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Mainers Pull Away Late in Pitching Duel at Joe Wolfe
By Stephen Dravis, Sports
09:19AM / Friday, July 05, 2024
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- The Sanford Mainers Thursday rallied for four runs in the top of the eighth inning and went on to a 4-1 win over the North Adams SteepleCats at Joe Wolfe Field.
Two of those runs were due to an outfield error, one of three miscues in the game, on a night when the 'Cats got stellar pitching from Tyler McKinstry and three relievers.
"That was definitely one of the better performances by the pitchers, collectively, really all summer," North Adams manager Ryan Abel said. "They got outs, got us off the field, gave us opportunities.
"And I thought their pitchers were equally as good, and you can see that with the amount of hits."
McKinstry, Jonathan Peterson, Joseph Sabbath and William Gervase combined to strike out five, walk two and scatter six hits.
A classic pitchers duel between McKinstry and Sanford starter Thomas Ellison (6 innings, seven strikeouts, one hit) was 0-0 going to the bottom of the seventh.
That is when North Adams got back-to-back hits for the only time in the game -- and they were big ones.
Aeden Anderson roped a two-out double to right field, and Caden Dulin followed with a triple to right to drive in Andersen and give the Cats a 1-0 lead.
One inning later, things went south for SteepleCats's Sabbath.
Caleb Shpur hit a one-out single up the middle, and Jared Davis singled to left for the Mainers.
Sabbath then hit a batter to load the bases for Raymond Velazquez.
Velazquez hit a clean single to the outfield that was misplayed, allowing all three runners to come home and the batter to get to third.
Velazquz then scored on a groundball out for the second unearned run of the inning against Sabbath and a 4-1 Sanford lead.
North Adams came into the game in the middle of the pack in the New England Collegiate Baseball League in errors, committing 28 miscues in their first 21 games.
Abel agreed that the lapses on Thursday were uncharacteristic.
"We gave up a couple of extra runs today," he said. "It's tough when you score only one run. You're pressing.
"I would have liked to see a little more offense just to make you a little more comfortable on defense. No, we definitely had a couple of miscues that hurt us and put a couple of runs across."
The SteepleCats, who finished the game with five hits, got a two-out hit in the bottom of the eighth and a leadoff single from Luke Mistone in the bottom of the ninth.
Both times, Sanford was able to avoid damage.
In the eighth, David McCann thrilled the big Independence Day crowd with a deep drive to center field that was caught at the wall for the final out.
In the bottom of the ninth, Sanford reliever Connor Ball got a strikeout and a 1-6-3 double play to erase Mistone and end the game.
North Adams (9-13) is back at Joe Wolfe Field on Friday night to host Bristol, Conn.
Despite dropping four games under .500 on Thursday, the SteepleCats remain in contention for an NECBL playoff bid with 21 games left on the schedule.
"I think, one through nine, we feel really good about our lineup, the one we put out every night," Abel said. "Obviously, tonight's not a great showing with the one run. We tip our cap to the pitcher tonight.
"For the most part, we've been really good offensively. ... And on the pitching side, we haven't had as many outs, but tonight they were great. It's a balance. We feel good about where we're at the rest of the summer. We're going to have to pick up some arms becuase of injuries and everything, but offensively and and the defense has been really good. ... We're right in the thick of it and right in the running for it."
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