By Josh McMullen – Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs
Tuesday night’s game at Veteran’s Memorial Park had to have been extra sweet for Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs Jack Anderson (Ontario, Canada/Hofstra), Jimmy Joyce (Wantagh, NY/Hofstra), and Ryan Morash (Califon, NJ/Hofstra). After all, their coach was in attendance.
Former Mohawk Valley and current Pride coach Blake Nation was in attendance in Little Falls on Tuesday night to see his former team play. Nation was also on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Unfortunately, Nation would not see his old team come home with a victory, as a ninth-inning rally fell just short and the Watertown Rapids came home with both ends of an early-week home and home series, taking the game in Little Falls, 7-5. However, despite getting the loss, Sal Fusco had another solid game for Mohawk Valley, racking up ten strikeouts in six solid innings of work. In all, Mohawk Valley pitching put 17 K’s up on the scoresheet.
The Diamond Dawgs got on the board first just three batters into the bottom of the first, when a hard-hit ball by Matt Venuto (/Fairfield) to left field scored Morash. It would take seven batters before the Rapids would get on base again and it would tie up the score for the Rapids in the third. Matt Tobin (Newport, NY/Herkimer College) sent a ball flying over the left-field fence to tie the game at 1. The Rapids got the lead back on a stand-up triple by Dylan Broderick (/Pitt-Johnstown) that would score David Stirpe (Hilton, NY/Niagara County CC).
Watertown extended the lead to two on a bad break by Mike Becchetti (Eastchester, NY/Fairfield), as the ball bounced off the tip of his glove and headed out to center field. That scored Frank Wayman (Horseheads, NY/Herkimer College), while a single to center field by Tobin scored Wayman and gave Watertown a 4-1 lead after three and a half innings.
The Diamond Dawgs cut the lead to two on a passed ball by Brendan Williams (Auburn, NY/Cayuga CC). They’d cut that lead to one just a couple of batters later on a fielder’s choice that scored Alfredo Delgado (Bronx, NY/Manhattan). The bottom of the fourth was not good to Williams, as he would give up three walks in the inning.
The Rapids would get one run back in the very next inning as a ball hit by Dixon Black (Archbald, PA/Monmouth) caromed off the head of Tyler Cannon (Clayton, NJ/Iona College). Fortunately, Cannon would walk off under his own power but would be replaced by Daniel Burnett (Granville, MA/Hartford). The hit would score Broderick, as would the next hit from Ryan Strollo (Wolcott, CT/Fairfield), scoring Anthony Santa Maria (Absecon, NJ/Iona College).
Watertown picked up some insurance in the ninth on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Hazel Martinez (New York City, NY/Cayuga CC) that scored Wayman.
Venuto would cut the lead to two on a looper to right field in the ninth, scoring Delgado and Chris Peralta (Lynbrook, NY/Molloy). However, that would be all reliever Chase Doris (Alamo, CA/Chapman) would allow, striking out the next two batters with the bases loaded to end the game.
Williams picked up the win for Watertown. Sal Fusco (/UMass Lowell) was saddled with the loss for Mohawk Valley (7-10). Doris picked up the save for the Rapids.
The Diamond Dawgs will start a week on the road on Wednesday when they head to Falcon Park to face the Auburn Doubledays. Their next game at Veteran’s Memorial Park will be next Tuesday when they – yet again – host the Watertown Rapids. The Rapids will head back to the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds on Wednesday when they host the Utica Blue Sox.