NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Five unanswered runs by the North Adams SteepleCats completed the comeback in a pivotal New England Collegiate Baseball League matchup. The home team claimed a 5-4 victory over the Vermont Mountaineers on Thursday evening at Joe Wolfe Field.
After taking a 4-0 lead through the first three frames, the Mountaineers could not find any more offensive momentum, falling in a bout between the top two teams in the NECBL’s Northern Division.
The SteepleCats nearly got out of the first inning after giving up two hits but getting two outs, but the Mountaineers capitalized on a last-ditch effort and were able to put up three runs. Cam Climo got things started on a drive to right field that brought Austin Gauthier in and pushed Curtis Robison to third. Robison came home on the next at-bat after a Connor Charping single, before Climo snatched the third run on another single, this time from Matt McDermott.
Vermont collected another run while going up against two outs, this time in the third inning. Back-to-back wild pitches from Tyler Hays paved the way for Climo to get from second to home while McDermott was at bat. North Adams responded in the bottom, securing a Tanner Thomas score on a fielder’s choice to cut into the Mountaineers' lead and make it 4-1.
After stranding loaded bases in the fourth, the SteepleCats gained momentum in the following frame with another run. A Matthew Koperniak at-bat led to a Scout Knotts score after a fielder’s choice got Paul Komistek out, but an error by Gauthier pushed Koperniak to second, which gave Knotts enough time to sprint home. The home team carried that momentum into the next inning, tying the game up on a Brian Picone double that rolled out to the fence and paved the way for Joseph Porricelli and Andrew Pedone to score.
North Adams promptly broke the deadlock, substituting Tre Kirklin in as a pinch hitter with Koperniak on second. Kirklin fulfilled his job, driving one that allowed Koperniak to give the SteepleCats the lead. The Mountaineers could not find an answer as the North Adams defense held firm the rest of the night, securing the 5-4 victory.
Jacob Abbott earned the win for North Adams, allowing just one hit in his two innings of play. Beau Keathley took the loss for Vermont, allowing four hits and giving up three runs in his two innings. Madison Jeffrey got the save, striking out two Mountaineers in the final inning to wrap up the win.
The loss drops Vermont to 12-9, and the team will now return home for a single game Friday against the Winnipesaukee Muskrats. Opening pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.