LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. – The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs took to the field at Veteran's Memorial Park wearing pink jerseys for breast cancer awareness. Mohawk Valley scored four in the first and three in the fourth and never looked back, knocking off the Utica Blue Sox, 9-6.
While it may have been a slugfest all night on Saturday, after two close games over Glens Falls on Friday, the DiamondDawgs were certainly tickled pink with the result.
Mohawk Valley got right on the board in the first with a two-RBI single by Russ Olive (Chelmsford, MA/UMass Lowell) that got away from the Utica left fielder and all the way to the wall. That ball scored Tim Zeng (Lumberton, NJ/Fairfield) and Austin Pollack (Harrison, NY/Hofstra). Olive would get home himself on a long RBI double by Clay Koniencki (Schwenksville, PA/Monmouth). Dan Deely (Sonoma, CA/Sacramento State) extended the lead on a hot grounder that took a bad hop past the Blue Sox third baseman and scored Koniencki. Luckily, Utica starter Riley Moore was able to get out of the inning with just four runs to his credit, putting the next two DiamondDawgs down in order to end the first with only a four-run deficit.
Olive would continue the scoring in the second, with a high, lazy bouncing ball that would get away from both the Utica first and second basemen. That super ball-like hit would score Pollack.
Mohawk Valley starter Jonathan McKinney (/Southern Union State CC) would find himself in big trouble in the third, putting the first three Blue Sox he saw in the inning on base. Zane Harris would put Utica on the board with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored leadoff hitter Kyle Norman (Ellicott City, MD/Buffalo). Nathan Thyssen (Appleton, WI/Concordia) knocked a ball to the center field wall just one batter later, scoring Mitch Calandra (Floral Park, NY/Eckerd) and cutting the Mohawk Valley lead to three. Just one batter later, Rob Andreoli (North Wantagh, NY/LIU-Post) cut the lead to just one on a long flare that scored Cole Pursell (Oceanside, CA/Willamette) and Thyssen. The scoring for the Blue Sox continued with Jimmy Mendyk (Massapequa, NY/LIU-Post) with another flare to center field that would score Andreoli. Luckily for McKinney, he would leave the third inning with just a tie score, as the ninth and final Blue Sox player flew out to left field to end the third.
Pollack would score yet again in the fourth, on a passed ball from Moore that the Hofstra product just barely beat back to the plate, giving the DiamondDawgs back the lead. Ben Porter (/Columbia) extended the lead on a lazy bouncing ball. The Utica shortstop made a Herculean effort to corral the ball, but was unable to keep Olive from scoring. Koniencki would get in on the fun as well, scoring on an RBI single by Deely.
Matthew McDermott (Little Falls, NJ/William and Mary) would continue to keep the score close for the Blue Sox, scoring on a bouncing ball from the bat of Norman in the fifth.
Porter would not be denied on this night, however, getting another RBI that scored Olive in the sixth and brought the lead back to three for Mohawk Valley (19-7).
Meanwhile, relievers Jonathan Sell (Charlton, NY/Herkimer) for Mohawk Valley and Brent Kessinger (Parkland, FL/North Park) for Utica performed admirably for their respective teams. After both relievers came in in the fifth, both only surrendered one run.
Clay Chatham (Newport Beach, CA/Dartmouth) would come on in the ninth and only allow one walk to Andreoli before forcing Mendyk to ground out to pick up the win for Mohawk Valley and the save for himself.
Sell picked up the win for the DiamondDawgs, who are now riding a three-game win streak. Utica (8-20) saw a three-game win streak of their own snapped, and Moore picked up the loss.
The DiamondDawgs are off on Sunday, and will travel to Boonville for the first of three battles with the Adirondack Trail Blazers in the coming week on Monday. The Blue Sox will travel back to Donovan Stadium on Sunday to face the Glens Falls Dragons.