SteepleCats Get It Done with Defense
There were not a lot of runs scored in Friday night's game between the North Adams SteepleCats and the Upper Valley Nighthawks. However, for the SteepleCats, there did not have to be as they prevailed 3-1 with outstanding pitching and defensive plays to improve to 5-3 on the season.
"It shows that we can do what it takes to win," said Hitting Coach Ethan Newton. "I think it shows our versatility and our ability to win as a team and not just rely on one guy at the plate."
It was a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth inning when 'Cats catcher Kyle Brennan came to bat with one out and a runner on first. He hit a two run home run to put the 'Cats up 2-0 in what proved to be the difference in the game. It was also the first home run ever hit in the history of Nighthawks games at Maxfield Sports Complex.
"I was a little out in front of his first fastball but I took a good swing on it," said Brennan. "I then figured he would go change up because he struck me out with that pitch earlier. So I sat back, he left over the plate, and I took a good swing."
Brennan also had a career day behind the plate. He threw out two Nighthawk base runners who were attempting to steal. The 'Cats defense made a total of five putouts on the night against a Nighthawk team that came into the game looking to run all over the bases.
The 'Cats also did not allow the Nighthawks hitters to sacrifice any base runners over. They were very successful at throwing out the lead runners. The 'Nighthawks grounded into five fielder's choice plays on the night.
"They took off quite a bit but I put some strong throws on the bag and beat them to it," said Brennan.
Both starting pitchers were sharp out of the gate, both lasting six innings. Ben Olson gave up just the one run off six hits and struck out one for the SteepleCats. Luke Reilly gave up two runs off of four hits. Olson became the third SteepleCat starter in the last five games to face the minimum through the first three innings.
Reilly was especially sharp early, striking out five batters in the first three innings and retired the eight 'Cats hitters. He also had a no hit bid going until there were two outs in the fourth when Benjamin Bengston singled.
Ryan Tapp pitched a shutout in the seventh and eighth innings in relief and Tanner Bird came on to pitch a scoreless ninth to record the save for the 'Cats.
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New England Collegiate Baseball League Stories from June 18, 2016
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