SteepleCats Offense Comes Alive To Win Game 3 Of Triple-Header Against Keene
KEENE, NH. — While it looked as if the SteepleCats’ bats have been stored overnight in a freezer in the first two games, the certainly heated up in the third contest on Tuesday night.
After their doubleheader at Joe Wolfe Field on Saturday was cut short due to a torrential downpour, the SteepleCats made an early morning trip up to Keene on Tuesday to take on the Keene SwampBats in a rare tripleheader. After Keene held off the SteepleCats offense in the first two games, North Adams powered back in game three, sending two home runs over the wall for a 12-9 victory.
Before the storm moved in during the top of the 4th, the SteepleCats and SwampBats were able to complete three full innings of the first game on Saturday. Both squads gathered just one hit each as the game was scoreless.
The SwampBats however quickly changed this when the game was continued in Keene. After Joe Kemlage threw five strikeouts in North Adams, Keene seemed to finally figure him out, driving in two runs in the top of the 4th to take the lead.
Jacob McLinskey then continued his start on the mound for Keene, holding the SteepleCats still scoreless through four. Yet they finally found themselves on the board in the bottom of the 5th when James Ciliento grounded into a fielder’s choice double play that allowed Joe Porricelli to score.
Keene bolstered their lead back to two in the just the next half inning, as Mitchell Golden grabbed a first-pitch home run to make it a 3-1 ball game.
The SteepleCats were held empty the rest of the contest, leaving five runners on combined in the 6th and 7th as the SwampBats held on for a 3-1 victory.
Unlike game one, all of game two was played in Keene and the SwampBats took full advantage of that. This meant quickly getting a run on the board in the top of the first after catcher Cordell Dunn Jr. sent a ball to the outfield off SteepleCats starting pitcher Danny Taggart for an RBI single.
Keene’s next two runs came in the form of long balls in the 3rd and 4th innings. Both Brandon Smith and Lorenzo Hampton went yard for the SwampBats, putting them up 3-0 heading into the 5th.
Colby Dunlop, the SwampBats’ starting pitcher, has North Adams under control early, throwing a scoreless first four innings in which he only allowed two hits.
Yet the SteepleCats got their offense in motion in the 5th. Joe Porricelli, the North Adams starting shortstop for all three games, sent Chad Minato home after Porricelli singled to left field.
Both teams going scoreless in the 6th, Keene extended their lead with two insurance runs in the top of the 7th courtesy of a sacrifice fly and a walk dealt by relief pitcher Sam Dobbins.
Down 5-1, the SteepleCats offense needed a big showing in the bottom of the 7th to get back into the game. Things looked promising when Jackson Coutts sent a sacrifice fly to the center fielder to score Alex Rodriguez. However, an untimely strikeout in the next at-bat cut the SteepleCats hopes short of a comeback as Keene snagged a 5-2 victory in game two.
As both offense’s stay relatively timid in the first two games, the third game proved to be a scoring battle all the way till the game’s conclusion.
With the only scoreless inning being the 1st, the SteepleCats got the game started when late arrival Tyler Serricchio finally grabbed his first hit of the season in grand style after he sent a solo shot over the left field wall for a home run off of SwampBats starting pitcher Victor Danza.
Quickly answering, the SwampBats plated two runs off SteepleCats starting pitcher Grant Stone when designated hitter Lorenzo Hampton scored on a wild pitch and when Jacob Koos singled to right for a run to come in.
Keene then continued their offense in the next inning after the SteepleCats were held scoreless in the top of the 3rd. Most of the damage came off an Alex Carballo single, which allowed two runs to score. But an error by the pitcher allowed another run to come in on a Rudy Aguilar single to center field to make it 5-1 SwampBats.
The 4th inning however was when the SteepleCats offense finally awoke. Facing relief pitcher Andrew Houde, North Adams jumped on him quickly and tacked three runs on the board after an RBI single from Jackson Coutts and a fielder’s choice by Joe Porricelli followed by an error by Houde that allowed Cris Ruiz and Coutts to score.
A Joe Breaux RBI single in the bottom half of the inning off North Adams relief pitcher Cam Cossette seemed to assure Keene their lead would be safe, but the SteepleCats bats proved to show otherwise in the top of the 5th.
Facing a new pitcher in Kyle Whitten, North Adams broke the game open with a big five-run inning in the 5th. Cris Ruiz got the hitting party started with an RBI single to right to score Matt Koperniak. Catcher Alex Rodriguez then sent a ball to right field for single that scored outfielder James Ciliento. A huge error by the pitcher on a Jackson Coutts fielder’s choice then allowed both Ruiz and Rodriguez to score on the next at-bat. The inning was finally capped off by a Jeffery Brown RBI single to give the SteepleCats a 9-6 lead.
Scoring on a RBI single and a sacrifice fly allowed Keene to bring the SteepleCats lead to just one heading into the 6th, but outfielder James Ciliento saw a chance to open that lead back up.
Against relief pitcher Heibert Romero, Ciliento sent a shot deep out of Alumni Field for a home run, his second on the season, bringing the North Adams lead back up to two runs.
The SwampBats remained a present scoring threat in the bottom half of the 6th. On what looked to be a sure out at first, the ball got away from North Adams and Alex Griffith came around to score, making it a close 10-9 game.
Needing insurance runs, the SteepleCats offense delivered in the top of the 7th against position player turned pitcher Brandon Smith. James Ciliento continued his big game for the SteepleCats, hitting into a fielder’s choice that lead to Jeffery Brown scoring on a second baseman’s error. A second run came in after a wild pitch sent Ciliento home from third.
Now with a three run lead, Cossette was sent back out to the mound looking to close out the game for North Adams. The Plymouth State rising senior did just that, throwing a 1-2-3 inning with the help of his defense to secure a North Adams 12-9 victory in game three.
The SteepleCats finish the 2018 NECBL regular season on Wednesday when they head up to Vermont to face off against the Vermont Mountaineers at 6:30. The game is available to be streamed at watch.NECBL.com.