LITTLE FALLS, NY--It seems that blue suits Utica.
Taylor Olmstead (Greenwich, CT/Southern New Hampshire) slammed two triples for the new-look Utica Blue Sox (1-0), and was responsible for two of Utica’s five runs, as the Blue Sox started their first campaign in the PGCBL in style, knocking off the defending champion Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs by the score of 5-2
The Blue Sox would start out strong in the first inning, forcing Diamond Dawgs starting pitcher Mike Appel (Orange, CT/Central Connecticut State) to walk the first two batters he saw. Appel would hit Olmstead to quickly put himself in a bases-loaded jam with no outs. Mitchell Clandra (Floral Park, NY/Eckerd College) would make him pay, albeit slightly, as his sacrifice fly scored Mike Warren (Macon, GA/Andrew College) and also scored the first run in the newly-branded Blue Sox’ history. Appel would calm down and put out the last two Blue Sox to mitigate his damage to one.
The Diamond Dawgs would tie the game up again, as Justin Kiesow (Frankfort, NY/Herkimer CC) racked up a long RBI single that would score Tanner Leeknecht (Billings, MT/Treasure Valley CC). That would be all that Utica starter Craig Prince (Newark, OH/Otterbein) would give up in the second inning, however, as right fielder Dylan Hutcheson would fire a bullet that would put out Nick Plachno (Bristol, CT/Central Connecticut State) at third base.
The Blue Sox took the lead back in the third, as Olmstead’s triple would score Jared Baldinelli (Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada/St. Bonaventure). Appel would get out of the inning with the damage mitigated to one yet again, as another bullet, this time fired by center Mike Martinez (West New York, NJ/Rutgers) after a fly ball, would put Olmstead out at home.
Olmstead would hit yet another triple in the top of the fifth inning, slamming one to about the same place in right field as the first one to score Baldinelli, just like the first time. Just like the first time, however, Olmstead would be stranded at third base, as Appel would put Clandra out to end the inning.
Mohawk Valley would claw back however, as Sean Mazzio’s (West Chester, PA/ Wagner College) ground ball RBI single would score Kiesow to cut the lead back down to one, 3-2. Prince would get himself into a second-and-third jam before forcing Tanner Wessling (Kent, WA/ University of Tennessee-Martin) to pop out to end the Diamond Dawgs’ half of the fifth inning.
Colin Bohnert (West Caldwell, NJ/Rutgers) would take the ball from Mohawk Valley starter Appel in the top of the seventh inning. However, the Blue Sox would not be so friendly to the Rutgers junior, as Clandra and Robbie Young (Louisville, KY/Maryville College) would put together back-to-back RBI singles to extend the lead to three, 5-2.
That would be all the Blue Sox would need, as Prince and reliever Chad Burrows (Dayton, TN/Bryan College) would combine to keep the Diamond Dawgs off the scoreboard for the last four innings and record their first win under their new brand.
Appel would be saddled with the loss for Mohawk Valley (0-2). Prince would record the win for Utica, and Burrows would receive the save.
The Blue Sox will head home to Murnane Field for their home opener , as they host the Elmira Pioneers. The Diamond Dawgs will try to get their first win of the season as they will head to the Robert Smith Sports Complex in Boonville to face the Adirondack Trail Blazers.
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