By Josh McMullen – Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs (June 19 Game)
On Wednesday, the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs blew a 4-run lead in Watertown to leave the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds with an 8-5 loss. Two days later, the Diamond Dawgs made sure to return the favor.
Mohawk Valley never trailed in Game One, but needed every single at-bat to chip away at a three run lead in the nightcap, earning the sweep 8-5 and 5-4.
In Game One, the Watertown defense did not get off to a good start, loading the bases on an error, a single and a walk in the first in. Evan Berta (Yorktown Heights, NY/Fairfield) would bring home the game’s first run for Mohawk Valley, scoring Ryan Morash (Califon, NJ/Hofstra) on back-to-back walks. Cedric Rose (Pittsfield, MA/UMass Lowell) would bring home Matt Venuto (Mansfield, MA/Fairfield) on a sacrifice fly that the Watertown center field would run into the wall to catch. Then, the pitching woes would continue, as a ball by Matthew Haines (Mechanicsville, VA/Richmond) would bring home Tyler Cannon (Clayton, NJ/Iona).
The Rapids got one back in the third, as a powerful RBI double by Dixon Black (Archbald, PA/Monmouth) scored Frank Wayman (Horseheads, NY/Herkimer College). However, Rob Taylor (Wolcott, CT/University of New Haven) would get that run back and then some, sneaking a home run over the center-field fence to make it a 6-1 game. That home run scored himself, Berta and Rose.
Aaron Whitley (/University of Rochester) would cut the Mohawk Valley lead in half in the fourth, lacing a ball into left field to score Jordan Dissin (Malvern Prep, PA/Richmond). However, an RBI double to left field by Berta in the bottom of the inning scored Venuto and extended the lead back to four.
The lead went right back to three just three pitches into the fifth, as Black slammed a ball over the left field fence, a solo home run and his first of the season.
The pitching woes would continue for the Rapids, as reliever Scott Burkland (Danville, CA/Chapman) fired a ball past his catcher, Dissin. That passed ball would Luke Lesch (Gloucester Township, NJ/Rider).
Watertown would get one more back on a sacrifice fly by Whitley, scoring David Stirpe (Hilton, NY/Niagara County Community College). However, that was all reliever Jimmy Joyce (/Hofstra) would allow, getting six of the last seven Rapids players out to put the game away.
John Archer (Dobbs Ferry, NY/St. Thomas Aquinas) got the win for Mohawk Valley (5-8) who have won two out of their last three games. Haines was saddled with the loss for Watertown (5-4), snapping a four-game winning streak
In Game Two, it would be the Rapids who would score the first run, on a sacrifice fly by Anthony Santa Maria (/Iona College) to score Dylan Broderick (State College, PA/University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown). They’d get another run in on a walk by Reece Bolton (Wilmington, DE/University of Delaware) with the bases loaded to score Whitley. A third one, this time from Dissin on a sacrifice fly to right field, scored Black to give the Rapids a 3-0 lead after half an inning.
The Diamond Dawgs would get one back in their half of the first, on an RBI single by Berta that would score Michael Becchetti (Eastchester, NY/Fairfield).
The home team would get another in the fourth, as Alfredo Delgado (Bronx, NY/Manhattan) came home on a passed ball. In the very next half inning, however, local player Matt Tobin (Newport, NY/Herkimer College) extended the lead back to two on a fielder’s choice from Whitley. But once again, the Diamond Dawgs would keep fighting in the fifth, scoring Berta on an RBI double, then scoring Venuto on a passed ball to tie the game at four. Mohawk Valley took the lead just three batters later on a third-strike passed ball by Lesch, scoring Cannon.
That would be all Nathan Draves (Manhattan Beach, CA/Lynn) would need, striking out the Watertown side to finish off the doubleheader.
Terry Murray (Norfolk, MA/Rhode Island College)got the win for Mohawk Valley 6-8, while Draves got the save. Peter Ostenson (Staten Island, NY/Fairfield was saddled with the loss for Watertown (5-5).
Both teams will host Father’s Day festivities tomorrow at their respective ball parks. The Rapids will host the Utica Blue Sox in a Central Division battle at Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds. The Diamond Dawgs will play host to the Amsterdam Mohawks, with a father-son catch to be held before the game.