Pittsfield’s ballpark has history, too
Welcome to Wahconah Park, located a stone’s throw from downtown Pittsfield in the heart of the Berkshires.
On Tuesday night it was the sight of the best Nashua Silver Knights victory of the year, 5-2 over the Pittsfield Suns in the one-game first-round of the FCBL Playoffs.
Wahconah tries to be picturesque, and in its own way pulls it off. The neighborhood isn’t quite as – well, residential, as Nashua’s Holman Stadium. But there are trees that line the outfield, and they provide just a peek from the stands of the beautiful Berkshires.
There was no sun delay on Tuesday, but they certainly happen in June and July.
You see, Wahconah is one of only two parks in the country where home plate faces the west. The other one is in old friend Butch Hobson’s current home site of Bakersfield, Calif.
A lot of charm, but certainly with better dimensions than the Silver Knights faced in Portsmouth. However, not far enough to keep the Suns’ Conor Moriarity from hitting a legit homer into the bullpen in left to erase a 2-0 Nashua lead in the fifth. But that’s OK, Nashua’s Tom Blandini countered with a cheapie off the right field foul pole 305 feet down the line. Charm.
There’s a ton of familiar names that have played here, but two are Hall of Famers – Carlton Fisk and Greg Maddux. Fisk played for the old Pittsfield Red Sox and Maddux played for the Pittsfield Cubs. Matt Gedman, the son of another Red Sox catcher, Rich Gedman, managed the Suns this year. Oh and legend has it, one Suns employee said, that back in the 1940s the wood floors of the stands were torn up to provide firewood for heating due to a shortage one winter.
Mythical? Maybe historical, but the Silver Knights were hoping to avoid being history. Once again, as they did for Sunday’s playoff clincher at Portsmouth, Nashua fans showed up in full force. T
he team chartered a fan bus and the Knights fandem showed up, cow bells and all, and had their own small section down the first base line.
Suns fans seemed surprised. “Dey dun brought dem cows,” one Pittsfield fan seated the opposite side, off third, said.
Likewise, give the Suns fans credit, They showed up with a crowd of 2,740 announced.
It sure looked like it would be Nashua’s night after Luke Tyree made two spectacular fourth inning catches in center field, one up against the wall and another diving to his left.
Nashua’s No. 9 hitter, Tom Blandini was the unlikeliest of heroes, his line drive leading off the seventh against Suns relieve Austin Wendt just grazing the foul pole for the go-ahead homer.
More noise from the Nashua fans.
“It’s great,” Blandini said of the support. “To drive two-and-a-half hours to come watch us play, they’re really dedicated. The win definitely goes to them for coming every game. It’s nice.”
Nashua pitchers walked a tightrope as the Suns left 11 on.
But you wonder if this could start another memorable march. Mike Curtis got the nod on the mound Wednesday night at Holman against Bristol in Game 1 of the best-of-three semis that Ronnie Wallace and the Silver Knights staff would furiously try to sell all day Wednesday.
Meanwhile, fans were sad at Wahconah, seeing their team’s season come to an end. And in the background, dem cows, or cow bells, kept ringing.
Nashua didn’t become history at another historical park.
The Silver Knights lived to fight another night at their own place of history, Holman Stadium.