Inconsistency throughout the first two weeks of the season for the Muckdogs has created a roller coaster of high and low points. With Monday night’s walk-off, 6-5 exhibition win in the rearview, Batavia dropped to a 5-7 record after losing two straight.
On Tuesday against the Pioneers, a two-RBI triple by Charlie Szykowny in the opening frame created an early 2-0 lead. That lead stayed intact till the bottom of the third inning as the Pios put seven runs on the scoreboard on just five hits.
After adding two more runs for good measure to make the score 9-2 with four innings in the books, Batavia would score a pair of runs in both the fifth and sixth to make it a 9-6 ballgame. First baseman Joe Georger was a large part of the Muckdogs' success, tallying three hits and scoring two runs at the bottom of the order.
Georger and extra hitter Trey Bacon consistently getting on base created the opportunity for guys at the top of the lineup like Cameron Conley, Spencer Marcus and Abner Benitez to drive them in. Reliever Tyler Prospero had a great appearance for Batavia as Dathon McGrath could only go two and a third in the start. Prospero ran out of gas in the seventh with Chris Erickson smacking an RBI triple, while Kyle O’Neill would allow another to go up 11-6.
As they have shown repeatedly, the Dogs are a resilient group of guys that are determined till the very end. A spot that they found themselves in less than 24 hours before, down five runs with Bacon leading off the inning with a hit by pitch against pitcher David Ferguson. Benitez would walk on four pitches, and Marcus would have his second hit of the night to have the bases loaded with one out.
Charlie Szykowny battled against Ferguson to allow another walk that made the score 11-7. Coming to the plate was the game-tying run in Daniel Burroway would up to that point was 0-3 for the night but hit the ball hard all over the yard. Burroway laced a ball up the middle that was snagged by Pioneer shortstop Donovan Montgomery for the second out, and Montgomery stepped on second to complete the game-ending double play.
A situation that brought back flashbacks to Friday night’s 7-6 loss to Geneva as Blair Frederick hit a line-drive double play that ended Batavia’s comeback hopes just a few days before. The Muckdogs still hold the 3-2 season series against the Pios (not counting Monday’s exhibition win) as Elmira found themselves just a half-game back of first place.
Shifting gears into another challenging game on the road at Russell E. Diethrick Jr. Park Wednesday night, as the Muckdogs were still looking for their first win against the Jamestown Tarp Skunks. For the second straight night, Batavia got ahead early as Daniel Burroway score both Marcus and Benitez. However, a common theme for the Dogs is not capitalizing by adding to their lead with the bases loaded and giving their lead right back to the opponent.
Jamestown took the lead in the bottom half after a two-run bomb from extra hitter Luke Turner off Nathan Hinkley to go up 3-2. In the fourth, they added a trio of runs as DiMaggio Cazaras, Justin Bowers, and Justin Bailey all came around to score in the fourth.
Down 6-2 catcher Mitch Fleming got ahold of a fastball and drove it over the left-field wall for a two-run homer for his first of the season to cut the deficit to two. In the middle innings for Batavia, they continued to hit line drives and put the ball in play, but gold glove plays by Cazaras in left field, Bailey in right, Danny Hosley at third, and Haiden Hunt in center ensured that Jamestown kept their lead safe.
In the bottom of the sixth, AJ Winger retired the first two batters of the inning before allowing a walk to Bowers and a single to shortstop Chase Carlson. The next man up, Justin Bailey, hit a ball to Szykowny that was thrown to Georger at first, and a great pick was made to get the final out of the inning.
The only problem was the base umpire called Bailey safe at first base, allowing the inning to continue. Hunt on the first pitch he saw, hit a two-RBI single, followed by Mark Tucker, also driving in two runners.
With one call dictating a four-run swing for Jamestown, Batavia had more work to do with the bats as Benitez hit a towering solo shot over the 342-foot foul pole in right field to make it a 10-5 game. Outfielder Trevor Dean had himself a great day at the plate with two doubles and an RBI single in the seventh to make it a four-run game.
Matt Henson came and shut the door in the ninth for the Tarp Skunks, solidifying a two-game losing streak for the Muckdogs heading into a home-and-home series against the Niagara Power. Batavia beat the Power in their first meeting last Saturday 10-5 at Sal Maglie Stadium.
A home game at Dwyer Stadium today will be the Muckdogs first since Monday’s exhibition game. Niagara will then host Batavia on Friday for a 6 p.m. Friday start, with the Dogs then having three straight games at home throughout the weekend.
First pitch against the Power will be at 7:05 tonight -- Thirsty Thursday!
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