WATERTOWN — Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds served as a launching pad Wednesday as the Utica Blue Sox and Watertown Rapids combined for four home runs and 18 runs scored. The Blue Sox had a little bit more fire power though and defeated Watertown 11-7, dropping the Rapids to below .500.
Pitchers on both teams went through rough patches.
Sachin Nambiar, Watertown’s starter, surrendered eight runs in five innings of work. His worst inning came in the fifth when the Blue Sox (11-9) batted around and scored five runs on five hits.
Nambiar wasn’t wild though, it was pretty much the opposite. Part of the problem was that at times his pitches caught too much of the strike zone.
“I think I just left my fastball over the plate a little bit too much,” Nambiar said. “I got behind in a bunch of counts which hurt me because I had to throw a fastball to get back into the count. I guess in the fifth inning I got a little tired and they ended up hitting the fastball.”
Usually, Nambiar prefers to throw his slider a lot along with his changeup. However, it was a 3-1 changeup that Robbie Young homered on in the top of third inning.
It was Nambiar’s roughest outing of the season, in his four games prior to Wednesday he allowed a total of nine runs.
“He’s definitely at his best when he can get his breaking ball going and keep guys off balance,” Rapids’ manager Mike Wood said. “But he was relying a bit too much on the fastball and they were not missing it.”
Marc Maestri came on in relief of Nambiar in the sixth and fared slightly better but still was tagged with four runs on seven hits. Vincenzo Castronovo and Alex Cornell each homered off of Maestri.
The Blue Sox often struck first, forcing the Rapids (9-10) to play catchup — and for the most part they were able to.
After going down 8-3 in the fifth, things looked bleak for Watertown. But instead of folding, the Rapids scored four runs of their own to make it 8-7. At the center of the rally was Dylan Sanchez. The right fielder tripled to left center and then later came around to score. The triple was also his third hit of the game. Coming off of an 0-7 day at the plate against Geneva, Sanchez said it felt good to bounce back.
“We had a day off after that game so it was easy to kind of forget about it and get ready for the next game,” Sanchez said. “I wasn’t too stressed about it.”
He started his night off with a single to center before getting thrown out trying to steal second. Getting that first hit out of the way relieved some pressure
“After that first hit I felt good, and nothing was really in my mind,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez has boosted his batting average up to .333, second highest on the team trailing only James Krick who is batting .359.
The Rapids offense has had a nice week, they’ve scored 22 runs over the course of the past four games dating back to Sunday’s doubleheader sweep of the Blue Sox in Utica.
“I think everybody is just seeing the ball well,” Sanchez said. “We have a good rotation of everybody, I think everybody gets a good about of at bats to where they’re comfortable. So I think collectively we work well together.”
Four different Rapids had multiple hits In Wednesday’s game. Jonathan Catapano launched Watertown’s only home run over the left field wall in the start off the four run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Rapids will host the Elmira Pioneers today at 6:15 p.m.