SteepleCats rally in 11th to tie, 12th to beat Mystic 5-4
NORTH ADAMS -- The North Adams SteepleCats are used to clutch situations by now. For the second day in a row, the ‘Cats went 12 innings. For the second time in three games, they walked off with a victory.
Vinny Siena's one-out single in the bottom of the 12th scored Kyle Richardson on Sunday evening, completing North Adams' extra-inning comeback in a 5-4 win over the Mystic Schooners at Joe Wolfe Field.
"It's nice," Siena said after the SteepleCats' latest clutch win. "It's scary, but it's nice. It's a lot of fun."
A couple of times, it didn't look like it was going to happen. Mystic (7-4) tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the ninth, as Tyler Boyd led off the frame with a home run off closer Cristian Torres. The Schooners then took a 4-3 lead on Nick Ruppert's RBI sacrifice fly in the 11th.
North Adams (6-5) answered, though, when Anthony Papio drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk in the bottom half of the inning to re-tie the score. The SteepleCats left the bases loaded in that frame -- as they did in the 10th -- but got a single to center from Richardson to start the 12th. He stole second base two pitches later, and moved to third on Todd Juliano's perfect sacrifice bunt dropped in front of the plate and on the first-base line.
Siena then sent Austin Schnabel's 0-1 curveball into center field -- "I put a good swing on it and got lucky," he said -- to score Richardson and start the SteepleCat celebration.
"We just get a little tight in big situations," North Adams manager Chris Cates said. "Thankfully, Vinny got a big hit when we needed it."
Reliever Jonathan Mulford went three innings to earn the win, coming on in the 10th and giving up only the 11th-inning run. True, North Adams may have had its chances, leaving 13 runners on base a day after stranding 16 in an extra-inning loss to Keene, but the Schooners left eight on -- including five in the last four innings.
Mystic had two on with nobody out in the top of the 12th after singles by Chris Chiaradio and Zachary Weigel, but Mulford induced a pop-up bunt to the mound by Toby Handley, and Juliano grabbed a Stephen Laurino grounder to third three pitches later, stepped on the bag and fired to first to finish the inning-ending double play.
"You can't doubt our kids' intestinal fortitude," Mystic manager Phil Orbe said. "They're going to come out and battle. Down a run, we went up a run, and all through that. It's a long season. You can't get too high or too low."
Richardson was 2 for 6 with an RBI and a run scored for North Adams, while leadoff hitter Josh Delph was 2 for 4 with a double, an RBI and a stolen base.
‘Cats starter Ed Voyles went 3 1/3 innings, but was pulled after Brad Zunica's RBI single gave Mystic a 2-1 lead. His brother Jim then shut down the Schooners for 4 2/3 innings, allowing just three hits.
Zunica also hit a towering opposite-field homer to right in the second inning.
SteepleCats 5, Schooners 4 (12)
Mystic 010 100 001 010 -- 4 14 5
N. Adams 010 020 000 011 -- 5 9 3
One out when winning run scored.
Michael Concato (5 2/3), Jacob Hendren (3 2/3), Louis Concato (1), Frank Trimarco (2/3), Austin Schnabel (1/3) and Tyler Boyd. Ed Voyles (3 1/3), Jim Voyles (4 2/3), Cristian Torres (1), Jonathan Mulford (3) and John Mazza (8), Michael Hernandez (2), Ramon Valdez (2). W -- Mulford. L -- Schnabel. 2B -- N. Adams 2 (Josh Delph, Kyle Richardson). HR -- Mystic 2 (Boyd, Brad Zunica).