The toll of three grueling weekend road trips followed by a home double-header Monday may have caught up with the Keene Swamp Bats.
The Bats had little in the tank against the Vermont Mountaineers Tuesday, losing 10-2 before 790 fans on a perfect night for baseball at Alumni field.
The Mountaineers cracked out four home runs and 13 hits in the rout. They scored single runs in the second, third and fifth innings before breaking it open with three runs in the sixth. Curtis Robinson and Corey DiLoreto hit home runs in that frame, as Vermont grabbed a 6-0 lead and was never threatened.
The Swamp Bats avoided the shutout with two runs in the eighth on a two-run double by Logan Mathieu.
Luke Albright took the loss on the mound, giving up six runs on 10 hits in 5.1 innings. Sean Heine and Johnathan Edwards, who was on the mound for the third time in 72 hours, finished up.
Keene was without No. 3 hitter Will Wagner (.325 average), who was hit by a pitch in the first game of the Sanford double-header Monday. “My ankle is swollen and I can’t run on it,” Wagner said before the game. “They have not spoken to me yet, but I’m most likely not playing today.”
Shortstop Kevin Welsh (.395) and catcher Ryan Hogan (.313) had two hits apiece for Keene.
Bats right-fielder Randall Bednar had a bit of a scare in the eighth inning, when he nearly robbed Straton Podaras of a home run. Bednar leaped against the fence and the unlocked right-field gate swung open, nearly face-planting Bednar into the ground. He got up with no apparent injury and finished the game.
The Northern Division standings in the New England Collegiate Baseball League remain a jumble, with the Bats (18-13) now in third place. Only one game separates the top four teams in the division and three of them will make the playoffs. North Adams (18-11) and Upper Valley (19-12) are in a virtual tie for the top spot, while Keene and Vermont (19-14) are one game behind.
There is no rest for the weary, as tonight Keene travels down I-91 to face the Valley Blue Sox at McKenzie Stadium in Holyoke, Mass. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.