Jimmy Fun during the promotion. When the Planet saw Lewis during his soda jerking, we were breathless. We could only say, “It’s hard to resist a man in uniform.” Buddy gave us the submariner salute.
— Angel Molina, 0-5 with a couple of Ks today, has had some ugly at bats in the early going. After a particularly bad strikeout in the Sunday matinee, the big, power hitting outfielder took his bat and snapped it across his knee like it was Todd The Punisher’s toothpick. The crowd “ooohed and awed.” One enterprising lad begged him for a piece of the bat, but Molina was in his own space, chewing himself out. The Planet loves his intensity and can’t wait until he catches fire.
— Gotta love the “Matt Gal.” It’s a woman who sits in the upper third base side grandstand. Every time LeMoyne’s Matt Nandin comes to the plate, she yells at a volume that cha-chas with the sound barrier, “Let’s Go Matt.” The earth swells and the ground shakes.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.