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Rams wait, then romp

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The Watertown Rams’ patient approach started before the team even took the field.

Watertown routed the late-arriving Adirondack Trail Blazers, 15-3, in a Perfect Game Collegiate League Baseball League game Friday at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds. The game was pushed back more than 45 minutes from its original 5 p.m. start time due to uncertainty over whether the game would go off as scheduled because of rain showers that cleared up only a couple of hours prior.

Watertown manager Paul Alteri said the team wasn’t rattled by the wait.

“It wasn’t a surprise with the weather being the way it’s been,” Alteri said. “We just go with the flow and we were ready to play.”

Rams hitters parlayed that patience to the batter’s box, where it pounded out 15 hits and drew a total of nine walks, including three coming with the bases loaded in an eight-run fifth inning. Rams outfielder Austin Lueck (South Florida) said the team is trying to take a more disciplined approach at the plate.

“We’re just trying to be smarter with our at-bats and stop chasing away and in the dirt like we have been,” said Lueck, who went 3-for-5.

Adirondack manager Rob Foster said the shaky outing by his pitching staff contributed to the loss.

“They were pretty patient and also I think lead the league in walks,” Foster said. “So we gave them a reason to be patient.”

Watertown pitcher Thomas Casey (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) earned the win by going five innings and striking out four while giving up only two runs on two hits. The Rams bullpen then held the Trail Blazers (7-10) scoreless until the ninth when Matt Chaidez’s sacrifice fly plated Dominic Fazio. Alteri said that Casey and the bullpen helped his staff save their arms for a tough stretch that includes two doubleheaders this weekend.

“We were hoping Thomas Casey would give us five innings and he did,” Alteri said. “Then we had a game plan to string the last four innings out.”

The Rams (7-10) play back-to-back doubleheaders as they host the Newark Pilots today and then travel to Elmira to face the Pioneers on Sunday. With Watertown having to make up so many games, Alteri said it was good that hitters like Lueck started hitting.

“That’s going to be a huge help for us with the four games in the next couple days, knowing that he (Lueck) is starting to get on a roll,” he said.

The Rams got off to a fast start, after giving up a run to the Trail Blazers in the first, by scoring three runs in the inning thanks to four hits, with the big blow coming from third baseman J.J. Wagner (Pacific), who stroked a two-run double. Wagner said he liked the pitched he got to hit.

“It was a changeup that was down in and I was able to keep my hands back and drive it into left field,” said Wagner, who also drew a pair of walks.

Nik Alfonso, Joe Moroney and Justin Protacio each generated two hits, and Bryce Greager belted an RBI-double for Watertown, which is now in a three-way tie for second with Adirondack and Elmira. First-place Newark is ahead of the trio by a half game.

The Rams tacked on a pair of runs in the second on the Greager double before pulling away in the fifth by sending 13 batters to the plate. Watertown then finished the scoring after Alfonso drove in a pair of runs with an RBI-single in the sixth.

nNOTES: Watertown leads the season series with Adirondack, 3-2. ... The Rams also scored 16 runs on June 19 against the Trail Blazers. ... The two teams will meet again on July 2 at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds. ... Pitcher Henry McAree (Shoreline Community College in Washington) made his season debut pitching a scoreless seventh inning and striking out one.




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