SARATOGA SPRINGS: Russians use exhibition loss to Phillies as a lesson

Russia scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning, but got no closer in suffering its fourth loss in its first six games on its American tour.

"It's six games into our trip, and I think we are getting better," said Shlyapnikov. "It's a good experience against a good team with good hitters and good pitchers."

Webb said the opportunity to play against the Russian Olympic team was a good break from the rigors of playing in the New York Collegiate Baseball League.

"I've never seen a whole team of Russians, especially on a baseball field," said Webb, who went 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored.

While the Phillies returned to their NYCBL schedule Tuesday in Watertown, the Russian team traveled to Cooperstown to continue their American tour. The Russians will visit Lake Placid for three days beginning Wednesday before moving on to North Carolina, where they will play against the Chinese and American national teams three times during a four-day stretch starting Sunday.

"This tour is to prepare for the European Championship because we had a break in our championship, and we have to play teams at this level," said Nizov.

Notes: The Saratoga Phillies moved closer to securing a NYCBL playoff berth following a 2-1 weekend that improved their record to 21-12. The Phillies were in second place in the six-team East Division entering Tuesday's game at Watertown, six games behind first-place Glens Falls and six games ahead of the third-place Wizards.

Three Phillies are among the top 25 hitters in the NYCBL. Mark Riffee is tied for third with a .373 batting average, while Rose is 14th with a .324 average. Webb is 24th overall with a .308 average.

Saratoga is sixth in the league in team pitching with a 3.49 earned run average. Mike Fiers is the Phillies' top starting pitcher with a 5-1 record and a 2.15 ERA.""

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