WATERTOWN — The Watertown Rapids took a few innings to get warmed up, but their bats came alive eventually for the victory.
Hazel Martinez drove in three runs with a pair of singles and the Watertown bullpen pitched four scoreless innings as the Rapids rallied past the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs, 8-5, in a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game Wednesday night at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
Dixon Black singled, doubled and plated a run while Jordan Dissin ripped a two-run triple for the Rapids (4-4), who have won three straight games to get to the .500 mark. Brendan Williams settled in after a shaky start to get his first win of the year after pitching five innings, and Peter Ostensen hurled two scoreless innings to earn his first save of the season for the Rapids.
Evan Berta smacked a two-run double as part of a three-run second inning for Mohawk Valley (3-7), while Chris Peralta and Luke Lesch each registered a pair of hits. Andy Grygorcewicz was charged with the loss after coming on in relief in the fifth inning.
Watertown had been off since Sunday after their last two games were rained out. The Rapids’ bats may have been rusty due to the extended break.
“I think maybe we started off a little slow with the bats because we hadn’t seen live pitching for the last two days, but that break also helped our bodies, too,” Black said.
Rapids manager Ben Moxley said the time off was beneficial due to the volume of games that occur in collegiate baseball. The PGCBL schedule is more condensed than the regular college baseball season.
“I think these guys aren’t used to playing every single day and we’ve gone pretty hard the first week-and-a-half,” Moxley said. “We don’t have a big roster, so it was good for them to get a couple days off.”
Mohawk Valley scored the first four runs of the game to lead after three innings. Watertown erased the deficit with four in the fourth inning, as the big blow coming from Dissin’s triple. The Richmond University catcher had been slumping and was frustrated after striking out looking to end the second.
“I walked in and (assistant) coach John Boland told me to ‘settle down because we need you behind the plate,’” Dissin said. “He really does a good job at talking me out of being angry.”
Lowville native Brett Myers brought home Dissin with an RBI single to tie the game at four. The DiamondDawgs pulled ahead when Matt Venuto scored after taking advantage of some sloppy defense by the Rapids. However, Watertown tied the game as Black socked an RBI-double to bump his batting average to .391.
“Dixon is the most clutch kid I’ve met in my life,” Dissin said. “He just comes up and something great is going to happen.”
Martinez then hit a two-run single that scored two Rapids players to give them the lead for good. The Cayuga Community College first baseman’s timely hitting has also played a hand in Watertown’s recent surge.
“Hazel is the most fun guy to watch on the field,” Moxley said. “He’s got quick feet, quick hands and makes good contact at the plate.”
The Rapids tacked on another run in the seventh after DiamondDawgs second baseman Tyler Cannon couldn’t handle a Martinez groundball. Watertown’s bullpen took over after Williams exited after five innings. Matthew Haines and Ostensen each threw two scoreless innings to seal the game for the Rapids.
“Williams gave us a shot in the beginning and Haines and Ostensen came in and really kept us in it, so we could scratch out some runs for them,” Black said.
Watertown has today off before hosting the Geneva Red Wings at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Fairgrounds.