TROY –– Clutch hits from the other side and mistakes late proved costly for the ValleyCats.
The Batavia Muckdogs defeated the Tri-City ValleyCats on Tuesday afternoon at Joe Bruno Stadium by a score of 6-4 in 10 innings.
The ValleyCats struck first in the second inning on a home run from Spencer Johnson, giving them the early lead. However, the Muckdogs would quickly strike back with three runs of their own in the top of the third, highlighted by an RBI double from Alex Jones and a two-run single from JJ Gould, making it 3-1.
Before that inning began, Tri-City starter Enrique Chavez had shut down the Batavia bats early, with two no-hit innings and struck out three. Chavez went five innings in total, giving up three runs on four hits, walked two and struck out four.
The ‘Cats would turn around later making it a 4-3 game in the fifth inning on a single from Brauly Mejia, having previously scoring two runs in the fourth inning.
It seemed as if Tri-City would hold onto the lead, as reliever Hector Perez had tossed three scoreless innings heading into the eighth inning, but it would be that inning that he would buckle.
Eric Gutierrez led off the inning with a single, and two batters later it was Kris Goodman coming up clutch with an RBI single of his own, tying the contest.
Both teams had chances in the final two frames, including Johnson, who ran himself into a rundown after breaking for the plate on an infield ground ball from Alex DeGoti.
In the top half of the ninth, Batavia had two runners on base, and couldn’t cash in off of Perez, who calmed down in the ninth.
Perez went four innings of relief, giving up that one crucial eighth inning run, three hits, walked one and struck out six.
The Valleycats had one final chance to win it in the ninth, getting runners on first and second with one out after a single from Carmen Benedetti and an intentional walk to Ronnie Dawson. The next two batters, Mejia and Johnson, would both strikeout, ending the inning.
“To me, it’s just the game of baseball,” Johnson said. “Some things happen that you didn’t want to happen, it’s the game. We get past it and move on.”
In the tenth inning, a walk and a hit by pitch surrendered by new pitcher Sam Stutzman made things look bleak for Tri-City, and then newly-entered Pedro Garcia ripped a two run single with two outs, which proved to be the dagger to lead Batavia to the win.
“Unfortunately, in baseball, some of the things that you’re going to mess up on, you have to learn by doing it.” Valleycats manager Lamarr Rogers said.
The Muckdogs improve to 7-25 with the win, and will have an off day tomorrow. They will play again on Thursday in Batavia, taking on the Williamsport Crosscutters.
The Valleycats fall to 17-15, and sit 3.5 games back in the Stedler division heading into Tuesday night’s games. They too have an off day tomorrow, and will head to Staten Island to take on the Yankees for a three game series. Dustin Hunt will get the start in game one on Thursday. They will return home on Sunday, playing the Vermont Lake Monsters. That game will begin at 5 PM. Tuesday was the final matchup of the year between Batavia and Tri-City.