|SteepleCats Offense Struggles In Road Loss To Blue Sox|
|By John Wood, North Adams SteepleCats|
10:30PM / Wednesday, July 11, 2018
HOLYOKE, Mass. —As the SteepleCats offense came up just short in Laconia on Tuesday night, their offense struggled to find the plate on Wednesday night.
With just a short drive across Berkshire County, the North Adams SteepleCats trekked to Holyoke, MA to battle the Valley Blue Sox Wednesday evening. Yet runners left on base on fielding errors plagued the SteepleCats, allowing the Blue Sox to capture a 6-2 victory.
The first four and a half innings shaped up to be a classic pitcher’s duel between Valley’s starting pitcher Endy Morales and the SteepleCats’ starter Andrew DiPiazza. The pair worked their way out of many tough situations, as the teams combined for a total of 22 runners left on base throughout the game.
Yet as the game hit the bottom of the 5th, the Blue Sox were finally able to strike on the scoreboard. After Andre Marrero reached on a single, Valley catcher Nate Cardy was able to lift a ball out of Mackenzie Stadium for a two-run home run, driving in the first runs of the ball game.
With only allowing a Matt Koperniak single, Morales contained the SteepleCats in the top of the 6th to allow his teammates to do some further damage. With DiPiazza’s night coming to a close, Cam Kovachik took the mound for the visiting team. However even with the pitching change, the Blue Sox offense continued its momentum with bringing in two more runs off a passed ball and an RBI single.
After six complete innings, Morales’ night on the mound came to an end, as he had surrendered just six North Adams hits. Left-hander Jacob Nappi then came on for the 7th inning, only allowing Greg Cavaliere to muster up a hit for the SteepleCats.
Niagara University’s Jeff Hayner took the hill for North Adams, holding the Valley offense at bay as he struck out two straight to end the inning.
As it seemed the game was getting just out of reach, a glimmer of hope appeared for the SteepleCats in the top of the 8th. This occurred when Tony Ortiz, who reached on a walk, was driven in by Matt Koperniak to get their first run on the board. A fielder’s choice for outfielder James Ciliento and a single for catcher Alex Rodriguez set runners on the corners when Jeffery Brown came up to the plate. Brown, who ranks third on the SteepleCats in batting average with .353, sent a single into the outfield to drive in Ciliento, bringing North Adams within 2. Yet the next at-bat ended the inning with the strikeout, cutting the big inning right there.
Getting the first two outs of the bottom of the 8th with ease, Jeff Hayner then started to struggle to hit the strike zone, allowing three straight walks to have the bases loaded for Kyle Schmidt. The Blue Sox catcher sent a first-pitch single into the outfield, allowing two insurance runs to cross, giving Valley a 6-2 lead.
The SteepleCats were then unable to produce the same offense in the 9th as they did in the previous inning, as reliever Ricky Reynoso allowed just one runner off an error by the first baseman to reach while quickly ending the inning with a strikeout.
With Thursday off, the SteepleCats return to Joe Wolfe Field on Friday as they take on the Plymouth Pilgrims at 6:30. Tickets for that game can be purchased at www.steeplecats.org or at the ticket booth one hour prior to the game’s start.