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Kevin Donati Named as Head Coach of Pittsfield Suns
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:27AM / Sunday, May 01, 2022
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Former player and Pittsfield native Kevin Donati will take over as head coach of the Pittsfield Suns this season.

Suns Director of Media Relations, Billy Madewell, head coach Kevin Donati, general manager Sander Stotland talk about the Suns' upcoming season at  Donati's sports academy on Wednesday.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Former player and Pittsfield native Kevin Donati will take over as head coach of the Pittsfield Suns and the team promised a great 10th season.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity, being with the Suns for three summers was a great time, I'm looking to build on that," he said when introduced last week. "What I'm looking forward to the most is the friendships that you build, the relationships that you build, and the memories that you get from this opportunity."

Donati is also the owner of Rip City Academy on Hubbard Avenue, which focuses on guiding athletes to improve their game.

"This is our 10th season on the field and I really wanted to take this as local as possible, if at all possible find a local coach who knows the area, knows the field itself, benefits from using a home-field advantage," general manager and President Sander Stotland said during a press conference at Donati's facility.

"Kevin's named came to my attention, I met Kevin briefly last year with Rip City and (former head coach Matt Gedman) and things just worked out, we started talking and we have the same ideology and philosophy about what this level should be that it's Kevin having Rip City and the collegiate league training and developing young student-athletes, it just meshed hand in hand so we came to an agreement, we made an offer and he accepted and here we are today."

Donati graduated from Pittsfield High School where he lettered all four years, serving as captain of the baseball team in his senior year. As a middle infielder, he garnered all-Berkshire County honors three times, all-Western Massachusetts honors two times, is a two-time Berkshire and North MVP, and a two-time all-Massachusetts state honoree as well.

In Donati's 2015 class, he was the third-ranked shortstop to come out of the state, played Division One baseball with the Great Danes at the University of Albany in New York, and played for the Suns during the summertime.

He is the all-time hitting leader in the Sun's history with a .344 batting average and also was a bench coach in 2018 while nursing an injury.

Donati then went to Gaithersburg, Md., to become a lead hitting instructor at Prime Performance, a premier training facility. He also became an OnBase University Level 1 certified hitting instructor and an associate scout for the San Diego Padres.

He then returned to his hometown and opened Rip City, focusing on developing skill, talent, strength, and community.

"He did grow up with the game of baseball, really entrenched with pure talent and ability," said Billy Madewell, the Suns' director of broadcasting and media relations.

Donati is the fourth head coach in Pittsfield Suns history.

The team addressed historic Wahconah Park's grandstand seating, which the city recently announced would be closed for the summer because of structural issues.

"Over the last 100-plus years, Wahconah Park has stolen the hearts, the community, the county, people from all over the country, let alone the world through its baseball affiliation down to the collegiate level," Stotland said.

"The Suns are welcoming the fact, working in conjunction with [Mayor Linda Tyer's] office, officials that are both local officials that are voted into office, those that are appointed and those who are hired, working in conjunction with, looking forward to walking into the future of the next 100 years."

He added that the team will be making accommodations to substitute the seating and that more information will be coming forward from the mayor's office.

Large bleacher sets have been ordered that will provide about 500 additional seats to make up for the loss of the grandstand, according to the city.

Stotland added that this is a chance to make the park something that the community can use and take pride in, even using it as a starting point to revitalize the downtown area around it.

"Baseball is the nation's pastime and it needs to be preserved," he said.

"We hear about all sorts of things what to do with it, it needs to be opened up to the community, it needs to be used by the community."

During the press conference, it was also announced that 89.7 WTBR-FM, Pittsfield Community Radio, will be the official radio partner of the Suns for the 2022 season, broadcasting the Suns' entire 64-game FCBL schedule live.

Madewell will be the play-by-play voice of the home games and Lenox High School graduate and UMass-Amherst Sports Network broadcaster Jacob Munch will lead the coverage for the road games.

The team's season begins on May 26 with the first home game occurring on May 27. A full schedule can be found on the team's website.

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