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Wizards snap 10-game home losing skid with 18-1 win

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One dubious losing skid came to an end while another continued on Monday as the Watertown Wizards finally got well at home.

The Wizards generated a season-high 20 hits and starter Matt McClain and Kole Mickolio combined on a five-hitter as Watertown stormed past Cooperstown, 18-1, to halt its lengthy home losing streak at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds at 10 games in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

Designated hitter Donald Walter (Cal Poly Pomona) reached base six times, including a double, four singles and drove in five runs for Watertown and catcher A.J. Capone (Lowville Academy, the College of St. Rose) homered, doubled, drove in three runs and scored four runs.

“Everyone came out to swing today,” Capone said. “Their pitcher struggled a little, but we jumped on him right way. Everyone one through nine produced today, so that was good to see, especially at home.”

In winning their first home game since June 13, the Wizards (14-21) in turn dealt the last-place Hawkeyes (9-25) their 10th consecutive loss.

“It felt really great,” said McClain (St. Mary’s, Texas). “Our hitting really made my job easy tonight. We had 20 hits and I give all the credit to them.”

After Cooperstown took a 1-0 lead in the second inning and a 35-minute rain delay, the Wizards scored 14 runs in the next five innings, including four-run outbursts in both the second and third.

“It just feels really good to get a win at home,” Walter said, “especially for our fans. I think our problem was we were trying too hard, we were putting too much pressure on ourselves. But after the rain delay, we played relaxed and that’s the way we should play this game.”

Walter sparked the offensive barrage by singling in two runs in the second and Derek Hagy and Jordan Enos each singled in a run for a 4-1 lead. Watertown batted around in the third as three consecutive batters — Walter, Hagy and Enos — walked with the bases loaded to drive in a run. Dustin Exford followed with an RBI single for an 8-1 advantage.

McClain wasn’t fazed by the rain delay and scattered four hits, walking four and striking out seven in seven innings to improve to 3-2.

“I felt great after that,” McClain said of the delay. “I just kept my arm loose and tried to throw strikes and I felt comfortable, especially with the defense behind me, they turned two double plays.”

The onslaught continued in the fourth as after Chris Glynn reached on an infield single and stole second and third base, Capone crushed the first pitch from Eric Gregory over the left field wall for a 10-1 lead.

“This is pretty great,” Capone said. “The fans stuck around and supported us through our tough times and we’re just happy we were able to put on a show tonight and hopefully it will continue.”

After scoring one run in the fifth, Exford singled in two runs and Cole Gleason hit the first of his two doubles, driving in a run, for a 14-1 lead through six innings.

“This was a total team effort,” Watertown manager Nathan Kafka said. “Matt pitched well, we hit the ball and we played great defense — and when we do that we’re going to win, so it was nice to see.”

“Matt did great today,” Capone said. “He got ahead with his fastball and took it from there. ... It was the best I’ve seen him pitch all summer.”

■ NOTES: Seven Wizards were selected to play in the PGCBL All-Star Game next Tuesday in Amsterdam — Walter, Enos, Brandon Cipolla and pitchers Mickolio, Alex Solis, Jonathan Perez and Bryan Chudy. ... The run production was the most for Watertown at home this season and second to only a 20-6 victory at Oneonta on July 2. ... The Wizards, who are now 3-13 at home and 11-8 on the road, continue their homestand versus Elmira tonight at 7.


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