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G15 - No relief for Phillies pitching staff in wild 14-9 loss

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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: G15 - No relief for Phillies pitching staff in wild 14-9 loss

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

G15 - No relief for Phillies pitching staff in wild 14-9 loss

AMSTERDAM — The Saratoga Phillies were unable to deliver a win on manager Kevin Graber’s birthday Monday night due to unplayable fields in Watertown. The local collegiate squad had a chance to make up for it on the road Tuesday at Amsterdam, but after almost delivering what the skipper wanted most, bunches of runs, the candles were blown out without another Phillies victory.

Saratoga (5-10) fell behind Amsterdam early on, 8-3, rallied to take the lead, 9-8, before the Phillies relievers once again fell victim to the Mohawks bats, losing 14-9, for their third loss in a row.

“I feel like when we are 0-0 or ahead, we only been able to score when we’ve been going for one run,” Graber said. “When we’re down by two or more, we don’t get runs in bunches. To win, we’ve got to get rallies of four or five runs.”
The runs came in bunches Tuesday night, once for the Phillies, but also for the hometown Mohawks on two separate occasions.

After a five-run outburst by Amsterdam in its half of the fifth inning, the Mohawks shook off a five-run comeback from Saratoga in the sixth and seventh innings and pounded the Phillies relievers for five more runs in the seventh, putting the three and a-half hour contest away for good.

Amsterdam’s Bryce Nugent (Marist) struck out, but reached on a dropped third strike, moving over on a Ricky Pacione (Marist) walk followed by a walk issued by new Saratoga reliever, Matt Tomshaw (Virginia), to Chris Bisson to load the bases.
Mark Onorati (Manhattan) ripped a two-run single up the middle, plating Nugent and Pacione. For the go-ahead, 10-9 lead in the bottom of the seventh.

The bases were loaded again when Mike Spina (Cincinnati) walked before Ben Clowe made his presence felt again with a grand slam over the extended left field wall for a 14-9 lead.

It ended a night that could have been more pleasant for the Saratoga manager.
Graber was the recipient of a birthday surprise in the sixth inning as his Phillies rallied from a five-run deficit.

Dale Alberto (Nova Southeastern) took a one-out walk and turned it into a run after a bloop single by Tyler Biddix (Virginia), an infield single by David Coleman (Virginia) and an RBI single by J.D. Martinez (Nova Southeastern). Biddix and Coleman were plated on a Larry Pempek (Northern Kentucky) RBI single and Martinez scored on a passed ball, cutting the lead, 8-7.

Despite the rally, the Phillies left the bases loaded to end the inning.
The presents continued to flow for the Phillies skipper, including two more in the seventh as the Phillies took a 9-8 lead into the late innings.

Alberto again led off a hit, this time a double to left centerfield, advancing on a single and scoring on a J.D. Martinez groundout to third, tying the contest at eight apiece. Coleman reached on a single to right and scored the go-ahead run on Ty Hohman’s RBI double down the left field line, putting Saratoga ahead, 9-8.

After Saratoga starter, University of Cumberlands right-hander Mike Fiers was lifted in the bottom of the fifth inning, newly arrived pitcher Billy Vernon (Stanford) was tagged for four runs on four hits off all four batters he faced in the fifth inning.
He gave up a three-run shot to Mike Spina (Cincinnati) over the right field fence and followed that up with a back-to-back offering to college teammate Ben Clowe (Stanford) for a quick 7-3 Amsterdam lead.

Vernon was lifted for left-hander Dennis O’Grady (Duke) who would give up a manufactured run by Amsterdam. Brendan Rowland (UAlbany) reached on a misplayed double to left field by Saratoga’s J.D. Martinez. He leapt, but missed the ball and his subsequent relay throw rolled through the infield, missing the entire relay staff, allowing the runner to reach third. Martinez made up for it, grabbing a foul pop by Bryce Nugent (Marist) at the left field fence for the second out of the inning, but was too deep to prevent Rowland from scoring on the fly out, giving the Mohawks a commanding 8-3 lead.

Saratoga managed to again score a single run after Vince Farfaglia (Francis Marion) led off with a double down the left field line and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He would knot the game at three apiece on an RBI single by Kyle Meyer (Marist) in the top of the fourth.

Amsterdam put together its second rally of the contest, two runs in the bottom of the third, again courtesy of an overzealous defensive play by starter, Mike Fiers (University of Cumberlands).

Chris Bisson (Kentucky) walked and advanced to third after a steal and a groundout. Meanwhile, Fiers plunks Mike Spina (Cincinnati) on the left arm, putting two runners on.

The drama came when Ben Clowe (Stanford) gets off a check swing dribbler down the first base line. Fiers and catcher Mike Moss (Maryland) converge and after the ball bounces into fair territory, Fiers picks it up and sends an errant throw wide of first base. The ball bounces through foul territory and out of play, allowing Bisson and Spina to score, putting the Mohawks ahead, 3-2.

Saratoga took a 2-1 lead in the second after Tyler Biddix (Virginia) reached on an error and was moved over on a sacrifice bunt by David Coleman (Virginia) and to third on a wild pitch. He would score on a sacrifice fly by Ty Hohman (Virginia Tech).

Fiers wouldn’t figure into the decision and Vernon was only saddled with an exploding ERA and not the loss, that fell on O’Grady. The book on the Saratoga relievers would never be considered a best seller, as Vernon, O’Grady and Tomshaw combined for 10 runs, all earned on 10 hits. They gave up four walks and struck out three in the final four innings.

SARATOGA 101 104 200 — 9 14 3
AMSTERDAM 102 050 60X — 14 12 3

Saratoga — MIke Fiers, Billy Vernon (5), Dennis O’Grady (5), Matt Tomshaw (7) and Mike Moss, Larry Pempek (6). Amsterdam — Logan Darnell, Ben Alsup ((6), Ricky Breymier (8) and Ben Clowe.
2B — (S) Vince Frarfalgia, Ty Hohman. (A) Brendan Rowland. HR — (S) Tyler Biddix. (A) Ben Clowe 2, Mike Spina.

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