Photo by Dave Warner – DiamondDawg pitcher Jimmy Joyce from Hofstra University throws out the ceremonial first pitch before Tuesday’s game after being notified that he had been selected by the Seattle Mariners in the Major League Baseball draft.

By Josh McMullen – Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs

LITTLE FALLS, NY – The Watertown Rapids had to forfeit Sunday night’s second game of their doubleheader against Auburn due to a pitching shortage. They almost had another one Tuesday night in Little Falls.

The Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs scored eight runs in the bottom of the first and never really looked back as they beat Watertown, 15-3 in eight innings on the mercy rule.

The game did not start well for Watertown starter Matthew Haines (Mechanicsville, VA/Richmond), giving up a single and two free bases (a walk and a hit batsman) to load up the bases before he even recorded an out in the first. That was when Tyler Cannon (Clayton, NJ/Iona), returning from a shoulder injury, skied a ball over the second baseman’s head to score Jake Barbiere (Randolph, NJ/Rider). A balk by Haines would score Mike Becchetti (Eastchester, NY/Fairfield), then Evan Berta (Yorktown Heights, NY/Fairfield) would bring home two runs: first, a single to center field to score Matt Venuto (Mansfield, MA/Fairfield) then a passed ball on an attempted stolen base to bring home Cannon. Haines would get Chris Peralta (Lynbrook, NY/Molloy) out before allowing a walk with the bases loaded to bring home Berta, He’d do the same to Barbiere, bringing home Cedric Rose (Pittsfield, MA/UMass Lowell).

Venuto would batter Haines again, this time with a two-RBI single to score Vincenzo Castronovo (Utica, NY/Bryant) and Rob Taylor (Wolcott, CT/New Haven). Mercifully for Haines, the inning would end one batter later, but not before 13 Diamond Dawgs would come to the plate and eight runs would come home.

The Diamond Dawgs would get to Haines once again in the third, as Taylor would score from second on a hard hit looper to right field from Becchetti.

Jon Sylvester (College Station, TX/Montreat College) would replace Haines in the fourth, and he would not fare much better, as Barbiere would bring home Berta and Castronovo with a 2-RBI single.

The Rapids finally got on the board in the sixth on a close play down the first base foul line by Tony Santa Maria (Absecon, NJ/Iona) that scored Ryan Strollo (Wolcott, CT/Fairfield). Santa Maria would come home on a ground out by Jordan Dissin (Malvern Prep, PA/Richmond). A walk by Mohawk Valley reliever Troy Butler (Fort Plain, NY/Binghamton) with the bases loaded scored Dylan Broderick (/Pittsburgh-Johnstown).

The game got even worse for the Rapids in the seventh, as an error by the Watertown third baseman scored Venuto. Peralta would put the mercy rule within reach as his 2-RBI single would score Berta and Rose. The Diamond Dawgs would finally get the mercy-rule win on an RBI double by Venuto in the eighth to mercifully end the game for the Rapids.

Jack Erbeck (Skilman, NJ/Fairfield) picked up the win for Mohawk Valley (14-15). Haines got the loss for Watertown (12-21), who see their playoff hopes fall further underwater.

Mohawk Valley will be on the road for a non-traditional doubleheader on Wednesday when they face the Utica Blue Sox. Game 1 will finish the game suspended on Sunday, with the Diamond Dawgs leading 2-0 in the top of the second inning. Game Two will be a half-hour after the conclusion of Game One. Meanwhile, Watertown will have two days off before facing those same Utica Blue Sox at Murnane Field on Friday.

Photos by Dave Warner