|SteepleCats Sweep Bay Sox In Doubleheader|
|By John Wood, North Adams SteepleCats|
12:26AM / Monday, July 09, 2018
NORTH ADAMS, Mass —Even though the fireworks show was on Wednesday night, the SteepleCats ended their five-game homestand with a bang on Sunday.
As their June 28 matchup was canceled due to rain, the North Adams SteepleCats and the New Bedford Bay Sox faced off in a rare Joe Wolfe Field doubleheader on Sunday afternoon. Right from the early innings of game one, the SteepleCats' bats sent the ball all across the diamond, gathering a total of 22 hits in their two-game sweep of the Bay Sox by the scores of 8-1 and 11-3.
Grant Stone made the start for North Adams. The Harvard junior was the only arm for the SteepleCats in the first game, going a dominant 5.0 innings in which he only allowed one unearned run off of two hits.
“I got to give all the credit in the world to my offense and defense" said Stone. “Without that run support, I wouldn’t have felt as comfortable attacking the zone with strikes. And having a good defense behind me is key knowing I can pound the zone and any ball put in play they can make a good play on it.”
Anthony Martino, the starter for the Bay Sox, was not able to match Stone’s performance. A two-out rally started in the second inning as Matt Koperniak reached on a single and then was driven home by a double to the wall by James Ciliento. Cris Ruiz then reached on a single to the outfield and a wild pitch sent Ciliento home. Dillon Mendel drove in Ruiz with a single to give North Adams a 3-0 after the top of the second.
After a blank inning for New Bedford, the SteepleCats’ offense attacked again in the top of the third. Both Jeffery Brown and Joe Porricelli were able to reach on singles while Jacob Jablonski walked to have the bases loaded with one out for Adams Koperniak. The former Hoosac Valley star smoked a ball all the way to the wall for a double, easily scoring Brown and Porricelli.
Martino’s night for New Bedford ended there as Tylor Arruda then took over the mound duties for the rest of the game. A wild pitch by Arruda allowed Jablonski to come across the dish to give North Adams a 6-0 lead. Bryant University’s Ciliento then continued the hitting party with his own single to score Koperniak. With Ruiz on after his single, Dillon Mendel knocked a ball into the outfield to then score Ciliento. When the inning finally concluded, North Adams came out with a commanding 8-0 lead.
With a scoreless fourth inning, New Bedford finally brought a run across in the bottom of the fifth, as a single by Raphael Chaumette scored Christian Aybar.
North Adams threatened with runners on the base path in the top of the sixth when a pop fly by Jackson Coutts led to a scary collision of two New Bedford fielders.
Yet with this discomforting event, SteepleCats head coach Justin Sumner, Bay Sox manager Chris Cabe, and the umpires made the decision to call the game in the sixth inning, giving the SteepleCats an 8-1 victory.
Unlike game one, the Blue Sox were able to establish an early offense instead of the SteepleCats.
Newly signed pitcher Joe Kemlage made his NECBL debut as he started on the hill for game two of the doubleheader. Coming to the SteepleCats from the NYCBL’s Sherrill Silversmiths, Kemlage tossed 30 innings in five appearances for the NYCBL team in which he struck out 21 batters.
Yet the Bay Sox were able to grab an early 2-0 lead in the first off of the AIC left-hander as a sac fly scored Elijah Brown and Jack Winkler came across on a Robert Emery single.
Christian Ayber in the second inning was able to pull a home run around the left field pole to give the Bay Sox another run, however that would be the last of their scoring in the second game.
The SteepleCats offense heated back up in the third inning, as Jeffery Brown reached on a walk and scored when Greg Cavaliere sent a single to the outfield that a left fielder’s error allowed for him to reach second. Rowan University's Dillon Mendel then collected his first of three RBIs in the second game as his single brought Cavaliere across.
Mendel, who is a recent newcomer to the SteepleCats, has come on strong at the right time for North Adams, hitting .467 in his first five games in the NECBL.
“I’m just trying to not do too much, put the ball in play, and make things happen” Mendel said.
After Kemlage gathered two outs, Stanley Vargas came on to relief pitch for North Adams in the top of the 4th. The New England College right-hander got the win for the SteepleCats, tossing 2.1 innings where only three New Bedford hits could be found.
Unlike the Bay Sox’s empty fourth inning, the SteepleCats unleashed their bats and gave their team their first lead of the game. The inning began with Tyler Zell coming in to relieve for Michael Young, yet his time on the mound was short. With the bases loaded after a Koperniak double and Ruiz and Ciliento walks, center fielder Brown brought home two more runs for North Adams with a single. His fellow outfielder then decided to join in on the fun, launching a double into the outfield and driving in Ruiz and Brown. Serafino Brito replaced the pounded Zell, who gave up the final run of the inning scored on a fielder’s choice where Greg Cavaliere beat out the throw home, giving the SteepleCats a 7-3 lead.
Just as they did in the fourth, the SteepleCats continued to pile on runs in the fifth. Jack Owens came on the mound for relief for the Bay Sox yet allowing the bases to be loaded again, Mendel came up big for North Adams with a two-run single that scored Tyler Serricchio and Brown to extend their run total to nine. Merrimack College’s Joe Porricelli then collected his own RBI by reaching on a single to score Greg Cavaliere. A Coutts sac fly allowed for Mendel to come in and score the final run of the contest for North Adams.
Jeff Hayner came on for the final inning for the SteepleCats, dealing a quick three outs and securing the doubleheader sweep for North Adams. Over the two games, the SteepleCats collected a total of 19 runs off of 22 hits while striking out eight batters.
The SteepleCats have Monday off but head back on the road to face the Winnipesaukee Muskrats Tuesday at 6:30. Their next home game is Friday, July 13, against the Plymouth Pilgrims at 6:30. Tickets for that game or any SteepleCats home game can be purchased online at www.steeplecats.org or at the ticket booth one hour prior to the game’s start.