Mainers Put Patience on Display in Loss to SteepleCats
SANFORD - Mainers batters gave North Adams SteepleCats pitchers everything they could handle on the mound, drawing seven walks in a 9-3 defeat.
The visitors raced out of the gates from the very beginning, plating two runs before recording their first out. A walk and two doubles got North Adams on the board and an RBI single two batters later provided a three-run cushion before taking the field on defense.
After stranding the bases loaded in the second inning, the SteepleCats offense rekindled their fire soon afterward. Set up by a leadoff double and walk, Joey Porricelli and Andrew Pedone each brought runners home with base hits, upping their lead to five through the game's first third.
The Moose made their way into the run column in the fourth, using their savvy baserunning to apply pressure to the first base dugout. Nick Howie (Oakville, Ontario, Canada/Eastern Kentucky) led off by driving a single to left field and promptly advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch that barely traveled past the home plate umpire. Connor Tate (Bishop, Ga./Georgia) snuck a groundball under the glove of the diving Brian Picone at second to bring Howie home and cut the deficit to four.
Sensing an opportunity to create momentum, Tate swiped second base on an ailing Sam Punzi, immediately forcing the SteepleCats coaching staff to work strategically around Erik Stock (Virginia Beach, Va./UConn), placing him on first with an intentional free pass. Another walk issued to Orlando Adams (Atlanta, Ga/Kentucky) loaded the bases and sent the tying run to the plate, but two consecutive strikeouts lifted the visitors out of the middle-inning jam.
The inability to score plagued the Mainers as the SteepleCats made them pay in the fifth. Four straight hits, two singles and two doubles, led off the frame to add a pair to their tally. But, with the game on the verge of a blowout, Rhett Gay (Twin City, Ga./Georgia Southern) unleashed his best stuff on the mound. He retired the next three batters he faced, two of which went down on strikeouts, stranding two runners in scoring position.
Pitching in relief, Gay tossed 5.2 innings and allowed three runs on six hits without surrendering a single walk. From the sixth to the eighth, he set down nine of the last ten batters he faced, including a stretch of eight outs in a row. His ability to throw strikes slowed down a potent SteepleCats offense and continually supplied his teammates chances to mount a comeback.
Unfortunately, Moose bats did not arrive in time to challenge North Adams pitching down the stretch. However, even though the hosts trailed 9-1 down to their final three outs following solo home runs in successive innings, the Mainers never rolled over and kept on fighting at the plate. Runners stood at second and third with two outs in the ninth, and Shane Marshall (Webster, N.Y./Binghamton) moved them both home when his first-pitch swing hit the second base bag dead on.
Throughout the game, the Mainers displayed keen eyes at the dish. Despite not always obtaining a positive result, their ability to make SteepleCats pitchers work turned each batter into a difficult out.
The Moose have a chance to return to winning ways tomorrow against the Upper Valley Nighthawks at the Maxfield Sports Complex. Starting at 6:00 PM, you can watch the action unfold on the NECBL Broadcast Network and 104.3 FM/1220 AM "The Legends" back in Sanford. Before the first pitch, stay in touch with the Mainers by heading over to sanfordmainers.com and following the team on their social media platforms.
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New England Collegiate Baseball League Stories from July 18, 2019
- Newport Falls to Ocean State 5-1 - Newport Gulls
- Mainers Put Patience on Display in Loss to SteepleCats - Sanford Mainers
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