LITTLE FALLS, NY – The Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs wore pink jerseys and raffled them off after their game on Thursday night to raise money for breast cancer. Unfortunately, the visiting Watertown Rapids left them feeling blue.
The Rapids hit three two-run bombs, responsible for half their runs, as the Rapids edged only a game and a half of Mohawk Valley with the 12-4 victory.
Michael Russell (Staten Island, NY/Stony Brook) got things started quickly for the Rapids just four batters in, smacking a ball to deep left-center field, just out of the reach of Mohawk Valley center fielder Austin Pollack (Harrison, NY/Hofstra). That hit would score Russell and Julian Kurych (Middletown, DE/Wilmington). Josh Bozoian (Chino Hills, CA/Union) would hit one of his own to just about the same spot in the second to score himself and Ben Maycock (Newington, CT/UConn).
It didn't get much better for Mohawk Valley starting pitcher Tyler Schoff (Lee Center, NY/Bryant). 11 Rapids would step up to the plate in the second, plating another five runs to give Watertown a big 7-0 lead after just two innings. Schoff would manage to get through one more inning before being replaced by Tim Geissel (Scotch Plains, NJ/St. John FIsher).
Joe Tevlin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada/Niagara) would get the Diamond Dawgs on the board in the fifth, knocking a ball all the way to the wall that would bring Tyler Bruno (Breinigsville, PA/Villanova) all the way home from second. Not to be outdone, Pollack would cut the lead to five on a sacrifice fly to right field that would bring home Tevlin.
Ryan Hernandez (Boston, MA/San Jacinto CC) brought Mohawk Valley even closer with a line drive into right field. That run would bring home Tevlin and Pollack, the latter of which made an acrobatic leap over the Watertown catcher to extend the inning. However, Daniel Little (Nicholesville, KY/Richmond) in a bout of expert baserunning, managed to pick up two stolen bases on one at-bat, coming home on a throwing error by Tevlin. The Rapids would bring home another run off the bats of Kenny Bergmann (Philadelphia, PA/UConn) and another two run home run by Nolan Wilson (Atlanta, GA/Virginia Tech).
The Rapids would add another in the ninth on a hot ground ball by Kurych that would score Little. That would be all reliever Dylan Wiley would need in the ninth, only allowing two baserunners the rest of the way to put the game in the win column for Watertown.
Tony Rivera picked up the win for Watertown (20-17). Schoff got the loss for Mohawk Valley (21-15).
The Diamond Dawgs enter a stretch in the final two weeks of the season where five of their last ten games will be within the friendly confines of Veteran's Memorial Park. They'll have another home game on Friday when they host the Utica Blue Sox. They'll finish out the week with a home-and-home series with the Oneonta Outlaws.
The Rapids have the opposite stretch: six of their last ten games will be on the road and all but three will be against Central Division foes. However, they will be back at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds on Friday for a crucial division matchup with the Adirondack Trail Blazers. They'll then bookend a day off on Sunday with two separate trips to Utica for yet another crucial matchup,this time against the Utica Blue Sox on Saturday and Monday