Dominant Pitching Secures SteepleCats Win
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Even as the record shows otherwise, the SteepleCats looked as they could contend against anyone with the level of play they showed over their last two games.
In their final matchup of the season, the Upper Valley Nighthawks came back to North Adams on Sunday to face off against the North Adams SteepleCats. Using just two arms as they did in the prior game, the SteepleCats rolled to a 4-2 victory as timely hitting and commanding led North Adams to their 14th win.
Unlike more recent games, the first two innings feel quiet for both teams. But after leaving runners on the base path in each inning, the Nighthawks finally struck first on the scoreboard in the top of the 3rd inning against SteepleCats starting pitcher Joe Kemlage. With two runners on, designated hitter Anthony Quirion sent both of them home of a double to the outfield fence, giving Upper Valley an early 2-0 lead.
Unfazed the deficit, the SteepleCats offense began hacking their way back into the game in the bottom half of the inning. Their first run came across courtesy of newly named 2018 NECBL All-Star Jeffery Brown, who ripped a single into the outfield off Nighthawks starting pitcher Ryan Parker to score Jacob Jablonski who reached on a double, cutting the deficit to one.
The SteepleCats bats then exploded in the 4th. With Matt Koperniak and Dillon Mendel singling, James Ciliento walked to load the bases for infielder Jacob Jablonski. The Arkansas State sophomore then came up big for North Adams, driving in two runs off a hard hit single into the outfield, giving the SteepleCats a 3-2 lead.
“I was hot earlier in the year and I kind of got away from trusting my hands for outside pitching” said Jablonski. “After getting back in the cage and hitting off the tee it paid off today when I got a couple balls up that I could drive and go the other way with.”
Alex Rodriguez then capped off the scoring that inning for the SteepleCats, as the catcher sent another ball into the outfield, scoring James Ciliento to make it a 4-2 contest.
The rest of Sunday’s game belonged to the pitchers however, as the 4th inning was the final time a run crossed the plate for either side. This was done in major part by the outstanding pitching from North Adams. Following his long inning in the 3rd, Joe Kemlage went on to throw four innings of shutout baseball, maintaining the lead for the SteepleCats. The AIC sophomore went on to rack up four strikeouts in his 7.1 innings on Sunday, crediting his defense for making his job easier.
“It was easy to attack hitters since our defense was just on today” said Kemlage.
After landing a out but surrendering hit, Kemlage’s night ended in the top of the 8th. Yet the impressive pitching did not end there for North Adams, as reliever Sam Dobbins picked up where Kemlage had left off. The Gettysburg College senior has remained lethal in his two appearances for the SteepleCats, throwing a total 3.3 innings where he has only allowed one hit. He continued this dominance on Sunday, holding the Nighthawks offense silent in the final two innings to secure the 4-2 win for the North Adams.
The SteepleCats are back at Joe Wolfe Field on Monday for a make-up game against the Keene SwampBats at 6:30. The SteepleCats will also celebrate MCLA Night at the ballpark as well on Monday, welcoming all of MCLA’s great faculty and students. Tickets for Monday’s game can be purchased online at www.steeplecats.org or at the ticket booth one hour prior to the game’s start.
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