Read into it what you will, but Alumni Field was hopping Wednesday night with 2,438 fans, and the Keene Swamp Bats didn’t disappoint.
On the annual Mr. Gemmell’s Reading With Ribby night, the home team carved out a solid 5-3 victory over the New Bedford Bay Sox to peek above .500 for the first time this young season. Much of the crowd had filed out by 8:15 — many to catch the Bruins game, no doubt — but by then Keene had a 5-1 lead. Although Alex Brickman hit a two-run homer for the visitors in the seventh, reliever Justin Willis locked it down the rest of the way.
The Bats (3-2) were powered by strong pitching performances from Luke Albright and Willis. Albright started and threw six innings, giving up one unearned run on five hits with 11 strikeouts to earn the win; Willis pitched three relief innings, allowing two earned runs on four his with five strikeouts to get the save.
Despite no extra-base hits, the Keene offense took care of business against the Bay Sox (0-5).
The Bats got on the board with two runs in the third inning — one on a sacrifice fly by Andrew MacNeil (0-for-2) that drove in David Bedgood (2-for-4), and one on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch by Will Wagner (1-for-3) that brought in Matt Trehub (1-for-2).
In the fifth, a single to center by Randall Bednar (1-for-3) scored Trehub and a single to right by Brandon Smith (2-for-4) drove in MacNeil. Keene’s final run came in the sixth when a single to center by Bedgood brought in Kyle Ball (2-for-4).
New Bedford scored its first run in the top of the sixth on a dropped third strike that scooted to the backstop.
The Bats are scheduled to host the North Adams SteepleCats tonight at 6:30, but if the forecast is accurate there’s a good chance of a rainout. Keene will also be home Saturday at 6:30 against the Winnipesaukee Muskrats, winless at 0-5.