Muckdogs win to regain share of division lead
NILES, Ohio – The Batavia Muckdogs used a balk and a 3-run home run to hold off Mahoning Valley, 8-6 on Monday night.
Meanwhile in West Virginia, the host Black Bears fell to Williamsport, 8-7 in extra innings. As a result, Batavia (35-29) and West Virginia (34-28) are tied at the top of the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division heading into the all-star break.
The break won’t be relaxing for the Muckdogs as they have an NYPL high seven players and three starters in the game on Wednesday at Staten Island.
On Monday night, Batavia trailed 2-0 to Mahoning Valley, a team that won four straight and was not allowing Batavia on the scoreboard.
Batavia shortstop Dalvy Rosario hit one of the biggest home runs of the season in the top of the third, a 3-run home run to give Batavia the lead.
With the scored tied, 4-4 in the top of the seventh, J.D. Orr coaxed a balk, his eighth of the season as a runner causing a balk, allowing Albert Guaimaro to score the go-ahead run. While Mahoning Valley would stick around, Joey Steele and Evan Brabrand shut the door for the win and the save respectively.
Steele improved to 2-0 on his solid season, as he threw 2.1 innings of shut out ball, striking out four and giving up just two hits.
Steele, an all-star selection and 30th round draft pick of the Miami Marlins out of University of San Francisco, lowered his ERA to 1.59. He has thrown 17 innings and walked just three wile striking out 28.
Meanwhile, Brabrand, who has made a final-score impact in the stats in every game he has pitched in but one (that was a perfect inning), had a new roll on Monday.
Batavia manager Tom Lawless, looking to stop Mahoning Valley’s win streak and Batavia’s losing streak, brought Brabrand in with two outs in the eighth. The 6-3 righty closer out of Liberty where he was a 9th round pick of the Marlins, hit the first batter in the ninth, but got a double play to end the game.
Brabrand now has 12 saves on the season and a 3-1 record in 17 games. He has struck out 21 in 17 innings, walked just one and given up just three runs for a 1.59 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.
Josh Simpson picked up his sixth hold of the season striking out one while Andrew Miller had the start and struck out five over 4.1 innings.
Rosario, just 19 and a Marlins signing out of the Dominican Republic, is 10-for-23 (.435) in his last six games. In addition to his second home run of the season, he also crushed his 13th double of the season, scored twice, had the 3 RBI’s and a walk.
J.D. Orr, who will start in left in the all-star game, increased his NYPL leading average to .387 going 2-for-4 with a RbI and run.
Troy Johnston had a hit and a RBI while Nic Ready and Guaimaro each had a single, Sean Reynolds walked and scored, Harrison Dinicola had two hits and scored and Jack Strunc had a double and a run. Catcher Dustin Skelton also had a RBI singe and scored a run for Batavia.
The all-stars for the Muckdogs are Ready, Orr, Johnston, Milton Smith II, and pitchers Julio Frias, Brock Love and Josh Simpson.
The game is hosted by the Staten Island Yankees and starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Just one game separates seven teams fighting for four spots in the NYPL playoffs.
The Muckdogs return home on Thursday for three straight crucial home games at 7:05 p.m. each night against State College, then three more home games against Williamsport.