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Two favorite Suns return to Berkshire County

The roads for Williamstown’s Mike Geannelis and Great Barrington’s John Kinne may have been different, but both return home to Berkshire County this summer, singing the praises of their former high school coaches, playing for the Pittsfield Suns.

For 6’5” pitcher/third baseman Mike Geannelis, returning to Berkshire County after the arduous path of playing for two prep schools and spending a year at the renowned IMG Sports Academy has been a blessing.

“Growing up playing in Williamstown at Mt. Greylock was a lot of fun, and it’s good to be back playing in Berkshire County in front of the hometown fans,” Geannelis said.

While Geannelis was able to pursue his initial hoops dream at Proctor Academy in New Hampshire – going up against the likes of Kentucky’s and now the Philadelphia 76ers’ Noel Nerlens and Michigan’s Mitch McGeary wasn’t as much fun.

Geannelis then moved to baseball powerhouse Salisbury in Connecticut, earning a scholarship to be a two-way player at UMass. Following a summer playing for the all-star Boston-area select Roughnecks, Geannelis headed for a year at IMG to develop his baseball game.

Currently on the mound, Geannelis throws in the upper 80s, with a slider, curveball and change-up complimented by his two-seam and four-seam fastball that has helped him boast a 1.17 ERA for the Suns this summer.

With all his athletic accomplishments on the field, the former Mt. Greylock righty thanks the Mounties’ 22-year head coach, Steve Messina, for making him the player he is today.

“I credit a lot of my emotional stature to him, he really showed me how to act on the baseball field,” Geannelis said. “He is the best coach I ever had, it was tough leaving him – he is a great coach.”

Another hometown Sun feels the same way about his former high school coach.

Kinne was a Berkshire County MVP for Monument Mountain under the tutelage of Spartan Head Coach Tom Hankey.

Kinne, despite missing his senior year due to arm surgery, credits Hankey with developing all aspects of his game, including how to watch the game and prepare mentally.

“Coach Hankey has been so instrumental, and everything I have done and I ever will do in baseball will be because of him,” Kinne said. “He was the first to give me an opportunity when I was younger and helped develop me over the course of three years and even the fourth year on how to mentally watch the game and how to be a next level thinker.”

After his senior year at Monument, Kinne arrived at Ivy league Columbia University, a regimented environment, where the infielder made his way on the field his freshman year while still rehabbing his arm from Tommy John surgery.

Today, while playing for the Suns, Kinne has enjoyed performing in front of the home crowd and meeting more baseball enthusiasts around Berkshire County who have followed his career.

“To at least play in front of [Coach Hankey] and friends and coaches and former teammates has been great,” Kinne said. “For me, it has been awesome to look up in the crowd and see people I know and some people who knew of me who I got to meet because of the Suns – that has been the best.”

If you haven’t been by Wahconah Park this summer, don’t miss out supporting the local nine, especially these two favorite Berkshire County Suns. They are both gems to watch on the diamond this summer.

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Posted by on July 5, 2013. Filed under College Sports,Community News,News,Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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