Holyoke, Mass. - The Vermont Mountaineers pounded out 26 runs on 24 hits as they defeated the Holyoke Blue Sox 26-15 in New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) action on Wednesday night. The win was Vermont's fifth in seven games and snapped the Blue Sox three game win streak. They also set a new league record for stolen bases in a game with 12, breaking their own mark of 11 set on July 31, 2008 in a 12-3 win over Manchester.
The Mountaineers (6-5) once again started off quickly scoring four runs in the first inning, setting the tone for the night. Michael White led off the game with a walk, followed by Brett Johnson's single. Logan Pierce then walked to load the bases with one out before Austin Green hit an infiled single to plate the first run of the game. Brian O'Grady (Warminster, Pa./Rutgers) then hit a bases clearing triple to right center giving Vermont a 4-0 lead through one.
In the second, they would add two more runs as Aaron Barbosa singled and stole second to start things off before White (East Orange, N.J./Louisville) walked. After a wild pitch, Johnson (Little Elm, Texas/TCU) laid down a sacrifice bunt to score Barbosa prior ro Rob Kelly's RBI single making it a 6-0 Mountaineers advantage and chasing Holyoke starter Aaron Weisberg after an inning and one-third.
The Blue Sox countered in the bottom half of the second inning as they broke through for six runs, tying the game, against Steve Ostapeck (Sacremento, Calif./Villanova). Connor Mackay hit an RBI double before Holyoke loaded the bases twice in the frame, helped along by a Rob Kelly error.
In the third, Vermont would again take the lead on a double steal with O'Grady coming home and Kelly's two RBI single. They would add two more in the top of the fourth to take an 11-6 lead after Barbosa laced another single scoring two more runs. Barbosa (Dracut, Mass./Northeastern) finished the night going 4-for-5 with two RBI and six stolen bases. Ostapeck settled in with a 1-2-3 bottom of the fourth, but again found trouble in the fifth.
After getting Connor Spencer to ground out for the first out, He allowed the next three batters to reach including a two RBI single from Evan Potter making the score 11-8 in favor of Vermont. after Danny Diekroger brough in another run with a double, and Jordan Keur worked a walk to put runners ont he corners with two outs, Ostapeck was relieved by Riche Ochoa. After a single to Paul McConkey and a couple wild pitches scoring two more runs to tie it at 11-11, Ochoa (Friday Harbour, Wash./Washington State) struck out Max Pentecost to end the inning.
Vermont then went on a tear in the top of the sixth as they sent 11 hitters to the plate, bringing in eight runs including four before the first out was recorded. Branndon Thomas faced seven batters in the inning getting just one out and giving up six runs, five earned, before being pulled for Nick Bougoupolus who allowed two more runs but got out of the inning with the Mountaineers ahead 19-11.
Ochoa cruised through both the six and seventh inning setting the Blue Sox down in order both times with two strikeouts. His offense would again add two more runs on singles from White and Johnson to push the advantage to 10 at 21-11 going into the final two innings. Holyoke would try to make their third comeback of the game in the bottom of the eighth. After a leadoff strikeout, Ochoa allowed the next four batters to reach on three hits and a walk. After Connor Mackay singled to drive in the fourth run of the inning, making the score 21-15, Ochoa turned the ball over to Zach Varela (Lake Elsinore, Calif./UC Riverside) who got the next two batters in order to end the threat.
With no lead safe at MacKenzie Field, the Mountaineers ensured enough run support in the final frame as they again batted around in the ninth scoring four runs. Johnson hit a bases clearing double at one point and came home on an error from second baseman Chris Wooley. In total, five runs crossed making the final line 26-15. Varela worked a hitless bottom half of the frame including back-to-back strikeouts to end the game.
Ochoa (1-0) got the win going two and two-thirds innings in relief fiving up four runs on five hits while Thomas got the loss giving up six runs (five earned) getting just one out. Ostapeck finished with four and two-thirds innings pitched giving up 11 runs, five earned, on nine hits walking three and striking out two.
For the third time this season, every Vermont starter reached base including pinch hitter Casey Brighton (Hyde Park, Vt./Plattsburgh) who singled in the ninth. Each starter scored at least twice in the game and drove in at least one run as well. Rob Kelly (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Saint Anslem), Barbosa, and Chris Cook (Annapolis, Md./George Mason) each finished with four hits and O'Grady drove in a game high four runs.
Game Notes: Vermont stole a new league record 12 bases and upped their NECBL leading total to 47 on the night.