NORTH ADAMS -- Through the first half of the season, the North Adams SteepleCats have asserted themselves as one of the top teams in the league.
After Sunday's 4-2 against Holyoke, the SteepleCats are five games above .500 (15-10) and in second place in the Western Division.
"It certainly could be worse," manager Bryan Adamski said. "The majority of the teams in the league are under .500, at it or right around it, so the more we can create that buffer ... As long as we're playing well, the record won't really come into play until probably the last week of the season in terms of looking at seeds and who you're playing.
"We're just going to continue showing up, have a steady approach and just try to win every day."
Team chemistry got the SteepleCats off to a solid 7-1 start in June, but consistency has gotten them the next eight with just one losing streak mixed in.
Two players are having solid summers at the plate for North Adams. Center fielder Jeff Roy leads the team with a .345 batting average, good for 13th in the league. First baseman/pitcher Charlie Law isn't far behind in 18th with a .333 mark.
Adamski said the rest of the team is doing "well," and that has led to a lot of confidence in whomever is in the batter's box. Last week, the SteepleCats had back-to-back walk-offs at home. On Thursday, Julian Santos was the hero. On Friday, it was Brett Clements.
"If you look at a lineup and you see just good
The SteepleCats, though, have a trademark of all good teams -- the ability for one aspect to be off, but have the others make up for it on any given night.
When the offense is slacking, the pitching has been able to shoulder the load. The staff has a combined 4.23 ERA, good for third-best in the league. But what's better is the walks. Before an uncharacteristically walk-filled weekend, they had issued just 67. They're up to 78, but that is still the third-fewest in the league.
"I think with us, we're kind of steady in all areas," Adamski said. "We've done enough to win the close ballgames right now. I think that's been our main difference in terms of what's made it successful to this point."
With 17 games remaining, the SteepleCats still have time to catch the first-place Keene Swamp Bats.
"We're in a good position right now," Law said. "I feel like if we can get in a good way where we can get our starting pitching getting into six, seven innings and doing their job, and then our hitting, eight runs should win us a ballgame, usually.
"If we keep scoring the way we're scoring and keep pitching the way we're pitching, I don't see why we couldn't make a serious run to the title this year."