AMSTERDAM SWEEPS MOHAWK VALLEY-ADVANCES TO CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Joshua McMullen 8/2
T.S. Eliot once said in his eclectic poem, The Hollow Men, “This is the way the world ends/not with a bang but with a whimper.”
Unfortunately, that’s how the season ended for the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs, as they could only muster six hits in getting swept by the Amsterdam Mohawks, 7-1.
The Mohawks would draw first blood in the top of the third inning, as a tough fly ball by Marcus Carson (London, Y/Kentucky) would score catcher Blake Logan (Muscle Shoals, AL/Auburn). They would extend the lead to two only two batters later, as a bad hop by Josh Gardiner (Culpepper, VA/Radford) would score Carson. That would be all Amsterdam would get, however, as starter Evan Kissinger (Baton Rouge, LA/LSU-Eunice) would get out of a second-and-third jam to end the inning.
Kissinger would get in another jam in the top of the fourth, as he would load the bases with Mohawks, before Logan would drive a single into the first-second gap, scoring Alex DeBellis (Ridgefield, CT/Lynn) and Brendan Tracy (Rumford, RI/Fairfield).
Amsterdam starter Connor Johnstone (Roswell, GA/Wake Forest) pitched a gem, getting 12 straight Diamond Dawgs out, following a Colin Hawk (Beech Grove, IN/Cincinnati) double two batters into the game. That streak ended in the bottom of the fifth, as Jayson Sullivan (Charlton, NY/Sacred Heart) hit a fireball past Johnstone’s ear for a single. Also, Johnstone did not allow a runner past second base for the first five innings.
A scary moment happened in the sixth inning. As Tracy swung at a pitch, he let go of the bat, nearly hitting Mohawk Valley owner Travis Heiser, who was sitting in the skybox above the home dugout with his family. Fortunately, everyone in the Heiser family was okay, Tracy got a new bat, and play was allowed to continue.
The Diamond Dawgs finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth, as Hawk laced one into the second-third gap, scoring Eric Strano (Robbinsville, NJ/Rider). That would be all Mohawk Valley would get, as Johnstone would get the next two batters out to get out of a second-third jam and end the inning. He would not allow another run, as he was pulled in the eighth for Kevin Guthrie (Sarasota, FL/Brown).
Kissinger would live dangerously all night, getting into jam after jam and striking out only one. He would allow four runs (all of them earned) before being pulled in the seventh for Bryan Greig (New City, NY/Mercy).
Pinch hitter Ryan Clark (Johnson City, NY/UNC Greensboro) would get the lead back to four in the seventh, as he looped a ball into center field, scoring Carson. DeBellis, the hero of Game One, would slam one into left field one batter later, scoring JaVon Shelby (Lexington, KY/Kentucky) and Gardiner to extend the lead to six. That would end Greig’s night, as he would be pulled after the inning for Matt Pidich (Aberdeen, NJ/Pittsburgh). Pidich would pitch 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball before being pulled for Enzo Esposito (Lawrenceville, NJ/Millersville) in the top of the ninth. Esposito would put himself in a first-and-second jam before striking out Jonathan Pryor (Atlanta, GA/Wake Forest) to end the inning.
Guthrie would allow Zach Collett (Westbrook, ME/New Haven) to get to second after lacing a single into right and Sullivan to reach on an error before getting out the next two batters to slam the door.
Johnstone would get the win in the clinching game for Amsterdam. Kissinger would get the last loss for the Diamond Dawgs this season.
With the win, Amsterdam gets a few days of rest before heading off to the PGCBL Championship, seeking their third straight title against either the Newark Pilots or the Elmira Pioneers.
Brandon Hillier 8/1
The Amsterdam Mohawks defeated the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs in walk-off fashion by a score of 8-7. Alex DeBellis (Lynn) had the game-winning hit to score John Razzino (Franklin Pierce) in the bottom of the ninth inning.
John Razzino played an important role in the win. Razzino went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, two RBI, and two HUGE stolen bases in the bottom of the ninth inning. Razzino also gunned down a runner at the plate to save a run, which was precious in what turned out to be a one-run game. E.J. Ashworth (Fairfield) had a good outing as the starting pitcher for the Mohawks. Ashworth allowed three runs on four hits through seven innnigs, and struck out four batters.
Eric Strano went 1-for-4 with three RBI in the loss for the Diamond Dawgs. His only hit was a crucial game tying hit in the top of the eighth inning that got Mohawk Valley within striking distance of a comeback win.
The Mohawks drew first blood in the bottom of the first inning on a John Razzino sacrifice fly.
The Mohawks added five more runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 6-0 lead. After Jonathan Pryor (Wake Forest) led off with a single, John Razzino doubled to bring Pryor in. Tommy Kain (Lynn) singled up the middle to score Razzino. After Brendan Tracy (Fairfield) walked, Joe Purritano (Dartmouth) doubled to score Kain and Tracy. Joey Aiola (Marist) followed Purritano with a double of his own, and Purritano scored to make it 6-0.
The Diamond Dawgs got on the board in the top of the fourth inning. After a Zach Collett (New Haven) lead off single, the Diamond Dawgs played some small ball to move him over the third. Trey Stover (Hartford) lined a single into centerfield to score Collett to make it 6-1.
