By Connor Stalker, Blue Sox Staff Writer

Utica, N.Y.– In the first game of a doubleheader, the Blue Sox dropped a close contest, 2-1, to the Albany Dutchmen. On the mound, the Blue Sox called on right-hander Thomas Roefaro who has worked a 5.11 ERA in 12 and a 1/3rd innings. For the Dutchmen, Grant Smeltzer started the game, his 2nd start of the summer.

Austin Francis got the Dutchmen on the board early with a single in the top of the 1st that scored Anthony Paskell who reached on a hit-by-pitch.

The Blue Sox responded accordingly, with back-to-back singles by shortstop Andre Demetral and 3rd baseman Norris McClure that brought cleanup bat Will Shannon to the plate. With a 1-2 count, Shannon hit a ground ball to shortstop Vince Venditti. A tailor-made double play turned into a disaster as the ball was thrown away, allowing Demetral to score, tying the ballgame.

The combined effort of Roefaro and lefty Billy Rozakis would hold the Dutchmen’s offense scoreless until the top of the 7th. Anthony Paskell led off the inning with a single to 2nd base. Vince Venditti then reached base on a sacrifice bunt, that was overthrown by Rozakis putting men on 1st and 3rd.  Catcher Tyler Kipp proceeded to ground out to short to give Albany a 2-1 lead.

The Dutchmen called on Nick Kolze to close out the game and hold the slim lead. Kolze got the first and second hitters to fly out, before ending the ballgame on a ground out to short.

Reliever Brayden Childress earned the win on the bump after throwing 2 scoreless innings and striking out 3, while Kolze earned a save. Starter Grant Smeltzer also looked good going 4 innings, giving up only 2 hits, and allowing 1 run. For the Blue Sox, Rozakis was tabbed with the loss despite not giving up an earned run and working 3 strong innings. Roefaro worked out of a few jams giving up only 1 run, while still giving up 5 walks and 3 hits.

On the offensive side, the Blue Sox looked lost getting only 2 hits in the entire game, one to McClure, who continues to shine with a .438 batting average, and the other to Demetral, a consistent force at the top of the order with a .333 batting average.

Albany’s offense fared a bit better compiling 6 hits with Anthony Paskell and Tyler Kipp leading the charge. Paskell finished the night with 1 hit, 2 runs, and 2 walks, while Kipp had a knock, a walk, and an RBI. Finally, Austin Francis also contributed a hit and an RBI to help the winning effort.

The second game of the doubleheader reached the 3rd inning before the rainy conditions forced the umpires to suspend play. The Blue Sox continue their inconsistent ways falling to 9-10 on the season and fourth place in the standings. Albany improves to 8-14, good for a 3-way tie of 6th place.

Utica will look to regain their footing and winning ways up north against Boonville tomorrow, July 3rd at 6:45 pm.