The Keene Swamp Bats kept the celebrations going Friday night.
On the day after Independence Day, the Bats celebrated their mascot Ribby’s birthday as well as “Keene Sentinel Night” with their fourth straight win, beating the Upper Valley Nighthawks, 7-3.
Keene improves to 13-7, but remains a half-game behind the North Adams SteepleCats for first place in the Northern Division, after the Cats beat the Ocean State Waves Friday, 6-1. The Bats host the Sanford Mainers Saturday night at 6:30.
David Bedgood provided the biggest offensive punch for the Bats with two home runs on the night. He led off the bottom of the first with a solo shot for the game’s first run, then had a two-run homer in the seventh that proved to be the game’s final runs. Bedgood now leads the NECBL with eight dingers.
It was a low-scoring, back-and-forth contest through the first six-and-a-half innings. But after the Nighthawks (12-10) scored twice to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh, Keene rallied for five runs in the bottom half to take the lead for good.
The Bats scored on a fielding error, an RBI single by Andrew MacNeil and a wild pitch, then Bedgood’s second homer punctuated the rally. Keene’s only other score came in the fourth, on an RBI triple by Logan Mathieu.
Joseph Simeone started and pitched well for six innings, giving up one earned run on five hits and one hit batter with eight strikeouts.
Sean Heine pitched the seventh inning, giving up Simeone’s 2-1 lead with two earned runs on three hits and one strikeout, but thanks to the big rally in the bottom half, he received the win.
David Johnson threw two shutout innings in his first relief appearance of the season (after starting in his first three appearances), with one hit batter and two strikeouts to earn the save.