It was a dreary day at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Little Falls, as before and during the game, rain seemed to dominate the day, and it seemed that the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs would see their second straight Military Appreciation Night rained out.
As it turned out, they would get the game in, as Mohawk Valley would take advantage of three-run fourth and seventh innings to beat the West-leading Elmira Pioneers, 7-4.
The Pioneers would get on the board first, as Rob Perteet (Spanish Fort, Alabama/Samford University) would ground out to second base which would score leadoff hitter Taylor Hillson (Mansfield, Pennsylvania/Mansfield University). They would extend the lead to two as a hard running Colin Hawk (Beech Grove, Indiana/University of Indianapolis) would run hard to try and catch a lazy pop fly to third base by Hayden Kelly (Inverness, Florida/Florida State). Hawk’s endeavors would be in vain, however, as it would drop under him for a single that would score Justin Hayes (Chesapeake, Virginia/Old Dominion University).
The Diamond Dawgs would finally get on the board in the bottom of the third. Thomas Walraven (Pine Bush, New York/University of New Haven) would place a perfect bunt that would roll down the first base line, score Hawk and cut the lead in half.
Mohawk Valley would tie the game up in the fourth, as a wild pitch by starter Jared Proctor (Bardstown, Kentucky/University of Kentucky) would score Chris Rave (Middletown, New York/Herkimer CC). Hawk would finally put the Diamond Dawgs in front, as he would hit a looping single to left field to score Ryan Stekl (Lancaster, New York/Canisius College). Anthony Herrera (McKinney, Texas/University of Louisiana-Monroe) would extend the lead further, as his hot shot through the gap would score Malcolm Kelsey (Piscataway, New Jersey/St. John Fisher College).
The game would be suspended temporarily due to lightning in the top of the fifth with no outs and Elmira’s Keegan Maronpot (Tarpon Springs, Florida/Wake Forest University)on first due to a walk. After approximately a half-hour delay, the umpires allowed play to continue.
After the weather delay, starter Adam Ashenfarb (Morganville, New Jersey/Union College) would only allow one baserunner (Elmira third baseman Sam Clark(Trabuco Canyon, California/Bucknell University)) for Mohawk Valley before being pulled for Herrera, the winner from the Diamond Dawgs’ win on Sunday night against Adirondack. Proctor would be pulled as well for Mike Stephens (Frisco, Texas/Bucknell University) in Mohawk Valley’s half of the seventh inning.
Stephens would hit Stekl and Sam Machonis (Tampa, Florida/ Florida Southern College) back-to-back to load the bases full of Diamond Dawgs in the bottom of the seventh (substitute Andrew Turner (King of Prussia, Pennsylvania/LIU-Brooklyn) would walk to start the inning). Pinch hitter Troy Scocca (Syosset, NY/Fairfield University) would make Stephens pay with a huge double to right field that would score Turner and Stekl. Stephens would walk Hawk to load the bases again just one batter later. Anthony Capo ( Staten Island, New York/LIU-Brooklyn)would score another run on a fielder’s choice (scoring Machonis) in the next at-bat.
As the game wore on into the night, the All-Stars were announced, and it was learned that Scocca, Machonis, Walraven, Zachary Vennaro (New Hartford, New York/Monroe CC) and Herrera would represent the Diamond Dawgs in the All Star Game next week in their hometown. Representing the Pioneers on the West squad would be Christian Santisteban (Miami, Florida/Manhattan College), Kyano Cummings (Brewertown, New York/Siena College), Justin Lewis (Suwanee, Georgia/Kentucky), Josh Lovelady (Prattville, Alabama/Mississippi State), Will LaRue (Evansville, Indiana/Xavier), Tommy Mirabelli (Rocky River, Ohio/Kansas), and Perteet.
Evan Kissinger (Baton Rouge, Louisiana/LSU-Eunice) would take over for Herrera in the top of the ninth for Mohawk Valley. He would pitch himself into a first-and-second jam before allowing Maronpot to ground into the rare 4-4-3 double play (surprisingly, the second of the game) to slam the door on the Pioneers.
Ashenfarb would get the win for Mohawk Valley, while Proctor would get the loss for the Pioneers.
With the win, the Diamond Dawgs (18-15) push their winning streak to three games, while Elmira (23-12) sees their six-game winning streak come to an end.
Elmira will look to start another winning streak as they head off to Colburn Park to take on the slipping Newark Pilots. The Diamond Dawgs head up north to the Smith Sports Complex in Boonville for yet another game with West cellar-dweller Adirondack. The game will be the first of four nights where Mohawk Valley faces either the Trail Blazers or East leader Amsterdam.