NORTH ADAMS -- The SteepleCats put together the same number of hits in the ninth inning that they did in the previous eight, but couldn't mount a full comeback, and lost to Vermont, 6-4 on Thursday.
"They got ahead early and we couldn't put enough together in the ninth," third baseman Tyler Palmer said. "That was it. When a team gets ahead of you early, it's tough to come back."
Entering the ninth inning trailing 6-1, Brett Clements started the comeback attempt with a one-out double. Palmer then hit a home run to put the SteepleCats within striking distance. Shane O'Connell tripled and scored on an Adrian English ground out. After Sheehan Planas-Arteaga walked, Vermont made a move to the bullpen, bringing in Matt Dearden to replace Matt McAllister.
Dearden faced just one batter, striking out Conor Biggio looking to end the game.
"We've scored a lot of runs in the ninth inning," Palmer said. "We feel no pressure going into the ninth inning when we're behind. We have free swings and things work like that. I think we need to start doing that early on in the game and producing more runs."
Before the ninth, Vermont starter Richie Ochoa combined with McAllister to give up just one run on three hits. The SteepleCats were issued five walks, but stranded five runners. They left four of those runners in scoring position.
"We only had three hits heading into the ninth, we just didn't do enough to help ourselves out,"
The SteepleCats loaded the bases in the first inning with no outs and jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Clements grounded into a double play. It was the first of three double plays North Adams grounded into and the only one in which they were able to salvage a run.
Vermont, meanwhile, slugged its way to the win. Seven of the Mountaineers 11 base hits went for extra bases, including three home runs.
SteepleCat starter Tyler Gebler went 62 3 innings and gave up five runs on eight hits, including two homers. Christian MacDonald pitched the final 21 3 innings in relief.
Greg Partyka grabbed the first hit and run for the Mountaineers in the third inning on a solo home run. Rob Kelly and Austin Green also had solo shots.
"Just a couple of balls up and a couple of mistakes and they didn't miss them," Adamski said. "That's a credit to them rather than Tyler not throwing well, because he battled. He just paid for a couple of mistakes."
While the Mountaineers began to hit the ball in the middle innings, the SteepleCats struggled. They went hitless for five innings.
"[Ochoa and McAllister] kept us off balance and did a good job," Palmer said. "Sometimes those types of guys will just handle you. He was throwing strikes and we were swinging at some pitches we probably should have laid off of, but that's baseball."
Palmer ended the night 1 for 3 with a walk and a stolen base to go with his two-run homer. Jeff Roy went 1 for 4, but stole a base in the first inning to push him to a league-leading 18 steals on the year.
PITTSFIELD -- Myron Gray West Little League racked up 19 hits and homered four times to roll past North Adams 18-8 in the Don Gleason District 1 12-year-old tournament at Springside Park.
West advances to face Pittsfield South in the championship game today at Springside Park. If West wins today, the teams will play an if nessecary game at 4 p.m. Saturday at Springside.
Against North Adams, Jake Corcoran led the winners with a home run, double and five RBI. Brandon Peaslee had four hits, including a homer, and three RBI. Brett Murphy and Cam Levardi also homered while Jake McNeice drove in two and doubled twice. Brett Murphy started the game on the mound and earned the win.
Ethan Sheldon, who took the loss on the mound, had three doubles for North Adams while Reece Racette had a double and a single. David Beebe doubled twice. Steven Stodj added a two-run single.