Rapids stay in playoff battle

Watertown Rapids

BOONVILLE — The Watertown Rapids up-and-down season continued Friday in a pair of losses to the Adirondack Trail Blazers.

A day after the Rapids recorded a rare home win, the Trail Blazers belted four home runs on the night in sweeping Watertown in a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League doubleheader at the Dr. Robert Smith Sports Complex.

After Adirondack won the opener, 7-4, it rolled to an 8-2 victory in the nightcap.

Andy Hague and Daniel Irisarri each homered to lead the Trail Blazers in the first game, and Jarret Hall and Randy Flores each clubbed homers in the nightcap.

With the two wins, the Trail Blazers passed the Rapids in the standings and now stand alone in third place in the league’s West Division.

Fourth-place Watertown (14-21) now trails Adirondack (16-21) by one game, and the two teams will square off again at 7:15 tonight in Watertown at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.

In the second game, Drake Smith and Derek Kasperzyk each singled and scored a run in the first inning, with Smith scoring on a sacrifice fly by Michael Rounds and Kasperzyk then stole home for a 2-0 Rapids lead.

The Trail Blazers bounced back to strike for three runs in the bottom of the second inning to take the lead — capped by a two-run home run from Hall after Peter Cosentino’s RBI sacrifice fly.

Adirondack led 4-2 in the fourth. Alec Burns walked to lead off the bottom of the inning and scored on Hall’s single, and added a run in the fifth as Irisarri singled with two outs and came home on Vincent Cimini’s triple.

The Trail Blazers poured it on in the sixth. After Cosentino doubled and Hall singled, Flores followed with a three-run homer to boost their advantage to 8-2.

Andrew Matthews pitched five innings to record the win, while Watertown starter Josh Lajoie allowed four runs on five hits and walked four in four innings to take the loss.

In the opener and with the game tied 2-2, Adirondack scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take the lead for good and added two runs in the sixth for a 7-2 lead.

Watertown attempted to rally in the top of the seventh by scoring twice, but was turned back Trail Blazers closer Andrew Hernandez.

Adirondack starter Ryan Solimine (5-1) pitched six innings to record the win. He allowed two runs on five hits, striking out three while not issuing a walk.

Watertown starter Matt Aufiero took the loss, allowing five runs in 3 1/3 innings. Lowville native Kalani Zehr came in and allowed two runs in 2 2/3 innings in his fifth appearance of the season for the Rapids.

Tony Socci went 2-for-3 in the opener for Watertown, including a home run, a double and drove in two runs. George Rosales also homered, his first of the season for the Rapids.

Watertown now leads last-place Elmira and Newark both by two games. The top four teams in each division will qualify for the playoffs.

The Rapids now have 11 games remaining in the regular season, including five games at home.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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