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SwampBats Snap SteepleCats Win Streak

By John WoodNorth Adams SteepleCats
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. —The week-long fire that has been the SteepleCats offense has finally seemed to cool down.

In a makeup game for the June 24th contest, the Keene SwampBats traveled to North Adams and gathering hits all across the field while driving in a total of 14 runs for an eventual 14-2 win over the North Adams SteepleCats.

The SwampBats offense came alive early on Monday, bringing in eight of their fourteen runs in just the first three innings. Much of this damage was done off of SteepleCats starting pitcher Cam Kovachik. The right-hander surrendered the eight runs off of nine hits while walking three.

There wasn’t much help in the field near the start of the game, as two fielding errors in the 1st allowed the big inning to continue for Keene.

Pitching a total of 3.3 innings combined, newly acquired pitchers Andy Purpura and Davis Brown took control of the hill after Kovachik.

Purpura, a sophomore at Centenary College of New Orleans looked strong in the 4th, only allowing one base runner off a walk and striking out one. But the SwampBats seemed to have his number in the 5th, plating six more runs courtesy of four hits, bringing the game just out of reach for the home team.

Davis Brown followed Purpura, as the Amherst College senior allowed just two hits while striking out two in his 2.2 innings on the hill.

Position players Jackson Coutts and Dillon Mendel each tossed an inning for North Adams to close the game. The pair each gave up a hit but held the SwampBats to their run total of fourteen.

For an offense that scored 42 runs over their previous four games, the North Adams lineup seemed to have run out of power on Monday night. Keene’s starting pitcher Colby Dunlop was in complete control of the SteepleCats through his five innings, striking out seven with just two hits allowed. The only damage the SteepleCats made was against the third reliever for Keene in Danger Guevera, as the home offense finally drove two runs in off of three hits to remove the zero on the scoreboard in the 8th.

The SteepleCats head on the road on Tuesday to face off against the Winnipesaukee Muskrats at 6:30. Wednesday however the SteepleCats return home to take on the Sanford Mainers on 4th of July. Following the game’s conclusion, a fireworks celebration will take place just outside the outfield fence to celebrate the holiday. Tickets for Wednesday’s game can be found at www.steeplecats.org or be purchased at the ticket booth one hour prior to the game’s start.

Photos from this game here.


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MCLA Food Pantry Receives $3,000 Grant from James and Robert Hardman Fund

NORTH ADAMS, MASS.—The MCLA Food Pantry has received a $3,000 grant from the James and Robert Hardman Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.  
 
The Hardman Fund grant will support the diversification of the food pantry's offerings, including the addition of more fresh and perishable food items, one of the pantry's longtime goals. The pantry will also purchase carts so guests can pick up pre-packaged meals and supplies outside the pantry. Funds will also be used to hire student employees to take inventory and maintain the pantry's physical space, as well as work on its resource page which launched this spring on MCLA's curriculum software Canvas. Student employees will also restart MCLA's Swipe Out Hunger program, paused due to the pandemic, which allows students to donate excess parts of their meal plan to redistribute to students in need. 
 
The MCLA Food Pantry opened in 2017 and provides canned goods, prepackaged meals, and supplies such as toilet paper and cleaning products to MCLA students from its location in the Amsler Campus Center. Half of MCLA's students are eligible to apply for a Pell Grant, which are available for college students who demonstrate extreme financial need. In 2020, the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice conducted a national survey that found that 41 percent of four-year college students are food insecure. Of MCLA's students, 37 percent have self-reported experiencing food insecurity. The pandemic has greatly increased this need and the pantry has experienced more demand for their services.  
 
The pandemic has provided new challenges for the pantry. When MCLA pivoted to remote learning, the pantry lost many of its student employees and volunteers, and had to restructure their distribution system to accommodate remote ordering and pickup. MCLA's Director of Civic and Community Engagement Spencer Moser said the biggest concern has been "decreased and irregular contact with our students. We are frequently alerted to students struggling with basic needs by professors or staff and will work with students to provide aid beyond immediate relief." These services include counseling in how to apply for SNAP benefits and rental assistance, as well as how to access transportation. These are resources the pantry hopes to make more accessible with the Hardman Fund's grant by hiring a part-time student to refine the pantry's online resources.  
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