Summer baseball notebook: Coutts enjoying successful start for SteepleCats

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Jackson Coutts was one of the top freshmen in the Atlantic 10 Conference this past spring. The baseball success he's had in college has carried over to his play with the North Adams SteepleCats.

Coutts, a rising sophomore at the University of Rhode Island, is the reigning NECBL player of the week.

Coutts hit .455 in a week to earn the player-of-the-week honor. He struck out once in 22 at-bats.

The URI Ram is leading the NECBL with a .500 batting average. He is 26 for 52 with two home runs and 13 runs batted in. He is tied for fifth in RBI.

The next time Coutts goes hitless in a game for the SteepleCats will be his first. SteepleCats manager Justin Sumner has written his name into the lineup in 12 of the team's 15 games, and Coutts has hit in every one.

He isn't the only SteepleCat swinging a hot bat.

Outfielder Jeffery Brown, a rising junior at The Citadel, is sixth in the league with a .383 batting average, and he has hit in 10 consecutive games. Brown, who has appeared in 12 games, went hitless in the opener and then hit in 10 straight. He pinch ran in Friday's loss at Plymouth and did not have a plate appearance.

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Coutts got an RBI single in Saturday's game at Plymouth, but the SteepleCats suffered their fifth straight loss in a 4-1 decision.

One bad pitch by North Adams starter Danny Taggert was the difference. That pitch led to a 3-run home run by Eric Feliz.

North Adams' home game with Keene was rained out Sunday.

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The SteepleCats dropped to 4-11 in the Northern Division, and are now 7 1/2 games behind division-leading Valley.

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While the SteepleCats have been cold, the Pittsfield Suns have been just the opposite.

After winning the opener and then losing seven straight games, the Suns were 11-11 going into Sunday's game against Martha's Vineyard. That makes them 10-3 in their last 13, and 8-2 in their last 10 games.

The Suns won their fourth straight game Saturday night, beating Martha's Vineyard 5-4. Pittsfield's Thomas Hughes was the Futures League's pitcher of the night for his performance.

Hughes, who played infield and was a designated hitter at the University of Oklahoma, might not have pitched since high school. But he was pressed into service in Saturday's 5-4 win over the Sharks.

Hughes faced seven hitters in two innings, struck out five, did not allow a base hit or a run and got his first win in relief.

He struck out the side in the top of the ninth. The Suns scored three runs in the home ninth to win. The game-winning hit was a single off the bat of Drew DeMartino. The single scored Chad Shade with the winning run.

DeMartino upped his batting average to .302 after going 1 for 3.

The Suns had a chance to make it five straight, but Sunday's game at Martha's Vineyard was suspended because of fog. Pittsfield had taken a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning on a pair of unearned runs.

Earlier in the game, Pittsfield's Drew DeMartino hit a solo home run. It was the Taconic graduate's first homer since he hit one in the America East Tournament for the University of Hartford.


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