NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Second-year manager Bryan Adamski has officially unveiled the 2013 North Adams SteepleCats roster.
After returning to the postseason for the 10th time in 11 seasons, the SteepleCats — who posted a 22-20 record en route to a third-place finish in the Western Division last summer — will welcome a roster that, at the minimum, will boast 27 players from 11 Division I conferences, including the likes of the Big East, Big XII, Mountain West and Patriot League.
"I look forward to build on the success we had in my first year in North Adams," Adamski said on the roster. "We were strong in all parts of the game until late in the summer [in 2012]. In the end, we didn't have enough arms to make a serious playoff run."
In his first season guiding the black and gold, Adamski was able to lead a team that he did not have much say in the makings of, considering his hiring in mid-January of 2012.
Still, the fourth-year assistant coach at nearby Amherst College was able to help North Adams start 13-6 in the month of June before eventually qualifying for the postseason. Adamski also coached five NECBL All-Stars last summer and after helping mold this year's version of the SteepleCats, the North Adams bench boss feels that there will be plenty of talent across a well-balanced lineup this summer.
Much akin to his roots as a two-way star player at the University of Massachusetts, Adamski stressed that depth and versatility – especially among the pitching ranks – will be an area of strength after being a bit shorthanded down the stretch this past summer.
"This year we will have at least six left-handed arms as part of our pitching staff," said Adamski. "With [All-NECBL reliever Matt] Longfield and [southpaw Christian] MacDonald representing our only left-handed options out of the bullpen, it was very difficult to match up with lineups late in the game. This year, that will not be the case."
The 2013 SteepleCats' roster was fueled from familiar sources, as Rutgers, Barry, the University of Rhode Island, UC San Diego, Notre Dame, Marist, UT-Pan American and Eastern Kentucky will all have representatives in the Berkshires this summer after sending at least one player to North Adams a year ago.
But the SteepleCats have also received new additions from schools not represented on the roster last summer; Central Connecticut State, Nevada, Lafayette, Hawaii, Santa Clara, Pepperdine, Georgia College, Maryland and Missouri all will have at least one student-athlete in the Berkshires this summer.
On the pitching staff, Casey Brown (CCSU), Rob Corsi (Rutgers), Toby Schwartz (Lafayette), Trevor Scott (UC San Diego) and Scott Squier (Hawaii) represent the southpaws, joining righties Kyle Driscoll (Rutgers), Jay Murray (Barry), Liam O'Sullivan (URI), Mark Reese (Nevada), Cristian Torres (Notre Dame) and Steve Wilson (Santa Clara).
Squier's name brings some familiarity, as the 6-5 southpaw and 19th round Detroit Tigers selection in the 2011 MLB Draft was a member of the Holyoke Blue Sox last summer. He finished the year 1-3 with a 5.48 ERA, but posted 25 strikeouts to just 10 walks, including a memorable 13-strikeout, three-walk performance in a win over North Adams on July 8.
Moving on to the position players, Adamski plans to carry three catchers, seven infielders and six outfielders at the moment; two are listed as two-way players, and highlighting the group is the return of Soloman, who posted a .231 average at the plate and finished with two home runs and 18 RBI.
"I am excited to have [Soloman] back," Adamski said. "He works hard and will provide strong leadership for us as a second-year player."
Overall, Adamski believes there is reason to be excited considering the roster he has to work with, and is comfortable with the amount of depth it boasts.
"I like how our team looks on paper," Adamski said. "We should be extremely balanced and have players who are comfortable with playing multiple positions. Our versatility will allow me to get creative with lineups and rest players when needed."