The race for first-place in the Pinckey Division of the New York-Penn League got interesting on Thursday night as West Virginia scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to down the Batavia Muckdogs, 4-3.
Batavia is now in first place at 24-16 and West Virginia is 21-17, taking 2-of-3 from the Muckdogs.
Batavia returns home for three games Friday, Saturday and Sunday against Williamsport.
A bright spot for the Muckdogs was the pitching of Julio Frias, who pitched six strong innings, striking out six, five of them in the first three innings.he gave up four hits, one run and walked two.
Frias, 21, was signed out of Boca Chica, Dominican Republic by the Miami Marlins. The Marlins were patient with the young 6-foot-2 lefty, giving him two years with the Dominican Summer League Marlins and two years with the Gulf Coast League Marlins.
During that time, Frias, who started his career at 16, went 3-15 with an ERA close to five.
However, this season with Batavia, Frias is 3-1 with a 1.73 ERA and he has struck out 50 in 41.2 innings with 12 walks and 25 hits.
Batavia took a 1-0 lead in the second when Milton Smith II scored on a mild pitch with two outs, then West Virginia tied the game at 1-1 in the third.
In the top of the fifth, Nic Ready, crushed his 21st double of the season to left scoring J.D. Orr then Smith II then singled to left scoring Ready for a 3-1 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, a sacrifice fly tied the game and a single by Nick Patten to score Matthew Fraizer won the game for West Virginia.
Orr forced two balks of West Virginia pitchers while he was on the bases with his unique leading style. He had the hit and walked three times and it now hitting .375 on the season. he also stole his 20th base of the season
Smith II had two hits a RBI (his 15th) and a run. Ready’s RBI was his 23rd on the season.
Andrew Turner had two hits for the Muckdogs while Dalvy Roasario and Jack Strunc also had hits.
M.D. Johnson had his fourth hold on the season, going 0.2 innings and Geremy Galindez had his first hold pitching 1.1 innings of perfect baseball with one strickout. Evan Brabrand took the loss, he is now 2-1 on the season.
On Friday when the Muckdogs host Williamsport, it is Flash Back Friday, there will be Crafty Hour as Eli Fish craft beers are $3 for an hour before the game and all fans can get a bag of tennis balls after the game and take the chance on throwing one into a hula hoop to win two round-trip airline tickets courtesy of Allegiant Air. There are other hoops to win other prizes.
On Saturday (also a 7:05 p.m. start, the Muckdogs not only have fireworks after the game, but Tompkins Bank of Castile bought all the general admission seats and are giving them away to fans. There are still a few available at the box office.
Sunday is a 5:05 p.m. start and it’s O’Lacy’s Irish Day. O’Lacy’s has specials and tickets, you can visit the restaurant or follow them on Facebook. It is also free admission for MuckPups and kids can run the bases. Before the game, next to the souvenir stand, it is Autograph Alley as eight players will sign autographs, pose for photos and selfies with fans.
Submitted photo: The patience the Miami Marlins have shown with lefty Julio Frias is paying off. He threw six strong innings Thursday and left with his team ahead, 3-1. The Muckdogs fell, 4-3.
Batavia Muckdogs remain in first place despite last-inning victory by West Virginia