|Pilgrims Top SteepleCats In Pitcher's Duel|
|By John Wood, North Adams SteepleCats|
11:30PM / Friday, June 22, 2018
PLYMOUTH, Mass. — Just 398 years after the original Pilgrims were able to claim a victory over finding a new homeland, the 2018 Pilgrims of New England Collegiate Baseball League were able to claim a different type of victory over their in-state rival North Adams SteepleCats.
Still searching for their fifth win, the SteepleCats headed to the South Shore Friday night to take on the Plymouth Pilgrims. After amazing performances by both starting pitchers and a home run by each side, the Pilgrims squeezed by North Adams with a 4-3 victory.
Chris Cepeda made his fourth start of the year for the SteepleCats, going deep into the game and not allowing much action on the base paths until the 5th inning. In that inning, the Pilgrims were able to send one across on a groundout to second base and three more across off a Max Flower homerun.
After Cepeda’s exit, Jeff Hayner and Stanley Vargas each tossed an inning in relief for North Adams. Both Hayner and Vargas held the Pilgrims to no hits and no runs while Vargas struck out three straight batters in the 8th to give his team a chance for a rally.
The win however on Friday night went to Pilgrims starting pitcher Sam Williams. The Northern Kentucky University senior went 7.1 innings while only surrendering five hits and striking out eight. The SteepleCats were finally able to get their offense rolling when Williams was relieved by Christian Rosati, who allowed three runs off of two hits and gave North Adams back some hope in the later innings.
Grant Donahue then came on to capture the save for the Pilgrims but it wasn’t without some late game drama. After struggling to hit the strike zone, Donahue walked the first SteepleCats batter in the top of the 9th. Jeffery Brown, a known speedster on the base path, came on to pinch run for North Adams. Working his way to third, Brown was caught in a run down between third and home after teammate Greg Cavaliere hit a grounder straight at Donahue. The Pilgrims were not only able to get Brown out, but also got Cavaliere out after he was also trapped in a run down, in turn securing the win for Plymouth.
North Adams’ offense on Friday night can be mainly contributed to first baseman Jackson Coutts. Just after capturing NECBL Player of the Week honors on Monday, the University of Rhode Island sophomore continued his impressive hot streak, going 4-for-4 at the plate with a two-run home run that brought his team back in contention. After fourteen games, Coutts leads the league with 25 hits and a .521 AVG.
The SteepleCats continue their road trip on Saturday as they take on the Upper Valley Nighthawks at Maxfield Sports Complex at 6:30. They return to Joe Wolfe Field on Sunday when they face the Keene Swamp Bats at 4:30. Tickets for Sunday’s game can be purchased online at www.steeplecats.org or one hour prior to the game’s start at the Ticket Booth.