By Connor Stalker, Blue Sox Staff Writer
Watertown, N.Y.—The Blue Sox’s win streak continued tonight as they won a comeback thriller up north against the Watertown Rapids.
The Blue Sox called on Marcus Kruzan to start the game, his first start this summer. Coming into today, Kruzan owned a 0.00 ERA in 2 appearances while striking out 11 in 7 innings pitched. Opposite of Kruzan, the Rapids opted to pitch Jared Duquette, a righty out of Saint Michaels.
Both pitchers worked scoreless first innings before Pranav Sundar knocked home the first run of the game on an opposite-field double.
The Rapids tacked on another run in the bottom of the 4th as Gaetan Grandelli scored on a wild pitch from Kruzan.
The Blue Sox finally got on the board in the top of the 6th on a single by Kyuss Gargett that plated fellow Kentucky commit Josh Skowronski, bringing the score to 2-1.
In the bottom of the 6th, the Rapids exploded for 4 runs. Carlos Castillo replaced Kruzan and struggled, walking the first three batters he faced, before being replaced with Monmouth’s Chris Killian.
A walk, a sac fly, and a 2-run single from Mike Norton gave the Rapids a 6-1 lead, though Killian worked through the inning and got the Blue Sox out of further damage.
The Blue Sox were down, but not out, as they continued to prove themselves as a late-game squad in the top of the 7th.
With reliever Maverick King on the mound the Blue Sox answered all 4 runs by putting up 4 of their own.
C.J. Wisniewski led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch. King retired the 2nd batter, but Ben Partridge doubled to put runners on 2nd and 3rd. Norris McClure then singled to score two runs and cut the deficit to 3. Will Shannon added another run on a hard-hit ball to first that was mishandled allowing him to reach and the man on 3rd to score.
After a walk to reload the bases, Watertown called on Aidan Maxwell to try and clean up the mess. Easton Brenner smoked a ball to the 3rd baseman who handled it cleanly and got the lead runner out at home. The catcher tried to turn two, but instead hit the baserunner causing chaos and giving the Blue Sox another run.
Down 6-5, Andre Demetral retied the game on a line shot to right field to score Todd Abraham.
A scoreless 9th forced extras, and the Blue Sox again rallied scoring 3 runs on the back of great base running from C.J. Wisniewski, Norris McClure, and Todd Abraham.
Trey Sejnoha worked a scoreless 10th to seal the win and give the Blue Sox their 14th win of the season.
Sejnoha earned the win on the mound pitching 2 scoreless innings at the tail end of the game. Aidan Maxwell was handed the loss after pitching 3.2 innings while giving up 4 runs (3 earned) and striking out 5.
Kruzan finished the night with 5 innings pitched, while only allowing 2 runs. Killian also threw well out of the bullpen allowing only 1 run in 3 innings. Watertown’s Jared Duquette finished his outing with 4 IPs and 0 earned runs.
Norris McClure had a big day at the plate recording 2 hits and 2 RBI. Andre Demetral had a solid performance as well, recording 2 hits, 2 RBI, a walk, and a run. Ben Partridge and Will Shannon also had doubles, their 4th and 5th, respectively, of the season.
Jax Miller led all batters with 3 hits on the evening. Malachi Flaherty and Pranav Sundar also had strong nights with Flaherty walking 3 times and Sundar ripping a double and knocking home 2.
The win pushes Utica closer to Mohawk Valley in the standings while increasing their win streak to 5. This coming Monday the Blue Sox return to action at home against Mohawk Valley for a doubleheader, with a strong chance to leapfrog the Diamond Dawgs in the standings.