It was a successful Tuesday and Wednesday for coach Rob Meade and his North Adams Green Devils baseball squad as they picked up a pair of wins in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference, both coming over their rivals here in Adams County and both coming on their home field. On Tuesday April 22, the Devils hosted the Peebles Indians and led by a big grand slam home run by first baseman Haden Anderson, topped the Indians 12-2 in five innings and then followed that up the next afternoon with a 10-3 win over the Manchester Greyhounds.
The North Adams-Peebles game was the first meeting of the spring between the two county squads and it was the Indians who scored first. In the top of the first, Alex Seaman led off the game by reaching safely on an error and moved to second on a base hit by Brady Johnson. Seaman came sliding home headfirst and safely on a Tyler Fenner single to give Peebles a 1-0 lead against North Adams ace Hank Sparks.
That lead disappeared quickly as the Devils tied the game in the bottom of the first. With one out, Devin Gardner drew a walk from Peebles starter John Penn as did Sparks. Haden Anderson began a big day for himself with a single to left that scored Gardner to tie the game.
The Green Devils took the lead for good in the bottom of the second. Ethan Brown singled to center off Penn and Kenny Branch was hit by a pitch. Blake Bradley reached on an error that scored Brown. Mikey Sheeley lifted a fly ball to center deep enough for Branch to tag and score to give the home team a 3-1 advantage.
After a scoreless inning and a half, the Devils added one to their lead in the fourth. Bradley led off with a base hit and swiped second. Sheeley drew a walk and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Sparks reached on an error that allowed Bradley to score, giving North Adams a three-run lead.
Peebles got one of those runs back in the top of the fifth on an RBI double by Johnson, but that just set the stage for a North Adams explosion in the bottom half of the inning.
Ryan Brown had come on in relief in the fourth but immediately struggled with his control in the fifth, hitting the first two batters he faced, Austin Copas and then Brown. After getting Branch on a fly ball to center with both runners tagging up and advancing, Brown gave up a run scoring hit to Bradley followed by a two-run double to center by Sheeley. Gardner singled to left and Sparks walked to load the bases and set the stage for the day’s biggest blast.
The next batter was Haden Anderson and he jumped all over the first Brown offering that he saw and drove it over the left field fence for a grand slam homer that put the game far out of reach at 11-2.
“I just went to the plate knowing the bases were loaded and I wanted to hit the ball hard and hoped to get a couple of runs in,” said Anderson. “I had never hit a true grand slam at any level.”
After a short delay to compare scorebooks and make sure it was not yet an official run rule score, the game resumed with Cody Hall lining a single to left.
After Brown retired Copas for the second out, Brown drew a walk and Branch reached on an error to load the bases. That brought Bradley to the plate and he worked the count full, meaning that the base runners would be on the move. From third base, Hall decided to leave a bit early and slid across home plate with the steal that provided the winning run as the run rule was enforced and the Devils took a 12-2 victory.
“I was very happy for Haden hitting that grand slam,” said North Adams coach Rob Meade. “I thought Hank threw the ball really well too.”
Peebles head coach Judd Johnson was happy with his team’s play up until the disastrous fifth inning.
“We played decent baseball for four innings,” said Johnson. “Things just got away from us in the fifth. North Adams hit the ball in the fifth and took advantage of our miscues. They are a well-coached team and Sparks pitched a good game for them.”
“Offensively, we got two hits each from Brady Johnson and Tyler Fenner but our lack of pitching depth is starting to show when we have to play multiple games in a row.”
Sparks went the full five innings for the win, giving up six hits and one earned run while fanning eight Peebles hitters. Penn was the losing pitcher, going three plus innings, allowing just two earned runs and striking out four.
Anderson was the big bat for North Adams, going 2 for 2 and driving in five runs. Cody Hall and Blake Bradley each had two hits in a 9-hit Devils attack while Mikey Sheeley drove home three runs.
