LITTLE FALLS, NY—It’s every Little Leaguer’s dream: to come up to bat with the bases loaded with a chance to win the game for their team.
For Mohawk Valley’s Mike Martinez (), the dream was realized Friday night at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Little Falls.
Martinez’s three-RBI single capped off an exciting night in Little Falls, as the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs won a thriller over their Route 5 rival, the Utica Blue Sox, 11-10.
In a rematch of pitchers from the first meeting between the two teams (Utica’s Craig Prince (Newark, OH/Otterbein University) and Mohawk Valley’s Mike Appel (Orange, CT/Central Connecticut State University)), it would be Prince, the winner from that game on June 2, who would get in the game’s first jam, as he would find himself in a first-and second jam in the bottom of the second without allowing a hit (hitting Tanner Leenknecht (Billings, MT/Treasure Valley CC)and walking Andrew Turner (King of Prussia, PA/Long Island University-Brooklyn)). Martinez would make Prince pay right away, as a streaking grounder would score Leenknecht. That would be all that Prince would give up, as he would force the next three batters out to end the second inning.
Appel would find himself in the same jam in the top of the third, which would turn into a second-and-third jam with a passed ball by Kevin Radziewicz (Cromwell, CT/Fairfield University), who was making his Mohawk Valley debut (along with Drew Arciuolo (Milford, CT/Fairfield University)). Mitchell Clandra (Floral Park, NY/Eckerd College) would bring home the Blue Sox’ first run of the game soon after, as his sacrifice fly to right would score Jared Baldinelli (Niagara Falls, Ontario/St. Bonaventure University).
Mason Fessler (Woodburn, OR/Willamette University) would put the Blue Sox in the lead rather quickly, as he would smash a solo home run to deep center field in the fourth to give Utica the 2-1 lead. From there, the runs would be scored in bunches, as eighteen of the 21 runs scored in the game would be scored after Fessler’s home run.
A first-and third jam in the bottom of the fourth would tie the game up again, as another passed ball, this time by Utica’s Jack Goertzen (Salisbury, MD/Shippensburg University), would allow Turner to score. The Diamond Dawgs would take the lead on a single by Justin Kiesow (Frankfort, NY/Herkimer CC) that would score Martinez.
Kiesow would score just one batter later on a very curious play. A pitched ball would get away from Goertzen and mysteriously disappear from Goertzen altogether. In all the confusion, Kiesow would make his way around the bases and give Mohawk Valley a 4-2 lead.
Appel would find himself in a quick first-and-second jam that would turn into second and third with a passed ball by Radziewicz. Clandra would make Appel pay again, as his double to deep left field scored Mike Warren and Franklin Jennings. A walk to Taylor Olmstead (Greenwich, CT/Southern New Hampshire University) would put Appel in another first-and-second jam, but a fielder’s choice would end the fifth with the score tied at four.
Mohawk Valley reliever Brandon Welch (Easton, MA/ Southern New Hampshire University) would get the first out in the top of the sixth inning, but would allow himself to get into a bases-loaded jam, allowing the next three Utica batters to reach base. Yet again, Clandra would make the Mohawk Valley pitchers pay, as his RBI single would score Baldinelli and Mike Warren (Macon, GA/Andrew College). That would chase Welch from the game, as he would be replaced by Shane Reardon (Kinnelon, NJ/ Southern New Hampshire University). Reardon would start out well, putting the first three batters he faced out.
Michael Klingensmith (Punxsutawney, PA/Indiana University-Pennsylvania) would come out in relief for Prince in the bottom of the seventh, and one inning later would find himself in a first-and-third jam with no one out. Martinez would make that jam a little bit harder to swallow for Klingensmith, as his bloop single into right field would score Leenknecht and bring Chad Burrows (Dayton, TN/Bryant College) into the game for the Blue Sox.
Kiesow would tie up the game just two batters into Burrows’ tenure in the game, as his sacrifice groundout would score Andrew Turner. Only two batters later, Arciuolo, in his Diamond Dawgs debut, would send a ball just far enough to give Mohawk Valley the lead, scoring Martinez.
Mistakes would get to the Blue Sox again in the inning, as a mental error by Burrows would allow Arciuolo to not only steal a base, but get all the way home as the ball got away from third baseman Kyle Winkler. That would be all for the Diamond Dawgs, as Burrows would strike out Justin Fowler to mitigate the damage to four runs in the eighth.
Coming off a big save for Mohawk Valley against Oneonta the night before, Jon Sell would come on to pitch the ninth inning. However, he would quickly find himself in a bases-loaded jam with just one out. Sell would walk Winkler home to cut the Mohawk Valley lead to one.
Pinch hitter Dylan Hutcheson would make the damage even worse, as his infield single would score Joe Spitaleri and tying up the score. Franklin Jennings would put the Blue Sox in the lead with a fielder’s choice that would score Goertzen, and then a wild pitch by Sell would score Hutcheson.
Martinez would play the hero with the bases in the bottom of the ninth for Mohawk Valley (2-6), as his bases-loaded, three-RBI single would be misplayed and score all three runners on base (Radziewicz, Michael Ketchmark (Dallas, TX/Dartmouth College), and Leeknecht) to win the game in thrilling fashion for the Diamond Dawgs.
Sell would earn the win, while Burrows, in a workman’s effort, would be saddled with the loss.
The Diamond Dawgs hit the road tomorrow, as they will head to East Field to face the Glens Falls Dragons. The Blue Sox (6-2) will head back to Donovan Stadium at Murnane Field to face off with the Newark Pilots.