TROY — The 2,904 fans in attendance for “The Sandlot” night at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium had to wait awhile to see some offense. However, the wait was worth it as the ValleyCats earned a 3-3 series split against the Vermont Lake Monsters with a 6-1 victory on Friday night.
After a slow first three innings, Trey Dawson gave the ‘Cats their first baserunner of the night with a leadoff double to start the fourth. Two batters later, Jeremy Pena put the ‘Cats on the board with a one out RBI double to left that scored Dawson and put the ‘Cats up 1-0.
It was not until the sixth inning when the ‘Cats to added some more runs. A solo home run off the bat of Gilberto Celestino put the ‘Cats up 2-0. His home run on Friday night was the third game in a row in which he homered.
“He’s always been talented,” said manager Jason Bell of Celestino’s recent performances. “When he signed he was a pretty big name and he’s always had those tools in him and I’m glade they’re coming out and everybody else is noticing that because we have noticed that ourselves.”
The Lake Monster retaliated in top of the seventh when an Alfonso Rivas single to center plated a run, making it 2-1 ‘Cats.
However, the ‘Cats opened the gap in their half of the 7th. Oscar Campos started the scoring spree with and RBI double to left that brought home Austin Dennis to make it a 3-1 ‘Cats advantage. The next batter, Dawson, drove in another with a sacrifice fly to right field to open the ‘Cats lead to 4-1. Celestino picked up his second RBI of the night with a single to center that scored Campos and extend the lead to 5-1.
The ‘Cats went on to add another run in the eighth when Cesar Salazar doubled to right, scoring Enmanuel Valdez on a throwing error by Lake Monsters right fielder Noah Vaughn.
Throughout the night the ‘Cats pitching staff held Lake Monster’s batters to 1-11 with runners in scoring position.
The ValleyCats (11-10) will stay home this weekend as they start a series against the Aberdeen IronBirds (11-10) on Saturday at 7 p.m.