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Error-prone Wizards see victory slip away

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Although they made it close in the end, the Watertown Wizards once again sabotaged themselves in the field.

The Wizards rallied to within a run in the ninth inning, but earlier committed six errors en route to another home loss in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, a 5-4 setback to the Oneonta Outlaws on Monday at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.

Watertown (6-11), which has made 15 errors in its past five games, fell to 1-4 over this span and have lost seven of its past eight games.

“It’s very frustrating,” said left fielder Derek Hagy (Texas-Pan American). “Our pitchers are doing a great job, but we’re making way too many mistakes and we can’t win if we keep making these mistakes — we’re college baseball players, we’ve just got to cut down on them.”

The Wizards continued their slump at home as they are now 2-9 at the Fairgrounds, including six consecutive losses, and haven’t won here in nearly two weeks.

“We go on the road and we somehow find a way to win,” Hagy said, “but when we come back we’re just having trouble. We need to get a big win here pretty soon just to break the ice, we just need to do a better job at home.”

David Sosebee (University of Georgia) scattered five hits and yielded two runs, with one unearned, and struck out seven in recording the win for Oneonta (10-6), which defeated Watertown for the second time in three nights.

“David has been doing well, that’s his second very good outing for us,” Oneonta manager Greg Zackrison said. “This is a good win for us, hopefully we can keep it going — seem to be a very streaky ball club.”

Only one of Oneonta’s runs was earned as Wizards starter Matt McClain gave up five runs in four innings in taking the loss, as he walked four and struck out seven. Down to their last strike in the ninth, the Wizards mounted a comeback bid by scoring twice. After Hagy doubled and Christian Hickman walked, Lowville native A.J. Capone singled in a run and Hickman later scored on a passed ball to draw Watertown within one run. Capone advanced to third base, but Glynn flied out to left field for the final out.

“Again, it’s tough,” said Watertown manager Nathan Kafka, whose team committed four errors in a 10-8 loss in 11 innings to Oneonta on Saturday. “We had a chance to win it at the end, which is nice — but obviously we just didn’t get it done. It’s a tough loss for us.”

“If they played flawless defense, we might have been on the other side of that score,” Zackrison said. “It’s tough to play defense on a rainy night like tonight — so we got real lucky with the errors they made.”

The Outlaws built a 2-0 lead in the second inning as Lucas Leifield (Grand Canyon) singled in a run and Clay Holcomb (Troy) scored on an infield error. Oneonta then generated the balance of its scoring with three runs in the fourth as after Heath Holder and Leifield reached on back-to-back walks, both scored after the Wizards committed two infield errors on the same play. Zach Lucas (Louisville) followed with an RBI sacrifice fly for a 5-0 lead.

The Wizards scored a single run in both the fourth and sixth innings on a pair of RBI singles from Riley Norton (Eastern Oklahoma State) as Dustin Exford (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Immaculate Heart Central) reached on an error and scored on Norton’s single to center field. They pulled within 5-2 as Chris Glynn walked and scored on Norton’s single to right.

After an off-day today, the Wizards play at Elmira on Wednesday and at Oneonta on Thursday before returning to host first-place Amsterdam on Friday.

“Hopefully the guys come back energized and ready to go on Wednesday,” Kafka said. “I know they’re getting a little frustrated with the performances they’ve been having, so we just have to regroup and get back to playing like we were early on.”

n NOTES: Capone went 2-for-4, including his first hit in six games this season, and threw out three base runners at third base, including two in the eighth inning. ... With his lead-off double in the first, designated hitter Donald Walter (Cal Poly Pomona) now has eight hits in his past five games, including two home runs and two doubles. ... Friday’s game at 7 p.m. will be followed by a fireworks display.

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