Troy—The Tri-City ValleyCats came into “The Joe” tonight to take a crucial game one against the Hudson Valley Renegades at home. They went out and grabbed the game early, winning 3-0.
Tri-City got going quick in the first with a leadoff home run on the first pitch. This was Machado’s fourth home run of the season.
Manager Jason Bell said, “As the first hitter in a championship game, there’s a lot of adrenaline that comes with that. And everyone wants to be the hero but it’s about doing it the right way. And that’s what it was, he got the pitch he wanted and took advantage of it.”
The starter Shawn Dubin found himself in a jam during the second inning. With one out, the right hander had the bases loaded with the leadoff hitter set to come up to the plate. The leadoff hitter, Tanner Dodson had been the only Renegade to get a hard hit off of Dubin, doubling in his first at bat. But Dubin responded, striking out the final two batters. Dubin left the game after the second inning with a line of three hits, five strikeouts, and zero run.
The ValleyCats found themselves adding to their lead in the second inning. After Austin Dennis walked, he found his way home on two outfield singles, one a smoking grounder into right field, the other dropping into left. Machado grounded into a double play to end the inning with one runner abandoned on third.
Hudson Valley got another chance to put runs on the board in the fourth. A single, a walk and a hit by a pitch loaded the bases with two outs on the board and Tanner Dodson up to the plate. The pitcher, Jose Rivera remained calm and struck out Dodson swinging, his fifth of the game.
The top of the fifth inning saw Jose Rivera walk two more batters with only one out before being replaced by Joey Gonzalez. Gonzalez struck out his first batter, but walks the second to load the bases. The second baseman, Jonathan Aranda stepped up to the plate and took a hack at the first pitch he saw. The ball sailed over three hundred feet to left field before being caught by Carlos Machado.
Gonzalez gave the Renegades another chance with one out and runners on first and second. ValleyCats’ catcher Oscar Campos lessened the load, throwing a dime down to third base to catch the stealing Bryce Brown. Joey Gonzalez struck out his batter to finish off the inning. The ValleyCats struck out thirteen batters in the first six innings.
“It’s never comfortable when there’s guys in scoring position with a close game, but they competed the best they could with an opposing team that was making very good swing decisions,” said Bell.
The ValleyCats pitchers went on to strikeout a total of seventeen batters, tying their season high through nine innings.
Hudson Valley’s Chris Muller lost his composure in the bottom of the seventh. After allowing two outfield singles to Carlos Machado and Enmanuel Valdez, Muller threw two wild pitches that allowed Machado to come around from second base and score. After walking Oscar Campos, Muller was replaced by B.J. Myers. Myers walked Logan Mattix to load the bases, but then got Andy Pineda to fly out to center field for the final out.
The ValleyCats will go out to Hudson Valley to try and clinch a third New York-Penn League title. If they can’t manage the win tomorrow, they will play in Hudson Valley again Monday. That is why the home game is so crucial.
“The crowd did wonders for us tonight,” Bell praising the fan turnout. “On a cold night that probably isn’t much fun to watch baseball in. We appreciate all the support that they had, and it helped give us that extra push.”