By Josh McMullen – Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs
LITTLE FALLS, NY – There were supposed to be two games played on Friday night at Veteran’s Memorial Park between the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs and the Oneonta Outlaws. However, the old saying held true on Friday night: Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
What happened in the last two games between these two teams? The lights went out in Oneonta in 2019, canceling the game. Then, earlier this season, the game was rained out.
The Diamond Dawgs and the Outlaws didn’t learn, and so, they were doomed to repeat it. They had to wade through a half-hour rain delay and then a fire. In spite of it all, however, Mohawk Valley was able to ride out the chaos, earning a 9-7 victory.
The Diamond Dawgs got the scoring started just four batters in, when Matt Venuto (Mansfield, MA/Fairfield) skied a ball to left field, scoring Stags teammate Mike Becchetti (Eastchester, NY/Fairfield). Jake Barbiere (Randolph, NJ/Rider) would score as well just one batter later, on a fielder’s choice by Evan Berta (Yorktown Heights, NY/Fairfield).
The game was stopped in the bottom of the second inning due to rain with Mohawk Valley leading 2-0. After about a half-hour delay, the rain subsided and play resumed.
Mohawk Valley scored another run just one batter after the delay, scoring Vincenzo Castronovo (Utica, NY/Bryant) on an RBI double play by Ryan Morash (Califon, NJ/Hofstra). That was all Oneonta would allow in the second, however, as Josh Paino (Temecula, CA/St. Mary’s) would work his way out of a bases-loaded jam.
There was another short delay in the top of the third as a transformer blew and started a fire in the park. Fortunately, all the fire resulted in was chaos, and no injuries were reported. After all the chaos, Berta would score Barbiere again on a hard-hit ball to left. Berta would also score just two batters later on a groundout by Cedric Rose (Pittsfield, MA/UMass Lowell).
Oneonta finally got on the board in the fourth on a hard-hit double to left field by Ryan Weiss (Nyack, NY/SUNY Oswego) that scored Carson Swank (Ashburn, VA/Yale). Weiss would score himself on another double, this time by Baylor Cobb (Winnsboro, LA/Tulane) to right field.
Mohawk Valley got one run back just one pitch into their half of the fourth when Rob Taylor (Wolcott, CT/New Haven) skied a ball into the center field bleachers to extend the lead back to four. That was when Berta would strike again, scoring Becchetti and Venuto on a hard-hit, 2-RBI single to center field.
The Outlaws cut the lead back to four in the fifth, as Paul Tommaro (New City, NY/SUNY Oswego) blasted a drive to deep center field. His 2-RBI double scored Brenden Harris (Altamont, NY/Cypress College) and Jacob Hand (Niskayuna, NY/Worcester Polytechnic). Swank would score Tommaro on a comeback ball to center field. Tommaro would score on a triple by Reilly Hall (Cooperstown, NY/Coker).
Venuto would be hit with a pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth, which would score Brady Fureno (Canajoharie, NY/LeMoyne) and extend the Mohawk Valley lead back to three. Oneonta cut the lead back to two in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly to center field by Hand that scored Mario Demera (San Mateo, CA/San Francisco).
That would be all Jimmy Joyce (Wantagh, NY/Hofstra) would need, giving up only two hits against three strikeouts to finish out what was a very odd game in Little Falls.
Sal Fusco (Albany, NY/UMass Lowell) picked up the win for Mohawk Valley (13-14), while Joyce picked up the save. Jake Sandridge (Upper Marlboro, MD/St. Mary’s College of Maryland) was saddled with the loss for Oneonta (6-17).
The Diamond Dawgs will be playing an exhibition game with the Albany Athletics of the Albany Twilight League on Saturday at Veteran’s Memorial Park. They will be back in PGCBL action on Sunday with a doubleheader against the Utica Blue Sox at Donovan Stadium. The Outlaws will continue their road trip with the same team at the same place on Saturday.
Photos by Dave Warner