Courtesy of Watertown Daily Times
WATERTOWN — Those in attendance for the Watertown Rapids’ home opener on Saturday night were treated to fireworks after the game.
Unfortunately for the Rapids, the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs put on a power display during the game.
Nick Cimillo and Ryan Hernandez each homered to pace the DiamondDawgs to an 11-1 rout of Watertown in a Perfect Game Collegiate League game before a crowd of 800 at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
“It’s a tough one, that’s a good team over there,” Watertown coach Mike Wood said. “We came out a little flat, and a couple plays here and there that didn’t go our way, a couple calls didn’t go our way.”
Cimillo (Manhattan College) hit a three-run home run to power a four-run first inning for Mohawk Valley, which went on to score three more runs in the second to build a 7-0 lead.
“We had a very good night,” said Mohawk Valley head coach Cory Haggerty, whose team defeated Newark, 9-1, in its season opener Friday. “We had solid pitching, good defense and hitters had timely hits, so there’s the game right there.”
Meanwhile, the Rapids, who won their season opener, 13-8, the night before at Adirondack by rallying to score six runs in the ninth inning, managed seven hits against the DiamondDawgs — all singles.
“We couldn’t really string any hits together back-to-back, we couldn’t get a rally going,” Wood said. “But we did our fair share of leaving guys on base, we left the bases loaded one inning. … So that hurts, too.”
Watertown didn’t help its cause early by committing an infield error in each of the first two innings.
“They did get up on us early,” Wood said. “We had a couple plays that we probably could have made in the early innings that at least would have saved us a few runs. They got on us early.”
Kyle Johnson doubled in a run with a drive off the left field wall in the top of the second inning for Mohawk Valley, and Jake Barbiere followed with a two-run single to left field for the seven-run lead.
The Rapids bounced back with a run in the bottom of the second as Michael Rounds singled to lead off the inning and with two out scored on Danny DiMarzo’s single to left field — but Watertown wouldn’t score again.
“But what are you going do?” Wood said. “That’s going to happen, these games are going to happen throughout the summer and you try and limit them and back it up with playing stronger defense. We’ve got to come out tomorrow and bounce back.”
DiamondDawgs starter Joe Papeo (Rider) scattered four hits over five innings, striking out four and walking none to earn the win.
“I thought he was pretty good,” Wood said of Papeo. “He is similar to the guy we saw (Friday) night, so I thought we might be able to kind of get in a rhythm there, but he was pretty good.”
Rapids starter Matt Aufiero yielded seven runs, with five of them earned, struck out three and walked three in three innings of work to take the loss.
Reliever Spencer Vainavicz came in and held Mohawk Valley scoreless for two innings, but overall gave up three runs in four innings of work.
Hernandez, who also played for Mohawk Valley last season, leading the league in batting average and was among the leaders in home runs and RBI, connected on a solo home run in the sixth inning and added an RBI single for the DiamondDawgs, who totaled 14 hits on the night.
“All the guys are playing their parts and we’re getting timely hitting,” Hernandez said. “So when everyone’s contributing and doing what they’re supposed to be, we’re going to be the team to beat.”
Last year, Hernandez and the DiamondDawgs lost at home in a one-game playoff to the Rapids, who advanced to the league semifinals with the win.
“Absolutely, we played them in the playoffs and we lost to them last year,” said Hernandez, who played his college season this year with the University of Houston after transferring from San Jacinto Community College, also in Texas.. “So coming out here for their (home) opener and making an early statement of what we’ve got this year is really important for us.
“We’ve been talking about this game for a while, coming out here and showing what we got, just having fun with it.”
Rounds (UMass) singled twice to pace Watertown offensively.