Ball Does Not Bounce SteepleCats Way in Loss
The North Adams SteepleCats fell to the Upper Valley Nighthawks 2-1 in a two hour eight minute contest Friday night at Joe Wolfe Field. The loss dropped the SteepleCats back to .500 at 18-18 on the season and spoiled a superb pitching performance by Ryan Tapp.
Tapp pitched six innings and gave up two runs off of four hits. He set down the first 14 Nighthawk hitters he faced before giving up a two out walk in the fifth inning followed by a single. He recorded five strikeouts on the night to take the team lead with 27 on the season.
Nighthawk starter Bill Maier finished the night going seven innings. He allowed one run off of five hits. He did not allow any hits through the first two innings and set down the first five SteepleCats he faced. The SteepleCats were able to put the ball in play against him but the Nighthawks played outstanding defense all night. Maier did not record a single strikeout on the night. He also did not walk any hitters.
"We hit the ball really well," said Head Coach Mike Armstrong. "They made some great defensive plays."
The SteepleCats took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on a single by Daniel Holst which scored C.J. Price who had led off the inning with a double. The 'Cats threatened to score more that inning with runners on second and third and nobody out. Kyle Brennan was thrown out at home plate on a ground ball by Dustin Shirley. Easton Johnson then grounded into a double play to end the inning.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, Joseph Denison hit an RBI double to tie the game at one. He then came in to score on a double by Trent Leimkuehler to put the Nighthawks on top 2-1.
Another major bright spot for the SteepleCats was the performance out of their bullpen. Josh Simpson faced the minimum in the seventh and eighth innings. Jared Habershaw entered the game in the ninth and struck out two batters in a scoreless inning. Neither reliever allowed a hit.
"Pitchers did a great job," said Coach Armstrong. "We did a great job all around."
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