Cold streak continues for Keene SwampBats in loss to Danbury Westerners

·4 min read

Jul. 2—The struggles continued for the Keene SwampBats in the team's 7-3 loss to the Danbury Westerners Friday night at Alumni Field.

The teams were scoreless through the first three innings before Danbury scored in the fourth and broke it open with a five-run fifth.

Jackson Ross gave Keene some life with a monster three-run home run in the sixth inning to cut Danbury's lead in half, 6-3, but the Westerners shut things down from there.

"Four hits, three errors. Can't win games like that," said Keene manager Shaun McKenna. "I thought pitching was decent. What are you going to do? Move on to the next day. ... If we execute tomorrow, we'll be in the game.

"Stay positive, try to look at the positives," McKenna added. "Build off of some of the stuff that happened tonight."

The Bats (8-13) have now lost two in a row and eight of their last nine games and still sit at the bottom of the Northern Division with 23 games left in the summer.

Takeaways from the loss

Starter Noah Dean looked spectacular in his final outing of the summer

Dean — who just came to town last Friday — threw a stellar three innings in his final start of the season, keeping the Westerners off the board, allowing just one hit and one walk with seven strikeouts.

He struck out the first two batters he faced and sat down five straight to start the game before allowing a harmless single to Danbury's Sam Mongelli.

He allowed just two baserunners, and neither got past first base.

"He was firm. Throws a heavy, heavy fastball," McKenna said. "I think he was 93-96 from the left side. He's a special kid."

Friday marked Dean's final day in Keene as he continues to prepare for this year's MLB Draft, starting July 17.

"Would love to have him for the rest of the season," McKenna said. "I know he had a good time. Just one of those things where he needed to get a couple more outings in. Fun to watch. Wish he could stay. He's a game-changer."

Things went downhill quick after Dean left the mound. Riley Skeen pitched the fourth inning, allowing a solo home run to Danbury's Harrison Feinberg, which broke a scoreless tie.

Skeen only got through 1.1 innings and struggled in the fifth and was pulled after giving up a two-run single with one out in the frame, which made it 3-0 Westerners.

By the end of the inning, it was 6-0 Danbury. Two SwampBat errors didn't help.

Garrett French took over for Skeen in that fifth inning and was charged with one of the runs, although it was unearned.

After getting out of the fifth, French retired the next nine consecutive hitters.

Jackson Ross continues to rake

Ross has been far and away the SwampBats' hottest hitter as of late. He had another big-time hit in the sixth inning — a three-run homer — to bring Keene back into the game.

It was his sixth of the season, most on the team and second-most in the NECBL. Upper Valley's Ryan Ignoffo has eight to lead the league.

Ross is hitting .371 over the last nine games (13-for-35) with 11 RBIs. He's hitting .267 this summer with 22 RBIs. His average is second highest on the team and his RBI total leads the team.

Errors still a problem

Two costly errors in the top of the fifth extended the inning and opened the door for three unearned runs.

Danbury pulled ahead 6-0 in the fifth.

"We have to execute pitches," McKenna said. "It's just about execution overall."

Keene ended with three errors during the game.

"When we play tight, when we play well, execute pitches, get some hits going, we can play with anyone in this league," McKenna said. "When we give up runs and they get hits that probably shouldn't get through ... have to play better. Period."

Up next

The SwampBats visit the Bristol Blues (14-6) Saturday before hosting the Sanford Mainers Sunday at Alumni Field to celebrate Independence Eve. There will be a fireworks show after Sunday's game to celebrate Independence Day, by Atlas Fireworks.

Chris Detwiler can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1411, or Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Detwiler.