WESTFIELD, Massachusetts (June 8, 2022) – A five-run sixth inning was the difference in a 7-5 Westfield Starfires win over the Pittsfield Suns in Futures Collegiate Baseball League action at Bullens Field on Thursday, June 9.
The Starfires are 10-3 on the campaign, the fewest number of games needed to reach 10 wins in franchise history.
Westfield hopped quickly on its Western Massachusetts rival, as Luca Giallongo laid a perfect bunt up the third base line on the first pitch he saw to lead off the game for the Starfires. Not only did he reach first, but he was able to take second on an errant throw. He then swiped third as well with Jackson Hornung at the plate before Hornung doubled into the gap to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Pittsfield answered back in the next frame. With two down, Marco Ali singled and stole second, coming home on a single by Brennan Hyde.
In the third, Hornung came to the dish again and drove a 1-2 pitch to opposite field for his second home run of the season. The lead was brief again, as Robbie Burnett led off the fourth with a double, advanced on a groundout, and scored on a Jack Ryan sacrifice fly to right.
In the sixth, the Starfires exploded. Cooper Johnson doubled to left, and Noah Campanelli followed with a liner that was just out of the reach of a diving Caleb Shpur in center, reaching third on the play. Gunnar Johnson was hit by a pitch, and Brian Norsen bounced to first, but Campanelli got home under the throw to bring the score to 4-2. Jack Wentworth and Nathan Lincoln hit back-to-back singles, the latter scoring Gunnar Johnson, and Jack Power slugged a two-run single to center to bring Wentworth and Lincoln home for a 7-2 edge.
“I was just looking for a fastball with a 3-1 count; anything I can do to get my guys to score and put a couple of runs on the board,” Power said of his first Starfires hit.
Pittsfield pushed back in the eighth, with Taylor Gaspar doubling to lead off, and Shpur singling to give the Suns first and third. After a popout in foul ground, David Bedrosian hit a ball up the middle, and while Westfield’s defense picked up the out at second, Bedrosian beat the throw at first, allowing Gaspar to score. Ryan walked, and Ali and Hyde each singled to drive in a run, cutting the deficit to 7-5. However, the Suns were held off the bases in the ninth, leaving the Starfires with the win.
Alex Rosario earned the win in his first start of the season on the mound. He threw six innings of two-run ball with five hits allowed, a walk, and three strikeouts. Zach Nichols earned the save, striking out one batter in the ninth among his three outs.
“We’re still completing our family a little bit,” said manager Kyle Dembrowski after the win. “It’s still a balancing act to figure out what kind of a team we have. Alex jumping in right there with a spot start, he did a great job eating some innings for us…it shows the kind of team we have,” he added.
The two teams match up again on Friday, June 10 at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m.
For the latest on the team, be sure to follow the Starfires on Twitter and Instagram @starfiresbb, and visit us on the web at westfieldstarfires.com.