By JON RATHBUN
Senior Sports Editor
Posted Jul. 27, 2015
LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. — Troy Scocca homered twice Saturday and the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs clinched a spot in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League playoffs with an 8-5 win over the Saugerties Stallions.
Scocca hit a two-run home run to center field to get the scoring started in the first inning and added solo shot that cleared the perimeter fence at the end of the football bleachers in right field in the eighth. His Fairfield University outfielder’s 4-for-5 day also included a two-run single in the second inning. He scored three times.
Saugerties had scored a run in the top of the second before Mohawk Valley tacked four onto its lead. St. John Fisher College’s Malcolm Kelsey doubled, the University of New Haven’s Thomas Walraven singled, and Marist College’s Matt Pagano hit a run-scoring single with nobody out. Scocca knocked in two runs with one out and later scored on a hit by Florida Southern University’s Sam Machonis.
New Haven right-hander David Palmer held the Stallions in check into the eighth inning, allowing single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. He allowed 10 hits but only two earned runs in picking up his second win of the season.
A two-out single followed by a walk loaded the bases with Stallions with two outs in the top of the eighth. With the tying run coming to the plate, Herkimer College right-hander Lucas Godlewski was summoned from the Mohawk Valley bullpen and struck SUNY-Cortland’s Keith Andrews out on three pitches.
Godlewski got into trouble again in the ninth. Herkimer teammate Eric Downey led off with a single and scored when New Haven’s Nick Russo delivered his second double of the game. Russo moved to third on a wild pitch and scored when Susquehanna University’s Taylor Luckenbill flew to left for the first out of the inning. Godlewski issued back-to-back walks with two outs, bringing the tying run to the plate again, then retired Fairleigh Dickinson University’s John Giakas on a pop-up to end the game.
The save was Godlewski’s first.
Pagano had two hits and drove in two runs for Mohawk Valley, Machonis had three hits, and Walraven had two hits.
Russo and Giakas each had three hits for Saugerties. Downey had two hits and a walk in four trips to the plate.
The five runs batted in were one short of Scocca’s season high but raised his team-leading total to 40. Scocca is the third DiamondDawg to reach 40 runs batted in during a PGCBL season; Marist’s Eric Helmrich set the franchise record with 41 in 2012 and Cornell University’s Chris Cruz had 40 that same year.
The win assures Mohawk Valley of a tie for second place in the East Division. Third-place Albany could catch the DiamondDawgs and controls the tie-breaker on the strength of a 4-1 head-to-head record.