LITTLE FALLS, NY-- Heading into the seventh, Friday night's game between the Utica Blue Sox (10-12) and the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs (12-8) were as even as could possibly be. They each had the same number of runs and hits, with the only difference being in errors, with Utica leading in that category, 2-0. When they finished the seventh, it certainly wasn't that way.
The Diamond Dawgs scored 12 runs in the last two innings and batted around twice to turn a 4-4 game into a 16-4 game, which was the score Mohawk Valley won by.
The Diamond Dawgs got on the board first when a bases loaded hit by Joel Alvarez (Hainesport, NJ/Barry) would score Joey Castellanos (Nutley, NJ/UMass Lowell). The bases-loaded jam for Utica pitcher Troy Naab (DeLand, FL/Embry-Riddle) was exacerbated by a fielders' choice by Mark McKenna (Grand Island, NY/Canisius), scoring Ryan Hernandez (Boston, MA/SUNY Albany).
The Blue Sox tied the game up in the second with just one swing of the bat from LJ Bryant (Leesburg, GA/Andrew College), planting a ball in the center field bleachers. That hit would score himself and Colton Bender (Lebanon, CT/Quinnipiac). An error by third baseman Jerry Reinhart (Batavia, NY/Mercer CC) and an RBI single by Castellanos would give Mohawk Valley back the lead, scoring Tyler Bruno (Breinigsville, PA/Villanova). Yet again, Utica tied the game up in the third on back-to-back singles from Cole Habig (Plantation, FL/Embry-Riddle) and Bender. Bender's RBI single into right field would wind up scoring Khalyd Cox (Palmetto, FL/Savannah State). However, the Diamond Dawgs' McKenna was Johnny-on-the-spot once again, giving Mohawk Valley a one-run lead once again, knocking his first home run of the season over the right field fence to give his team a 4-3 lead.
Cameron Phelts' (Tyler, TX/Texas College) sacrifice bunt allowed Utica to tie the score up once again in the fourth, bringing Bryant home and tying the game up at four.
John Kasper (Wenonah, NY/Harford, CC) walked in the go-ahead run in the seventh, walking the first three batters he saw, then walking Austin Pollack to score the go-ahead run. As a matter of fact, two more Mohawk Valley runs would score by virtue of the walk. Ryan Toohers (Florham Park, NJ/Villanova) finally broke the game open with a 2-RBI single to right to score two more, and McKenna would get an RBI as well, hitting a ball into the gap that would score Hernandez. In all, 13 batters would come up to bat for Mohawk Valley, scoring eight runs.
The Diamond Dawgs would add some more insurance in the eighth. Another ten batters would come up and score another four runs, putting the game out of reach for the Blue Sox
Ryan Rodriguez (Upland, CA/UC Davis) picked up the win for Mohawk Valley. Kasper was saddled with the loss for Utica, who extend their losing streak to 4 games.
The Blue Sox will round out the first month of the PGCBL season with the first half of a two-game home stand, beginning Saturday at Murnane Field for a game with the Adirondack Trail Blazers. They'll meet both the Diamond Dawgs twice and Trail Blazers once more during that period (Mohawk Valley at home both Sunday and Tuesday, while traveling to Robert Smith Sports Complex on Monday) before traveling to Watertown next Thursday.
Mohawk Valley will start a three-game road trip on Saturday at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds for a 2:05 start with the Watertown Rapids. From there, they'll also make stops at Utica (for the third time in five games) on Sunday and Saugerties for their first of two games with the Stallions on Monday before circling back to Utica on Tuesday. The Diamond Dawgs will be back at Veteran's Memorial Park on Thursday to start a two game home stand, playing the Saugerties Stallions.