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Dragons rally in late innings to beat Dutchmen

GLENS FALLS — The game was tied for the majority of the middle innings, but the Glens Falls Dragons scored three runs in the final two innings to earn a 5-2 win over the Albany Dutchmen on Friday night at East Field.

The game was tied at two entering the bottom of the seventh, and Albany brought in Will Hesslink as their third pitcher of the night. He hit the first batter he faced in Devan Kruzinski, creating early trouble. Nick Kondo bunted him over, and two batters later Kruzinski scored on a wild pitch to give the Dragons their first lead since the fourth inning.

Hesslink did not fare much better in the eighth inning. He started the frame, but gave up a leadoff walk to Nick Campana and was removed following a sacrifice bunt by Evan St. Claire. Two batters later, pinch-hitter Brian Hart laced a single to right field off of submarine pitcher Jack Delaney, scoring Campana and Justin Levito, who had also reached base. This gave the Dragons the insurance runs that they needed to close out the win.

Albany used three relief pitchers after starter Nick Grabek only threw the first three frames.

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“Early on in the season, I’m not going to lie, it’s a coin flip. Obviously we brought in who what we feel was our matchup guy against right-handers,” Dutchmen coach Nick Davey said. “We left him in there versus the lefty and it probably wasn’t the best matchup.”

Glens Falls had taken the first lead of the night in the third inning off an RBI single from Connor Smith. Albany took the lead in the top of the fourth on a two-run double from Nick DeBrino. St. Claire tied the game in the bottom half to tie it at two, and that was where it stayed until Glens Falls finally took the lead late for their first win at home this season, and second overall.

“It’s nice. We can exhale after getting the first home win, but play hard every single night, it’s just a game,” Dragons first-year coach Nick Pontari said.

All night long, the Dutchmen struggled to get the big hit when they needed it. They had the two runs but did that on 11 hits. They also had three runners tagged out at home throughout the course of the game.

“We got some guys that are just getting back to playing a position again, but just a couple little simple things. The last few games we’ve left a ton of guys in scoring position and that’s where we got to get better. Once we do that, we’re going to be just fine,” Davey said.

The Dutchmen fall to 2-4 on the young season, and will be back in action on Saturday, at home against the Saugerties Stallions. First pitch is at 5 p.m.

Glens Falls is 2-3 on the year, and looking to gain momentum for the rest of the season off of these two early wins. They have not reached the PGCBL playoffs since 2012 and are coming off back-to-back seasons with less than 20 wins in the 48-game schedule. This year’s squad is a lot of new players, so they are looking into the future.

“(The past) doesn’t matter. We’re going to play the game as hard as we possibly can every single night and we’re going to let the rest take care of itself,” Pontati said.

The Dragons will also play again Saturday, on the road against the Oneonta Outlaws at 7 p.m.

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