NORTH ADAMS, Mass.
– Charlie Law (Rutgers) smashed his record-setting ninth home run of the year while Jeff Roy (URI) established a new record in runs scored in a single season, as the North Adams SteepleCats downed Danbury, 9-5, in the SteepleCats’ 2012 New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) regular-season finale on Wednesday night at Joe Wolfe Field.
In a game that did not have much impact on the standings, the SteepleCats (22-20) managed to go ahead by a four-run advantage after the first four innings and repelled the Westerners (23-18) from that point on in a preview of one of the NECBL Western Division Semifinal series that will start Friday evening.
Law’s towering ninth homer of the year came with two runners on in the bottom of the second with the game tied at 1-1, as the 6-foot-7 first baseman smashed one to deep left center to put the SteepleCats ahead by a 4-1 margin. That homer put him ahead of Bryan Vickers, whose previous mark of eight homers from the 2004 season had stood until tonight.
Law would finish the night with a game-high four RBI, upping his season total to 41 – also a new single-season record for the SteepleCats that he broke two weeks ago.
Adrian English (Barry) led the home side with three hits while driving in two, as the SteepleCats finished with 11 hits while leaving nine runner son base. Jake Gronsky, meanwhile, led the visitors with three hits of his own while scoring once and driving in one, as the Westerners finished with 14 hits as a team.
Tyler Gebler (Rutgers) notched his third win of the season and first since his second start of the year, finishing with four runs allowed on 10 hits with four strikeouts. Adam Sargent (Miami) and Matt Longfield (Villanova) also saw time in relief for the home side.
Danbury, meanwhile, sent a plethora of position players to the mound to avoid expending necessary arms for the playoffs, as seven different pitchers took to the mound for the Westerners.
After falling behind by a run off a Jake Stinnett solo homer, the SteepleCats answered for four runs in the bottom of the second, as English drove home Conor Biggio (Notre Dame) to tie the game before Law’s mammoth homer put them ahead.
Two innings later, Roy scored his second of three historic runs on an RBI single by Law, putting North Adams up, 5-1.
Danbury would trim the lead with two more runs in the top of the fifth, as David Gibson smacked a two-run homer in his first at-bat of the year to trim the lead to 5-3, and made it a one-run game in the sixth after Stinnett scored on a Gronsky RBI single, but the SteepleCats would get one more in the bottom of the sixth on Roy’s historic third run of the game.
After drawing a walk to leadoff the inning, Roy would steal two bases to retake the league lead from Vermont’s Aaron Barbosa with his 24th swiped bag of the year. Once at third, Roy would score on a fielder’s choice RBI off the bat of English to put North Adams ahead, 6-4. That score established Roy as the new single-season record holder for runs scored, surpassing Mike Wagner’s 2002 record of 39 in one year.
Well ahead, the SteepleCats would add on three insurance runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach, as the Westerners could only muster one more run in the ninth before settling for the final 9-5 decision.
The SteepleCats begin postseason action on Friday, Aug. 3, when they travel to second-seeded Danbury for a first-round, Game 1 showdown at Rogers Park. First pitch in the best-of-three series is set for 6:30 p.m.