PGCBL Daily Rundown - July 18, 2012

Watertown's Rene Solis (St. Mary's, Texas) pitches againt the Elmira Pioneers on Tuesday night. Photo courtesy Justin Sorensen/Watertown Daily Times

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Last Night's Scores
Cooperstown 10 Oneonta 5
Watertown 6 Elmira 4
Amsterdam 4 Mohawk Valley 3 (10)

Today's Games and Pitching Probables
Elmira at Oneonta, 7:00 p.m.
Dylan Waugh (Arizona Christian) 3-2, 4.95 ERA vs. Nathaniel Abel (Virginia) 0-2, 3.13 ERA

Glens Falls at Watertown, 7:00 p.m.
Ryan Peterson (Yavapai) 2-3, 5.12 ERA vs. Bryan Chudy (Clarkson) 2-1, 4.25 ERA

Mohawk Valley at Albany, 7:05 p.m.
Jesse Buratt (Baton Rouge C.C.) 2-0, 2.60 ERA vs. Andrew Furber (Gloucester County) 2-1, 4.50 ERA

Cooperstown at Newark, 7:05 p.m.
Chris Haggerty (Villanova) 1-1, 9.78 ERA vs. Andrew Tidwell (Saginaw Valley St.) 4-1, 6.55 ERA

*It was certainly an eventful night despite the fact there were just three games as opposed to the regular four.

*Watertown's Rene Solis (St. Mary's, Texas) turned in the performance of the night. In his final start for the Wizards, he was nearly perfect in a win over Elmira. Solis retired 21 of the 22 batters he faced over seven innings, walked none and struck out eight. Spencer Brann (UC Davis) was the only Elmira player to record a hit off of Solis, he smashed a solo home run to begin the second inning. After the home run, Solis retired the next 18 Elmira batters.

*However, Solis will not make another start for the Wizards. The southpaw from San Antonio, Texas, has compiled 165.1 innings between NCAA Division II St. Mary's University, which made a deep postseason run, and Watertown. He will be returning home to give his arm some rest. Solis finished his summer with the Wizards with impressive numbers. He went 4-1 over 48.0 innings with a 1.31 earned run average. Solis struck out 49, walked 10, and allowed just seven earned runs. He held opponents to a .182 batting average. The Watertown ace departs as the team leader in just about every major pitching category and he returns home as the league leader in innings pitched and strikeouts.

*Tuesday night's clash between first-place Amsterdam and second-place Mohawk Valley certainly lived up to the hype. There was a pitchers' duel between Mohawk Valley's Cameron Sorgie (UAlbany) and Amsterdam's Rocky McCord (Auburn), two ties, a two-run home run by the reigning PGCBL Player of the Week (Chris Cruz), a 21-minute lightning delay, a two-run rally in the eighth inning after said lightning delay and then a walk-off situation in the bottom of the 10th inning which saw the best hitter in the league for average, Zak Colby (Faulkner) win the game for Amsterdam with a walk-off double that ended Mohawk Valley's 11-game winning streak.

*Amsterdam's game-winning rally in the 10th inning almost didn't happen. Giuseppe Papaccio (Seton Hall) led off the inning with a double into right-center field. The double was nearly an out as Mohawk Valley's Mark Stuckey (Marist) made a valiant diving attempt into the gap but could not come up with the baseball. On Colby's game-winning double, he put it just over the head of Mohawk Valley left fielder David Del Grande (Sacramento State) off of the Chain Monster.

*Josh Nethaway (UAlbany) has been a late-game hero for the Mohawks in their last two contests against rivals Glens Falls and Mohawk Valley. Monday night, Nethaway bopped a two-run single with two outs in the seventh inning to force a 5-5 tie with the Golden Eagles. Two frames later, his one-out RBI single gave Amsterdam a 6-5 advantage. Last night, it was Nethaway again, this time in the eighth inning. He came up with the bases loaded, two outs and Amsterdam behind 3-1. He poked a single into the outfield that scored two runners to tie the game at three. The second-year Mohawk leads Amsterdam with 25 RBI and he has 51 in two PGCBL seasons.

*Mohawk Valley's league record 11-game winning streak began and ended in Amsterdam at Shuttleworth Park. The DiamondDawgs defeated the Mohawks, 11-7, on July 5 to start the streak and then of course it came to an end in extra innings last night.

*The league-leading Amsterdam Mohawks are the only team off today. Amsterdam needs just three wins to tie last season's total of 30. The Mohawks are five victories away from setting a new league high for wins; Glens Falls earned 31 victories last year to lead all eight teams.

