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Phillies win road opener; Martinez hits 3 HRs

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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Phillies win road opener; Martinez hits 3 HRs

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 08, 2008

Phillies win road opener; Martinez hits 3 HRs

First-year Saratoga Phillies manager expected his New York Collegiate Baseball League squad to have power and speed in the outfield and the ability to play “small ball” with his infielders.

He may not have expected it to take shape in the opening game of the 2008 campaign on the road against the Little Falls Miners.

Nova Southeastern junior J.D. Martinez supplied all the power the Saratoga Phillies could ask for, hitting three home runs, driving in five runs and going 4-for-4 in his first contest with the Spa City collegiate wood bat baseball team as the locals cruised to a 10-2 road victory.

Martinez hit a solo shot in the first inning on the road, giving Saratoga a short-lived 1-0 lead. He then gave the Phillies the lead for good in the third with his second round-tripper of the season with a two-run bomb to left, driving in Kyle Meyer (Marist) for a 4-2 lead.

His night wasn’t over, putting himself in the history books in the sixth inning, leading off with another solo home run, becoming the first Saratoga player in the past four years to hit three homers in a game. He was such a threat against the Little Falls squad that he earned his fifth RBI of the night by being patient at the plate, taking a walk with the bases loaded and forcing in Tom Luciano (Duke University).

During the 2007 season only Nova Southeastern junior Bryan Cook powered two long balls over fences for the Phillies in the same game, completing the feat July 14 against the Bennington Bombers. Three Saratoga players had multi-home runs over the course of the summer season, Donnie Webb (3), Jake Willis (3) and Cook (5).
“He hit eight in college this year,” Saratoga manager Kevin Graber said. “When I called his (Nova Southeastern) coach he said ‘We think he can his 18 to 20 next year.’”

Myer added to Saratoga’s long distance dedications Saturday night, hitting his first home run of the season, drilling a fastball from relief pitcher Jared Barnes to lead off the fifth inning.

Phillies starter, Mike Fiers (University of Cumberlands) struggled in the first inning, allowing two runs on two hits before settling down.

The NYCBL Pitcher of the Year earned the win, allowing only a pair of runs over his six innings of work and scattering four hits. He walked a batter and hit two in the second inning and finished with eight strikeouts.

“Mike hadn’t been on the mound since last summer,” Graber said of the medical red shirt senior. “We wanted to keep him around 85 pitches,” Graber said. “When he came off the mound and said he was just starting to get loose. Early he just wasn’t sharp at all.”

The Phillies weren’t afraid of playing some small ball. Chris Buss (Old Dominion) opened the fourth inning, reaching on an error by the shortstop and moved to third on Larry Pempek’s (Northern Kentucky University) double to left. Buss scored on a groundout by Mike Moss (University of Maryland) for a 5-2 lead. Vince Farfaglia (Francis Marion University) drove in Pempek with his RBI triple for a 6-2 lead. He would race to home on a passed ball giving Saratoga a 7-2 lead.

Saratoga scratched out a run in the bottom of the second, knotting the score at 2-2 after Chris Buss (Old Dominion) led off with an infield single, advancing on Larry Pempek’s (Northern Kentucky University) single to left. Former Saratoga Central Catholic star Vince Farfaglia (Francis Marion University) earned his first RBI in the NYCBL with an RBI single to left, plating Buss.

The Phillies continue their season opening road trip at Glens Falls 5 p.m. Sunday taking on the East Division champions at East Rec Field in Glens Falls.
Saratoga will returns for its home opener 7 p.m. Tuesday night at East Side Rec against the Amsterdam Mohawks.

Tuesday will also be the publication of our 4-page Saratoga Phillies special section with player bios, schedule, stories and information for each and every fan of the Spa City’s NYCBL players.

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