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Watertown Wizards hitters baffled in loss

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In his first appearance of the season, Newark pitcher Daniel Thorpe simply stymied the Watertown Wizards.

But by the time Watertown’s bats awakened with a rally bid, it was too little, too late.

Thorpe pitched seven strong innings and received plenty of run support as the Pilots rapped out 20 hits in routing the Wizards, 12-6 on Sunday in Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League play at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.

“I didn’t feel too bad, I actually hadn’t thrown in a while and had to work out some kinks,” Thorpe said. “It was nice of my coach to give me a long leash, and I was able to stand there and work through it.”

Possessing a side-arm delivery, Thorpe, a right-hander out of St. Joseph’s (Pa.) of the Atlantic 10 Conference, allowed only one run on four hits and struck out four.

“He kind of had us baffled a little bit,” Watertown manager Nathan Kafka said of Thorpe. “We’re not used to seeing guys like that who are a little better and a little different and he was. He mixed it up well. You’ve got to give it to him, he threw a good game, he kept us off balance and hopefully we won’t have to face him again.”

Second baseman Josh Perez (Mississippi College) went 4-for-6 and drove in a run, and center fielder Sean Osterman (St. John Fisher) belted a three-run home run in the eighth inning, singled twice and knocked in four runs to pace Newark, which halted the Wizards’ winning streak at three games and knocked them out of first place.

“Just having that many runs makes it a lot easier to pitch and the defense picked me up a couple times, too,” Thorpe said. “Overall, I think it was our best effort.”

Leading 2-1, Newark scored two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings and pushed across five more in the eighth on five consecutive hits, capped by Osterman’s home run over the left field wall.

With Thorpe out of the game, the Wizards got an RBI single from Calvin Graves in the eighth inning and scored four runs in the ninth as Donald Walter tripled and scored on third baseman Brandon Rouse’s double. Christian Hickman singled in a run, Dustin Exford followed with a run-scoring double and scored on Chris Glynn’s groundout to pull Watertown within 12-6. But the comeback attempt fell short.

“I’ve got to tip my hat to Watertown,” Newark manager Chris Ebright said. “Because every game they don’t give up and they keep battling.”

Walter (Cal Poly Pomona) got on base three times, including a single to lead Watertown, which left 11 runners on base, including five with Thorpe on the mound.

“We just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities,” said Exford, a Watertown native who attended Immaculate Heart Central and recently finished his freshman season at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, said. “They made some errors and we didn’t capitalize.”

Right-hander Ryan Dunn allowed six runs on 10 hits in six innings of work and was tagged with the loss for Watertown.

“We battled back in the ninth inning,” Kafka said. “Our starter (Dunn) had a good outing; we didn’t do much else good for eight innings besides our starting pitcher.”

The Wizards had won two straight road games in their three-game winning streak, with victories in Mohawk Valley and Elmira on Friday and Saturday.

“We have a good enough team to get things done,” Kafka said. “We’ve been playing pretty well the last few days, so we’ve just got to make it happen.”

nNOTES: Alcohol was served at the Fairgrounds for the first time this season after the team received its state liquor license Friday. ... Former Wizard Shae Simmons was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 22nd round of the Major League Baseball’s First Year Player Draft. ... Watertown hosts the Albany Dutchmen at 7 tonight.

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