SteepleCats can't complete comeback in loss to Pilgrims
Photo Gallery | North Adams Steeplecats play Plymouth Pilgrims
NORTH ADAMS — Self-inflicted wounds did the North Adams SteepleCats in on Tuesday evening.
Down two runs in the top of the ninth, a pair of errors on a routine check by the catcher allowed a pair of Plymouth runs to score, and those runs were the difference as the Pilgrims snapped a six-game losing skid with a 10-8 win at Joe Wolfe Field.
"I think we kind of got lucky," Plymouth coach Greg Zackrison said. "There was a fly ball to center field, kid made a good play. I thought [they] actually had him doubled off at second. And next thing you know, we are in a position to score two runs and then another throwing error, and somehow we walked out of here with a win."
In a game that featured highs and lows on both sides, the SteepleCats' defensive ninth was soul crushing. After battling back from a 7-2 deficit to make it 7-6 after five, North Adams (6-5) coughed up one run in the eighth when Brian Sharp drove in a run on a double to trail by two going into the final frame.
That was a manageable deficit for the SteepleCats, who ended up with 12 hits in the game.
The next two runs were too much.
On a fluke play, catcher Kyle Brennan tried to fake a toss to second to get Damon Haecker trapped in a pickle. Only, he didn't. Instead, the ball sailed past second and into the outfield. That allowed Haecker to score. On the throw back in, center fielder Daniel Holst misplayed his throw and it took a bounce off the mound, and that allowed Ryan Brown to score.
North Adams got two runs back in the bottom of the frame on an two-run bloop single from CJ Price, but in the next at bat Nick Riotto flew out to center field to end the game.
"Yeah, I mean, the ninth inning was frustrating for sure," North Adams coach Mike Armstrong said. "The fact the ball gets by that many guys, mysteriously ... those guys were there backing it up. I told them they weren't out of position. We just have to get behind the thing with our body, make sure it doesn't scoot away from us with the game on the line like that."
The runs stymied North Adams' comeback attempt in the game. After staking out an early 2-0 lead after two, Plymouth (4-7) tied the game up in the third, then a four-run fifth put the Pilgrims in the driver's seat.
The SteepleCats, though, chipped away with one in the fourth and three in the fifth to make it 7-6. In the sixth, the SteepleCats had a chance to tie the game up when Dustin Shirley reached on an error that allowed him to advance to second with no outs. Instead of tying the game up, though, North Adams went down in order against reliever CJ Dandeneau.
Plymouth's Tommy Lane took the win, going four innings and striking out four on six hits with two walks. He gave up three runs, all earned. Peter Lannoo took the loss, going 3 1/3 innings and giving up 10 hits and seven runs — all earned — on just two strikeouts and a walk.
Plymouth used four relievers to finish off the game, while North Adams also turned to four arms to try and claw back in.
At the plate, Plymouth was led by Ryan Brown, who went 4 for 5 with three runs scored and a run batted in. Cam Hanley went 1 for 4 with three RBI, and Jeremy Pena went 2 for 4 with two RBI.
For North Adams, Keaton Wright went 2 for 5 with a run scored and a run batted in, Noah Vaughan went 1 for 3 with a solo home runs, and Edward Haus went 2 for 5 with two runs scored and an RBI.
North Adams returns to action tonight at Danbury.