The Diamond Dawgs scored two more in the top of the fifth inning, thanks to some sloppy baseball by the Mohawks. Greg Fazio (Rider) led off the inning and made it to second on a throwing error by Ashworth. Ashworth hit Joe Carcone (St. Rose) with the next pitch to put runners on first and second.
Colin Hawk (Cincinatti) grounded one to Ashworth who tried to throw to third to get the runner via forceout, but threw the ball away. Fazio came around to score on the play, but Carcone was thrown out at home by John Razzino. Colin Hawk made it all the way to third, and scored on a Gus Craig (Colombia) sacrifice fly.
The Mohawks added one more run in the bottom of the fifth. After Tommy Kain and Brendan Tracy singled, Joe Purritano doubled to score Kain to make it 7-3.
The Diamond Dawgs were able to score four runs to tie the game in the top of the eighth off of Daniel Castro (Albany) and Zach Breen (Barton). Gus Craig started the rally with a single, and Zach Collet followed with a double. With runners on second and third, Castro struck out Mike Triller (Clemson), and then was taken out in favor of Breen.
Jayson Sullivan (Sacred Heart) brought in Craig with a sacrifice fly. After a Will Trahan (LSU-Eunice) infield single, Eric Strano (Rider) lined a ball deep to right-centerfield. Trahan and Collet came into score, and Strano headed for third. Josh Gardiner (Radford) tried to throw Strano out at third, but threw the ball out of play, which allowed Strano to score to tie the game.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, things got tense. Lucas Godlewski (Herkimer C.C.) walked John Razzino to start the inning. Godlewski was replaced by Matt Pidich (Pittsburgh). After the substitution, Razzino stole second and third base on consecutive pitches with Tommy Kain at the plate. The Diamond Dawgs intentionally walked Kain to get to Alex DeBellis. With a 2-2 count, DeBellis chopped one to shortstop. Colin Hawk fielded and fired home, but John Razzino slid into home safely to score the winning run.
John McCarren (Wake Forest) earned the win for the Mohawks after pitching a scoreless top of the ninth inning. Since Godlewski put the winning run on base, he earned the loss.
The Patriot Federal Bank Cup will resume Saturday at Veteran’s Memorial Field in Little Falls.
Joshua McMullen 7/31
For the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs, it was about exorcising old ghosts in this one-game playoff.
They went into the playoffs last year, facing the same team they faced this year—the Albany Dutchmen– and sent the fans home disappointed with an 11-inning loss.
Just like the Curse of the Bambino before it, the Diamond Dawgs would exorcise the ghosts of Veteran’s Memorial Stadium, beating the Dutchmen 3-2 for their first ever playoff win in PGCBL history.
For the first four innings, it was a back-and-forth pitcher’s duel between starters Nick Petrella (West Sayville, NY/Skidmore) and Jake Welch (Spencerport, NY/Notre Dame College). As a matter of fact, for those four innings, neither a single Dutchman nor Diamond Dawg made it past second base, before Albany’s James Locklear got to third in the top of the fifth.
Mohawk Valley would finally get on the board in the bottom of the fifth, as a single by Trey Stover (Lock Haven, PA/Hartford) would score Eric Strano (Robbinsville, NJ/Rider). They would pick up another run on a sacrifice hit by Gus Craig (Columbia), which would score Joey Carcone (Utica, NY/St. Rose). One batter later, a double by Zach Collett (Westbrook, Maine/New Haven) would extend the lead to three, as he would score Stover.
Welch would have a very good outing for the Dutchmen, going 6 1/3 innings and only giving up those three runs– all of them earned– before being pulled for Jose Hernandez (Perth Amboy, NJ/Dean College). Petrella would pitch even better, only allowing four hits and no runs in 7 2/3 innings before being pulled by Lucas Godlewski (Little Falls, NY/Herkimer College).
Albany would pull the lead back to one in the top of the eighth inning, as a bouncing single to right field by Cameron Miller (Houston, TX/Baylor) would score Danny Hrbek (Effort, PA/Radford) and Ernie Clement (Rochester, NY/Virginia). Godlewski would get out of a second-and-third jam just one batter later, as he would strike out Nick Jewett (Phoenix, AZ/Trinity) to get out of the eighth.
Hernandez would go 1 1/3 innings of one-hit ball for the Dutchmen before being pulled for Austin Foote (Lake Zurich, IL/Indiana) in the bottom of the eighth. He would strike out only one batter, Diamond Dawg left fielder Michael Triller (Rutland, VT/Clemson), before being pulled for Kyle Zurak (East Amherst, NY/Radford). Zurak would fan right fielder Jayson Sullivan (Charlton, NY/Sacred Heart) to end the inning.
Godlewski would only play one inning for Mohawk Valley, allowing the only two runs for Albany, both of them earned, as he would be pulled for Bryan Greig (New City, NY/Mercy). Greig would slam the door on the Dutchmen’s season, striking out three Dutchmen to end the game.
Petrella would get the win for the Diamond Dawgs. Welch would be saddled with a very tough loss.
