SteepleCats top NECBL North Division after Week 1

12 Jun

SteepleCats Start Hot

Through six days of play in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, the teams from Massachusetts are making an early impression, most notably the team from North Adams. Coming off of a playoff appearance the SteepleCats have started the season strong and lead Robert Donnellythe Northern Division at 4-1, just ahead of the Vermont Mountaineers.  Robert Donnelly (SUNY-Oswego) has been dominant on the mound so far by not allowing a run through two games while beginning the season with a 2-0 record.  Brian Whitney (South Carolina Upstate) has also had a strong start for North Adams, striking out eight over six innings of work in a June 7 win over Sanford.  A balanced attack at the plate has been led by Dillon Paulson (Southern California), who is currently second in the league with a .545 batting average.  Liam Sabino (Pittsburgh) has only had three hits thus far but has made them count, compiling 6 RBI’s in his last two games played.  Tonight they host their Western Massachusetts rivals the Valley Blue Sox, who are off to a slow start this season at 1-3, their lone win on June 11 against Keene when Cooper Bradford (North Florida) threw six innings of one-run ball.

The Southern Division has seen both Massachusetts clubs, New Bedford Bay Sox and Plymouth Pilgrims, start their season’s with winning records.  The Bay Sox have been led by Luke Bakula (Kansas), who is near the top of the league with a .692 OBP and a .500 James Venutobatting average.  Off to a 2-1 start, the Bay Sox are tied with Danbury for second place in the Southern Division, behind the final undefeated team in the NECBL, the Ocean State Waves.  The Pilgrims are off to a 3-2 start, just slightly behind the Bay Sox in winning percentage and are led by slugger James Venuto (Elon), who leads the league with three home runs while driving in six runs as well.  Jonathan Bermudez (St. Leo College), threw six scoreless innings for the Pilgrims in a June 8 win over Newport.  New Bedford travels to Forges Field tonight to take on Plymouth.

Attendance Numbers

After leading the league in attendance last season, the Valley Blue Sox are off to another Blue Sox fansstrong start at third place in league attendance through one week after a 2,157 fans showed up on Opening Night.  North Adams has had 1,475 fans pass through their gates through their first three games.  Plymouth and New Bedford have seen slow starts at the gates but historic numbers show they will recover as the weather gets nicer.

Plymouth Pilgrims Welcome New Owner

In November, Wicked Local reported that Peter Plant had taken over as the new owner of the Plymouth Pilgrims after questions about the team’s future while the NECBL Plantssearched for a new owner.  Plant appointed his son Kevin, a former Pilgrims player, as the team’s new general manager, while manager Greg Zackrison will stay on with the team.  Also according to Wicked Local, on May 30, Peter attended the Plymouth selectmen’s meeting to update the board on his future plans for the team.  Plant has already donated five new picnic tables at Forges Field, and told the select board that he has future plans to renovate Forges Field.  Plant noted that he would like to add a two-story press box behind home plate as well as a permanent structure for storing equipment.  A new American flag is needed at Forges Field according to Plant, and Selectman Sheila Joyce offered to pay for a new one at the meeting attended by Plant.

Current Standings

Northern Division

1. North Adams SteepleCats: 4-1

2. Vermont Mountaineers: 3-1

3. Keene Swamp Bats: 2-3

4. Winnipesaukee Muskrats: 2-3

5. Sanford Mainers: 1-3

6. Valley Blue Sox: 1-3

Southern Division

1. Ocean State Waves: 3-0

2. New Bedford Bay Sox: 2-1

2. Danbury Westerners: 2-1

4. Plymouth Pilgrims: 3-2

5. Newport Gulls: 1-3

5. Mystic Schooners: 1-3

Games to Watch This Week

June 12: Valley @ North Adams, 6:30

June 12: New Bedford @ Plymouth, 6:30

June 13: Mystic @ New Bedford, 6:30

June 14: Winnipesaukee @ North Adams, 6:30

June 15: Newport @ New Bedford, 6:30

June 15: Sanford @ Valley, 6:35

June 16: Winnipesaukee @ Plymouth, 6:30

June 16: Mystic @ North Adams, 6:30

June 16: Ocean State @ Valley, 6:35

June 17: Valley @ New Bedford, 6:30

June 18: Newport @ Valley, 5:05