TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It was a beautiful night for a ballgame as ValleyCats baseball returned to New York’s Capital Region for their Home Opener & 20th Season Kickoff, presented by the Rensselaer County Department of Health. The Tri-City ValleyCats and Lake Erie Crushers met at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium to start the first series at home for the ‘Cats. The series start proved to be an action packed home kickoff for the ValleyCats 20th season of professional baseball.

The Crushers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Jack Harris crushed a home run to deep right center field, his first of two round trippers in the game. The ValleyCats responded with four runs of their own in the bottom of the third, including home runs from Brantley Bell and Willy Garcia. The Crushers had an offensive outburst in the top of the fifth inning with four runs on five hits, with RBI hits from Jackson Valeria, Jack Harris, and Jarrod Watkins.

Valeria extended the Crushers lead in the top of the sixth inning with a solo shot, but that was all the offense the Crushers could squeeze out for the remainder of the game. Brantley Bell led off the seventh inning with a single then stole second. He then advanced on a ground ball off the bat of Juan Santana, and scored on a wild pitch to squash the Crushers lead, tying the game at seven.

Jesus Lujano led off the bottom of the eighth with a 10-pitch at-bat, ultimately singling on the final pitch. The speedster then advanced to second on a wild pitch, with Pavin Parks moving him over to third with a sacrifice fly to deep right field. Lujano would score the go-ahead run on the second wild pitch of the inning, sliding in safely past the outstretched glove of Jacob Parker.

Trey Cochran-Gill came in and shut the door on the Crushers in the ninth, capping the game off with a 3-6-1 double play, and putting a bow on his third save in as many attempts.

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Liana Bonavita
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