Rapids stay in playoff battle

Watertown Rapids

ELMIRA — In the thick of the playoff race and in dire need of a win, the Watertown Rapids delivered Friday night with a 9-1 victory over the Elmira Pioneers.

A night after they lost at home to last-place Newark, the Rapids bounced back in a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game at Dunn Field.

Tony Socci and Khale Showers each totaled three hits and both drove in two runs to spark Watertown, which snapped a three-game losing skid while halting Elmira’s winning streak at five.

The Rapids (16-24) gained ground in the playoff chase, pulling within one-half game of the fourth-place Pioneers (17-24) in the West Division. Fifth-place Watertown also moved to within a game of third-place Adirondack in the division. The top four teams in each division qualify for the playoffs.

The Rapids will host the Trail Blazers at 7:15 tonight at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds, with postgame fireworks.

Against the Pioneers, Watertown starter Drew Mead pitched five innings, allowing only an unearned run on six hits, while striking out three and walking four to record his team-leading sixth win.

He received plenty of offensive support as the Rapids scored three runs in the second, third and fifth innings to take control against Elmira, which committed seven errors.

Watertown grabbed a 3-0 lead in the second inning as Michael Rounds was hit by a pitch and scored on a single by Showers. Brandon Taylor, who reached on a fielder’s choice, later scored on an error and Showers came home on a sacrifice fly from Danny DiMarzo for the third run.

The Rapids doubled their lead in the third as Jonathan Catapano and Socci each singled and both scored on Rounds’ two-run single. Rounds later scored on a Showers’ sacrifice fly for a 6-0 lead.

After Elmira scored in the fourth, the Rapids added three runs in the fifth as Taylor singled and scored when DiMarzo reached on an outfield error and Showers singled and came home when Derek Kasperzyk reached on an infield error. Drake Smith, who was hit by a pitch, scored on Catapano’s sacrifice fly to center to build a 9-1 advantage.

Spencer Vainavicz and outfielder Vinny DeRubeis each pitched two scoreless innings for Watertown.

The Rapids, who have six games left in the regular season, will play a doubleheader at Mohawk Valley at 5 p.m. Sunday will host Utica at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday in their regular-season home finale.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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