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Wizards put another spell on Phillies, lose 5-4

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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Wizards put another spell on Phillies, lose 5-4

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, July 06, 2008

Wizards put another spell on Phillies, lose 5-4

Errors cost Spa collegians again

SARATOGA SPRINGS – It has been a theme all season for the Saratoga Phillies – moments of greatness and then moments of…well, not so great moments.

The up and down woes of the Phillies were combined in a single contest Sunday as Saratoga fell to the Watertown Wizards, 5-4, the night before the New York Collegiate Baseball League All-Star break.

Saratoga allowed three unearned runs in the sixth inning courtesy of throwing errors by Phillies shortstop Chris Buss (Old Dominion) and right fielder Domonique Rodgers (NC State), handing Watertown (7-15) a 5-0 lead at East Side Rec.

Saratoga (10-14) managed to scratch out a run in the fourth and seventh innings, utilizing its ability to manufacture runs and then took advantage of a pair of errors by the Wizards, closing the gap to a run, 5-4, but went down 1-2-3 in the ninth inning.

“We can’t miss cut offs, can’t block pitches, can’t get bunts down and strike out five times looking and still expect to win,” Saratoga coach Kevin Graber said. “We’re not good enough to overcome those types of mistakes.”

The night appeared promising as NC State right-hander Jason Zinser appeared unhittable the first time through the Watertown order. He struck out five of the first nine Wizard batters before the line-up adjusted and scored two runs of the lanky hurler on four hits.

Zinser turned the ball over to Jacksonville left-hander Matt Tomshaw who suffered through the three-run sixth inning, giving up three unearned runs.

Saratoga kept the game in check, scoring a lone run in the fourth on three hits, including a lead off double by Chris Buss (Old Dominion). He came around to score on a J.D. Martinez RBI single, cutting the lead, 2-1.

The Phillies pushed across its second run in the seventh after Kyle Meyer (Marist) reached on a one-out single and scored on an RBI double by Rodgers that hit the fence in centerfield.

Saratoga continued to apply pressure in the eighth as Buss took a leadoff walk, advanced on a walk issued to Ty Hohman (Virginia Tech) both scored on a throwing error, cutting the lead, 5-4.

Graber credited the five confused, caught looking strikeouts on Watertown starter Ian Schwalenberg, who threw his sliders for strikes when ahead.

Conversely, Zinser who admitted that he came to the Phillies to work on his game struggled with self and team success. His plan was to throw his change-up more early on, which he did successfully. Then as the game progressed the Wizards were able to take advantage of his breaking pitches. Tomshaw pitched four admirable innings, victimized by his own defense in the sixth, but finished with five strikeouts.

Phils Notes:
Saratoga had two highlight plays at the plate Sunday night. First was Larry Pempek’s blocking of the plate against Watertown’s Khyle Dimino (SUNY Cortland). He was racing home on Jake Gorman’s (Holy Cross) single to left and was thrown out by a J.D. Martinez, Hohman relay. When the ball came in, Pempek blocked the plate, Dimino crashed into Pempek, the ball was bobbled and he reached over Dimino to corral the ball while still blocking the plate, saving an early run.

Buss, coming off a strained ligament in his thumb scored the first run for the Phillies, racing in from second on a J.D. Martinez single and diving head first onto home plate, sending shivers up the spine of the entire Saratoga coaching staff.

Four Phillies, Hohman, Martinez, Vince Farfaglia (Francis Marion) and Sean Lucas (Virginia) have been selected to the East Division NYCBL All-Star game at Watertown tonight. The game will be broadcast on TW3 locally.

After the two-day break, Saratoga is on the road for five straight games before returning to East Side Rec at 7 p.m. July against the same Watertown Wizards. Catch the games live over the internet the NYCBL broadcasts. I plan on following the games also with a road trip to Amsterdam in the mix.

Watertown 001 103 000 – 5 7 3
Saratoga 000 100 120 – 4 10 2

Watertown: Schulanser, Fursher (5), Discher (8) and Marshall. Saratoga: Zinser, Tomshaw (5), Fiers (9) and Pempek.

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