The Watertown Wizards enjoyed life on the road as an offensive power last week. But they returned to the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds on Sunday, and their home slump continued.
Joe Michaud and Hassan Evans combined on a three-hitter and silenced the Wizards bats as the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs stormed to a 15-1 victory Sunday in Perfect Game Collegiate League Baseball League play.
Watertown (11-17), which scored 44 runs over its previous five games in faring 3-2 on a road swing, failed to capitalize on the momentum in suffering its worst home loss of the season.
Its just tough to say, right fielder Cole Gleason said. It kind of just seems everything goes the wrong way when were at home. But we cant make excuses youre not going to win a ball game with two hits we just have to play better all around.
The Wizards woes at the Fairgrounds continued with their 10th consecutive setback here where they are now 2-13 through the first month of the season.
You dont really want to say every day hey, were two and whatever at home, said Watertown manager Nathan Kafka, whose team owns the second-best road record in the league at 9-4. Its just one of those things where the guys know, they know whats going on and they understand that we dont play well at home. We just have to take it one game at a time and we just didnt get it done.
Michaud allowed only two hits over seven innings of shutout ball, striking out eight and walking none to improve to 4-1 for Mohawk Valley (12-13).
I thought Joe Michaud pitched well, Mohawk Valley coach Roberto Vaz said. We were able to score those runs early and put pressure on them. Joe kept throwing strikes with the lead and we kept scoring runs.
Watertown managed only six base runners against Michaud, with three reaching when they were hit by a pitch.
Right away, we let the other team set the tone, second baseman Christian Hickman said. We didnt make pitches, didnt make plays and we didnt hit so we lost the game. Hopefully we can bounce back (today) and do better. ... Its very frustrating its more frustrating for us than for the fans, because this town deserves wins at home. We definitely need to pick it up.
After Mohawk Valley scored two runs in the first inning as Tyler Heck scored on an RBI groundout and Chris Cruz walked and scored when a teammate was caught in an infield rundown, the Wizards appeared to answer with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning.
Designated hitter Donald Walter was hit by a pitch, stole second base and headed for home on Brandon Cipollas single to left field, but was called out at the plate. One batter later, emotions boiled over as after Jordan Enos was called out on strikes, the first baseman turned back toward the plate, threw his helmet, had words with the home plate umpire and was tossed out of the game.
The DiamondDawgs broke the game open with five runs in the second inning on a two-run double from Tyler Hall, an RBI single from Cruz, and two more runners scored when David Del Grande reached on an infield error.
Its tough when you get put in a 7-0 deficit, Kafka said. That makes it difficult, and I thought we had one there in the first that apparently wasnt a run. That kind of takes some life out of you since we could have cut the lead in half, but it obviously didnt go our way.
Mohawk Valley led 8-0 with a run in the third on an RBI single by Heck and scored twice in the sixth to lead 10-0 on Del Grandes run-scoring single and Cruzs run on a passed ball.
The DiamondDawgs added single runs in the seventh and eighth innings and punctuated the rout with Eric Helmrichs three-run home run in the ninth.
Watertown averted the shutout as Edgardo Salas scored on Walters RBI single in the eighth.
The Wizards hope to keep their home misfortunes in the rear-view mirror as their next seven games are on the road starting tonight at Newark at 7 and including a doubleheader against the Pilots on Friday with the Jefferson County Fair in town this week.
Were only a couple spots out of playoff (position), Gleason said, so we need to go on this road trip with a good attitude and come back with at least a .500 record, hopefully even more.