The North Adams SteepleCats will begin the hunt for their first-ever NECBL Championship tonight in Danbury.
The first round, best-of-three series gets under way at Rogers Park at 6:30. The SteepleCats won the regular season series over Danbury, 5-3 clinching it on Wednesday with a 9-5 win at Joe Wolfe Field.
"Now on [today], we need to go into Danbury’s ball park, where they play very well, and basically pick up where we left off today," North Adams manager Bryan Adamski said after Wednesday’s win.
The teams split the four games that were played at Rogers Park this season.
Brian Hunter will take to the mound for the SteepleCats. He finished the season with a 3.82 ERA and 2-1 record. It will be his fourth start of the season after making the transition from the closers role to the rotation. In 30 2/3 innings he has allowed 13 earned runs on 17 hits. He has struck out 29 batters and walked 19. Hunter recorded two saves before he was sent to the rotation in late June.
The SteepleCats went 4-6 in their final 10 games, and grabbed a little much needed momentum against Danbury on Wednesday. The win pushed them to 22-20 on the year.
"It’s big to head into the playoffs with a better than a .500 record," first baseman Charlie Law said. "This gives us some momentum heading into the playoffs."
The victory snapped a three game losing streak for North Adams. The game
"It was good for us," Adamski said. "You just don’t want to back into the playoffs, so it’s good to get this win."
Despite beating Danbury five times this season, the SteepleCats were outscored 41-40.
Danbury finished the season as the second seed in the Western Division, holding a game and a half edge on North Adams. Vermont is the division’s final playoff team, finishing 18-23 and three and a half games behind North Adams. The Keene Swamp Bats finished as the division’s top seed, five and a half games in front of Danbury.
Wednesday’s game also saw Law and Jeff Roy break franchise records. Law set the single season home run and RBI total. Roy set the record for runs scored in a single season.