WELCH’s SOLO SHOT IN SECOND STANDS UP in COLONIALS 1-0 WIN AT BELOVED WAHCONAH PARK; MORAN GOES 8 SHUTOUT INNINGS BEFORE 4,009 FANS
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI Sports
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, JULY 5, 2011) — Johnny homered. Pat and Matt made it stand up.
That’s all you need to know about the Pittsfield Colonials’ thrilling Fourth of July 1-0 win over Bill Buckner’s Brocton Rox at a rocking Wahconah Park with 4,009 fans on hand. Johnny Welch drilled a 1-1 Freddy Flores fastball over the fence in left center field with two outs in the bottom of the second for the game’s only run. The crowd exploded with a thundering cheer.
Moran Goes 8 Scoreless Frames, Lyons Gets Save
Pat Moran protected the lead with eight shutout innings, giving up five hits and striking out three. Moran mixed his pitches well, using a great changeup that kept Rox batters off balance all night. Moran managed to work out of a first-and-third jam in the seventh and a runner on third in the eighth. He threw 112 pitches, and C’s manager Jaimie Keefe wanted a fresh arm for the decisive ninth.
Keefe went to Matt Lyons, the closer who’s had trouble this year getting the final three outs. It looked like more of the same when Keith Brachold lined Lyon’s first pitch into center for a basehit. That was all the Rox could manage, however, as Lyons fanned Trey Hernandez, got Mike Torres to bounce out to second, and Melvin Falu to ground out to third.
Edmundson Take HR Away from Royster
In the top of the third, after Welch’s blast put the Colonials on top, Ryan Royster launched a fly ball to deep right field. It looked like trouble off the bat, but Jerod Edmundson drifted back nicely and at the wall, snagged the ball as it was heading out, to the left of the 1791 Club. Edmundson made the play look far easier than it was by being in the right position and knowing exactly where he was in terms of the fence. He cherry picked the ball over the fence then brought his arm up high, signifying the grab. The catch preserved the lead and, as it turned out, the game.
Flores Gem Wasted for Rox
The Colonials team batting average suffered, since they managed only two other hits (singles by Scott Knazek and Rafael Cabreja). As a team, they went 3-for-26 (.115), but with Moran tossing his gem, it proved enough. Flores took the hard-luck loss. He had a a live fastball and at times was overpowering. He threw an economical 86 piches, giving up three hits, walking no one, and fanning nine. Both sides played errorless ball.
The 4,009 fans, by far the biggest crowd of the year at Beloved Wahconah Park, brought the average attendance to 948 (18,010 fans in 19 games). That compares with the Can-Am’s aggregate average of 1,651 per game.
COLONIALS’ NOTES — Welch’s home run tied him with Brocton’s Royster for the league lead at 10. Welch missed another home run later in the game when he got all of a Flores pitch leading off the top of the eight. He got out in front, though, and the ball went well foul into the deep distance beyond the left field fence. … The city’s fireworks display followed the game. The fireworks paled in comparison to other years. There was no finale per se, and in fact, many fans didn’t realize they were over until the announcement came. … C’s manager Jaimie Keefe said Pat Fatse needed 13 stitches to close a split lip after taking a pitch to the mouth in yesterday’s game. Fortunately, Keefe said, there were no broken bones or lost teeth. In fact, Keefe said Fatse could have played tonight if needed, but the team decided to be cautious and give him another night to rest. … The Colonials have a rare two-game break before resuming the home stand against the Newark Bears at 7 p.m. at BWP. Game time is 7 p.m. For tickets, visit www.pittsfieldcolonials.com or call 413-236-2961.