LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. – With just seven one-thousandths of a point separating the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs from staying at Veteran's Memorial Park for the playoffs and heading to Siena Field, every game is crucial. Tuesday night, the DiamondDawgs showed everyone why they will not go away quietly.
Russ Olive (Chelmsford, MA/UMass Lowell) and Alexis Monge-Rodriguez (Pembroke Pines, FL/Barry) were responsible for five of Mohawk Valley's six runs, while a trio of Mohawk Valley pitchers kept the Utica Blue Sox guessing en route to the 6-2 victory.
The Blue Sox struck first in the top of the third, when a single by Taylor Olmstead (Greenwich, CT/Southern New Hampshire) got away from the Mohawk Valley second baseman, allowing Matthew McDermott (Little Falls, NJ/William and Mary) to score.
With one swing of the bat, Olive gave the DiamondDawgs the lead in the third. His booming shot over the left field fence scored himself and Monge-Rodriguez, and gave Mohawk Valley a 2-1 lead. That home run gave Olive his seventh of the 2017 season and sole possession of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League home run title, breaking a tie with Liam Wilson and Anthony Gonnella, both of Amsterdam.
Back-to-back walks and a hit batsman by Utica starter Louie Varland (Maplewood, MN/Concordia-St. Paul) loaded the bases full of DiamondDawgs in the fourth. Monge-Rodriguez would make him pay with a booming triple to left field to score Ben Porter (Newton, MA/Columbia), Tom Moore (Burnt Hills, NY/College of St. Rose) and Dan Deely (Sonoma, CA/Sacramento State).
Olmstead continued his hot streak in the fifth, smacking a ball to straightaway center field for a solo home run to bring Utica (15-27) to within three runs. That ball became Olmstead's fourth long ball for the season.
A double by Porter and back-to-back walks issued by Utica reliever Jon Meyerring (Council Bluffs, IA/Miami of Ohio) loaded up the bases full of DiamondDawgs in the eighth. Meyerring would walk Monge-Rodriguez with the bases loaded to bring home Joe Engel (Downers Grove, IL/Columbia) and provide some insurance for Mohawk Valley. However, Meyerring would mitigate the damage, forcing Tim Zeng (Lumberton, NJ/Fairfield) to fly out to end the inning.
From there, Mohawk Valley starting pitcher Jack Fossand (Woodbury, MN/Dartmouth) and relievers Jonathan Sell (Charlton, NY/Herkimer) and Zachary Vennaro (New York Mills, NY/Mount Olive) pitched admirably for the DiamondDawgs (26-14). The trio only allowed two baserunners in the last four innings to put the game away for Mohawk Valley.
Fossand picked up the win for the DiamondDawgs, while Varland was saddled with the loss for Utica.
Mohawk Valley will go on the road tomorrow for a non-traditional doubleheader with the Albany Dutchmen. The first game will be a resumption of a game back in June that was called in the tenth inning due to darkness with the score tied at four. The Blue Sox will head west to McDonough Park tomorrow to face off with the Geneva Red Wings.