June 22, 2017

By Jon Rathbun – TimesTelegram Sports Department

LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. – The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs celebrated the anniversary of the first New York-Penn League game played at Veterans Memorial Park the same way the Little Falls Mets celebrated their home field debut 40 years ago, with a win over a team from Utica.

Sporting blue tops with orange lettering and the Mets’ logo on the front, the DiamondDawgs defeated Utica’s Blue Sox 11-1 Thursday to end a three-game losing streak at home. The 1977 Mets had made their Little Falls debut with a 4-2 win against the Utica Blue Jays, the first victory of the New York-Penn League’s 12-year run in the city.

The 2017 DiamondDawgs rallied behind ace Joe DeSarro, the Southern New Hampshire University right-hander from Frankfort, who allowed one run on four hits through six innings and earned his third win of the season. Dartmouth College’s Clay Chatham and Fairfield University’s Josh Arnold each pitched one scoreless inning in relief, and Norfolk State University’s Quenten Thomas pitched the ninth.

DeSarro, a second-year DiamondDawg, earned his 10th PGCBL victory against a single defeat. He struck out five Blue Sox and walked one.

Utica starter Michael Rogers did not retire a batter. Rogers was pulled after a hit and two walks loaded the bases, and all three runners wound up scoring. The DiamondDawgs (9-6) added a run on a wild pitch in the third inning, and scored six in the sixth.

Ashland University’s Rogers and Nolan Freeman from Mercyhurst University North East combined to walk four batters and hit one while the DiamondDawgs scored three runs on only one hit, a single by Barry University’s Alexis Monge-Rodriguez leading off. Freeman walked Hofstra University’s Austin Pollack and Fairfield’s Tim Zeng with the bases loaded, and Russ Olive from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell scored on a passed ball. Sacramento State University’s Dan Deely scored on another passed ball two innings later after reaching base with another of Mohawk Valley’s 10 walks and advancing on a balk by Freeman.

Six of the DiamondDawgs 13 hits came in the sixth inning and helped the hosts break the game open. Monge-Rodriguez, who bunted, was the only one of the first 10 Mohawk Valley batters retired during an inning that saw the first run score on a wild pitch, Deely drive in two with a bases-loaded single, Sacramento State’s Bronson Grubbs drive in one with a double, and Zeng and Pollack each hit a run-scoring single.

Grubbs and the University of Alabama’s Zack Coker each had three hits for Mohawk Valley, and Grubbs scored three runs. Coker was 3-for-3 and was hit by a pitch in four plate appearances.

Eckerd College’s Mitch Calandra hit a grand slam in the ninth inning for Utica (4-12) which lost for the 12th time in 13 games. Calandra was a late game replacement for the University of Iowa’s Adam LaRock who had driven in the first Utica run with a triple.

The DiamondDawgs traveled to Oneonta Friday and play on the road again Saturday at West Division-leading Jamestown, owner of the PGCBL’s best record. Following a day off Sunday, Mohawk Valley is home for Monday’s game against the Saugerties Stallions.