NORTH ADAMS -- Coming off three straight extra-inning games, including Monday's 10-inning loss against Sanford, the North Adams SteepleCats entered Tuesday's against the Mainers with weary legs.
SteepleCats coach Chris Cates decided to shake up the lineup to give his team a boost, but in crunch time, North Adams could not get key hits to stay in the game, losing 7-4.
Cates moved right fielder Vladimir Gomez to the leadoff spot, and Gomez ignited the offense early. The speedy outfielder reached base twice on singles in the first and third innings, and he came around to score in the third after moving from first to third on two throwing errors.
"I felt pretty comfortable out there today," Gomez said. "[Speed] is my game. I put the ball on the ground and use my speed to get on base and cause problems."
Trailing 4-2 heading into the sixth, pinch-hitter Josh Delph led off with a single. Anthony Papio drove in Delph with a single. Luke Maglich scored on a sacrifice fly from John Kinne to tie the game at four. Reliever Brandon Casas sat down the Mainers in order in the seventh, but Sanford scored three in the eighth, taking a 7-4 lead.
North Adams (6-7) had a chance to cut into the lead in the eighth after Edgar Michelangeli's two-out double, followed by a single from Papio. But with two strikes, Kinne struck out looking on a fastball inside.
Papio finished 3 for 4 with an RBI and a stolen base.
"Guys were tired and needed some rest opportunities," Cates said. "We had some fresh guys on the bench who were hungry to get in, so I mixed it up today. We just didn't get the big hit when we needed."
Adams native Tanner Bird entered in relief in the ninth for the SteepleCats. He retired the Mainers in order on three groundouts. Kinne, from Great Barrington, went 0 for 3 with an RBI.
The loss is the SteepleCats' second in a row, and the team has not won consecutive games since beating Keene 6-5 on June 11. Cates said that, despite his team's inconsistency, they're still sitting in second place in the standings. He said it's only a matter of time before the team gets offensively.
"There's still a lot of season left to play," he said. "Once these guys get rolling and start being consistent, we're going to have a really good run of wins."
Sanford 001 300 030--7 7 3
N. Adams 001 012 000--4 10 0
Wessel (6), Nicklas (1), Ciavarella (1), Johnson and Stypulkowski (3), Berman (6). Nathan Foriest (3 1/2), Brandon Casas (4), Zach Prendergast (1/3), Tanner Bird (1) and Michael Hernandez. 2B -- Sanford 1 (Berman); North Adams 2 (Maglich, Michelangeli).
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