LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. – Russ Olive had a night to remember. After all, how many Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League players can say they hit a cycle?
The UMass Lowell River Hawk can, however, it was in a losing effort, as the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs fell just short of their rival, the Utica Blue Sox, losing 5-4 in a very close game throughout.
The game did not start off well for Mohawk Valley starter Crandall Poore (Gray, GA/Middle Georgia State), as he allowed the first three Blue Sox to reach base. The biggest blow was a 2-RBI double by Cole Pursell (Oceanside, CA/Willamette) that got all the way to the wall, scoring Kyle Norman (Ellicott City, MD/Buffalo) and Taylor Olmstead (Greenwich, CT/Southern New Hampshire). Luckily for the DiamondDawgs, that would be all Poore would give up, as the next three Utica batters would go down to end the Utica first.
Utica's Louie Varland (Maplewood, MN/Concordia-St. Paul) would make it interesting in the bottom half, loading up the bases without giving up a hit (walking two and hitting another). Luckily for Varland, he would force Dan Deely (Sonoma, CA/Sacramento State) to hit a very high pop fly to end the first inning.
Mohawk Valley got on the board in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Joe Engel (Downers Grove, IL/Columbia) that scored Nico Ramos (Holland Patent, NY/Siena). However, Varland would set the next two DiamondDawgs down back-to-back to mitigate the damage at one.
Deely would get payback in the bottom of the sixth, as he would bring Russ Olive (Chelmsford, MA/UMass Lowell) home on an RBI single to tie the game after Olive tripled to start the inning. Unfortunately for the DiamondDawgs, they could not bring the go-ahead run home after Ramos grounded into a double play to end the sixth.
Norman would put the Blue Sox up by one in the eighth on a flare to shallow left-center field that scored Chris Skermo (Montgomery, NY/Lackawanna). Pursell would continue his assault on Poore, smacking another RBI double that scored Norman and put the Mohawk Valley started in a second and third bind to boot. After a walk to Zane Harris loaded the bases, Poore would have his day ended, replaced by Clay Chatham (Newport Beach, CA/Dartmouth). Unfortunately for Chatham, a wild pitch would bring home Olmstead and extend the Utica lead to three at 5-2.
Olive would add to his big night in the bottom of the eighth, knocking a ball over the Fenway-like scoreboard in right field to pull the DiamondDawgs within two. That was Olive's fifth home run of the season, keeping him on pace with the home run leaders in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.
Another run would come home after reliever Brian Dolan (Lowell, MA/UMass Lowell) hit Alexis Monge-Rodriguez (Pembroke Pines, FL/Barry) with the bases loaded, bringing home Clay Koniencki (Schwenksville, PA/Monmouth).
In the bottom of the ninth, Olive would complete the cycle by slapping a single. However, it was not enough, as Koniencki flew out to right to end the game.
Poore would pick up the loss for Mohawk Valley (20-8). Brent Kessinger (Parkland, FL/North Park) earned the win with two-thirds of an inning out of the bullpen for Utica (10-21), while Austin Salnitis (Lenox, MA/Central Connecticut State) received the save.
The DiamondDawgs are right back at Veteran's Memorial Park on Wednesday for the second of three games against the Adirondack Trail Blazers this week. The Blue Sox head back to Donovan Stadium on Wednesday to face the Saugerties Stallions.