Batavia Downs State College in High-Scoring Affair
Sunday night’s matchup between State College Spikes and the Batavia Muckdogs saw plenty of back and forth action between the two clubs with Batavia outscoring State College 8-6 to take game one of the series.
On a gorgeous evening at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, game one could be best described as a complete dichotomy between the pitcher’s duel in the first half of action followed by an offensive explosion from both sides.
State College’s Jake Dahlberg and Batavia’s R.J. Peace worked quickly through the first four and a half innings. The lone run came via an RBI single in the top of the second from Batavia catcher Igor Baez. The one run aside, Dahlberg completed his first five innings with great command of the strike zone and appeared to be on his way to a dominant outing.
“For the most part [Dahlberg] throws strikes,” State College manager Joe Kruzel said. “He keeps the ball down and mixes his pitches in well. He’s got the ability to use all his pitches in any count. There are a lot of good things to like about him – the kid just competes.”
His counterpart was arguably even more impressive through his first four innings of work. In that span, Peace allowed just two hits and struck out six hitters.
Then all of the sudden, Peace did not look like the same pitcher who effortlessly cruised through the first four innings. Until the bottom of the fifth inning, he had been routinely getting ahead in the count against the Spikes’ hitters. However, Peace walked three batters in the inning, subsequently leading to a four-run bottom of the fifth for the Spikes. Peace recorded two outs in the inning and then was replaced by Manuel Rodriguez.
A nearly identical collapse manifested for the Spikes in the next half inning. Dahlberg faced only two batters in the inning, surrendering a walk to Demetrius Sims and a single to Jerar Encarnacion. Dahlberg’s replacement, Jake Schlesener then walked his first two batters before allowing a three-run double by Denis Karas to put Batavia back up 5-4.
“We fought and took the lead there in the fifth, but we just need to do a better job in certain situations to prevent them from scoring,” Kruzel said.
State College’s Cory Malcom retired the side in sixth without any additional damage, but a towering three-run shot from Sean Reynolds in the seventh inning extended the Muckdogs’ lead to 8-4.
“There are times where we’re going to have to start sooner rather than later and get some guys to understand that before the ninth or the eighth,” Kruzel said. “We have to do a better job of consistently putting together shut down innings and not digging ourselves in these holes.”
Rodriguez, meanwhile, was sharp in Peace’s relief for the Muckdogs. After a disastrous fifth inning for the Muckdogs, Rodriguez threw 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing only three hits in the process.
Chad Martin entered in the ninth inning to close the game out for Batavia. The Spikes showed plenty of life in their final half inning at the plate despite facing a four-run deficit. A two-run double from Nick Dunn cut the lead to just two, but then Justin Toerner was caught in a pickle between third and home off a single from Wood Myers for the final out of the game.
“I take full responsibility for that,” Kruzel said. “It was a late stop sign, and that’s on me, not on the kids. They played hard all the way until the end, and I’m very pleased with that.”
Batavia improves to 4-5 on the year, while State College falls to 3-7. The Spikes will be back in action for game two of the series against Batavia Monday night at 7:05 p.m. at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Will Desautelle is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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