GLENS FALLS — The Glens Falls Dragons were hopeful that the Waterford Nationals could act as a tonic for them.
When Capital City of the Albany Twilight League cancelled its Friday exhibition game with Glens Falls earlier this week, Dragons owner Ben Bernard didn’t want to see a Friday night home game go to waste, so he asked around, and Waterford picked up the date.
The Dragons, 13-19 in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League and fighting desperately for a playoff spot, need to fix some things as they make a final push. The team — 3-7 in its last 10 games — has 14 games left and currently sits in fourth place in the East Division. The top two teams from each of the three divisions automatically qualify for the playoffs. The third-place team from the division containing the squad with the best record in the league also will earn a postseason berth.
So Friday night’s game was competition, but without the invisible weight on the players’ shoulders.
“It gives us a chance to rest a couple of guys and bring in some extra arms and see what those guys can do,” Dragons coach Cameron Curler said.
“We can kind of ease into the (final stretch),” pitcher James Varela said. “It’s almost like a night off, but there’s still a ball game.”
The Dragons’ most pressing need is to sharpen its offense. They have scored a league-low 139 runs, have a league-low 311 total bases and are also last in average (.226).
“I think some of it is you have to chalk up to that’s the way the game works,” outfielder Danny Ryan said. “I think it’s also swinging at better pitches. Hopefully we’re squaring balls up and they’ll start to fall just when we need them to.”
Ryan noted that about seven players on the original roster are no longer playing, so turnover hasn’t helped the Dragons.
“So everyone needs to dig a little deeper to stretch themselves out and give what we need to (win) the next couple of games,” Ryan said. “We still have a good core of guys who will do what we need.”
What it all has to add up to is winning games, several to be more precise.
“We need to string a few together,” Curler said. “It’s been timing: timely hitting at the plate and timeliness when we decide to play a good ball game and when we decide to not do certain things.”
Curler knows any team is capable of beating another, and he uses league-leading Jamestown as an example.
“Jamestown had won nine or 10 in a row and we beat them here last month,” Curler said. “We lost to teams on six-game winning streaks, we beat teams on six-game winning streaks. Unfortunately, we haven’t been consistent enough for a long enough period of time to put ourself in a position we’d like to be in right now.”