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Rams hit playoffs in record fashion

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The Watertown Rams didn’t disappoint in their regular-season finale by delivering a historic win — sparked by a pair of local players.

Anthony Magovney pitched six strong innings and Tyler Decker collected four hits as the Rams rolled past Utica, 9-1 on Wednesday night in a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.

“It helps out getting a win like this,” said Magovney, a graduate of Immaculate Heart Central who attends the University of Buffalo. “Hopefully this gives us good momentum going into the playoffs so we can keep this going.”

Catcher Collin Theroux belted a three-run home run in the first inning to help spark Watertown (29-19), which clinched the West Division crown earlier in the week and recorded the 29th win of its campaign to set a franchise record.

“It’s good for the guys,” Watertown coach Paul Alteri said about the record. “They deserved it, they earned it and I’m happy for them. And its good for the organization, too.”

“It’s impressive,” Magovney said of the mark. “We’re a very cohesive unit here and this shows what this group of guys can do.”

More importantly to the Rams, they will host the first game of a best-of-three divisional series beginning at 7 p.m. Friday night against the winner of today’s West Division wild-card playoff between Elmira and Newark.

“Morale is high,” said Decker, a South Jefferson graduate who attends Jefferson Community College. “We’re real confident with this group of guys that we can do some things in the playoffs.”

“It’s awesome to end it (the regular season) on a high note,” said Theroux (Nevada), who was selected as the Rams’ defensive MVP. “But we know we’re not done yet — we’re a confident group.”

Magovney allowed only one run on four hits in six innings, struck out seven and walked one to earn the win.

“I think that’s the best game Anthony’s pitched all year,” Alteri said. “He’s been getting better and better with every outing. He had command of his pitches tonight and had real good control.”

Relievers Joshua Amann, Logan Grant and Ryan Smith each pitched an inning of scoreless ball and each didn’t allow a hit to preserve Magovney’s victory.

“I think he had only about 80 pitches in six innings, so I can’t ask for a better outing than that,” Alteri said.

Magovney’s season has been a microcosm of sorts of the Rams’ campaign as he has pitched better down the stretch.

“My season for me was subpar, I believe,” said Magovney, who improved to 4-3 in his ninth start of the season. “I should have done better, but that’s baseball, things don’t fall into place every now and then. So I’m glad I’m starting to throw good going into the playoffs.”

As a team, Watertown started its campaign 5-10, but won 24 of its last 33 games to finish the regular season 10 games over the .500 mark.

The Rams, who sport the top home record in the circuit at 16-7, generated winning streaks of seven, four and five, games respectively. They also went 5-2 on the road in a seven-day stretch in mid-July when the county fair was in town.

“We really got that one win and once we got that win streak going, we rolled with it and had the confidence to get better,” Magovney said.

On Wednesday, Decker doubled, singled three times and drove in two runs to help pace Watertown, and Jacob Boylan doubled, singled and knocked in a pair of runs.

“What a night for Deck,” Alteri said of Decker. “He’s been a role player all season long and tonight was a great night to get him in the lineup — and he did some damage while he was in there.”

nNOTES: Moroney (Kansas), who finished as the league leader in runs scored (41), was honored as team MVP. Trevor Marino (Virginia Commonwealth) was chosen as offensive MVP and Logan Grant (Creighton) named the team’s pitching MVP. ... The previous Watertown team record for wins was 28 by the then Watertown Wizards in 2005 in the New York Collegiate Baseball League, a team coached by current Rams co-owner and general manager Todd Kirkey. ... Elmira will play at Newark at 7:05 tonight in the West Division’s wild card game.

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