|SteepleCats Roll To Come From Behind Victory Over Mainers|
|By John Wood, North Adams SteepleCats|
02:12AM / Saturday, June 30, 2018
SANFORD, Maine. — Even after a wet two days that postponed games across the NECBL, the North Adams bats on Friday night were hotter than ever.
Making the long road trip up to Maine, the SteepleCats drove across runs in four separate innings behind masterful relief pitching to roll to an 11-7 victory over the Sanford Mainers.
After two extra rest days due to rainouts, Chris Cepeda of St. Thomas Aquinas College made the start on the mound for North Adams. The right-hander baffled the Mainers through the first three innings, facing the minimum number of batters and striking out three. A rough 4th inning however brought seven Mainer runs across the plate off of five hits, ending Cepeda’s night early.
Danny Serreino made his second appearance in a SteepleCats uniform following Cepeda, as the Rowan University product impressed the crowd immediately with his mid-90s velocity. His 2.0 innings on the mound only saw one Sanford run come across off of one hit while striking out four.
Closing out the game, the last four innings belonged to Danny Taggart. A usual starter for North Adams, the Adelphi University senior made the adjustment and provided dominating innings out of the bullpen on Friday night.
“I’ve done it before at school so I kind of knew what I was getting in to” said Taggart. “I just had to stay loose, throw some strikes, and get my team through the inning.”
The Mainers on the other hand struggled to locate the strike zone during the contest, walking ten SteepleCat batters. Virginia Tech’s Dylan Hall started on the mound for the home team but made a quick exit after the North Adams bats plastered the ball over the field, gathering four runs off of five hits in his 2.0 innings.
Six relief pitchers followed Hall for Sanford, including NECBL Week One Player of the Week Jack Weisenburger, whose successful season start mattered very little to the SteepleCats as they drove in another run on a hit and two walks off of the right-hander.
The SteepleCats’ offense broke out early as they grabbed a 4-0 lead in the 2nd inning following key hits by Chad McDaniel and Chad Minato. Since the season’s start, the squad’s situational baseball intelligence looks to have grown, as recent games including Friday night’s contest saw the SteepleCats hitting into the gaps and consistently driving runners in.
After the Mainers’ bats gave the opposition a 7-4 lead, the SteepleCats kept their heads up and struck back in the 7th inning. Battling shoulder stiffness, designated hitter Jacob Jablonski started the comeback for North Adams with a deep home run over the right-field wall that cut the deficit to one.
“I was trying to get something up and drive it to the outfield to move the runner over” Jablonski said. “But when I got deep in the count he gave me a breaking ball and it went right to my barrel and went out”
With two great fielders in Matt Koperniak and Joe Porricelli needed in the lineup for their bats, the Arkansas State shortstop has found his place in the lineup as designated hitter. Over the last week, Jablonski has been vital for the North Adams offense as his .462 AVG in the last three games helped bring five runs in.
“I’ve been seeing the ball really well and trying to put a really good swing on it" said Jablonski.
As the SteepleCats trailed 7-6 in the 8th, precision base running by pinch runner Jeffery Brown tied the game at 7 when Joe Porricelli drove a single into the Mainers’ outfield. Singles by Jacob Jablonski, Tony Ortiz, and Chad McDaniel and walks by Greg Cavaliere and Chad Minato helped North Adams bring in four more runs and secure an 11-7 lead and eventual victory.
The SteepleCats return home on Saturday after a long road stand to face off against the Winnipesaukee Muskrats at 6:30. Including kids getting in free to celebrate the start of Summer, Saturday is also Hometown Heroes Night at Joe Wolfe Field. Local Police and Fire forces from North Adams, Adams, Williamstown, and other surrounding towns will be on hand to showcase their vehicles starting at 5:30. Tickets for Saturday’s game can be found at www.steeplecats.org or one hour prior to the game’s start at the Ticket Booth.