LITTLE FALLS, NY – It was a night for home runs at Veteran's Memorial Park on Sunday, as in the second game between the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs and the Glens Falls Dragons in as many days, four of them flew out of the park.
However, where last night ended in an extra-inning walk-off loss for Mohawk Valley, this one ended in the same way, just in nine innings and a 6-5 victory for Mohawk Valley.
Russ Olive established himself as the home-run leader in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, hitting his third of the season and breaking a tie with Anthony Vaglica atop the home run list. However, Austin Pollack would end the game not with a whimper, but a slightly louder bang, as the Diamond Dawgs won in walk-off fashion, 6-5 over the Dragons.
Mohawk Valley starter Tyler Ksiazek (South Abington Township, PA/Monmouth) would find himself quickly in a jam, as Brian Uliana (Bethlehem, PA/Rider) and Mark Powell (Middletown, RI/College of St. Rose) hit back-to-back singles to lead off the game. A walk to Anthony Vaglica (Franklin Square, NY/LIU-Post) would load up the bases, and just two batters later, Dalton Ney (Brentwood, TN/Lee) would bring Uliana home on a sacrifice fly to left field. However, Ksiazek would record three straight outs to mitigate the damage to just one run.
Olive (Chelmsford, MA/UMass-Lowell) tied up the score just five pitches into the second, as his no-doubt home run off of Glens Falls starter Will Van Beusekom (Albany, NY/Marist) evened the score at one. Like Ksiazek before him, Van Beusekom would mitigate the damage to just one run, allowing just a walk before ending the inning.
Clay Koniencki (Schwenksville, PA/Monmouth) would do just one better than Olive in the third, clearing the center-field bleachers with a no-doubt home run of his own to score himself and Bronson Grubbs (Elk Grove, CA/Sacramento State). Van Beusekom would find himself in a jam just as quickly, walking Olive and hitting Austin Pollack (Harrison, NY/Hofstra). Luckily for the Dragons, Vaglica would catch Pollack off first base to leave the lead at two for the Diamond Dawgs. That would be the end for Van Beusekom, as he would be substituted Ryan Flansburg (Queensbury, NY/Herkimer College) after the inning.
Brandon Torres (Highland Mills, NY/SUNY Oneonta) would deposit another home run to tie up the score in the fifth, as his center-field blast that just eluded high flying Mohawk Valley center-fielder Ben Porter (Newton, MA/Columbia) – in fact, it flipped Porter over the fence -- scored himself and Matt Hamel (Gansevoort, NY/Siena).
Brian Wasilewski (Cheektowaga, NY/Buffalo) put the visitors up by one in the sixth, with another sacrifice fly that would score Ney. However, two straight outs by Ksaizek would continue to keep the lead at just one run. However, Ksiazek would give way to Nick Caregnato (Buena, NJ/North Carolina Central) at the end of the inning.
The Dragons would add another off the bat of Vaglica, when his ball would bounce off the center-field wall, giving him a double and scoring Powell. Yet again, Caregnato would mitigate the damage, leaving a Dragon on third defore striking out Dan Lowndes (Poughkeepsie, NY/Siena) to end the Glens Falls half of the seventh.
Dan Deely (Sonoma, CA/Sacramento State) would bring it back to a one run game, as yet another solo shot cleared the center-field fence to bring the score to 5-4. Suddenly, everyone in Veteran's Memorial Park was seeing shades of last night's 11-inning marathon at East Field.
Those fears would be enhanced in the bottom of the ninth (the twentieth inning the Diamond Dawgs and Dragons would play, as reliever Tom Taplin (Pulaski, NY/Buffalo) would hit Koniencki with the bases loaded to score Deely. Those fears would be allayed, however, as Pollack (though he had been hit three times on the night) slapped a looping single into right field to score Grubbs and pick up a thrilling victory.
Johann Doerrer (Dolgeville, NY/Mohawk Valley CC) would pick up his first win, playing for a Mohawk Valley (5-2) team that plays just six miles away from his house. Taplin would be saddled with the loss for Glens Falls (3-4).
These two teams will meet again on Wednesday at Veteran's Memorial Park, but before that, the Diamond Dawgs will head on a two-game road trip, starting at Damaschke Field on Monday against the Oneonta Outlaws. The Dragons will have a day off to lick their wounds before heading to Cantine Field to face the Saugerties Stallions.