WATERTOWN — The hit parade continued in earnest for the Utica Blue Sox against the Watertown Rapids on Wednesday night.
The Blue Sox, led by right fielder Luis DeLeon, rapped out 19 hits against a beleaguered Rapids’ pitching staff to roll to a 13-3 victory in a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
DeLeon reached base five times in five trips to the plate for Utica, including doubling, singling three times, and scored three runs.
The Central Division-leading Blue Sox (9-5) also continued their mastery of the Rapids (7-9) as they’ve won five of the six meetings so far this season, including sweeping a doubleheader in Watertown on Sunday.
“It was a really great team effort,” said DeLeon, who attends North Carolina Central. “We hit well, our pitchers really went out and battled and defensively I thought we played solid. We’re just looking to carry this forward.”
The Rapids were turned back with the loss after winning two games in a row with a pair of wins against Mohawk Valley.
“We’re in a rough stretch right now,” Watertown coach Ben Moxley said. “We’re in the middle of 11 games in eight days, it’s unheard of in summer ball. We don’t really have the pitching to get through it, not the quality of the guys, just not enough arms. Guys can’t throw that often.”
Leading 5-3 through five innings, Utica scored eight runs over the next four innings to pull away.
“So our bullpen guys tonight came in and they’ve just been throwing too much over the last five days,” Moxley said. “You just have to ask them to get some outs for you. And positionally it’s the same thing, we got some guys who are really hurting from playing so many games in the last five days.
“So we’re without our starting middle infield, they’ve got to take a couple days off, it’s tough.”
After scoring a run in the sixth on Ryan Enos’ two-out RBI double, the Blue Sox scored five more times in the seventh, as their first seven batters reached on a hit.
After DeLeon singled to leadoff the inning, Isiah DiAndreth singled in a run, Kyle Schmack hit an RBI double and Garret Gray followed with a two-run single to highlight the frame for an 11-3 advantage.
“They hit a lot of ground balls and we were playing a guys a little out of position because of some of our guys not being in there,” Moxley said. “So early on, we had some miscommunication in the middle, just with that was David (Stirpe’s) first time playing (shortstop) for us and it was like Matt (Tobin’s) first time playing second, Brett (Myers’) only played third once. So just communication, not knowing whose covering the bag, just little things that Tony (Santa Maria) and Dixon (Black) have down really well, that makes it tough.”
Utica, which has now won five consecutive games, tacked on single runs in the eighth and ninth on a pair of sacrifice flyouts.
“We had some really good at bats,” DeLeon said. “We took walks in key situations, moved runners when we needed to, just a lot of good team at bats. It’s been fun.”
Utica’s Eric Steensma pitched six solid innings to record the win, allowing the three runs on eight hits. Steensma, who threw 94 pitches to notch his second straight victory, struck out seven while walking only two.
“The last few games we’re hitting the ball a lot better,” Utica coach Doug Delett said. “And we’re having good at bats, which is good, and we’re pitching. Our starter threw well out there today.”
LaFargeville native Owen Parliament started the game for Watertown and took the loss, allowing five runs on six hits in four innings, striking out three and walking two. Parliament made his debut with the team last Friday in a no-decision.
The Rapids led 1-0 in the first inning on an RBI single from Matt Tobin. But the Blue Sox scored two in the second to take the lead and three more in the third as the first four batters reached via a hit, and Tanner Kim hit an RBI single, DeLeon raced home on an infield error and Dewey Roden doubled in a run.
Catcher Thomas McCaffery singled twice to pace Watertown and Dylan Broderick doubled.
“We really went after it the last two nights and played really well and beat a good team twice,” Moxley said. “It was great to see, but after (Tuesday) night it was really apparent that our guys were hurting, so we had to do what we had to do and we stayed in it for a bit, but just couldn’t finish it off.”
Watertown native Ryan Peters, who entered the game as a pinch runner in the fifth inning and played the rest of the way as the designated hitter, will start today’s game on the mound against Auburn in a 6:30 p.m. start at the Fairgrounds. Peters last pitched in a 5-4 loss at Mohawk Valley last Saturday.