It had been 674 days since the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs had last taken the field and 676 since they had played at Veteran’s Memorial Park. Since then, they’ve signed a new – albeit familiar – face to be their manager (former assistant coach Steve Luby) and another familiar face to their coaching staff (assistant coach, Fort Plain native and long-time Diamond Dawg fan and parent John Fureno).
Unfortunately, those familiar faces would have to wait to get Luby his first-ever win as manager of the Diamond Dawgs, as the Utica Blue Sox would take advantage of five Mohawk Valley errors and take home Round One of the Route Five Rivalry, 12-7 over the Diamond Dawgs.
The Blue Sox (2-0) got the first run of the game three batters in on a bloop single by Luis DeLeon (North Carolina Central), scoring Harris Williams (San Francisco). That would be all starting pitcher Sal Fusco (Albany, NY/UMass Lowell) would give up in the first, forcing the next two Blue Sox players to strike out swinging to end the Utica first.
The first runs of the season for Mohawk Valley (0-1) came off of one swing from Matt Parkinson (Whitesboro, NY/Carson-Newman University) in the first. His blast to left field scored himself and the person who got the first hit of the season for the Diamond Dawgs, Daniel Burnett (Granville, MA/Hartford). The Blue Sox tied up the score in the second on a wild pitch by Fusco that scored Davey Moffett (Sherrill, NY/Manhattan). Fusco would calm down again, though, forcing Williams to strike out to keep the score tied.
Utica took the lead again in the fifth, this time on a passed ball from Reece Bolton (Wilmington, DE/University of Delaware) that scored Williams. Bolton managed to get the next two batters out to end the Blue Sox fifth, but not before surrendering two more passed balls.
The Diamond Dawgs evened it up again in the bottom of the inning, on a bloop single to center field by Joe Novenche (Clifton Park, NY/Maryland-Baltimore County) that scored Tyler Cannon (/).
The Blue Sox, never saying die, got the help of a local slugger, Ryan Enos (Oriskany, NY/) to start the sixth. Enos mashed a ball all the way to the left-field wall, scoring fellow local player Moffett as well as Felix De Aza De La Cruz (Mohawk Valley CC) and Michael Dallas (Kentucky). Utica added another two off the bat of Luis DeLeon (North Carolina Central), who hit it to the same place Enos did in left field, scoring Enos and Williams. Kyle Schmack (Valparaiso) would get into the action as well, smacking a ball to center this time to score DeLeon. Edward Javier (Coppin State) managed to get a ball into the shortstop-third base gap to score Schmack.
The errors would continue to pile up for Mohawk Valley and the Blue Sox would take advantage, scoring runs on two errors in the eighth.
The Diamond Dawgs would not say die, scoring Brady Fureno (Canajoharie, NY/LeMoyne) and Kyle Kuramoto (Fort Lauderdale, FL/Palm Beach Atlantic) on back-to-back at-bats in the eighth.
Errors would help Mohawk Valley get a little bit closer, as two errors on the same play from Fureno cut the lead to 5. That would be as fas as the Diamond Dawgs would get, as Sherrill native Dewey Roden (LeMoyne)
Bolton would pick up the loss for Mohawk Valley, while Eric Steensma (Tennessee-Martin) picked up the win for Utica.
These same two teams will play again Sunday afternoon, this time at Donovan Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 PM.