|Coutts And Ortiz Lift SteepleCats Over Swamp Bats|
|By John Wood, North Adams SteepleCats|
12:21AM / Sunday, June 17, 2018
KEENE, New Hampshire. — What started as an early pitching duel Saturday night quickly turned into another pull away victory for the SteepleCats.
A day after their big 14-8 win in Sanford, the SteepleCats rolled into Keene, NH and got another road win as they defeated the Keene Swamp Bats 7-2.
Most of the North Adams runs were driven in by DH Jackson Coutts and first baseman Tony Ortiz. Coutts continued his great start to the season Saturday, going two-for-five and driving in the first two runs for the SteepleCats. The Rhode Island sophomore currently leads the NECBL with a .500 batting average and ranks second in hits only behind his teammate Jeffery Brown. If he continues to produce offensively at this rate, Coutts has the potential to not only break the SteepleCats batting average record, .409 set by Ryan Delgado in 2008, but also the NECBL record, which is a .429 average set by Torrington Twister Jim Deschaine in 1997.
Ortiz came up to the plate with a big opportunity to increase the SteepleCats lead in the top of the seventh and seized the moment. With the bases loaded, the Mizzou senior smacked a ball out of Alumni Field for a grand slam, giving North Adams a 7-2 lead. The first baseman also played well defensively in Keene, as each NECBL ballpark provides different challenges for fielders to have to quickly adapt to.
“I just try to continue to play my best defense” said Ortiz. “I try to get outs for my pitcher so they don’t throw as many pitches, especially in summer ball”.
Only two pitchers graced the mound for the SteepleCats on Saturday. Chris Cepeda made his third start of the season, throwing six innings and only allowing one run off of seven hits for a much better performance than his two previous starts. UNC Asheville pitcher Greg Gasparro, who’s bat helped North Adams secure a win in Maine on Friday, relieved Cepeda, tossing three innings and surrendering just one run to get the save.
For the Swamp Bats, double the amount of SteepleCat pitchers took the mound for the home team. Starting pitcher Colby Dunlop only lasted four innings as North Adams grabbed three early runs off of three hits to take a 3-0 lead. The three pitchers relieving Dunlop threw for a combined 4.3 innings, allowing six hits, four runs, and ultimately a SteepleCats victory.
The SteepleCats are back at Joe Wolfe Field on Sunday as they take on the Vermont Mountaineers at 4:30. Fans at the game will have the exclusive chance to win a 32” flat screen television as the team celebrates Father’s Day. 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.