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Long ball powers Phils past Little Falls, 3-1 on the road

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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Long ball powers Phils past Little Falls, 3-1 on the road

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.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Long ball powers Phils past Little Falls, 3-1 on the road

Martinez breaks Phillies single-season home run record

Saratoga Phillies manager Kevin Graber is always looking for his club to manufacture runs with “small ball”, but on the road Thursday night it was all about the long ball as the Spa City collegiate baseball squad won its second contest on the road, 3-1 over Little Falls in NYCBL action.

Saratoga (5-7) had its biggest surprise come from the most unlikely source in the third inning when 5-foot-11 infielder Dale Alberto (Nova Southeastern) belted his first pitch of the third inning over the left field wall for a solo home run, sending the Phillies dugout into a frenzy.

“He’s been working with me doing some early, early batting practice the last couple days and worked on him taking his stride towards the pitcher,” Graber said. “The guys have been giving him a good natured ribbing about his batting average so when he hit it, it was a mix of shock and a chance to give him a hard time as well as show him some appreciation as to how hard he has worked the last couple days.”

In the fourth, it wasn’t a surprise, but it is a record as J.D. Martinez (Nova Southeastern) hit his Saratoga record sixth home run of the wood bat summer season over the centerfield wall giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead.

Former Saratoga Phillie, Bryan Cook (Nova Southeastern) held the previous home run mark with five round-trippers last season, courtesy of a long ball tear late in the 2007 season.

The current single-season mark for home runs in the NYCBL as a wood bat league appears to stand at seven home runs, held by three different players over the past eight years.

Saratoga starter, lefty Eric Potter (Maryland) was sharp, pitching six shutout innings of three-hit baseball. He earned his first win of the season, striking out three batters and walking only one.

“He was 0-2 on a lot of hitters,” Graber said. “His velocity was good and in the fifth inning, he only had 50 pitches. Our pre-game plan to split with him and Taylor (McKinney), but we put him out there again and he was able to get us through the sixth.”

Little Falls (5-5) got on the board in the eighth inning off McKinney, giving up an unearned run in his second inning of work.

Saratoga tacked on another run in the top of the ninth inning taking advantage of a pinch-hit, lead-off walk issued to Tyler Biddix (Virginia) who was sac bunted to second by Mike Moss. With Tom Luciano (Duke) inserted as a pinch runner, Vince Farfaglia (Francis Marion) got on with a one-out single, moving the runner over and Alberto drove in his second run of the contest with a long fly ball to center field for the 3-1 lead.

Sean Lucas (Virginia) pitched to one batter to close out the eighth, before Josh Simmons (Wheaton, MA) came on for the save. He gave up a lead-off walk before striking out the next three Miner batters.

Thursday’s victory was the first back-to-back positive outcome for the Phillies this season.

“We feel like we’ve played a little bit of baseball, but only had home two games,” Graber said. “We’ve fallen into a nice little routine with the guys doing extra things and doing extra work. They’re here to work, to get better and right know it’s paying off.”

The Phillies open a two-game homestand tonight at 7 p.m. hosting the same Little Falls squad before taking on North Country rival, Glens Falls on Saturday.

Saratoga 001 100 001 – 3 6 1
Little Falls 000 000 010 – 1 4 0
Saratoga – Eric Potter, Taylor McKinney 7, Sean Lucas, 8, Josh Simmons 9 and Moss. Little Falls – Jared Freni, Brent Alemeda 8 and Lieneck. W – Potter. S – Simmons. L – Freni.
3B – (S) Vince Farfaglia. HR – (S) J.D. Martinez, Dale Alberto. SAC – (S) Alberto 2, Mike Moss. (LF) Lieneck, Stafford. SB – Farfaglia. CS – (S) Annarummo, Martinez. LOB – Saratoga 6, Little Falls 7.

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