Mohawk Valley DiamondDawg Cullen Wacker won the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League’s home run derby at Dunn Field Monday then hit a game-winning home run in the All-Star Game.
By Little Falls Times:
The lefty-swinging Wacker had already singled, doubled and scored two runs when he came to the plate in the top of the ninth inning with two runners on base in in a tie game to face Cooperstown Hawkeye Parker Ray. Wacker lost his bat while fouling off a pitch from Ray and had to retrieve it from a fan. The fan wound up with an even more memorable souvenir when Wacker returned the bat following his three-run home run over the right field fence.
Scoring ahead of Wacker were Albany Dutchmen Anthony Turgeon who had drawn a one-out walk and Brandon Trinkwon who had singled.
The East Division had not led at any previous point in the game and Amsterdam Mohawks manager Keith Griffin handed the ball to his own closer, Abram Williams, for the bottom of the ninth. Williams struck out two of the three batters he faced to close out the game.
Before delivering his decisive hit in what was to be the final inning regardless of whether either team scored, Wacker had sparked the East Division’s comeback from a 4-1 deficit. He led off the sixth inning with a single against Cooperstown’s Collin Blankenship. Golden Eagle Josh Anderson followed with a double and Wacker scored when David Olson, another Golden Eagle, grounded out. Daniel Klein drove his Glens Falls teammate Anderson home with a triple to make it a one-run game.
Wacker led off again in the eighth inning against Elmira’s Wes McBride and delivered a double. Anderson followed with a single and one out later Wacker scored the tying run on a base hit by Klein.
Watertown Wizard Erick Gaylord walked and scored the first run of the game on a double by Elmira’a Justin Lamborn in the first inning. Lamborn later scored n a wild pitch. Gaylord gave the West Division its 4-1 lead with a two-run home run against Golden Eagle Derek Mazzio in the third inning.
Olson homered off Jordan Carter of Elmira in the second inning.
Four other DiamondDawgs appeared in Monday’s game. Tyler Kane, Selby Brummett and Willie Gabay each pitched one scoreless inning and Dave Soltis went 0-for-2 as a replacement for the East’s designated hitter. Kane set the side down in order in the second inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced; Brummett allowed one hit and struck out a batter in the fifth; and Herkimer County Community College’s Gabay pitched a 1-2-3 seventh with one strikeout.
Wacker has two home runs through 31 games for the DiamondDawgs after hitting one in 50 games during his first season at Auburn. Each of the league’s eight teams entered one player in Monday’s home run derby and Wacker defeated Anderson 1-0 in the final round of five swings.
Anderson and Klein each contributed two hits to the East Division’s total of 12 in the All-Star Game. Nine pitchers each took a one-inning turn on the mound and combined for nine strikeouts and two walks.
Lamborn was the only player with two hits among the West Division’s seven.
With the All-Star Game representing the symbolic midpoint of the season, the second half starts Tuesday and sends the DiamondDawgs on the road to Cooperstown for the first game of a home-and-home series that continues Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Park.