With the win, Mohawk Valley moves on to the Eastern Division finals, where they will face an old rival, the Amsterdam Mohawks. Game One will be played Friday at Shuttleworth Park.
Joshua McMullen 7/22
WATERTOWN, NY- A night after being swept in a doubleheader against Newark, the Watertown Rams swept a doubleheader at home against the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs. The Rams are now just a win or an Adirondack loss from clinching a spot in the PGCBL playoffs.
The Watertown Rams offense finally broke out en route to a 7-2 win over the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs in game one of a doubleheader at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds. Mitch Sewald (LSU) picked up the win for the Rams, while Nick Petrella (Skidmore) took the loss for the DiamondDawgs.
Watertown scored first, getting a lone run in the bottom of the third to take a 1-0 lead. After Drew Hercik (East Stroudsburg) singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second via two sacrifice bunts, Willi Martin (Mount Olive) hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score the Rams’ third baseman.
Mohawk Valley got the run back in the top of the fourth on a Greg Fazio (Rider) RBI single to center field, scoring Mike Triller (Clemson). Watertown retook the lead in the bottom of the inning, scoring three runs to make it 4-1. Ben Wylly (San Diego) singled up the middle to lead off the inning and Jason Scholl (Eastern Illinois) was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second for Hercik. With two strikes, Drew Hercik hit a three-run home run just inside the foul pole for his first long ball of the summer.
The Rams added a lone run in the fifth, as Dominic Lopez (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) scored on a wild pitch after singling to left center earlier in the inning. Fazio added his second RBI of the game for Mohawk Valley in the top of the sixth, hitting a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Colin Hawk (Cincinnati).
Willi Martin hit his second sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth that scored James Bonds (San Diego). Chris Gaetano (Monmouth) followed with an RBI single to center field that scored Nick Moore (Missouri). Jon Escobar (Holy Cross) tossed a scoreless seventh inning to preserve the win for the Rams.
The Rams had four players get multiple hits, with Bonds, Santino Alteri (Alvernia), Wylly and Hercik all getting two hits. Hercik didn’t just produce offensively; the Rams’ third baseman made several terrific plays defensively that helped save runs. Both Triller and Gus Craig (Columbia) had two hits for Mohawk Valley, combining for four of the eight DiamondDawg hits.
Watertown starter Mitch Sewald moved to .500 on the season with a solid start for the home team. The right-hander allowed two runs (both earned) in six innings of work to get the win. Sewald struck out five batters and induced eight ground ball outs. Sewald’s fly ball to ground ball ratio is 0.4, lowest among all qualified Rams pitchers. Mohawk Valley starter Nick Petrella tossed five innings and allowed five runs (four earned) in taking the loss. The right-hander is now 4-3 on the season.
The Watertown Rams used another solid performance from their starting pitcher and their offense en route to a 9-2 win over the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs in game two of the doubleheader in Watertown.
Mohawk Valley struck first to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the second. Gus Craig (Columbia) hit a long two-run home run to right field that scored Jayson Sullivan (Sacred Heart) after Sullivan singled to lead off the inning. It was Craig’s fourth home run of the season.
Watertown answered in the home half with three runs to take a 3-2 lead. Willi Martin (Mount Olive) reached base on an error and Chris Gaetano (Monmouth) followed with a single. Shane Dressler (VCU) sacrificed the runners to second and third and Joe Deluca (Niagara County CC) drove them in with a 2-RBI single to left center. Brandon Mikulka (Creighton) added an RBI single with two outs to give the Rams the 3-2 lead.
The Rams added three more runs to extend their lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the third. Nick Moore (Missouri) led off the inning with a single, Willi Martin advanced Moore to third with a double down the left field line and Shane Dressler picked up his first RBIs of the summer with a 2-RBI single to right center that scored Moore and Martin. Dressler later came around to score on a Drew Hercik (East Stroudsburg) RBI single to right field.
Watertown scored three more runs in the bottom of the fifth to go up 9-2. Martin singled to left to lead off the inning and advanced to second on an error on the play. He came around to score on a wild pitch and a throwing error by Mohawk Valley catcher Andy Lalonde (Southern New Hampshire). James Bonds (San Diego) hit a 2-RBI single later in the inning to score Gaetano and Hercik and give the Rams the 9-2 lead.
James Bonds, Willi Martin and Shane Dressler all had two hits for the Rams and Chris Gaetano reached base three times. Jayson Sullivan went 2-for-3 for Mohawk Valley.
Kyle Simmons (Coker College) picked up hos first win of the season with five solid innings. Simmons allowed just the two runs (both earned) on four hits while only walking one batter. Jason Martin (Cortland State-Fall 2014) threw two innings of scoreless relief. Ed Lewicki (Siena) allowed the nine runs (six earned) in 4.2 innings to take the loss. Lewicki is now 2-1 on the season.
Watertown returns back to the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds on Friday night to face the Adirondack Trail Blazers, who were eliminated from the playoffs with Watertown’s sweep. Mohawk Valley hosts Elmira for a doubleheader at Veterans Memorial Park with first pitch of game one scheduled for 5:05 p.m.