LITTLE FALLS, NY – On a night where the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs were supposed to be celebrating their home opener, the visiting Watertown Rapids proved to be the rain on their proverbial fireworks (though the actual fireworks at Veteran's Memorial Park went on as scheduled).
Trevor Kuncl knocked in four RBI's, while three other Rapids knocked in two apiece in Watertown's 14-1 victory over Mohawk Valley. The win was a welcome one for Watertown, who returned to the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League after a two-year absence, when they were formerly the Watertown Rams.
The first hit for the newest team in the PGCBL came just three batters into their existence, when Bailey Lewis (Matthews, NC/Catholic University) hit a seeing-eye single into left field. Luckily for Mohawk Valley pitcher Tim Geissel (Scotch Plains, NJ/St. John Fisher), that hit would come to nothing, as he would force a pop fly to left field to end the Rapids' half of the first.
Ryan Hernandez (Boston, MA/SUNY Albany) made sure the Rapids' first game would be a tough one, as he deposited a solo shot over the left field fence for – officially – the first run of Mohawk Valley's season. (The Diamond Dawgs scored 14 of them in an exhibition game against the New York Collegiate Baseball League's Rome Generals on Thursday night.)
The first run of the Rapids' inaugural season came in the top of the fourth, and it came in a big way for Watertown. A home run by William Huertin (Covington, LA/Rhodes University) just grazed the right-center field fence to tie the game at one. Trevor Kuncl (Cincinnati, OH/George Washington) added two more on a home run of his own, slamming a ball into the center-field stands, scoring himself and Michael Russell (Staten Island, NY/Stony Brook).
The Rapids extended their lead in the top of the sixth, with a hard hit ball by Julian Kurych (Middletown, DE/Wilmington). The ball would fly just out of reliever Colin Nye's (Salem, MA/Union College) reach and into center field, scoring Russell.
Reliever Erislandy Rives (Hialeah, FL/Barry University) managed to get himself in a bases-loaded jam in just four batters in the top of the seventh inning on three straight walks. Luckily for Rives, he was able to keep those bases loaded by forcing the Rapids to strike out and fly out to left field to end the Rapids' half of the inning. Watertown was not done, however, as pinch hitter Daniel Little (Nicholesville, KY/Richmond) came on in the top of the eighth to score the Rapids fifth run of the night. He would bring home Kuncl on the hard hit ball to the left side of the infield.
Watertown added another one in the top of the ninth inning, off the bat of Russell this time. His ball alllowed Huertin to score. Kuncl would add a run of his own on a hard hit ball up the middle to score Russell as well. Lewis would add another two runs on a single that just passed the outstretched glove of the third baseman to score Kuncl and Kurych. Samuel Neal (Smithfield, VA/Case Western Reserve) added another on a long single to right-center field that would score Jacob Telli (Hendersonville, TN/Rhodes). Meanwhile, Huertin, on his second at-bat of the ninth, repeated Lewis' feat and scored Lewis, while a passed ball scored Nolan Wilson (Atlanta, GA/Virginia Tech). Russell picked up another RBI as well, repeating Kuncl's feat to score Neal. Kuncl picked up yet another RBI as well, on a ground ball that scored Huertin. In all, 13 Rapids players would come up to bat in the ninth, and the only player not to score in the inning was Little.
That would be all closer David Marmann (Jericho, NY/LIU Post) would need, only allowing a hit to Barbiere before striking out the final two Diamond Dawgs to put the game away and give Watertown their inaugural win as a franchise.
Pawelek would pick up the Rapids' (1-0) inaugural win and ink his name in Watertown's history books. Geissel would be saddled with the loss for Mohawk Valley (0-1).
The Diamond Dawgs head out on their first road trip on Saturday, a four-game trip that first takes them west to Colburn Park for an inter-divisional matchup with the Newark Pilots. The Rapids will have their home opener at Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds on Saturday, where they will welcome the Utica Blue Sox. The two will meet again in just one week, when the Rapids will make a return trip to Veteran's Memorial Park next Saturday.