WATERTOWN — After generating some offensive fireworks the night before in a win on the Fourth of July, the Watertown Rapids got off to an encouraging start Monday by seizing an early lead.
Yet it was division rival Mohawk Valley that remained red hot as Cedric Rose belted a two-run home run in the second inning to put the DiamondDawgs up for good, and Rose later turned a pivotal unassisted double play in the seventh en route to a 8-4 victory over the Rapids in a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
Watertown (8-18) was coming off a 9-2 win at Auburn on Sunday as the team broke a nine-game losing streak.
“Tonight we just gave up a few runs there in the end and weren’t able to come back, but we’re not going to roll over or anything,” the Rapids’ Aaron Whitley said.
In the first inning against Mohawk Valley (12-12), Ryan Strollo drew a leadoff walk, and two outs later, Whitley delivered an RBI double for a 1-0 Rapids’ lead.
The DiamondDawgs responded quickly in the second as Matt Parkinson singled and Rose followed with his home run over the left-field wall on a pitch from Rapids starter Owen Parliament.
“It felt good to catch that barrel,” Rose said of his home run, his second of the summer season. “It definitely gets us going, I mean all the guys on the team are starting to catch a bunch of barrels, so we’re stringing together hits, we’ve putting up more than one in multiple innings.”
Mohawk Valley scored single runs in the third and fourth and grabbed a 7-3 lead with three runs in the seventh. Watertown threatened in the bottom of the inning as newcomer Rob Conley and Strollo hit back-to-back singles, but Dylan Broderick lined out to Rose at first base, who raced to the bag to complete an inning-ending unassisted double play.
“His two-run shot was big for us and that was a big-league play over at first,” Mohawk Valley coach Steve Luby said of Rose. “To not only cover that ground, but to get up and get the double play, that was a big-league play. That was a game changer for us.”
“It feels good,” said Rose, who attends UMass-Lowell and previously played at Herkimer County Community College. “We kind of started off our season tough and didn’t have all of our guys. But we’ve got all of our guys now, all of our guys are playing at their best and we’re finding a way to get some wins.”
Parliament, a LaFargeville native who attends Division I Wofford College in North Carolina, pitched five innings in taking the loss. Parliament yielded four runs on four hits and four walks while striking out five.
“Defensively, we made a couple miscues early and it’s partially because we have a new catcher, he just got here today, so we were just not on the same page on a couple things,” Watertown coach Ben Moxley said. “But Owen did a really good job limiting any big innings and kept us in it.”
Mohawk Valley starter John Archer allowed three runs in six innings to record the win.
Reliever Terry Murray pitched two innings of shutout ball before Jimmy Joyce allowed a run in the ninth before finishing off the win.
“We’re playing well,” Luby said. “We’re starting to come on, we’re starting to grow, we’re starting to mature, we’re getting better.”
Mohawk Valley led 4-1 on an RBI groundout in the third and Rose walked and scored on a throwing error in the fourth.
Watertown chipped away to get within 4-3 as Whitley was hit by a pitch and scored on Matt Tobin’s triple off the center-field wall in the fourth and Conley singled and came home on Broderick’s double to center.
The DiamondDawgs scored three times in the seventh to lead 7-3 as after loading the bases, Evan Berta reached on a fielder’s choice for an RBI, but another run scored on a throwing error on the play and Matt Parkinson followed with a run-scoring flyout to left.
“I thought we could have done more off their starter, he wasn’t throwing very hard,” Moxley said. “But we chipped away and got back in it and then we brought Jon Sylvester in the seventh and he did a great job. We just couldn’t come up with that double play and that kind of swung the momentum back to them.”
While the DiamondDawgs won for the five time in six games to remain in the thick of the playoff chase in the Central Division, the Rapids lost for the 10th time in 11 games.
“Our guys always fight, like the kid they brought in at the end of the game,” Moxley said. “Their closer, he’s an awesome pitcher, he throws low-to-mid-90s and we’ve faced him three or four times and every time we score on him. Our guys always fight, they’re tough kids, it’s just a tough one.”
Ian Haigh pitched seven solid innings on Sunday night to record the win for the Rapids at Auburn.
The Rapids will host Utica at 6:30 tonight at the Fairgrounds before playing at Utica on Wednesday and at Auburn on Thursday.
“We’re feeling good, I think we’re a good team and I think we’re going to win some games,” Whitley said.