LITTLE FALLS, NY – They say, save the best for last. Monday night at Veteran’s Memorial Park, the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs saved their most dramatic for last.

Led by a three-run home run by Nick Cimillo, the Diamond Dawgs pulled off a very dramatic comeback, rallying from five runs down to grab the 7-5 victory.

LJ Bryant (Leesburg, GA/Florida A&M) got the scoring started with a bang in the second, launching a three-run shot to left-center field. That home run, Bryant’s first of the season, scored himself, Luis DeLeon (Providence, RI/Central Alabama CC) and Brenton Phillips (Leesburg, GA/Akron). Tyler Simon (Albany, GA/Kennesaw State) would extend the lead to four soon after, scoring Tim Mira (Stamford, CT/Eckerd) on an RBI single before the end of the inning.

Robbie Young (Louisville, KY/App) extended the lead to five in the fifth with an RBI single, this time scoring Simon from second. However, Mohawk Valley would come back in a big way in the seventh, as Nick Cimillo (Airmont, NY/Manhattan) hit a ball over the center-field bleachers, scoring himself, Joseph Carpenter (/Delaware) and Jake Barbiere (Randolph, NJ/Rider) and cutting the lead to two. Three straight errors would give the Diamond Dawgs the lead, scoring Dylan Klock (St. Johnsville, NY/St. Thomas Aquinas), Jimmy Joyce (Wantagh, NY/Hofstra) and Ryan Keenan (Lighthousen Point, FL/Vanderbilt).

In all, six runs would cross the plate, and 12 Diamond Dawgs would step up to bat in the seventh.

Klock would add some insurance, hitting into a fielder’s choice to score Carpenter in the eighth. That would be all reliever Jacob Josey (Ellenton, FL/Florida Atlantic) would need, allowing just one baserunner, but putting him out quickly on a dramatic double play to end the game and pick up the save.

Connor Stapleton (Staten Island, NY/Concordia) got the win for Mohawk Valley, who has won three straight. Frankie Venezia (Lindhurst, NJ/UMass Lowell) picked up the loss for Utica.

The Diamond Dawgs (29-16) will finish the 2019 PGCBL season on the road, with games on Tuesday and Wednesday against Adirondack and Oneonta, respectively. The Blue Sox will also travel for the last two days of the season, starting on Tuesday with a trip to Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds to face off with the Watertown Rapids. Utica will round out its season with a trip to Boonville to take on the Adirondack Trail Blazers in a potential playoff preview.

Both teams have clinched a playoff spot, and Utica (28-16) will start the games on Thursday at Murnane Field. The Diamond Dawgs’ opponent and venue for Thursday’s first-round game was yet to be determined at press time.

Photos by Dave Warner