Hylton hits the ball

North Adams’ Brandon Hylton hits the ball during their last home game of the season against Keene at Joe Wolfe Field on Friday night.

The North Adams SteepleCats know two things. One, they’ll be hosting a first-round playoff game. Two, the result of Monday night’s game at Upper Valley will determine who they’ll play.

The SteepleCats will be, at worst, the third seed in the Northern Division playoffs. North Adams trails Upper Valley by a half-game in the standings, so if the SteepleCats win, they will leapfrog the Nighthawks into second place in the Northern Division. Keene clinched the North with a Saturday night win over Upper Valley, while Winnipesaukee swept North Adams in a doubleheader.

North Adams’ Sunday game at Vermont was cancelled because of inclement weather in the Montpelier area. Since the SteepleCats are already playing a makeup game with the Nighthawks, and since the playoffs start Tuesday, there is no chance to make up the Vermont game.

The playoff structure in the NECBL has both division champions earning byes and won’t play in the one-game knockout round. So the Swamp Bats and Southern Division champion Martha’s Vineyard won’t have to start playing until Wednesday.

If the current standings hold up, the SteepleCats would be the No. 3 seed. A win over Upper Valley, however, would make manager Mike Dailey’s team the second seed. Should the standings hold, North Adams would play Sanford Tuesday night at Joe Wolfe Field. If the SteepleCats beat Upper Valley, they would play cellar-dwelling Winnipesaukee — the same Winnipesaukee team that took two from them on Saturday night in New Hampshire.

The other game on the Monday schedule is North Shore at Keene. If the Navigators win, they will finish fourth and play Vermont in Lynn. A loss would send the Navigators to Vermont.

The first round of best-of-three competition is scheduled for Wednesday night. In the North, Keene will host the lowest remaining seed, while the highest remaining seed will host the other playoff series.

Howard Herman can be reached at  hherman@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6253. On Twitter: @howardherman.


Howard Herman is a sports columnist at The Berkshire Eagle. The dean of full-time sportswriters in Western Mass., he has been with the Eagle since 1988, and is a member of the New England Baseball and Basketball Hall of Fame.