By JOSH CUTLER
PLANET VALENTI Sports
(PITTSFIELD, July 18, 2011, Game of July 17) — Returning home late after a big 4-2 victory Saturday night against Rockland, one might expect the Pittsfield Colonials to come back to the Berkshires looking a little road weary for Sunday afternoon’s matinee.
Even if they weren’t tired, the Quebec Capitales batters made the C’s pitching and defense look the part, handing Pittsfield a 14-6 defeat before 509 fans at Historic Wahconah Park.
Big Innings Put C’s To Bed
Pittsfield fell victim to the big inning three times during the long three hour and thirty minute affair, allowing four runs apiece in the second, fourth, and eighth innings.
Quebec kicked off the barrage in the second, sending ten men to the plate against reliever MacKenzie King (1-3, 8.37 ERA). After loading the bases on two walks and a single, a grounder back to the pitcher from Jeff Helps resulted in a run when Scott Knazek came off the plate prior to forcing the running out. Goefrey Tomlinson then followed with a sharp single to right, bringing home the second run of the game. Quebec would plate two more runs when Pete LaForest reached on an errant throw by Danny Bomback at short, and a Rene Leveret groundout to first.
Though the Colonials would chip away with two runs in the third, King continued to struggle in the fourth from Capitales batters. Seth Henry reached base to lead off the inning on another error by Bomback and took second on the play. LaForest then smoked a 2-0 pitch down the right field line for a double, plating Henry. After Leveret grounded out, Robert Wagner crushed a 1-1 King offering to the triangle in right-center for a triple, bringing home LaForest. Mitch Delaney then struck out, but Patrick D’Aoust followed him with the biggest blow of the day, a two run blast over the bullpens in left, giving the Capitales an 8-2 lead.
After D’Aoust’s bomb, Colonials Manager Jamie Keefe decided enough was enough and summoned newcomer Chris Rubio from the bullpen, who promptly induced Helps into a flyout to left to stop the bleeding.
Pittsfield Chips Away, but Quebec Slams Door
The Colonials would make things interesting during the middle innings, adding one run in the fourth and three in the sixth care of a Billy Mottram three-run blast to center off of Capitales starter John Mariotti (5-0, 3.27 ERA). But the Colonials could never get over the hump against Quebec pitching.
Pittsfield’s best chance to do damage was in the seventh. Down 10-6, the Colonials loaded the bases with no outs, but reliever Anthony Sullivan got back to back strikeouts against Danny Bomback and Johnny Welch, and though Angel Molina stung the ball well to left, it was placed perfectly for Matthieu Vallieres to haul it in to end the threat.
Quebec would end any doubt about the game in the eighth against lefty T.J. Wink, plating four more runs to put the contest out of reach. Leveret walked to begin the inning, followed by back-to-back singles by Wagner and Delaney. A run would score when Angel Molina made an errant throw on a potential double play ground ball by D’Aoust and would keep the threat alive. Vailleres then followed with an RBI single to center, and two more runs would come home care of a sacrifice fly by Helps and an RBI single by Tomlinson.
Desperate for outs and in need of saving arms for the remainder of the series, Keefe turned once to catcher Chris Torres for the fourth time this season for help out of the pen. Torres turned in 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, walking one and striking out one.
Tomlinson turned in four hits for the Capitales’ offensive attack, while Welch and Quentin Davis chipped in with two hits apiece for Pittsfield.
COLONIALS NOTES: Colonials Manager Jamie Keefe continues to struggle with finding enough players available to put on the field. In addition to shortstop Matt Nandin sitting out since July 10 with a hamstring injury, Keefe has also been without pitchers Rafael Lluberes (elbow), Yosandy Ibanez (shoulder), Matt Lyons (blood clot), and also lost newcomer Chris Rubio to an oblique injury in the 6th inning. … Keefe said that the injury situation was especially harmful over the past week on the road against Brockton and Rockland: “We were down to 18 players at one time during that road trip.” … Keefe did get one of his pitchers back today, righty Tim Stronach (shoulder), who delivered a scoreless first inning and striking out the side. Keefe said that he wanted Stronach, who hasn’t pitched since June 5, to start Stronach to get his feet wet with about 25 pitches. King, the listed starter for Sunday’s contest, was warming up in the pen throughout the first inning in preparation to enter in the second.