NORTH ADAMS -- It took some time, but the North Adams SteepleCats' bats woke up late and launched them to a 6-3 victory over the Danbury Westerners on Friday.
The Steeple Cats managed just three hits against Danbury starter David Gibson through five innings. Shane Klemcke changed that in the sixth inning, when he ripped a leadoff single. Two batters later, catcher Brett Clements clubbed a two-run home run to tie the game at two. Conor Biggio then pinch ran for Will Klausing and scored on Bryan Soloman's single to give North Adams the lead.
"In the at-bats before he was throwing me a lot of fastballs," Clements said. "So I went up to the plate that at-bat looking for a fastball. He gave me one up and I just tried to put the sweet spot of the bat on it."
The SteepleCats collected nine hits in the sixth and seventh inning combined, including two home runs. Charlie Law blasted a three-run homer in the seventh on the only pitch he saw all game. He came into the game to replace Biggio after he pinch ran for Klausing.
"I was planning on giving [Law] the whole night off if I could," manager Bryan Adamski said. "But, the situation dictated otherwise.
"Charlie came in and got an at-bat and made the most of it. He came up in a pretty big spot and got a fastball up and put a real good swing on it."
Clements' home run opened the flood gates for the SteepleCats and helped knock Gibson out of the game.
Dan Kolodin got the start for the SteepleCats on the mound. He went six innings and gave up just two runs on four hits. He recorded five strikeouts.
"I was just trying to get ahead in the count and throw my off-speed for strikes," Kolodin said. "When I have my off-speed working, that's when I'm at my best. I was just trying to keep guys off balance and work ahead."
Kolodin entered the game having pitched just eight innings so far this season.
"Dan works quick and he's very efficient," Adamski said. "If he doesn't walk guys, you're going to have to string some hits together to get to him."
He allowed back-to-back base runners to reach base only twice in his outing. One of those times was in the fourth inning, when Danbury grabbed its two runs. He issued just one walk and hit two batters on his way to his first win of the season.
"He was just throwing strikes," Clements said. "The umpire had a real tight zone and he was just hitting it."
He didn't have a very high pitch count after six innings, but his lack of previous innings forced the coaching staff to make a move to the bullpen.
Matt Longfield entered to pitch the seventh and eighth innings. He allowed one run on two hits, and struck out two. Tom Bammann came in and pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his fifth save of the season.
"Those guys are great, and they've been great all year long," Adamski said. "We've been stressing to our starters, just give us a quality start. Get into the sixth or seventh and we're going to be nails. And we were again tonight."
The win is the first of the four-game weekend home stand for the SteepleCats, and marked the start of family weekend. They had also lost four of their last five games.
"I think this win is going to help us a lot," Clements said. "It's family weekend, everyone's family is here and it's really exciting. I think we'll play well all weekend."