LITTLE FALLS, NY – It’s official: there will be no more chicken stir fry cooking at Veteran’s Memorial Park.
The Mohawk Valley slugger, who flew to the top of the hitting lists in his one and a half years in Little Falls, used that as his walk-up music (the song is officially titled “Stir Fry” by the rap Migos) for his entire career for the Diamond Dawgs. Thursday was his last day at Veteran’s Memorial Park, as he must return for classes at the University of Houston.
Hernandez would go out with a bang, though, scoring the tying run and helping the Diamond Dawgs grab a lead they would never relinquish. Hernandez would go out a winner, though, grabbing a 7-2 victory over the Adirondack Trail Blazers.
What started out as a pitcher’s duel between Mohawk Valley’s Sal Fusco (Albany, NY/UMass Lowell) and Adirondack’s Corey Loper (Middletown, DE/Delaware State) went into the third inning with no hits. The first hit of the game that came in that third inning was also the first hit of the game, off the bat of Justin Guerrera (Watertown, CT/Fairfield). That hit, a hot grounder to left field, would score Ryan Keenan (Lighthousen Point, FL/Vanderbilt) easily from second base.
The Trail Blazers finally got to Fusco in the fourth, off the bat of Andy Hague (Woodbridge, CT/UConn). Hague laced a ball into left field to score both Chris Rotondo (Redding, CT/Villanova) and Alec Burns (Amherst, NH/West Virginia).
Mohawk Valley tied the game up in the sixth, on back-to-back doubles by Ryan Hernandez (Tampa, FL/Houston) and Dylan Klock (St. Johnsville, NY/St. Thomas Aquinas). Klock’s, a screaming grounder down the third base line, allowed Hernandez to score easily from second base. The local boy would give the Diamond Dawgs the lead in the seventh, bouncing a ball over the Adirondack shortstop’s head to score Keenan.
That was when Nick Cimillo broke what was a tightly contested game wide open, blasting a three-run moonball over the center-field fence to give Mohawk Valley a 6-2 lead in the seventh. That home run was Cimillo’s seventh of the season, solidifying him as the PGCBL’s home run king.
The Diamond Dawgs were not done, though, scoring another run in the eighth on an RBI single from Owen Wosleger (East Hampton, CT/Mount St. Mary’s). That hit, perpetuated by a couple of errors, scored Jacob Josey (Ellenton, FL/Florida Atlantic).
That would be all Connor Stapleton (Staten Island, NY/Concordia) would need, forcing a game-ending double play to push the Mohawk Valley (12-9) win streak to three.
Tyler Faccenda (Denville, NJ/LaFayette) picked up the win for the Diamond Dawgs, while Jack Bebbington (Monroe, CT/Marist) was saddled with the loss for Adirondack (6-12).
The Diamond Dawgs will be back on the road on Friday, heading east to East Field to face the Glens Falls Dragons. They’ll also reignite the Route 5 Rivalry on Saturday at Murnane Field against the Utica Blue Sox before hosting the Newark Pilots on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers well enjoy a two-game homestand on Friday and Saturday against the Blue Sox and the Oneonta Outlaws, respectively, before ending the week with a well-deserved day of rest.
Photos by Dave Warner