LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. – A late rally came up short Saturday and the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs’ win reached its conclusion with an 8-6 loss to the Watertown Rapids.
The DiamondDawgs had won six straight games overall and five in a row in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League before falling behind 6-0 and battling back to bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning. The expansion Rapids, 14-1 winners in their previous visit to Veterans Memorial Park June 1, moved half a game in front of the DiamondDawgs and into first place in the Central Division.
The Rapids took an 8-3 lead into the ninth inning with Nolan Wilson, their starting first baseman from Virginia tech, on the mound for a second inning. Wilson walked the top two hitters in the Mohawk Valley lineup and SUNY-Albany’s Ryan Hernandez singled to load the bases. Villanova University’s Ryan Toohers flew out to left field and Monmouth University’s John LaRocca tagged up and scored. The remaining runners moved up on a wild pitch and Wilson recorded a strikeout for the second out before Rider University’s Jake Barbiere singled to center field, sending them home and bringing Mike Young from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell to the plate representing the tying run.
Wilson retired Young on a fly ball to left field and preserved the fourth straight victory for Watertown (6-2).
Watertown took advantage of leadoff walks against SUNY-Stony Brook’s Sam Turcotte in the second and third innings. The Rapids took a 2-0 lead in the second, scoring runs on a single by William Heurtin and a ground out by his Rhodes College teammate Jacob Telli.
Wilmington University’s Julian Kurych followed a leadoff walk with a home run deep into the football bleachers in center field in the third inning. Turcotte walked the next batter, drawing a visit from pitching coach Jabin Weaver, and struck one out for the first out of the inning. Heurtin homered with two outs in the third and put Watertown up 6-0.
Union College’s Colin Nye relieved Turcotte to start the fourth inning and held Watertown in check for the next four, allowing one run on an error in the fifth inning and another on back-to-back hits to start the seventh. Nye struck out seven batters and combined with Turcotte and Barry University’s Erislandy Rives, who fanned five each, to pile up 17 against the three walks in the loss.
Iona College catcher Stephen Furman led off the third with a single, Manhattanville College’s Austin Pollack walked, and Hernandez drove the first two Mohawk Valley runs home with a two-out single.