A BAT BOY’S SUMMER
By Big Blue-Mike Bilinski-MHTS
As many of you know that are readers of the My Hometown Sports newspaper and website I am a huge fan of football.
My son Jared, who plays youth football, wrestling, and baseball, is a fan of all three sports.
This past winter, my father Stan, won a contest that allowed my son the opportunity to be a bat boy for the Mohawk Valley DiamondDagws.
The DiamondDawgs play in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League where college students from all over the country stay with local families and play the game they love.
The home of the DiamondDawgs is at beautiful Veterans Park in Little Falls.
It is great to see these aspiring college ball players do their best on gorgeous summer nights as the fans get to enjoy some pretty good baseball.
It is also an added pleasure to see some of our local players get a chance to play in front of friends and family.
One of those players this season is Joe Carcone of New Hartford. Carcone plays college ball, in Rhode Island, for the Bryant University Bulldogs and returns home to play for the DiamondDawgs during his summer break.
I remember fondly watching Joe play high school football were he excelled. Not much has changed as he has brought this enthusiasm to the baseball diamond.
Joe is certainly a crowd favorite with his outstanding defense and a solid bat.
I think the fans are also drawn to his obvious love of the game that he brings every time I saw him play.
Jared, though only seven, was asked to come back and be bat boy for several more games.
The look on his face when a player came in and high-fived the other players and Jared was priceless. He loved going to the games so much and one of the main reasons was Joe.
His friendly manner and outgoing nature definitely connected with my son and made this experience very special for Jared and my wife Kathryn and I.
At a time when young children are disappointed by athletes at all levels it is nice to see that there are still positive role models out there.
Thanks to Joe, and the DiamondDawgs, one little boy and a great experience this summer, one that I know he will carry for a lifetime.
LEITER FANS 13 VAULTING MOHAWKS TO CHAMPIONSHIPS-DAWGS SEASON ENDS
Press Release-Amsterdam Mohawks
Amsterdam is advancing to the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League Championships for the fourth straight season under manager Keith Griffin.
Mark Leiter, Jr. (NJIT) dominated the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs batters with 13 strikeouts in a complete game two-hitter as Amsterdam won the deciding game three of their playoff series 4-2.
Leiter retired the last 11 straight from the sixth through the ninth to finish off the game which included strikeouts of seven out of nine batters in a particularly impressive stretch.
Leiter fired 131 pitches in the gem as he allowed zero earned runs.The son and nephew of former major league pitcher Mark Leiter and Al Leiter clearly got stronger as the game progressed and seemed to feed off the energy of the Shuttleworth Park crowd which roared increasingly louder with each strikeout as he blew the ball past one frustrated Dawgs’ hitter after another.
The clinching out came on a ground-ball to Zak Colby (Faulkner, Ala.) who threw out Joe Carcone (Bryant) to officially spark the celebration. The #1 seed Amsterdam Mohawks prevailed and are back in the finals to try to win their third championship in the last four years.
Amsterdam will host game one of the best-of-three championship series Tuesday night at 7:05 against the Glens Falls Golden Eagles. Game two will be Wednesday at Glens Falls and then game three, if necessary, will be back at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam on Thursday.
The Mohawks lost the opening game of the season on Friday night in heartbreaking fashion when the DiamondDawgs rallied from behind to steal a 5-3 victory in 11 innings. But Amsterdam throttled the D-Dawgs on Saturday night 10-1 to even the series setting up the clinching victory for Leiter on Monday back in Amsterdam.
The Mohawks scored three runs in the first inning and looked like they were going to bust the game wide open right from the start.
Jeff Limbaugh (Parkland) hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to score the first tally. Then D.J. Hoagboon (U. Albany) and Brian Ruby (Binghamton) whacked back-to-back rbi singles to advance the score to
Scott Heath (Maine) almost extended the lead further with a bases-loaded drive to the right-field corner that fell just short and foul of being a grand-slam or a multi-run double off the fence. Chris Cruz (Cornell) made the nice back-hand catch on the ball over the foul fence. After that DiamondDawgs starting pitcher Jesse Burratt (Baton Rouge C.C.) settled down to throw a great game and keep his team
within striking distance.
After three walks and three singles allowed by Burratt in the first, he settled down and relied on some great defense behind him to keep the Mohawks off the board, and also mostly off the bases, for the rest
of his stint.
Mark Stuckey (Marist) made two fine catches in center in the third. Tyler Heck (Union) made a fantastic diving stop at third-base of a Josh Nethaway (U. Albany) smash in the fourth. And more impressive plays were turned in by Chris Cruz (Cornell) in rightfield on a nice running catch in the fifth and by Tom Valicka (Young Harris) on a hot grounder in the sixth.