*In last night's defeat, Mohawk Valley was held to three runs or less for the first time since June 28.Mohawk Valley has scored four or more runs in 31 of 35 games played. Glens Falls, Newark and Amsterdam are the the only teams that have kept Mohawk Valley below four scores.

*With a home run last night, Chris Cruz (Cornell) of Mohawk Valley moved up into a tie for second place in the league in home runs. He is one behind league leader and teammate Eric Helmrich (Marist). Mohawk Valley has three of the top five home run hitters in the league - Eric Helmrich, Chris Cruz and Jack Morrow (Young Harris). Roberto Vaz's three-headed mashing monster has accounted for 18 of MV's 25 belts.

*Mohawk Valley's Cameron Sorgie (UAlbany) took a hard-luck no decision in Tuesday night's loss to Amsterdam. Sorgie was fantastic for seven innings. He fired a three-hitter, allowed just one run, walked three and struck out seven. He retired the first 10 batters he faced and did not allow a hit until Zak Colby (Faulkner) cracked a one-out single in the fourth that scored Giuseppe Papaccio (Seton Hall). Sorgie ended his night by stranding four Amsterdam runners on base in his final three innings.

*Giuseppe Papaccio (Seton Hall) and Zak Colby (Faulkner) formed a formidable tag team for Amsterdam on Tuesday night. Papaccio scored three of Amsterdam's four runs and Colby drove in Papaccio twice - once to tie the game at one and then of course to win the game in the 10th. The two combined for three hits, four runs and four walks as the 2-3 batters in manager Keith Griffin's line-up.

*One note that I missed from Monday night that I wanted to mention was a strong relief appearance by Oneonta's Jeremy Rhoades (Illinois State) against Albany. Rhoades relieved Oneonta starter Sheldon Lee (U. San Francisco) in the eighth inning. He went on to face seven men over two innings and struck out six of them. Rhoades allowed a lead-off infield hit to Albany's Nolan Gaige (UAlbany) to start the eighth and then he struck out the next six batters swinging to end the game. This certainly has to rank among the better relief appearances this season.

*Cooperstown felled Oneonta yesterday with one big inning and it came right away in the first. The Hawkeyes jumped on the Outlaws from the outset with six runs on five hits in the bottom of the first. Steven Kandborg (Wenatchee Valley) started the inning and the rally with a lead-off double. Brad Vanderglas (Northern Kentucky) ended the parade with a three-run triple and then he scored Cooperstown's sixth run on a wild pitch. In two wins over the Outlaws, Cooperstown has scored 21 total runs and each victory has included one six-run inning.

*Oneonta's Logan Brown (Baylor) had the most hits of any league player on Tuesday night. Brown, the lead-off man for the Outlaws, cranked out four hits in five at-bats and drove in three for the Orange and Black.

*Not only was there ninth-inning drama at Shuttleworth Park, there was also late drama at Duffy Fairgrounds in Watertown. With Rene Solis (St. Mary's, Texas) out of the game, the Elmira bats came to life in the ninth against the Watertown bullpen. Kyle Coronel (Binghamton) started the inning with a lead-off triple and the Pioneers plated three runs before the Wizards called upon closer Jonathan Perez (St. Mary's, Texas) to hang on to a 6-4 lead. The San Antonio, Texas, native entered with runners on first and second and no outs. The first batter Perez faced bunted the runners over to second and third to set the table for 2011 PGCBL all-star Ty Yesensky (Old Dominion) and leading hitter Zac Bellinger (VCU). Perez struck out both men swinging to end the game with his fourth save.

*Watertown's Donald Walter (Cal Poly Pomona) scored one run on Tuesday night to break the PGCBL record for runs in a single season. Walter now has 39, he has surpassed the previous mark of 38 which was compiled last year by Amsterdam's Zach Shank (Marist). This season, Walter has a one-run lead over his nearest competitor, Mohawk Valley's Tyler Heck (Union, N.Y.).

Looking Ahead
*There are two weeks left in the regular season. Most teams generally have about 13 games or so remaining. Albany has the most games left with 15 on the schedule though one of those is a suspended game from last week that was called after seven innings due to darkness. Watertown has the fewest games left. The Wizards have just 11 games to go. Watertown has played 36 games and because of a rain out cancellation against Amsterdam on Sunday night, the means the Wizards should finish the season with 47 games played.

