Winnipesaukee Secures Walk Off Win Over SteepleCats
LACONIA, NH. —It’s always a tough break when two longballs can’t secure a victory for your team.
That was just the case for the SteepleCats on Tuesday night as the Winnipesaukee Muskrats drove in four runs including a walk-off home run in the 9th inning to beat the North Adams SteepleCats 7-6.
Winnipesaukee was able to grab an early lead off of SteepleCats starter Chris Cepeda, as a Brian Kelly sacrifice fly scored a run in the 1st and a passed ball brought in Reagan Teegarden in the 2nd. Yet Cepeda settled down after that, going four more innings with only allowing two more hits.
Muskrats’ starter Michael Anthony held the SteepleCats scoreless through four, but the North Adams offense finally started to click in the 5th inning.
After Michael Anthony pitched his way into a bases-loaded situation, Cole Donovan came in for relief, walking his first batter in Jacob Jablonski to bring in the first SteepleCat run.
With right-hander Al Wallach taking the mound for the Muskrats in the 6th inning, the SteepleCats saw their chance to get right back into the game.
James Ciliento started the inning for North Adams with a big double sent all the way to the wall. Catcher Alex Rodriguez then hit into a fielder’s choice that moved Ciliento to third, but when the throw went right past the third baseman, Ciliento trotted to bring the SteepleCats within one. However, that deficit did not last long, as outfielder Jeffery Brown sent a long fly ball out of Robbie Mills Field for a home run, tying the game at three.
As Muskrat pitcher Mark Levesque handled the SteepleCats in the top of the inning, North Adams’ right-hander Danny Taggart then came on to relieve Chris Cepeda in the bottom of the 7th. The Muskrats quickly took advantage of the new pitcher, gathering two hits and one run to retake a 4-3 lead.
A then fifth pitcher in Erry Baldayac came on for Winnipesaukee in the 8th, yet did not stay long. After a James Ciliento single and a Jeffery Brown walk, outfielder Greg Cavaliere sent a ball straight out for a big three-run home run, giving North Adams a 6-3 lead.
But with an empty top of the 9th for the SteepleCats courtesy of Winnipesaukee pitcher T.J. Stuart, the Muskrats came up looking a big rally.
Danny Taggart retook the mound for North Adams, but with a Mason Calloway single and a Ryan Richard walk, Po-Hao Huang roped a double into the outfielder that scored one and brought Taggart’s night to an end.
Stanley Vargas, a New England College junior, then took the hill for the SteepleCats with two men on in the 9th. A quick three pitches allowed for a Steven Passatempo flyout, but that scored Ryan Richard to bring the Muskrats within one. Yet the final damage was done three pitches later, as Sam Cochrane knocked a deep fly ball out for a two-run walk-off home run, securing the 7-6 win for the Muskrats.
The SteepleCats are on the road again tomorrow as they take on local rival Valley Blue Sox at 6:30. They then return to Joe Wolfe Field on Friday when they face the Plymouth Pilgrims also at 6:30. Tickets for that game or any SteepleCats home game can be purchased online at www.steeplecats.org or one hour prior to the game’s start at the ticket booth.
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