WATERTOWN — The Watertown Rapids put on an early power display Monday night, but it wasn’t enough as they watched another potential home win slip away.
Drake Smith and James Krick hit back-to-back solo home runs in the first inning to spark the Rapids against the Adirondack Trail Blazers, but didn’t manage much offense the rest of the way.
Trail Blazers starter Ryan Solimine settled down, pitching seven strong innings as Adirondack rallied to win, 9-3, in a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
The Rapids (10-12) were dealt their seventh consecutive loss on their home field.
“Another tough one,” Watertown coach Mike Wood said. “We had a good start and we kind of had the momentum taken away from us a little bit there. We could never catch up.”
Watertown got off to an encouraging start in the first. Smith hit an 0-2 pitch over the left-field wall for a 1-0 lead.
Krick, the next batter, then drilled a 2-1 pitch to right and the Rapids led 2-0.
“I just left those pitches up and I just had to battle through it,” said Solimine, who improved to 3-1 in five starts. “I knew that my team was going to give me runs, and I knew we were going to get the win tonight.”
But Solimine, who pitched a complete game in a 2-1 win at Watertown on June 18, followed a similar script this time, allowing only one run the rest of the way for fourth-place Adirondack (8-13) in the West Division.
“Ryan is our ace, he’s our best,” Adirondack coach Mickey Fauvelle said. “He came back real strong after he gave up the two home runs in the first. He will always keep us in the ballgame, right now he’s 3-1. ... He’s our horse.”
Like in his previous win here, Solimine didn’t walk a batter, this time scattering six hits while striking out three.
“He pitched here two weeks ago and he did really nice,” Wood said of Solimine. “And I thought he came back and did a really nice job. ... He threw strikes and he doesn’t walk anybody. He hits the zone real well, he mixes up his pitches and he’s just carving us up.”
“I’m just grinding this season and it’s working out,” Solimine said. “My fastball was off a little bit, but I had to throw my slider a lot.”
The Trail Blazers backed their starter with plenty of offense, led by Cole Simpson, who drove in five runs, as he reached base in four of five trips to the plate. He doubled in two runs, singling in two more and adding an RBI single.
“Right now we’re starting to put it together a little bit, absolutely,” said Fauvelle, whose team has won seven of its past 11 games after starting the season 1-9. “Our pitching staff’s been great, bullpen’s been great and offensively the bats are coming around a little bit.”
Watertown’s struggles continued. Since starting the season 7-3, it has won only three of 12 games since — and is 3-9 at home.
“I think we have the talent to go deep, we’re just hitting a bit of a skid right now,” said Smith, a North Carolina native. “But I’d rather it be now than later on in the season. We’ve work it out and we’ll be fine.”
Adirondack chipped away with a run in the third on Chris Rotondo’s RBI single and led 3-2 on Simpson’s two-run double in the fourth.
Meanwhile, the Rapids got a run back in the fourth to tie it at 3-3. Smith walked and scored on Krick’s single to center, but the team put only three runners on base the rest of the way.
The Trail Blazers scored three runs in the fifth to take the lead for good as their first five batters reached base, with Alec Burns and Daniel Irisarri each singling a run and Peter Cosentino hitting an RBI sacrifice fly to lead 6-3.
“I thought we had them, but that’s baseball,” Smith said. “We just didn’t get enough outs in crucial situations.”
Adirondack tacked on three more runs with Simpson’s two-run double in the seventh and his RBI single in the ninth.
The Rapids were on their way to a home win on Saturday, but the game was suspended because of rain in the top of the fifth inning, with Watertown leading Geneva, 8-2.
Watertown will play nine games over the next six days.
Watertown will play a doubleheader at Newark today, and, after a home-and-home series with Elmira on Wednesday and Thursday, with the first game at Watertown at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, it will play at Geneva on Friday.
Saturday’s suspended game will resume at 5:15 p.m., with a seven-inning game to follow, capped by a home doubleheader against Newark at 3:15 p.m. Sunday.
n NOTES: Watertown’s last win at home was against Adirondack on June 12. ... Lowville native and St. Lawrence University pitcher Kalani Zehr made his Rapids debut after he signed last week, pitching the eighth and ninth innings. ... Smith, who leads Watertown in batting average (.344) and stolen bases (13), hit his first home run of the season. ... Krick hit his team-leading third home run. ... Adirondack pitcher Brendan Aldridge left the game in the eighth after he took a line drive hit by Dylan Sanchez off his leg. Aldridge made the throw to retire Sanchez. In the ninth, Burns left the game after he took a pitch to the head.