Bielak postgame comments
NORTH ADAMS, Mass.
– North Adams right-hander Chris Bielak (Marist) was phenomenal nearly through a complete game, and the SteepleCats offense tacked on five runs on eight hits to down visiting Laconia, 5-3, on Friday night at Joe Wolfe Field.
Entering the game 1-4 in their last five and having dropped three straight at The Joe, the SteepleCats (8-5) found themselves in the midst of a pitcher’s duel pitting Bielak against Muskrats (5-6) righty Mark Leiter Jr., as both starters put up nothing but zeroes through the first four innings before the home side broke through in the fifth.
Bielak nearly went the distance before being relieved in favor of Villanova lefty Matt Longfield in the top of the ninth with runners at first and second. That was when Laconia did the most of its offensive damage by means of a three-run homer off the bat of Ethan Bennett, the only low note on an otherwise outstanding start – and one of the most dominant this season by a SteepleCats hurler – that helped North Adams put up a win after going 1-4 over its previous five.
Bryan Soloman (Eastern Kentucky) helped the offense out in a big way with his game-high two hits and three RBI, while Dillon Bass (UNC-Wilmington) also drove in a run for the SteepleCats.
Bielak (2-0) yielded only two hits over his evening, striking out a season-high seven batters while issuing two free passes – both in the ninth inning. He was responsible for two of the runners that scored on the three-run bomb by Bennett.
Leiter Jr., meanwhile, took the loss after allowing three runs on five hits over 5 1/3 frames with two strikeouts and a walk. Both Tim Ponto and Thomas Kriss saw action out of the bullpen for Laconia, with both tossing 1 1/3 innings while each contributing two strikeouts.
Bass broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth with a bloop single to shallow left, scoring Will Klausing (UT-Pan American) on the play. An inning later, Soloman launched a two-RBI double to the right center field gap to put the home side up 3-0. Finally in the seventh, the ‘Cats scratched across two more unearned runs which proved to be key insurance runs after Laconia made it a two-run game with its homer in the ninth.
North Adams returns to action on Saturday when it travels to MacKenzie Stadium for a 6:30 p.m. tilt against Holyoke.