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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: G21 - Fiers outing spoiled by lax bats, 3-0 loss to GF

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.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

G21 - Fiers outing spoiled by lax bats, 3-0 loss to GF

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Saratoga Phillies right-hander Mike Fiers had one his best outings with the New York Collegiate Baseball League franchise Tuesday night at East Side Rec and all he has to show for it is a more than respectable line score…and a loss.

The University of Cumberlands red-shirt senior went eight innings for the Phillies, allowed two earned runs while walking a batter and striking out nine in a 3-0 loss to Glens Falls.

The Phillies (8-13) offense couldn’t find a way to support their starter, combining for only six hits in the nine-inning contest and when they did reach base, they were left six runners stranded.

“That’s what happens when a team is struggling, nothing goes your way,” Fiers said. “They’re hitting the ball, just at someone. Things aren’t falling our way.”

The 2007 NYCBL Pitcher of the Year, Fiers, took advantage of several rainouts and combined days off and came back with what he called his best performance of the year.

“I had some soreness in my bicep,” Fiers said. “I had a full week off and over the long break I worked in between and it helped me out.”

Fiers struggled in the second inning, hitting leadoff batter Jonathan White (Vanderbilt) in the foot with a breaking ball. He advanced to second on a long single to left field by Luis Feliz (Rutgers) and scored on a wild pitch by Fiers.

The Saratoga starter re-grouped and proceeded to strike out the next three batters. He would face four batters over the next two innings and followed that up with three 1-2-3 innings after.

He gave up a long single to Kody Johnson (Pima CC) in the top of the ninth, leading to Saratoga manager Kevin Graber pulling him for Dave Batchelder (Marist).

“I want to stay in the whole game,” Fiers said. “But it was the right time to pull me. I think guys were picking up on me in the eighth. It was the right time.”

Batchelder gave up an RBI double to Feliz, driving in Johnson for the 2-0 lead and Nick McCoy (San Diego) reached on a pop fly onto the outfield grass with three Phillies converging on it. Second baseman Dennis O’Grady (Duke) thought he had a bead on it, but the ball popped out of his glove, allowing Feliz to score the third Golden Eagle run.

Saratoga rallied in its final at-bat with Chris Buss (Old Dominion) reaching with a one-out walk followed by Vince Farfaglia (Francis Marion) with a two-out free pass. Phillies catcher Mike Moss (Maryland) then roped his longest strike of the year at home, a drive to deep left field. The ball sailed through the night, towards Caroline Street before it dropped at the fence and into the awaiting glove of Glens Falls left fielder, White.

Tuesday was the fourth consecutive loss to Glens Falls this season for the Phillies and it is leaving Graber scratching his head.
“We have to find a way to re-energize,” Graber said. “It has to come from within themselves.”

The Phillies enjoyed a three-game winning streak at one of the teams lowest points of the season, two players were recently released and four others were injured and out of the line-up. The squad rallied around its challenges and strung together a win over the Little Falls Miners and swept the Bennington Bombers in a doubleheader at home. Since then, Saratoga has lost its next three contests, to Little Falls, Watertown and Glens Falls.

“When you have changes like we did there is a little honeymoon period,” Graber said. “Then you settle back into reality.”
With the season at its midway point the Phillies are in the midst of playing a three-game set against the top teams in the East Division. Saratoga travels to Amsterdam, another team that owns a 4-0 record against the Phillies, today at 7 p.m. before returning on Thursday to play Glens Falls again.

Glens Falls 3, Saratoga 0
GLENS FALLS 010 000 002 -- 3 7 0
SARATOGA 000 000 000 -- 0 5 0

Glens Falls -- Shane Davis, Ricky Anaya (7), Marc Damon (9) and Nick McCoy. Saratoga -- Mike Fiers, Dave Batchelder (9) and Mike Moss. 2B -- (GF) Stephen Romero. (S) Mike Moss. SB -- (GF) Kody Johnson. CS -- (GF) Jonathan White. (S) Chris Buss.

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