By Connor Stalker, Staff Writer
Little Falls, N.Y.–The PGCBL season is officially upon us, and this year’s Blue Sox club came out swinging. St. Rose righthanded pitcher Chris Palmer started the game on the mound for Mohawk Valley, while southpaw Holden de Jong a freshman from NJIT took the ball for the Blue Sox.
The Blue Sox jumped on Palmer early. 3rd Basemen Norris McClure ripped a double down the leftfield line and cleanup bat, Will Shannon, singled to right field to bring McClure home.
In the 2nd inning, the Blue Sox continued to hit Palmer as left fielder Wyatt Jensen laced a single to center scoring a second run increasing the Blue Sox lead to two. On the other side of the ball, de Jong earned his first and second strikeout of the game, showing off an electric fastball that the Diamond Dawg bats struggled to catch up to.
Palmer’s struggles continued into the 3rd inning when local Hamilton College standout Taylor Kaufman launched a 2-0 pitch over the fence in right-center field, giving the Blue Sox a 4-0 lead. The home run knocked Palmer out of the game as the Diamond Dawgs’ skipper went to the bullpen early and brought in Seton Hall freshman Colin Dowlen. De Jong again dominated, striking out the Diamond Dawgs’ leadoff and cleanup batter.
The Blue Sox exploded for 7 runs in the 4th inning with runs scoring on singles by returning Utica star Easton Brenner and McClure. After recording only one out, Dowlen was removed from the game and replaced with lefty Marco Siracusa. The first batter he faced, Will Shannon, took advantage of the pitching change and smoked a towering blast over the right field fence making the score 10-0 in favor of Utica.
After scoring another run on an Andre Demetral single, Holden de Jong continued to impress by striking out his 6th batter of the game before being removed with reliever Mason Roy taking over pitching duties.
Siracusa made quick work of the middle of the Blue Sox order, allowing his teammates to cut into the Blue Sox lead. A double by catcher Mitch Balint got the Diamond Dawgs on the board and the floodgates opened from there. The Diamond Dawgs would score 4 more runs before Roy was taken out in favor of South Dakota native Trey Sejnoha. Sejnoha was tasked with attempting to stop the Diamond Dawgs offense, though he would give up a 3-run double to Sam Miller making the score 11-8.
The Blue Sox offense quickly fought back with a past ball and a double by Brenner helping to pad the lead to 5. Thomas Roefaro replaced Sejnoha in the 6th and gave up two runs before throwing incredibly well the rest of the game by not allowing a run in the remaining 3 innings. Diamond Dawgs southpaw Ethan Patch did much the same and held the Blue Sox’s potent offense to 0 runs the rest of the game. Holden de Jong finished the game with his first win with the Blue Sox while also compiling 6 strikeouts. Roefaro’s outstanding effort for 4 innings was rewarded with a save. Mohawk Valley’s starter Chris Palmer was handed the loss. Will Shannon and Designated Hitter Ben Partridge finished with 3 hits, while McClure and Brenner also recorded multi-hit games. Mitch Balint of Mohawk Valley finished with 3 hits, while his teammate Sam Miller recorded 4 RBIs.
With the win, the Blue Sox improved to 1-0 on the season. Impressively, the Blue Sox have won their opening game for the last 8 seasons, a historic start for this year’s club.
If you want to watch the Blue Sox in action the club travels to Watertown on June 2nd to face the Rapids, and the squad will play its home opener this Saturday, June 3rd against Oneonta.