PITTSFIELD, Massachusetts (July 1, 2022) – Multiple franchise records fell as the Westfield Starfires opened the month of July with an 11-5 win over the Pittsfield Suns at Wahconah Park in a Futures Collegiate Baseball League matchup on Friday, July 1.
With the win, the Starfires move to 16-15 on the season.
The Starfires were able to plate two runs with two outs in the first inning, giving them the early lead. Back-to-back singles put Daniel Burnett and Gunnar Johnson on base, with both coming home to score on a Jack Power double.
The Starfires and Suns would trade two runs each in the third inning. In the Starfires’ half of the inning, Burnett singled again and came home to score on a double by Johnson. Power then collected his third RBI of the game, driving in Johnson on a single. Taylor Gaspar was the first to reach for the Suns, drawing a walk off of Starfires starting pitcher Ryan Donahue. Christian Limon then singled and two more walks to Marco Ali and Anton Lazits brought Gaspar home to score. Robbie Burnett and Drew Metzdorf both reached on a fielders choice, with Metzdorf’s bringing Ali home. Through three innings, the Starfires led the Suns 4-2.
In the top of the fourth inning, Ryan Molinari and Luca Giallongo both reached base on a single and walk respectively, before coming home on a deep Jackson Hornung home run to left field. The home run made the score 7-2 and was Hornung’s seventh of the season, breaking the franchise record set in 2021 by FCBL MVP Cole Bartels.
When asked about the achievement Hornung said, “We just have to keep getting out there [and] get some team wins… It’s definitely a cool experience and cool recognition to keep going from here.”
The Starfires would add a run in the sixth inning when Jack Wentworth led off the inning with a walk. Molinari, Giallongo, and Hornung also reached, forcing Wentworth to come home for an 8-2 advantage.
The Suns cut the Starfires lead in half in their half of the sixth inning. Derek Paris and Cole McGonigal both walked before Gaspar reached on a throwing error by Starfires third baseman Patrick D’Amico, scoring Paris. Bo Bramer then singled to drive in two runs, making the score 8-5 Starfires after six innings of play.
The Starfires would make the hill to climb a little steeper for the Suns in both the eighth and ninth inning. In the eighth, Giallongo singled and ended up on third after an error and stolen base. Hornung then singled to drive him in and eventually came around to score on another single by Power. In the ninth, Noah Campanelli doubled, advanced to third on a fly out by Wentworth, and scored on a Molinari ground out, making the final score 11-5 Starfires.
With Giallongo’s steal in the eighth inning, he has now stolen 16 bases on the season, breaking the franchise record of 15 set by Henry Martinez in 2021. “It’s crazy, I didn’t really expect to have as many stolen bases… I’m excited to see how much I can do,” Giallongo said after the game.
Donahue earned the win, going five dominant innings, allowing two runs on one hit with five walks and four strikeouts. Michael Lorenzetti was the first pitcher to come into the game in relief of Donahue. Lorenzetti only got one out, giving up three runs, two earned, on one hit. Justin Emanuel and Tim Krol both pitched scoreless innings of relief. Emanuel went 2.1 innings with three strikeouts and Krol went 1.1 innings with one hit and one strikeout.
The Starfires hope to continue their hot offense as they travel to Vermont to play two games against the Lake Monsters. “It’s obviously a big win going into Vermont. Vermont’s a great team so we have to have our best game… and I think we showed it off tonight,” Giallongo said about the trip.
Hornung echoed, saying “we know it’s going to be a battle but we’ve been there before and we are ready to take them on and try to get a couple games back on them.”
First pitch for Saturday’s game against Vermont is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. followed by a matinee 1:05 p.m. start on Sunday.
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.