Smith sparks first place Muckdogs to win

Contributed Story Posted 9 July 2019 at 9:05 am

Contributed Photo – Milton Smith II is waved home by Batavia Muckdogs manager Tom Lawless. Smith II went 5-for-6 to up his average to .423 on the season.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.  – All season long, Milton Smith II has battled with teammate J.D. Orr for the top spot on the New York-Penn League average leader board.

Monday night, Smith raced out to the lead with a 5-for-6 performance to not only increase his average to .423 but lead the first place Muckdogs to a 14-2 win over the State College Spikes.

Batavia (15-8) pounded out 18 hits led by Smith II, who also had three runs, stole a base and had a RBI. The lefty centerfielder is a 2-18 22nd round draft pick by the parent club Miami Marlins. He is a Starkvile, Mississippi naïve and was drafted out of Meridian CC.

In the fifth, State College was keeping the game close at 5-2 when Batavia manager Tom Lawless started giving runners the green light. Dalvy Rosario and Troy Johnston had RBI singles, then Johnston stole second as Rosario stole home, starting a streak of nine unanswered runs.

Johnston, who is also a lefty outfielder, went 4-for-5, tripped two doubles with 3 RBI’s and three runs. He was taken by the Marlins in the 17th round of the 2019 draft out of Gonzaga and now has a .356 average.

Albert Guaimaro has continued his hot streak, going 3-for-5 with 3 RBI’s and a run for the Muckdogs while catcher Dustin Skelton had three hits including a double and 2 RBI’s. Skelton was drafted this year by Miami a round after Johnston.

Jack Strunc had two hits and a RBI while Rosario had a hit, scored four runs and drove in a run.

Jackson Rose picked up his third win on the season, this time coming out of the pen to throw four scoreless innings of one-hit ball with five strikeouts and just one walk.  Rose, 3-1 on the season with a 2.70 ERA, is a 2018 Marlins draft pick out of Minnesota.

Eli  Villalobos started and went four innings with four strikeouts and Tyler Kolek threw a perfect inning with a strikeout.

The Muckdogs have now on 7-of-11 games and play one more game Tuesday night in State College at 7:05 p.m.

The Muckdogs return home to play Lowell on Wednesday as part of a three-game home stand (July 10, 11 and 12).