Jammers Suffer 11-1 Loss To Mohawk Valley In Game 1

Jamestown’s Nick Bernick, right, races past Mohawk Valley catcher Clay Koniencki to score the Jammers’ only run in their 11-1 loss to the DiamondDawgs in Game 1 of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League Championship Series at Veterans Memorial Park in Little Falls on Sunday night. P-J photo by Scott Reagle

LITTLE FALLS — The Jamestown Jammers have their backs against the wall going into Game 2 of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League Championship Series tonight after a listless 11-1 loss to the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs at Veterans Memorial Park on Sunday.

Mohawk Valley led 1-0 after the first inning before a four-run third inning chased Jamestown pitcher Isaac Meza (CSU Bakersfield), who was making his first start of the year. Two more runs in the fourth and a four-run eighth inning capped a successful Game 1 for the DiamondDawgs.

“We got outplayed. It was a good, old-fashioned butt-kicking,” Jammers manager Anthony Barone said. “We’ll see how the guys respond.”

Cory Blessing (Ohio University) will take the mound at 7:05 tonight at Diethrick Park with the Jammers’ season on the line. Jamestown must now win Game 2 tonight and Game 3 at home Tuesday to win its first league championship.

“I’m going with my guy right now,” Barone said of Blessing. “We’ll go with him for as long as he can go, for as successful as he can be.”

Jamestown’s John Conti attempts a bunt during Game 1 of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League Championship Series against Mohawk Valley on Sunday. P-J photo by Scott Reagle

As it did in a first-round extra-inning playoff win over Onondaga, Jamestown had trouble driving in base runners. The Jammers stranded single runners in the first four innings before leaving two in the fifth, the bases loaded in the sixth and two more in the eighth. One more runner left on base in the ninth gave them 12 for the game.

“The middle of the order has to come up with the big hits. That’s why they are in the middle of the order,” Barone said of Ben Brookover (University of Texas-San Antonio), Skyler Valentine (Texas State University) and Alex O’Donnell (Mercyhurst University), who went a combined 0 for 11 with four strikeouts. “It’s tough to win ballgames when the big guns aren’t producing with men on base.”

Alexis Monge-Rodriguez, who reached base four times, including three singles for Mohawk Valley, led off the bottom of the first with a walk and eventually scored all the way from first on Russ Olive’s two-out single to center field.

In the third, Joe Engle led off with a single and moved to second on Tim Zeng’s walk before a double steal put runners at second and third with one out. After a strikeout, Barone elected to intentionally walk Olive to load the bases for Ben Porter. The Columbia University sophomore made the Jammers pay, roping a bases-clearing triple into the left-field corner to bust open a close game.

“We talked to Porter about his approach before that at-bat. Steve Luby, my assistant, told him he had to get rid of the lunge,” Mohawk Valley manager Blake Nation said. ” … He got rid of the lunge … and luckily he put one about 2 feet just fair. That really opened the floodgates for us.”

Jamestown second baseman Nick Bernick, middle, leaps out of the way of Mohawk Valley base runner after making the putout. At left is Jammers’ shortstop Alex O’Donnell. P-J photo by Scott Reagle

A.J. Pollack followed with an RBI single to chase Meza and bring in Nolan Hunt (Canisius College).

“He probably had a lot of adrenaline early in the game and that’s probably why he walked a couple of guys,” Barone said of Meza. “Overall he’s had a really successful season.”

In the fourth, Engle walked with one out and Monge-Rodriguez singled before Zeng’s RBI single to right field got away from John Conti (Canisius) allowing Monge-Rodriguez to score all the way from first.

“There were a lot left on and a lot given up,” Barone said. “That’s a bad recipe for a Championship Series game.”

The Jammers scored their lone run in the top of the fifth as Nick Bernick (Niagara University) hit a one-out double and scored two batters later on an RBI single from Conti.

Jamestown loaded the bases an inning later as O’Donnell led off with a walk and Jimmy Standohar (Mercyhurst) singled with one out before Bernick was hit by a pitch with two outs. The Jammers then had their leading hitter, Christ Conley (Canisius) at the plate, but he struck out to end the inning.

“Baseball is always frustrating. … In your next at-bat you just have to keep a clear mind and stay positive,” O’Donnell said. “At this point you just have to turn the page. They got us at their place, but we’re not going to let them get us at our place.”

NOTES: Blessing is 3-0 with a 3.70 earned run average on the season. … Mohawk Valley will counter with Wagner University’s Doug Molnar, who is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA on the season. … The DiamondDawgs will be looking for their second title in the past three seasons.

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