Muckdogs rally for win to hold first place
BATAVIA – The Batavia Muckdogs had lost four straight and were suddenly down 3-0 on Sunday to Williamsport with their first-place lead in danger.
That’s when Muckdogs Manager Tom Lawless started pulling out the stops as he has all season. The team started bunting, double steals with a steal of home and then a big home run.
The Muckdogs then turned to the bull pen with the lead and held on to win, 5-4 before an Irish Night crowd of 1,021 at Dwyer Stadium, just a day after a near-record crowd of 2,779 filled Dwyer. That’s a three-day total of 4,687 to see the 25-18 Muckdogs.
Down 3-0, in the fourth, Brayan Hernandez singled in Troy Johnston, advancing Andrew Turner to third. On the double steal, Hernandez swiped second then Turner stole home, cutting the lead to 3-2.
In the bottom of the 5th, Dalvy Rosario’s RBI double scored Milton Smith II to tie the game then Nic Ready’s sacrifice fly scored Rosario for the lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Batavia catcher Michael Hernandez crushed an opposite field home run to give Batavia a 5-3 lead they would not lose. it was the second home run of the season for Hernandez, who came to the Miami Marlins organization out of Nova Southeastern College.
J.D. Orr blasted a triple for Batavia and his average of .374 still leads the entire New York-Penn League.
Left starter Andrew Miller, a 2018 Marlins draft pick out of Kentucky, had the win to even his record at 3-3. He went five innings and struck out five walking just one.
Josh Simpson, another lefty and a 32nd round pick this year out of Columbia University, earned his fifth hold of the season throwing a perfect sixth.
Bryan Hoeing, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound righty who was a 7th round Marlins draft pick out of Louisville this year threw 2.2 innings for his second hold, striking out one and allowing one run.
Evan Brabrand, one of the best closers in the minor leagues, picked up his eighth save of the year, striking out the last batter of the game with runners on base. Brabrand was a 9th round pick of the Marlins this year out of Liberty.
Batavia at 25-18 holds a two-game lead over 22-19 West Virginia in the Pinckney Division and a three-game lead over State College and Mahoning Valley, both 22-21. Only Lowell with 26 wins has more wins in the entire NYPL than the Muckdogs.
Batavia is on the road for three games with the Tri-City ValleyCats (Houston farm club) before retuning home to take on the Detroit Tigers Class A team, the Connecticut Tigers Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 2, 3 and 4.