By Jon Rathbun – Little Falls Times Sports
BOONVILLE, N.Y. — A long night in Boonville ended in victory early Thursday for the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs.
The DiamondDawgs blew a six-run lead against Adirondack and went 12 innings between runs before beating the Trail Blazers 8-7 in 17 in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League’s longest game.
Colin Hawk and J.D. Osborne hit back-to-back doubles against Youngstown State University’s Joe King, the fifth Adirondack pitcher, and produced the deciding run with two outs in the top of the 17th.
SUNY-Buffalo’s Blair Lakso gave up a single to Kyle Walker from Rutgers University leading off the bottom of the 17th but retired the next three Trail Blazers to close out the win.
Hawk’s double was hits first hit of the night and it came in the University of Indianapolis shortstop’s seventh at-bat. Polk State College’s Osborne capped a 3-for-6, three-RBI performance with his game-winning hit.
Adirondack scored a run in the first inning and took its only lead on an unearned run against Mohawk Valley starter Marcus Failing.
Anthony Herrera from the University of Louisiana-Monroe led off the third inning with a home run for the DiamondDawgs who then took the lead with a six-run fourth.
Zach Crim, the PGCBL’s reigning Pitcher of the Week from Chestnut Hill College, relieved SUNY-Cortland’s Jason Martin to start the fourth and ran into immediate trouble. Florida Southern University’s Sam Machonis led off with a double, Hawk walked, and Osborne singled Machonis home to give the DiamondDawgs a 2-1 lead. South Dakota State University’s Matthew Johnson, hitless in his last 16 at-bats, delivered another run-scoring single before Crim walked Herrera to load the bases with nobody out.
Marist College’s Mat Pagano drew another walk and forced a run home before Crim recorded the first out. Johnson, Herrera and Pagano all scored on wild pitches and the DiamondDawgs led 7-1.
Failing, the SUNY-Albany-bound left-hander from Fort Plain, ran into trouble of his own in the bottom of the fifth. Making his fourth start and yet to allow an earned run through 18 innings, he yielded back-to-back doubles to Birmingham Southern College’s Matt Brown and Chestnut Hill College’s Brendan Looby to break his streak with one out. Bryan Haberstroh from the New Jersey Institute of Technology drove in a run with a single and Siena College’s Brett Connors added a two-run double with two outs.
The Trail Blazers scored two runs against Herrera and tied the game two innings later.
Osborne led off the fifth inning with a single and no other DiamondDawg reached base until he walked in the eighth. A double play erased Osborne in the fifth inning and he was caught stealing in the eighth and Mohawk Valley went until the 12th before it left another runner on base.
Adirondack, on the other hand, stranded two runners after tying the game in the seventh, one in the seventh, and two each in the ninth and 10th as the game remained tied at 7
Zach Vennaro, the DiamondDawgs’ closer from Monroe Community College, pitched four scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk while fanning six Trail Blazers.
Tom Fazzini, the Adirondack closer from La Salle University, went 7 1/3 innings without allowing a run. Fazzini remains unscored upon through seven appearances and 16 1/3 innings.
Vennaro, who struck out in his first at-bat of the summer, has yet to allow a run in eight appearances and 13 1/3 innings.
The DiamondDawgs gave up their designated hitter when Herrera shifted from second base to the mound in the seventh inning. The two-way standout pitched five innings but forced Vennaro and Lakso each to bat once.
The four Mohawk Valley pitchers combined for 24 strikeouts, shattering another league record. The previous PGCBL high for strikeouts in one game was 18, a total achieved three times over the past four years, twice by Amsterdam and once by Mohawk Valley on June 29, 2012, when Joe Michaud fanned 15 Glens Falls batters in the first seven innings of a nine-inning game. Amsterdam set the record in a 15-inning game against Oneonta in 2012 and tied it last year in nine innings against Glens Falls.
Herrera struck out eight Trail Blazers, Failing and Vennaro six each, and Lakso had the final four. Adirondack’s pitchers countered with 14 strikeouts and the teams combined for 17 walks.
The 38 combined strikeouts were another record.
The PGCBL’s longest previous game was 16 innings, reached in back-to-back games by the Albany Dutchmen and the then Glens Falls Golden Eagles at the end of the 2013 season. The first game was the completion of suspended game earlier in the season; the second was a winner-take-all contest that gave Albany the final spot in that summer’s playoffs.
Pagano reached base five times Wednesday with two hits and three walks. Osborne walked twice and also reached base five times. Herrera, Machonis and the University of New Haven’s Thomas Walraven each added two hits. Fairfield University outfielder Troy Scocca went 0-for-7 but walked and reached base twice on errors.
Looby had three hits, including a pair of doubles, and scored twice for Adirondack which outhit Mohawk Valley 16-14.
The win raised Mohawk Valley’s record to the .500 mark at 9-9 and moved the DiamondDawgs past Albany’s Dutchmen into second place in the East Division. Albany played 18 innings Wednesday and managed to lose both ends of a doubleheader against Glens Falls.
The DiamondDawgs get a break from the road Thursday when they play at home against Newark at Veterans Memorial Park. They are back on the road Friday when they travel to Amsterdam.