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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

SteepleCats Ready To Play Ball

By Jen Thomas
05:49AM / Friday, June 08, 2007

Steeplecat Duran Ferguson signed a baseball for city resident A.J. Morrisette last night.[Photo by Jen Thomas]
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North Adams - SteepleCats General Manager Sean McGrath said he lives and breathes baseball. And so does his 3-year-old daughter, Kayla.

Flash Video* Video can be see here

“Baseball is in our blood,” said McGrath. “Kayla loves the game, especially during SteepleCats season.”

Both were at Joe Wolfe Field for Thursday’s Media Night, a preview of the local baseball team’s season ahead, which opens tonight with a game against Berkshire rivals the Pittsfield Dukes.

SteepleCats Frenzy


Steeplecat Shane Davis of Ontario Canada [Photo by Jen Thomas]
A New England Collegiate Baseball League team, the SteepleCats have a 25-man roster, with players coming from all over the United States and Canada. Most of the players are college baseball players looking to get in some playing time during the summer.

"I’m just hoping to get some innings in," said Jeremiah Bayer, 21, of Greenfield.

Though sophomore University of Kentucky pitcher Duran Ferguson called the Berkshires “a little too cold,” he’s eager to be a part of the SteepleCats frenzy.

"I heard a lot of good things about this area and this league," said the 19-year-old from Kingsport, Tenn. "I’m looking forward to winning and pitching."

Many of the players hope to use the skills they learn in North Adams to go onto a career in baseball.

“I just want to play some competitive baseball and hopefully play at a higher level," said Robert Germane, 21, of Providence, R.I.

Fellow pitchers Tim Adleman, 19, of Raleigh N.C. and Jonathon Ban, 20, of Marietta, Ga. have similar plans for the future.

"I want to play baseball as long as possible," said Adleman.

"Hopefully, I can go on to play pro baseball," said Ban.

For now, the pair just want to make it through the season.

"We’re just looking to play baseball and improve our skills," said Ban, a sophomore at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina.

"And have fun doing it," added Adleman, who is entering his second year at the University of Georgetown.

Steeplecat team member Neiko Johnson[Photo by Jen Thomas]


All-Star Games July 22

According to McGrath, new additions to regular season games are sure to make this summer an “exciting season.”

On June 20, the SteepleCats are slated to take on Team USA. The exhibition game will pit the ‘Cats against the top collegiate players in the country.

For the first time, the SteepleCats will host the 2007 NEBCL All-Star game, a day-long celebration of baseball and the NECBL in particular. McGrath is determined to make the All-Star Game an event for the whole family, and the ‘Cats will host The Pirate Bay All-Star Fan Fun Fest. Sponsored by Carr Hardware and The Party Place, the fun fest will include a Pirate Bounce House, dunk tank, waterslide, cotton candy, Sno Cones, and face painting.

The All-Star game will take place on July 22.


Children hoped to catch baseballs during a "Home Run Derby". [Photo by Jen Thomas]
"To have kids and fans enjoy good family entertainment in North Adams - it’s what it’s all about," said McGrath.

Trial Run

On Thursday, the team participated in a batting practice and mini-competition, including a Home-Run Derby and a challenge to see who was the most accurate Steeplecat thrower.

"Tonight was a trial run for everyone," said McGrath. "Everything from 'Does my uniform fit?' to 'Do the microphones work?'"

Williams College outfield Max Pinto dominated the most accurate thrower competition, while 19-year old middle infielder Neiko Johnson won the fastest base runner honor.

Two sluggers tied for first place in the Home-Run Derby, each hitting seven out of the park in two rounds. Sean Parker, a sophomore at the University of Maine and Michael Moras, a junior at the University of New Haven set a SteepleCats record.

"This is the best home run hitting competition we’ve ever had, " said McGrath.

Coming off the success of Media Night, McGrath and the SteepleCats squad are looking forward to playing baseball, serving the community, and having a good time.

"Starting tomorrow, it’s all business," said McGrath. "I just hope people will come out and wear their gold and black and get the SteepleCats season off on the right foot."

Steeplecats General Manager Sean McGrath's baseball-lovin' daughter, 3-year-old Kayla McGrath [Photo by Jen Thomas]


Jen Thomas may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or 413-663-3384 ext. 29.
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