|Newport Blanks North Adams as SteepleCats Still Search For First Win|
|By John Wood, North Adams SteepleCats|
12:25AM / Saturday, June 09, 2018
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. —If there has been a thorn in the North Adams SteepleCats side so far this season, that thorn would have to be runners left on base.
The SteepleCats headed down to Newport, RI Friday night, hoping to capture their first win and gain some momentum moving forward, but the Newport Gulls had planned otherwise, shutting out the Cats 8-0 and holding the team to just four hits with eleven runners left on base.
This was the third straight game the SteepleCats utilized four pitchers throughout the contest. Stanley Vargas of New England College made his first start of the season on the hill for North Adams, tossing 3.2 innings and giving up seven of Newport’s fifteen hits.
Innings four through seven belonged to recently signed pitcher Greg Gasparro of UNC Asheville and Miguel Rodriguez of St. Thomas University, who took on damage control for the SteepleCats, allowing for three more runs to come across the plate and increase the Newport lead.
Two-way player Jackson Coutts from the University of Rhode Island made his pitching debut for North Adams in the 8th inning. Coutts had been the major source of power for the SteepleCats lineup over their first two games, hitting 2-for-4 in each and collecting the first extra-base hit of the season for the team. The incoming sophomore struck out two in his debut and held the Newport run total to eight.
The four SteepleCats hits were split between the top two hitters in the batting order; outfielder Jeffrey Brown and infielder Joe Porricelli. Both made impressive plays in the field as well. Brown, a junior at the Citadel, made a routine pop fly catch in the outfield and made the long throw home to catch the runner sliding home to keep the game scoreless in the 2nd. A Merrimack College junior, Porricelli made multiple plays at the hot corner including a diving catch to get the runner out at first.
North Adams is on the road again tomorrow as they take on nearby Valley Blue Sox of Holyoke. The projected SteepleCats starter for tomorrow night’s game is Danny Taggart, making his second appearance this season.
The SteepleCats head back for a four-game homestand this Sunday at 4:30 against the same Newport Gulls. Tickets can be purchased at www.steeplecats.org or one hour prior to the game’s start time at the ticket booth.