LITTLE FALLS, NY— Western Division opponents seem to suit the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs. In fourteen games going into Sunday night’s tilt against the Newark Pilots, Mohawk Valley has won nine of them, most of the games against their Route 5 rival, the Utica Blue Sox.
They don’t do so badly against the Pilots, either.
Mohawk Valley’s pitching rotation only allowed one baserunner in the late innings, and led by Drew Arciuolo’s (Milford, CT/Fairfield University) three-run home run, the Diamond Dawgs defeated the Pilots by the score of 5-3.
A wild pitch by Mohawk Valley starter Brendan Welch (Easton, MA/Southern New Hampshire University) would score Darian Herncane (State College, PA/Binghamton University) and start off the scoring in the second inning for the Pilots.
An RBI double for Chris Sharpe (Burlington, MA/UMass-Lowell) in the top of the third would score Jordan Swiss (Petoskey, MI/Saginaw Valley State University) and give the Pilots back the lead. Newark would extend the lead soon after on an RBI single by Mark Tumosa (Willington, CT/UMass-Lowell) that would score Sharpe.
Arciuolo would give the Diamond Dawgs the lead back with one swing of the bat, as his three-run shot to left-center field would score himself and fellow Fairfield teammates Kevin Radziewicz (Cromwell, CT/Fairfield University) and Michael Conti (Glastonbury, CT/Fairfield University).
An RBI single by Radziewicz in the bottom of the fifth would score Mike Martinez (West New York, NJ/Rutgers University) and extend the Diamond Dawgs’ lead to two at 5-3. That would also chase starter Ryan Wesson (Baldwyn, MS/Northeast Mississippi CC) from the game, as he would be replaced by Tysen Fischlin (Sumner, WA/Skagit Valley CC).
The two-run margin would be all Diamond Dawgs closer Zachary Vennaro (New Hartford, NY/Monroe CC) would need, as he would only allow one baserunner in the top of the ninth before forcing pinch hitter William Gorman (Nassau, NY/RIT) to line out to him to end the game.
Welch would pick up the win for Mohawk Valley (23-17), while Vennaro picked up his eighth save of the season. Wesson would be saddled with the loss for the Pilots (25-20).
With the win, the Diamond Dawgs’ magic number drops to two. Any combination of Mohawk Valley wins and losses by the Glens Falls Dragons over the next few days will punch their ticket to the 2016 PGCBL playoffs.
Attempt number one at making the playoffs will have to come sometime during a six-game road trip for the Diamond Dawgs. The first try will come Monday, as the Diamond Dawgs head to the Robert Smith Sports Complex in Boonville to face the Adirondack Trail Blazers in a doubleheader. The Pilots will have a day off on Monday before the same Trail Blazers come in to Colburn Park for one game on Tuesday.