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G19 - Little Falls plays big, dumps Saratoga, 6-4

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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: G19 - Little Falls plays big, dumps Saratoga, 6-4

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.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

G19 - Little Falls plays big, dumps Saratoga, 6-4

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The baseball gods giveth and the baseball gods taketh away. Along with it went the Saratoga Phillies three-game winning streak Sunday night, falling to the Little Falls Miners, 6-4, at East Side Rec.

During the recent winning stint, Saratoga (8-11) relied on strong pitching performances, a stingy defense and timely hitting. On Sunday, some of the poorer old habits re-surfaced for the local collegiate squad.

“When Little Falls wins games, other teams make mistakes,” Saratoga Phillies manager Kevin Graber said. “We got away from a few of the things that we have been doing in recent games. We took a few too many fastballs with favorable counts and made some defensive mistakes.”

After scoring an early run, Little Falls scored three runs off NC State starter Jason Zinser over his five innings of work.
All three runs were earned, on three hits, he walked three batters and struck out five. What may pain the lanky right-hander as the two-run home run given up to Jaquin Valdez (Palm Beach Atlantic) in the fourth and the two hit batters along with a throwing error to first that led to his third run.

The deficit should not have been insurmountable, but Saratoga gave up an additional three runs to the Miners (8-9) three runs in the seventh for a commanding 6-1 lead.

Another error, this time by Phillies shortstop Ty Hohman (Virginia Tech) set the table for Little Falls designated hitter to drive in two runs with his drive to right field in the top of the seventh inning.

Despite being down by five runs, the Saratoga squad was vocal and upbeat late in the contest, cutting into the lead and putting the Minders on the ropes during its final at-bats.

“We’ve played Little Falls and had success,” Tyler Biddix (Virginia) said. “We didn’t want to let them come in our house and walk out with an easy 6-1 win.”

The NYCBL leading hitter, J.D. Martinez (Nova Southeastern) beat out an infield single and was followed by Hohman to start out the bottom of the eighth inning. With two outs, Biddix drove an Eric Fama offering down the left field line, cutting into the lead, 6-3. Biddix came around to score on newcomer Domonique Rodgers (NC State) RBI single through the left side, bringing the Phillies within two.

“This guy (Fama) came with a lot of fastballs,” Biddix said. “When he was behind 1-0 I knew he would throw a fastball. The last time I missed them, but I knew it was coming.”

After the second 1-2-3 inning by Saratoga’s relief tandem of Josh Simmons (Wheaton MA) and Billy Vernon (Stanford), the Phillies appeared poised to strike again.

Nate Holland (Louisville) returned from his hip injury and led off the ninth with a walk and advanced on a groundout. Hohman followed up with a single through the left side, putting runners at the corners, but a strikeout and a groundout to the first baseman would quell the Saratoga rally.

The Phillies will look to start a new winning streak Monday afternoon, traveling to Watertown for a previously postponed contest against the Wizards. Saratoga will host four games this week at East Side Rec including Northern rival Glens Falls Tuesday and Thursday before taking on Bennington and Watertown over the weekend. All games are free to the general public with a 7 p.m. scheduled first pitch.

Little Falls 000 210 300 -- 6 7 0
Saratoga 100 000 030 -- 4 10 2

Little Falls -- Nate Bayuk, Joe Rodriguez (7), Eric Fama (8) and Jeff Lienek. Saratoga -- Jason Zinser, Matt Tomshaw (6), Josh Simmons (8), Billy Vernon (9) and Mike Moss.
LOB -- Little Falls 7, Saratoga 11. 2B -- Vince Farfaglia. HR -- Jack Valdez.

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