By Josh McMullen – Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs
LITTLE FALLS, NY – There’s a kind of magic that has been permeating Veteran’s Memorial Park over the 2022 season.
How else can you explain the heroics that have been put on by the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs, who got their third win in the last half-inning Friday night? Jelani Hamer tied the game up twice with booming hits to keep it close, but in the end, it was Noah Lucier who sent the home fans home happy…with a game-winning bunt. The Fairfield product laid down a bouncing bunt to score the game-winning run, 6-5, over the Oneonta Outlaws
Lucier (Sandown, NH/Fairfield) got the scoring started in the first by firing a laser-beam line drive to left field, bringing Zach Brush (New York Mills, NY/LeMoyne) and Pete Durocher (Emerson, NJ/Manhattan). Orlando Pena (New Jersey City, NJ/Coastal Carolina) did Lucier one better, belting an RBI double that brought home Garrett Musey (Millville, NJ/Goldey-Beacom).
The Outlaws would get a run back in the second, thanks to a double steal that brought home Dylan Broderick (Beelephone, PA/Pittsburgh-Johnstown). Hamer (Bronx, NY/Saint Ros) tied up the game in the third, bringing home two Oneonta runners on a booming fly ball to center field that got all the way to the wall.
Musey would make sure the tie would not last long, sending a no-doubt solo home run over the equipment shed in left field. Musey’s 11th home run of the season gave the Diamond Dawgs a 4-3 lead heading into the fourth.
Lucier added his third RBI of the night in the seventh, bringing home Durocher on a sacrifice fly to right. But again, Hamer would provide the heroics for Oneonta in the ninth, crushing a two-run home run to center field to tie the game at five. But on what would become the last pitch of the game, Lucier bounced the ball down the first baseline to score Ethan Valdez (Tampa, FL/Springhill) and win the game for Mohawk Valley.
Ruben Del Castillo (LaVerne, CA/Wagner) got the win for Mohawk Valley (28-18). Carter Dorighi (Cherry Hills Village, CO/LaFayette) picked up the heartbreaking loss for Oneonta (23-23), who have lost five out of their last seven.
Both teams have made the playoffs and will play in the Eastern Division Semi-Finals Saturday night. Mohawk Valley will host Saugerties, while Oneonta will travel to Amsterdam to take on the top-seeded Mohawks.