PLYMOUTH -- Ryan Xepoleas took one for the team Monday night, and that cost the North Adams SteepleCats the chance to split a doubleheader with the Plymouth Pilgrims.
North Adams reliever Jonah Philley hit Xepoleas with two outs and the bases loaded, forcing in the winning run of a 3-2 game. In the opener, the SteepleCats fell 6-3.
As they did in the first game, the SteepleCats fell behind early, giving up a first-inning run. Starter Shaefer Shepard then put four shutout innings on the board, giving his team a chance to take the lead in the top of the fifth.
The SteepleCats scored two runs on two hits. Vinny Siena's RBI double tied the game and Siena scored on a ground out by Great Barrington's John Kinne.
Plymouth tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning on two hits and a costly error by Shepard.
Then in the seventh, Philley came on to pitch and hit James Bunn and walked Thomas Roulis to open the inning. After Michael Martin sacrificed the runners up, Philley intentionally walked Vincent Guglietti. Philley struck out Brent Rooker but hit Xepoleas on a 1-2 offering, bringing Bunn home with the winning run.
The first game was a makeup game from a rainout in North Adams, so the SteepleCats were the home team.
The Pilgrims got to losing pitcher T.J. Hunt in the top of the first inning, scoring two runs on three hits.
But it was a leadoff walk to Xepoleas that started Hunt's problems.
That gave Andrew Grant enough of a cushion to get the win. Grant threw six innings for the Pilgrims, giving up a run on two hits and three walks while striking out five.
But the SteepleCats did have a chance to send the opener into extra innings, scoring two runs off of reliever Vincenzo Aiello in the bottom of the seventh. And again, it was a leadoff walk that led to difficulties.
Ramon Valdez and Edgar Michelangeli both walked to lead off the inning. Two outs later, Matthew Schmidt was walked and then pinch hitter Luke Maglich belted a two-run single, making it 6-3. But potential tying run Vladimir Gomez struck out to end the game.
Plymouth 200 001 3 -- 6 7 0
N. Adams 000 100 2 -- 3 3 2
Grant (6), Aiello (1) and Walsh. Hunt (6), Lippert (1/3), Bird (2/3) and Valdez. W--Grant (2-0). L--Hunt (1-1). 2B--P 1 (Martin); NA 1 (Gomez). 3B--P 1 (Roulis).
N. Adams 000 020 0 -- 2 3 1
Plymouth 100 001 1 -- 3 8 0
Two outs when winning run scored.
Shepard (6), Philley (2/3) and Hernandez. Crispi (5), Houston (2) and Koch. W--Houston (1-0). L--Philley (1-2). 2B--NA 2 (Maglich, Siena); P 1 (Bunn).