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SteepleCats Snap Losing Streak With Big Win Over Mountaineers
By John Wood, North Adams SteepleCats
11:39PM / Tuesday, June 26, 2018
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MONTPELIER, VT. —A usual pre-game batting practice for a team in the NECBL ends about 30 minutes prior to the game’s start. Yet for the SteepleCats on Tuesday night, their batting practice seemed to continue well into the 9th inning.

The North Adams SteepleCats made the long trek through the forests of Vermont on Tuesday to face off against a division rival in the Vermont Mountaineers. An early quiet game broke in out into a scoring fest for North Adams, driving in 16 runs off of 14 hits to hand the Mountaineers a 16-5 loss.

Making his third start on the season, SteepleCats right-hander Cam Kovachik handled the first three innings for the away team, holding Vermont to five hits and two runs. Greg Gasparro then relieved Kovachik, going two innings with just one hit and one run and eventually getting the win. The next three innings belonged to Harvard’s Grant Stone, making the transition from being a starter for North Adams to coming out of the bullpen Tuesday night.

“When you’re coming out of the bullpen, you want to douse the flames early” said Stone. “As you settle in, you get into more of a starter's mindset, especially pitching with a lead as I knew I had to pound the zone and let the defense do the job.”

Stanley Vargas of New England College then came on and pitched the final inning for the SteepleCats, surrendering one hit and one run but securing the big win for North Adams.

The Mountaineers starter, Andrew Kneussle, was pounced on early in the contest by the SteepleCats’ bats. Tossing five innings, the Canisius College right-hander allowed eight runs off of seven hits in his second appearance against North Adams. The final four innings belonged to four different hurlers for the Mountaineers, giving up a combined eight runs off of seven hits while only striking out two

After struggling to drive runners in during their five-game skid, the SteepleCats bats came to life against Vermont with every starting player on the North Adams lineup registering a hit. Merrimack College’s Joe Porricelli made the biggest impact for the Cats at the plate, racking up four RBIs off of a sac fly, a home run, and a double.

“With runners in scoring position I didn’t want to try to do too much” Porricelli said. “It’s been a big key point for us offensively when we have guys in scoring position. I just wanted to put the ball in play and do my job.”

With another strong third baseman in Matt Koperniak also on the squad, Porricelli also has been adjusting to starting at shortstop instead of third base for North Adams.

“I played it a lot when I was younger, it’s just another position” assured Porricelli.

The SteepleCats make the return home to Joe Wolfe Field on Wednesday to take on the Ocean State Waves at 6:30. With school just getting out for summer around the county, kids can get in free at both Wednesday and Saturday’s game as a way to celebrate the start of summer. Tickets for Wednesday’s game can be purchased online at www.steeplecats.org or at the Ticket Booth one hour prior to the game’s start.

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