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Cats Win Wild One with Walk-Off
07:50AM / Tuesday, June 27, 2017
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- The North Adams SteepleCats Monday walked off with a a 4-3 victory over the visiting Winnipesaukee Muskrats at Joe Wolfe Field.
The game featured an hour rain delay before first pitch, multiple misplayed balls due to the notoriously difficult lights at Joe Wolfe, and a ninth inning that was played in heavy rain.
After the game was pushed back an hour due to adverse weather in North Adams, the SteepleCats struck first with a run in the bottom of the first. Eddie Haus (St. Mary's) singled with one out, and walks to Dillon Paulson (USC) and Ryan Schalch (Pacific) loaded the bases. JJ Shimko (South Carolina Upstate) drove in the game's opening run on a fielder's choice, which saw Schalch retired but plated Haus.
The SteepleCats added another in the bottom of the third inning. Haus was again involved in the action, doubling for his second hit of the game. Paulson drove in his fellow Californian with a single, giving the SteepleCats a 2-0 lead after three innings.
A third run crossed the plate in the bottom of the sixth, adding to the North Adams lead in bizarre fashion. With one out, Liam Sabino (Pittsburgh) drilled a triple to center field. As the shortstop headed to third, the throw to the base bounced off his helmet, bouncing away and allowing Sabino to score on the error.
For the game's first seven innings, the SteepleCat lead was protected by yet another stellar outing from Blake Whitney (South Carolina Upstate), the reigning NECBL Pitcher of the Week. Whitney again upped his season high in strikeouts, punching out 12 in seven scoreless innings. Through four starts, Whitney has 41 strikeouts and only three walks.
Winnipesaukee began to rally with a run in the top of the eighth. The Muskrats loaded the bases on three walks, and another walk drawn by Koby Claborn (Abilene Christian) forced Tyler Bielamowicz (Houston) to the plate for the first run. Relief pitcher TJ Pagan (Pittsburgh) was able to strike out the next two Muskrat hitters, continuing a trend of the sidewinder working out of tough situations.
The Muskrats tied the game in the top of the ninth inning against Bryce Peterson (UCF), who wound up as the winning pitcher for North Adams. Two walks and a double steal had two runners aboard for the Muskrats, but two Peterson strikeouts had them down to their final out. JP Sorma (Ashland) then evened the score at three on a two-run single down the left field line.
In a driving rainstorm, the SteepleCats started their ninth inning heroics with one out, when Jonathan Engelmann (Michigan) drew a walk. The next hitter was Hunter Beetley (Eastern Illinois). After Engelmann stole second base, Beetley drilled a line drive into right center field, scoring Engelmann for the winning run. It was North Adams' second walk off win of the season, and evened the season series at 1-1 with Winnipesaukee.
North Adams heads on the road on Tuesday night, making its first trip to Goodall Park to face the Sanford Mainers. NECBL wins leader Robert Donnelly has the ball for the SteepleCats, as he looks to move to 4-0.
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