Swamp Bats win 3rd in a row, beat Steeplecats 5-3
NORTH ADAMS - Dylan Sbordone has become a very reliable closer for the Keene Swamp Bats, earning his second straight save and his third of the season as the Swamp Bats win their third game in a row, knocking off the North Adams Steeplecats 5-3 in front of 451 fans at Paul Wolfe Field. The Swamp Bats are now 7-1 on the season, including a perfect 4-0 in games away from Alumni Field.
Sbordone, from Southern New Hampshire University, tossed the last 1.2 innings for Keene, striking out three and tossing no hits. Starting pitcher Ryan Avidano from the University of Georgia earned his first win of the year on the mound, tossing the first 5.1 innings for the Swamp Bats allowing two hits, two earned runs while fanning three batters and walking three others.
For the second straight game, the Swamp Bats scored the first run, both times in the first inning. Second baseman Dom Iero of Kent State led the game off in the top of the first with a walk. With one out, third baseman Ryan Costello of Central Connecticut State brought Iero home on an RBI single to center, making it 1-0 Swamp Bats after one. Costello finished the night going 3-for-3 with two walks, two RBIs and one run scored.
After Avidano held the Steeplecats scoreless in the second and third innings, Keene added to their lead in the top of the 4th when Keene native and Eckerd College product Lucas Luopa hit a leadoff single to center. Luopa reached 2nd base on a passed ball by North Adams catcher John Mazza, reached 3rd on a wild pitch from Steeplecats pitcher Josh Simpson and was brought home by another passed ball. It was 2-0 Swamp Bats after four.
The Swamp Bats added two more runs in the 5th when centerfielder Brandt Stallings of Georgia Tech blasted a two-run homerun into left field to make it 4-0 Keene after five. Stallings finished the game with a run scored, two walks and one stolen base.
The Steeplecats were able to mount a comeback in the bottom of the 6th. Leftfielder Edward Haus hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score centerfielder Nick Riotto. Later in the inning with two outs and the bases loaded, Mazza hit a two-run RBI single into right making it a 4-3 ballgame after six.
The Swamp Bats got a key insurance run in the top of the 9th when Costello hit his second RBI of the game, this one a single into right to give Iero his second run scored of the game. The Steeplecats did get Mazza aboard at first off of a LeBeau wild pitch, but North Adams DH Jean Francois-Garon flew out to right to end the game.
Starting pitcher Robbie Buffis took the loss on the mound for the Steeplecats, dropping his record to 1-1 and dropping North Adams to 5-4 on the season. Buffis lasted only 2.1 innings, giving up one earned run off of three hits, striking out one and walking another.
The Swamp Bats and Steeplecats will face each other again on Sunday at Paul Wolfe Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 4:30 p.m. The Swamp Bats plan to start the right-handed Andrew O'Brien (0-0) on the mound, while North Adams is planning to start the lefty Braxton Wilks (1-0). The game can be heard on the NECBL Broadcast Network, FM 104.1 and AM 1220 ESPN Keene.
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New England Collegiate Baseball League Stories from June 18, 2016
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