The win improved the Devils to 4-5 on the year, 2-3 in the SHAC while Peebles dropped to 2-4 (2-4 SHAC).
100 01 —2
120 18 —12
Peebles Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Seaman 2-2-0-0, R. Brown 3-0-1-0, Johnson 3-0-2-1, Penn 3-0-0-0, Fenner 3-0-2-1, Hanson 2-0-1-0, McElwee 2-0-0-0, C. Brown 2-0-0-0, Behr 2-0-0-0, Team 22-2-6-2.
Extra-Base Hits: R. Brown 2B, Johnson 2B
N. Adams Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Sheeley 2-1-1-3, Gardner 3-2-1-0, Sparks 2-1-0-1, Anderson 2-1-2-5, Hall 4-1-2-0, Davis 2-0-0-0, Copas 1-1-0-0, Brown 2-2-1-0, Branch 3-1-0-0, Bradley 3-2-2-1, Team 24-12-9-10
Extra-Base Hits: Anderson HR, Sheeley 2B
Peebles Pitching: Penn (L) 3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 57 pitches.
Brown 1 2/3 IP, 5 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 48 pitches.
N. Adams Pitching: Sparks (W) 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 80 pitches.
The next day it was the Manchester Greyhounds traveling to Seaman and take away one inning, giving the Devils a pretty good game.
The Hounds looked good early, getting three runs in their first at-bat, two coming home on a base hit to center by Mason Applegate off of North Adams starter Austin Copas, who lasted just four batters before leaving the game with a sore arm.
The Greyhounds took the field with a 3-0 lead, but quickly gave that lead and much more back to the Devils in an inning that most definitely gave Manchester head coach Kyle Brewer a few gray hairs. The Devils sent 10 batters to the plate and took advantage of three Greyhound errors to plate six runs, five of them unearned off of hard-luck Manchester starter Hunter Conley.
Those six first-inning runs would turn out to be all the Devils needed as reliever Devin Gardner took over for Copas in the first and pitched seven shutout innings. North Adams added a run in the third, two in the fourth, and one in the fifth off reliever Rickey DeAtley to pick up their second league win in as many days, topping the Hounds 10-3.
Gardner got the win with his strong effort on the mound, not walking a single hitter in seven innings and striking our four. Conley took the loss, going four innings and allowing five earned runs.
Mikey Sheeley, Gardner, and Cody Hall each had two hits for the winning Devils with Hall and Kenny Branch each driving home three. Manchester got a pair of hits from lead off man Sean Frost as well as the two RBI’s from Applegate.
With the win, North Adams moved to .500 on the spring at 5-5, 3-3 in the SHAC. Manchester fell to 2-7 on the year, still winless in the SHAC.
Mark Carpenter can be reached at 93-544-2391 or on Twitter @adamscosports.
300 000 0 —3
601 210 x—10
Manchester Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Frost 4-1-2-0, Conley 2-1-0-0, Applegate 3-1-1-2, Brummett 2-0-1-0, Hoskins 3-0-1-1. DeAtley 3-0-1-0, Thornburg 3-0-0-0, Hensley 3-0-1-0, Francis 3-0-0-0, Team 26-3-7-3.
Extra-Base Hits: Brummett 2B
N. Adams Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Sheeley 3-1-2-1, Gardner 4-2-2-0, Sparks 3-1-1-1, Anderson 4-0-1-0, Hall 3-1-2-3, Roades 1-0-0-0, Copas 4-1-0-0, Wagers 4-2-0-0, Branch 4-1-1-3, Bradley 2-0-1-1, Davis 0-1-0-0, Team 32-10-10-9.
Extra-Base Hits: Gardner 2B, Hall 2B, Branch 2B
Manchester Pitching: Conley (L) 4 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 4 ER, o BB, 2 K, 75 pitches.
DeAtley 2 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 29 pitches.
N. Adams Pitching: Copas 0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 16 pitches.
Gardner (W) 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 79 pitches.