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Gamer - Phillies survive Bombers scare, win 9-6

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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Gamer - Phillies survive Bombers scare, win 9-6

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.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Gamer - Phillies survive Bombers scare, win 9-6

Move into playoff chase

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The Saratoga Phillies survived a late, self-induced scare by the Bennington Bombers Saturday night at East Side Rec to finally reach the double-digit win mark.

The Phillies scored a trio of runs in the fourth and most-important seventh innings courtesy of 13 hits and kept the Bombers at bay in the ninth after allowing two runs to score and the bases loaded for its 10th win of the summer New York Collegiate Baseball League season.

“Our guys have seen that it helps to keep tacking on runs,” Saratoga coach Kevin Graber said. “We been there a few times and let teams hang around and it has bit us.”

Saratoga (10-13) held a commanding 9-4 lead through eight innings, but the Bombers worked Phillie reliever Tyler McKinney (Oklahoma State) in the ninth inning to create a serious threat.

McKinney showed signs of greatness, pitching 1-2-3 innings in the sixth and eighth innings and was in control in the ninth with two outs on Bennington (9-12).

Things got interesting after McKinney gave up a fielder’s choice followed by two singles and a walk, forcing in the fifth run of the night for the Bombers.

Closer Josh Simmons (Wheaton, MA) came in and proceeded to walk in yet another Bomber, Mike Sudol (Boston College), allowing Bennington to cut the lead, 9-6, with the bases still loaded. A long drive to centerfield by Andy Drexel (Hartford) was reeled in by centerfielder David Coleman (Virginia) to end the threat and the contest for the second straight win for the Phillies.

“Bennington always hit and runs, steals bases and tries to manufacturer runs,” Graber said. “We have to be prepared.”

Saratoga had a strong start once again from Maryland left-hander Eric Potter, throwing five innings. His toughest inning was the second when he gave up Bennington’s original three runs on five hits, but all three outs came as strikeouts.

“I gave up a couple of hits,” Potter said. “The next couple of innings I got ahead of the hitters. That inning I got behind.”

The Phillies were led by Nate Holland (Louisville) who returned to the lineup after a hip injury suffered earlier in the season. The recover has led him to become even stronger at the plate.

“I was off to a slow start with my hip,” Holland said. “I wasn’t turning and KG (Graber) threw me a ton of batting practice to get my swing right and my mechanics down pat.”

He scored the first Phillies run of the night with a one-out double in the first, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored in the win.

Ty Hohman (Virginia Tech) didn’t imagine his RBI double to centerfield in the bottom of the seventh would be so key, scoring catcher Mike Moss (Maryland) all the way from first base.

“I was just trying to hit the ball where it was pitched,” Hohman said. “Mike (Moss) with his wheels, I didn’t think he would come all the way around.”

Hohman almost connected for his first home run of the season in the fifth, powering the ball to the left field fence.

“I didn’t get fully extended,” Hohman said. “I didn’t think it was going to go, but I didn’t think he was going to get it.”

Saratoga hosts Watertown today at 7 p.m. looking for a win against the last place East Division squad before the NYCBL All-Star break.

“If we play well tomorrow, you could call it a little bit of a roll,” Graber said. “You always want to gain momentum heading into a break.”

SARATOGA 9, BENNINGTON 6
Bennington 030 000 102 -- 6 10 2
Saratoga 110 400 30X -- 9 13 0

Bennington -- Sean Potter, Ben Sonberg (4), Owen Ozanich (7), Kyle Perry (8) and Andy Drexel. Saratoga -- Eric Potter, Tyler McKinney (6), Josh Simmons (9) and Mike Moss.

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