LITTLE FALLS, NY – Luis DeLeon had two home runs and four RBI’s on Friday, which was enough to power the Utica Blue Sox to a doubleheader sweep of the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs, 5-4 and 7-2.
Jacob Josey (Ellenton, FL/Florida Atlantic) got Game One started with a bang, as his first home run of the season was a no-doubt rocket to left field. He would score Jake Barbiere (Randolph, NJ/Rider) and give the Diamond Dawgs an early 2-0 lead. However, Utica starter Casey Keller (Tampa, FL/St. Petersburg) would maintain his confidence, striking out the next three batters he saw to keep the deficit at two.
Matt Tobin (Newport, NY/Herkimer) extended the lead in the second with his own hard-hit ball, an RBI single to left field to score the speedy Ryan Keenan (Lighthousen Point, FL/Vanderbilt). Utica would claw the deficit back to two in the third on an RBI single by Gabe Sherman (Prospect, KY/Wooster), scoring Tim Mira (Stamford, CT/Eckerd). A sacrifice fly by Luis DeLeon (Providence, RI/Central Alabama CC) cut the deficit to one, scoring Ben Montenegro (Toms River, NJ/Wagner).
Joseph Carpenter (Cornwall, PA/Delaware) would repeat Josey’s feat in the third, parking a ball over the left-center field wall for a solo home run and bringing the Mohawk Valley lead back to two. Utica would not go away, however, as LJ Bryant (Leesburg, GA/Florida A&M) came home on a passed ball in the fourth.
The score would be tied in the sixth after an RBI single by Brenton Phillips (Leesburg, GA/Akron), scoring Mira again. The Blue Sox took the lead on a walk by Robbie Young (Louisville, KY/Appalachian State) with the bases loaded.
That would be all Keller would need, setting the Diamond Dawgs down in order to pick up the win in Game One, while Connor Stapleton (Staten Island, NY/Concordia) picked up the loss.
Bryant started the Blue Sox off on the right foot with a hard hit ball to left field that would score Young on the RBI single. The Blue Sox doubled the lead on an RBI double by Gabe Sherman (Prospect, KY/Wooster) that scored Aaron Previsky (California, PA/California – PA). Back-to-back solo home runs by DeLeon and Josh Hatcher (Albany, GA/Mississippi State) made the lead even bigger, to four before the second inning ended.
Not to be shut out on his birthday, Dylan Klock (St. Johnsville, NY/St. Thomas Aquinas) got the Diamond Dawgs on the board on a ball down the third base line that brought Josey and Nick Cimillo (Airmont, NY/Manhattan home. DeLeon would do it again, however, belting a two-run shot to left field to bring the game back to a 5-run deficit.
Josey brought them back to within four with an RBI single to center, scoring Barbiere. However, that was all reliever Ray Pacella (Stony Point, NY/Rockand CC) would give up, forcing Cimillo into a groundout to end Game Two.
Dalton O’Boyle (Fort Wayne, IN/Davenport) picked up the win for Utica, while Hunter Sibley (Millville/Iona) got the loss for Mohawk Valley.
Mohawk Valley (26-15) will continue their set of five games in three days at Shuttleworth Park on Saturday when they face the Amsterdam Mohawks. They’ll finish up the set on Sunday back at Veteran’s Memorial Park when they host a twinbill against the Watertown Rapids. The Blue Sox and Diamond Dawgs will meet back one more time in Little Falls on Monday.
Before that final game against the Diamond Dawgs, the Blue Sox (28-13) embark on a Western Division swing that may dictate their playoff seedings before August 1st. That starts on Saturday at Colburn Park with a Newark Pilots team that will be looking for nothing more than playing a late-season spoiler. It ends on Sunday with a top-two showdown with the Geneva Red Wings that could be a preview of the Western Division Final.
Photos by Dave Warner