’Cats drop se­ries fi­nale

Tri-city plays rare bad game, snap­ping team’s four-game win streak

Albany Times Union - - SPORTS - By Mark Sin­ge­lais

Tri-city Val­l­ey­cats man­ager Ja­son Bell said his team might have been play­ing its best base­ball of the sea­son head­ing into its se­ries fi­nale against the Hud­son Val­ley Rene­gades on Fri­day night.

So much for that. Tri-city tossed in a clunker in a 10-3 loss to the Rene­gades that ended its four-game win­ning streak be­fore a crowd of 4,832 at Bruno Sta­dium.

De­spite the sloppy de­feat, Bell re­mained happy with what he’s see­ing from the Val­l­ey­cats (3023). They took two of three from Hud­son Val­ley (32-21), which has the sec­ond-best record in the New York-penn League.

“This is a re­ally, re­ally tough stretch, es­pe­cially for guys who have al­ready played a col­lege sea­son and who aren’t used to play­ing ev­ery day,’’ Bell said. “I’ve been pretty proud over the last five games that we’ve played as far as the en­ergy and the way we’ve played the game. I’m cu­ri­ous to see how the next two games go head­ing into the All-star break.”

Tri-city, which holds a onegame lead over Low­ell in the St­edler Di­vi­sion, plays at Ver­mont over the week­end be­fore get­ting two days off while the All-star Game is held in State Col­lege, Pa. on Tues­day.

“I know ev­ery­body’s look­ing for­ward to this break, but we’ve got to fin­ish these last cou­ple of days strong,’’ Tri-city short­stop Trey Daw­son said.

The Rene­gades pres­sured Tri-city pitch­ing by putting their lead­off bat­ter on base in each of the first six in­nings.

Hud­son Val­ley’s Tyler Frank set the tone when he drew a fourpitch walk from Tri-city starter Shawn Du­bin to open the game. Af­ter that, Du­bin hit Tan­ner Dod­son with a pitch to put run­ners on first and sec­ond.

It got worse for Du­bin from there. Erik Ost­berg drove his next pitch over the right-field fence for a three-run homer to give Hud­son Val­ley a 3-0 lead just three bat­ters into the game.

Du­bin set­tled down af­ter that, but Hud­son Val­ley pounced on the wild­ness of Val­l­ey­cats re­liever Mark Mo­clair to tack on three more runs in the fifth in­ning.

Mo­clair walked three bat­ters and hit an­other with a pitch dur­ing that frame be­fore be­ing lifted by Bell. Hud­son Val­ley built its lead to 6-0.

The Val­l­ey­cats put their first two runs on the board in the sixth. Michael Wielan­sky and Ramiro Ro­driguez set the ta­ble with back-to-back sin­gles to open the in­ning.

Daw­son fol­lowed with a dou­ble to deep left to score Wielan­sky and cut Hud­son Val­ley’s lead to 6-1.

Alex Mckenna, the next bat­ter, grounded out to sec­ond to bring home Ro­driguez and cut the deficit to 6-2.

Luis Encarnacion walked to load the bases, but Alex Holder­bach ended the rally by ground­ing into a 5-4-3 dou­ble play to fin­ish the sixth.

Tri-city scratched across an­other run in the sev­enth, helped by Hud­son Val­ley’s poor de­fense. Andy Pineda reached on a field­ing er­ror by Frank at sec­ond base to put run­ners on first and sec­ond.

The Val­l­ey­cats, who lead the league with 76 stolen bases, then ex­e­cuted a dou­ble steal to put run­ners on sec­ond and third.

Wielan­sky hit a grounder that Hud­son Val­ley third base­man Adrian Ron­don butchered, al­low­ing a run to score to bring the Val­l­ey­cats within 6-3. But again the Val­l­ey­cats wasted an op­por­tu­nity for more when Mckenna grounded back to the pitcher with the bases loaded to end the sev­enth.

That’s as far as the Val­l­ey­cats’ come­back would go. Hud­son Val­ley’s Jor­dan Qsar hit the first pitch of the eighth off Tri-city’s Brett Daniels for a homer to right and a 7-3 lead. The Rene­gades added three more runs in the in­ning, in­clud­ing a pair when Wielan­sky muffed a pop fly at third.

“It’s funny be­cause we worked on pop-up pri­or­ity in prac­tice today and it was the best we’ve done all year,’’ Bell said.

Be­fore the bot­tom of the eighth, two girls ran across the out­field. They were es­corted out of the ball­park. Val­l­ey­cats gen­eral man­ager Matt Cal­la­han said the girls, ages 17 and 15, are banned in­def­i­nitely. The team chose not to press crim­i­nal charges.

Jenn march / Spe­cial to the times union

tri-city’s Andy Pineda takes a swing against Hud­son Val­ley at Bruno Sta­dium. Pineda went 0-for-4 for the Val­l­ey­cats.

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