GLENS FALLS — The Dragons came into Friday night with the league’s worst totals in runs and hits. They would go out at home tonight to try to improve on that in an exhibition game against the Albany Twilight League’s Waterford Nationals. They failed to show signs of improvement, tying at one in ten innings.
The action got going in the bottom of the third when Justin Rouse (Bellarmine University) hit a ground ball that resulted in a collision between him and the first baseman. Rouse left the game with a head injury and Phoenix Hernandez (Southern New Hampshire University) came in to run the bases. After two passed balls Hernandez made his way to third base with Andrew Teixeira (Randolph-Macon College) at the plate. Teixeira hit a ground ball to the second baseman and Hernandez came in to score the Dragons’ only run.
Erick Lopez (Avila University) got his first start of the season tonight. Coming into Friday’s game Lopez pitched six innings allowing eight hits, two earned runs, and two strikeouts on the season in relief. Lopez came out strong Friday, pitching five shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out six.
Head coach Cam Curler was impressed saying, “Erick hasn’t seen a lot of burn for us and he did really well.”
The Dragons used three more pitchers to finish the game only allowing one run. “All of our pitchers did really well,” Curler said. “Any time you can hold the other team to one unearned run in a game then it’s a job well done,” he added.
The Waterford Nationals came back into the picture during the top of the eighth inning. With one out, Nolan Duda (Clarkson University) hit a line drive into right center field that narrowly missed Brian Hart’s (Marist) glove, resulting in a triple. Casey Job (SUNY Brockport) hit a sacrifice fly during the next at bat tying the game.
The Dragons couldn’t get anything going again until the tenth and final inning where they had two men get on base in PGCBL all-star Nick Kondo (UAlbany) and Phoenix Hernandez. This momentum was crushed by the manager decision to have them both steal second base on the first pitch, giving them two outs. The game was called at the end of the tenth inning as it was just an exhibition contest.
The Dragons were unable to get any momentum all night. Their two hits in the first and tenth innings were the closest the Dragons ever got to a run, and they scored in neither of those innings.
Fed up with his team’s play, Curler said, “As a staff we have to get it done. If the guys that are in the game aren’t doing it then we have to find guys who will do jobs.”
The Dragons are in a very tough spot right now and don’t seem to have the drive to push through. They are five and a half games back on the East leading Amsterdam Mohawks with sixteen games left on their schedule. However, Curlee knows the team has pressure to perform saying, “It’s up to them. In this league anyone can beat anyone, but we haven’t been playing good baseball.”
The Dragons play tomorrow night in Glens Falls against the Saugerties Stallions. The Stallions are the next team the Dragons will have to pass on their way to the playoffs, five games ahead in the standings.