DANBURY -- It’s not the way the North Adams SteepleCats envisioned opening the 2012 NECBL Playoffs, but they’ll come back to North Adams needing to win to keep their season alive.
The Danbury Westerners took Game 1 by a commanding 14-4 score on Friday. North Adams attempted a late comeback, scoring three times in the ninth, but it was too little too late.
Danbury starter Ben Brewster didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning, and by that time the outcome was all but decided. Danbury had an 8-0 lead entering the sixth.
Shane Klemcke got the SteepleCats on the board in the sixth when he singled to score Bryan Soloman. Klemcke’s hit was the first of the night. Soloman walked to leadoff the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
Danbury’s bullpen held the SteepleCats off the board until the ninth. Brett Clements started the inning off with a single and Esteban Tresgallo walked before Adrian English blasted a three-run homer in an effort to give North Adams a little momentum heading into the must-win game Saturday night.
Brian Hunter started for the SteepleCats and fell behind early. He gave up two runs in the first inning without allowing a hit. He walked the bases loaded and then walked Daniel Spingola to force home a run. Mike Orefice scored on a wild pitch three pitches later.
Andrew Garner blasted a grand slam in the second inning to put a little
Hunter allowed six runs in just four innings. He gave up only two earned runs on two hits. The problem came with walks. He issued six free passes. Hunter tossed 101 pitches -- only 51 were strikes. He also struck out four.
Zach Shank, Josh Ake and Tyler Gurman all doubled for Danbury. Garner led the game with six RBI, while Ake had two.
Danbury’s win wasn’t the only blowout on the opening night of the Playoffs. In the other Western Division series, Keene destroyed Vermont 22-0. In the Eastern Division, Newport beat Sanford 14-2 and New Bedford got past Laconia 6-3.
The winner of the Danbury-North Adams series will play the winner of Vermont-Keene.