*For the first time since throwing a no-hitter last Wednesday, Mohawk Valley's Jesse Buratt (Baton Rouge C.C.) takes the mound. Coincidentally enough, he will be returning to the scene of the crime to make his second-straight start against the Albany Dutchmen at Bob Bellizzi Field. Buratt fired a seven-inning no-hitter one week ago today against Albany in a 5-0 win. Even with last night's loss, the DiamondDawgs are still in good shape with 21 overall victories and a 1.5-game lead on third-place Newark. The Dawgs have never lost at Bellizzi Field (6-0) and this season are 4-1 against the Dutchmen overall with the lone defeat coming in extra innings on July 3 in Little Falls. The stakes are higher for Albany as the Dutchmen float just below .500 and are one game behind fourth-place Glens Falls. The Dutch were off yesterday and last played on Sunday night when they were defeated by Oneonta 12-3 in a game that got away late. Fourteen of Albany's 16 wins have come when the team has scored at least four runs. The Dutchmen may need to win a slugfest as they've held opponents to three or fewer runs just eight times in 33 games. However when that happens, the team is 6-2.

*The longest road trip of the night sees Glens Falls bus up from the Adirondacks all the way to Watertown, about a four-hour drive. The Wizards wrap up a three-game home stand tonight against the Golden Eagles. It's just the second trip up north for Glens Falls and the first since June 7, a night when the two teams combined for five home runs in an 8-7 Watertown win. The Wiz Kids are unbeaten against the Golden Eagles in three games. Most recently, the Purple and Gold eeked out a 7-5 win at East Field. Watertown has scored at least seven runs in all three meetings with Glens Falls. Overall the Wizards have won two in a row at home and they have cut their deficit to sixth-place Albany down to 2.5 games. Watertown's offense has erupted for 24 runs in back-to-back home wins over Cooperstown and Elmira. Not since the last time Glens Falls traveled to Jefferson County have the Wizards won three in a row which happened between June 7 and June 9. Glens Falls knocked off Amsterdam on Monday night at home however the Eagles are 14-16 against every other team in the league. Two of three recent victories for the Eagles have come over Amsterdam, the other against Albany. While Glens Falls has been good at home (11-6), the team has struggled on the road (7-11). Glens Falls is 1-6 in its last seven road games with the only win coming at Shuttleworth Park in extra innings. The Eagles have not won back-to-back games since four-game win streak in early July.

*Oneonta finds itself in a three-team traffic jam in the standings along with Albany and Glens Falls. One game stands between fourth-place Glens Falls and co-sixth place squads Albany and Oneonta. Potentially all three teams could be fighting for one playoff spot. Another team that would like to be in that mix is Elmira. But the Pioneers have their work cut out trailing Oneonta and Albany by 3.5 games with 12 games left on the schedule. Tonight's head-to-head meeting between the Outlaws and Pioneers will be the seventh this season. The two sides traded two-game win streaks and have split the last two games with each team winning once at home. All six games have been decided by three runs or less and five of the six have been two-run games or fewer. Most recently, Elmira staved off an Oneonta comeback attempt with an eighth-inning home run from Tyler McIntyre (Central Conn. State) to win over Oneonta 8-6 on Sunday evening. Another tilt at the Dunn saw Elmira come back from a large deficit to shock Oneonta 7-6. The Pioneers are 3-1 against the Outlaws in their last four games. Both teams have been streaky and Jeckyll-and-Hyde like. Oneonta has posted eight different winning or losing streaks consisting of at least three or more wins/losses while Elmira has six such streaks. Both teams could use a shot in the arm, Elmira is 3-7 in its last 10 while Oneonta has posted a .1-5 mark through its last six. However, the Outlaws are 4-1 in their last five on the Damaschke diamond.

*Former PGCBL West rivals Newak and Cooperstown round out the schedule tonight at Colburn Park. Last year at this time, the Hawkeyes were outmanuevering the Pilots for first place in their division. Cooperstown would go on to win the division but it was Newark that won the best-of-three playoff series. It's hard to believe but the Pilots and Hawkeyes have played just three times this season. Cooperstown and Newark have not matched up since a doubleheader on June 21 at Doubleday Field. The two teams played what essentially amounted to a three-game series between Colburn Park and Doubleday Field on June 20 and 21 because of a rain-out. Cooperstown took two of three from Newark though all three games were decided by a single run. Cooperstown's coming off a 10-score explosion in a win over rival Oneonta while Newark owns the longest active winning streak in the PGCBL currently at five games. The Pilots have outscored opponents 32-20 in their winning streak which has included four home victories. The defending league champs are 10-7 at Colburn Park this season. Tonight will mark Newark's eighth home game since July 8. After tonight, eight of Newark's last 10 games will have been at home. The Pilots, potentially with a win and help from Albany, could find themselves just a half-game behind second-place Mohawk Valley at the end of the night. Newark leads fourth-place Glens Falls by 1.5 games. Eight of Cooperstown's 10 victories have come when the team has scored five or more runs. In its last five wins, Cooperstown has scored eight or more times.

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