|SteepleCats Spoil Banner Raising Celebration To Capture First Win|
|By John Wood, North Adams SteepleCats|
11:47PM / Saturday, June 09, 2018
HOLYOKE, Mass. —While the Valley Blue Sox 2017 season was celebrated pre-game, the North Adams SteepleCats had something to celebrate post-game.
The new-look SteepleCats blanked the Blue Sox 5-0 Saturday night behind a masterful night on the mound by Danny Taggart to capture their first win of the season.
Taggart, an Adelphi University senior, was in control of the Blue Sox for the majority of his time on the field, holding them to just three hits while striking out eight. With five of these strikeouts coming within the first two innings, the right-handed pitcher hand to switch mindsets from attacking the hitters to letting his defense make plays.
“I know I had to go deep into this game because the bullpen was short” said Taggart. “But I knew we had great fielding behind us so I just let them put the ball in play and let my defense get the job done for me”.
Mizzou’s Chad McDaniel, a 6’3” catcher, was tasked with keeping Taggart’s momentum going throughout the game.
“I reminded him to be calm, stay in the moment, and just do your thing” said McDaniel.
The catcher also did his share of damage in the batter’s box late into the game, as his 9th inning three-run home run sealed the SteepleCats’ first win in Holyoke in over three years.
After three straight games where it looked as if only a select few SteepleCats could find contact offensively, head coach Justin Sumner was pleased to see the potential of his lineup as multiple players stepped up into the spotlight and got the offense rolling.
“We’ve got depth on both sides so it really makes it hard for opposing teams really to zone in on somebody” Sumner said.
Similar to Taggart’s belief, the Saint Anselm assistant coach accredited the great defense from the Cats as a backbone for their pitcher’s confidence.
“It makes it a lot easier on your pitching staff when your pitchers are comfortable on the mound, they’re more aggressive in the zone, they trust their guys behind them."
The SteepleCats are back in action at Joe Wolfe Field on Sunday as they take on the Newport Gulls at 4:30 for the start of their four-game homestand. Duke’s Cam Kovachik is expected to make his first NECBL start for North Adams as Drew Reveno is expected to take the hill for the Gulls. Tickets for Sunday’s game can be purchased online at www.steeplecats.org or at the Ticket Booth one hour prior to the game’s start.