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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Gamer - Phils sweep Bombers Friday night on 3-game streak

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.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Gamer - Phils sweep Bombers Friday night on 3-game streak

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- It was a historic night at East Side Rec for the Saratoga Phillies and it couldn’t have come at a better time as the Spa City collegians swept the Bennington Bombers, 3-1 and 4-3 earning the 100th and 101st victory for the local New York Collegiate Baseball League franchise.

The sweep also earned the Phillies (8-10) their first three-game winning streak of the year as the squad utilized its own perfect storm of quality pitching, key defensive plays and timely hitting up and down its line-up to turn the corner midway through the summer season.

“Some of the pieces have come together lately,” Saratoga skipper Kevin Graber said. “JZ (Jason Zinser) is in town, Nate Holland is back and the arrival of Domonique Rodgers. We’re turning the corner and have an influx of good energy.”

Duke University second baseman Dennis O’Grady hit his first home run of the NYCBL season to put Saratoga ahead in the fourth inning of the opener.

“I couldn’t let Dale Alberto be the only infielder with a home run,” O’Grady said with a laugh between contests. “In the inning before he threw a first pitch fastball. I thought he would do it again, so I sat on it.”

Former Columbia High School standout Kyle Meyer (Marist) knocked in the game-winning RBI with a single to left field, scoring another local star, Saratoga Central Catholic’s Vince Farfaglia (Francis Marion) in the fifth. The former Saint then provided his own RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to give the Phillies staff an insurance run.

“I’m just seeing the ball very well,” Farfaglia said. “My pitch selection has been very good lately and I picking good pitches to hit, not letting the pitcher get ahead of me.”

The Saratoga offense buoyed the performance of lefty starter Eric Potter (Maryland) who went four and one-third innings, allowed only a run. He gave up three hits, walked four batters on the bookend of his start while striking out seven in the middle, including five in a row.

“I just got in a groove,” Potter said. “I’ve been working on my mechanics and concentrate on staying on top of the ball.”

His receiver and current Terrapin teammate Mike Moss was again pleased with his hurler’s performance.

“They key for him is to get ahead of the batter,” Moss said. “When he’s ahead I’m able to work around with his change-up and breaking balls. It’s difficult for them to hit and they can’t key in on a certain pitch.”

In the nightcap, Oklahoma State right-hander Taylor McKinney “Cowboy’d Up” and went five and one-third innings, giving up three runs, only one earned while striking out two batters. He was also the recipient of two and almost three double plays behind him.

“The guys behind me were awesome,” McKinney said. “They were diving, laying out, getting ground balls. It was great.”

Saratoga held a 2-1 lead through four innings on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Biddix (Virginia) that scored Ty Hohman (Virginia Tech) who led off the second with a single and stole second. Hohman led off the fourth with a double to right field and raced to third on an errant throw to the cut-off man. He would score on a fielding error for the 2-1 lead.

The NYCBL batting leader, J.D. Martinez (Nova Southeastern) roped a triple to deep centerfield, driving in O’Grady and Holland in the fifth inning, giving the Phillies a 4-1 lead that would become key later on.

McKinney tired in the sixth, giving up two consecutive base hits and his defense committed two errors late, ending his evening. Former Lansingburgh High School standout Dave Batchelder (Saint Francis) stemmed the tide with a groundout and a fly out to centerfield to end the threat.

Zinser came on in the seventh and struck out the side to officially put the Phillies on a three-game winning streak and pull them closer to .500 on the season.

“It’s a great feeling,” Zinser said. “This team deserved that kind of outing from me. I’d like to be starting, but on other days, I want to be able to contribute to the team and it’ll pay dividends down the stretch run.”

The Phillies travel to Glens Falls Saturday night to take on rival and 2007 East Division Champion, Golden Eagles at 7 p.m. before returning home Sunday afternoon to face Little Falls at 7 p.m.

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