The Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs needed seven games to pick up their first win in 2016. This year, the Diamond Dawgs would only need one, and they got win number one in a big way. Mohawk Valley scored at least one run in all but two of their innings, and the Diamond Dawgs socked two home runs to slam the Glens Falls Dragons by the score of 12-4.
The Diamond Dawgs started things off with a bang (or more of a thud) in the bottom of the first, as Johnny Mayer (Suffolk, VA/Norfolk State) would be hit by a pitch. Matt Smith (Placerville, CA/Sacramento State University) would hammer a single to left field to put runners on first and second. One batter later, Austin Pollack (Harrison, NY/Hofstra University) would bring them all home with a three-run shot directly to center field to give Mohawk Valley the early lead.
Two straight singles by Joe Engel (Downers Grove, IL/Columbia University) and Zack Coker (Tuscaloosa, AL/University of Alabama) would put starting pitcher James Varela (Levittown, NY/LIU-Post) in a second-and-third jam with one out. However, Varela would force the Diamond Dawgs to fly out to left and center field to end the second inning.
A single by Dragons shortstop Mark Powell (Middletown, RI/College of St. Rose) and an error by his Diamond Dawgs shortstop Engel put Mohawk Valley starting pitcher Joe DeSarro (Frankfort, NY/Southern New Hampshire University) in an early first-and-second jam. Just like Varela before him, however, DeSarro would strikeout Brian Wasilewski with a massive swing to end the Dragons' threat in the top of the third.
DeSarro would find himself in another first-and-second jam, this time with no outs in the top of the fourth. Returning Dragon Dan Lowndes (Poughkeepsie, NY/Siena College) would lead off with a comebacker to center field, and Miles Moore (Asheville, NC/Bucknell University) would walk. However, the Diamond Dawgs starter would show his resolve, rattling off two strikeouts in the next three batters to retire the Dragons in the fourth. DeSarro would finish the game with eight strikeouts.
Coker would extend the Diamond Dawg lead in the bottom of the fourth, as his ball all the way to the left field wall would net him a triple and score Clay Koniencki (Schwenksville, PA/Monmouth University). Coker would come home on a wild pitch by Varela.
Russ Olive (Chelmsford, MA/UMass Lowell) would give the Diamond Dawgs a six-run lead just three pitches into the bottom of the fifth inning, as the River Hawks sophomore crushed a ball into straightaway center field. Engel's sacrifice fly to right field would score Pollack, the front end of back-to-back singles for Mohawk Valley after Olive's home run.
Dalton Ney (Brentwood, TN/Lee University) would put the Dragons on the board in the top of the sixth, as yet another ball would hit where Olive's and Pollack's would hit earlier: in direct center field, about five rows up into the bleachers. That bomb would score himself and Moore.
Ben Porter (Newton, MA/Columbia University) would get one of the Glens Falls runs back for Mohawk Valley, as an errant throw by catcher Anthony Vaglica (Franklin Square, NY/LIU-Post) would score him. Pollack would add on another fielder's choice in the sixth that would score Smith.
Vaglica would make up for his error in the very next inning, however, as he would hit a home run that would bang off the roof of the tool shed in deep left field to score himself and Powell.
Porter would score Mohawk Valley's (1-0) tenth run of the game in the seventh with a double off the left field wall. His long ball would score Koniencki, but that would be all that reliever Robert Paccione (Commack, NY/LIU-Post) would give up in the seventh.
Dragons (0-1) reliever Chris Paiva (Middletown, RI/Eckerd College) would quickly find himself in a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the eighth without giving up a hit. Paiva hit two batters, walked another and had one reach on an error to score Olive. Another hit batsman, Paiva's third of the eighth inning, would score Nico Ramos (Holland Patent, NY/Siena College), but a fielders' choice would mercifully get Paiva out of the inning.
Crandall Poore (Gray, GA/Middle Georgia State) would hit Jared Drizin (Las Vegas, NV) to start the inning, and would get into a bases-loaded jam with two outs. However, Poore would strike Moore out to put the Opening Day game in the win column for Mohawk Valley.
DeSarro would pick up the opening day win for Mohawk Valley, while Varela would be saddled with the loss for Glens Falls.
Mohawk Valley will finish up the two-game home stand to open the 2017 season on Friday, as they will start the Patriot Bank Cup series against their fiercest rival, the Amsterdam Mohawks. The Dragons will head back to East Field for their home opener against the Albany Dutchmen.