In the meanwhile, Leiter was showing very little indication of the end-game dominance that was to come. Even though he had not allowed a hit, he appeared to be struggling with his control. He had walked four batters and also hit-by-pitch on two others through his first five innings.
Joe Carcone (Bryant) worked a walk out of Leiter after being given a second-life on a dropped foul pop. With two outs, Chris Cruz (Cornell) hit a mile-high fly just a little way from Ed Charlton (NJIT). But the ball went high over the lights and the Mohawks centerfielder was unable to find it. The ball fell just a few feet away and what appeared to be an inning-ending out in the making turned into an RBI
double for Cruz and the first run of the game for the DiamondDawgs.
Jack Morrow (Young Harris) followed with a smash off the fence in left-center for another RBI double and what would end up as the only legitimate base-hit of the entire game for Mohawk Valley.
Amsterdam was able to get a valuable insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning with more typical heads-up baseball by Zak Colby (Faulkner, Ala.). He worked a walk out of relief pitcher Nathan Harrell and was bunted up to second. Colby was on his toes and ready when a Harrell pitch bounced in front of catcher Jonathon Scott.
Colby took off when he saw the pitch was going awry and even though Scott blocked the pitch up the third-base line, Colby was able to slide in safely without a throw. If the runner had frozen to make sure the ball had gone free, he almost certainly would not have even been able to attempt to advance.
Colby then scored easily on another wild pitch and Amsterdam lead 4-2.
With a high pitch-count of 120, Griffin pointed to Leiter again to finish off the game. And the second-year Mohawk who was the first pitcher in league history to strikeout 100 in a PGCBL career, racked
up two more whiffs of Scott and Valicka before inducing the opening-round clinching groundout of Joe Carcone to end the series.
The DiamondDawgs had rallied from a two-run deficit in the ninth inning for a heartbreaking Amsterdam loss in game one on Friday. But Leiter was ready to make sure there would be no repeat of the late dramatics.
The Mohawks have won five championships in franchise history; 1988, 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010. Last year they lost on their bid for a three-peat on the last day of the championships when they dropped a doubleheader to the eventual champion Newark Pilots.
Now comes a big showdown with perhaps their biggest rival, the Glens Falls Golden Eagles. John Mayotte’s team finished in second-place in the PGCBL with a record of 27-20 while Amsterdam was first in the league at 35-12. Glens Falls was the only team to post a winning record against Amsterdam this year as the Golden Eagles won the 2012 season-series 5-3.
Taylor Martin (Kentucky) will be Amsterdam’s starting pitcher in game one. Martin went 3-2, 3.7 in the regular season. Martin’s last start on Monday, July 30 was his best of the year. In a great pitcher duel,
Martin led the Mohawks to a 1-0 win over the Albany Dutchmen by firing seven innings of three-hit shutout ball..
It should be a fantastic championship series. It begins Tuesday night at Shuttleworth Park with game one of the best-of-three finals between Amsterdam and Glens Falls.
Mohawk Valley – 000 020 000 – 2 2 0
Amsterdam – 300 000 01x – 4 5 2
W – Mark Leiter, Jr. (1-0) – Complete Game
L – Jesse Burratt (0-1)
HR – None
Time – 2:35
Att – 1110
Amsterdam wins best-of-three playoff series 2 games to 1.
Championship Series Schedule:
Tuesday: Game 1, Glens Falls at Amsterdam
Wednesday: Game 2, Amsterdam at Glens Falls
Thursday: Game 3 (if necessary), Glens Falls at Amsterdam
MOHAWKS BANG THEIR WAY PAST DDAWGS 10-1 TIE SERIES AT 1-1
Josh Nethaway (U. Albany) blasted a three-run homer and added an RBI double as he drove in four total to lead the Amsterdam Mohawks to a 10-1 rout at the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs Saturday night. The victory evens the best-of-three series at one game apiece setting up a game three showdown Sunday night at Shuttleworth Park to see who will advance to the championships.
Chandler Shephard (Kentucky) was dazzling again on the mound for Amsterdam. The top pitcher in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League this season lasted seven innings surrendering just three hits while striking out five. Shephard led the league in wins and ERA as he went 7-0, 1.31 in the regular season.
He gave up a solo home-run to Chris Cruz (Cornell) in the first inning as Mohawk Valley took a 1-0 lead but then proceeded to retired the next 15 in a row before giving up a couple of infield singles in the sixth and seventh.
In the meanwhile, Nethaway was having a big bounce-back night after having his struggles the evening before in an 0-for-3 performance in Game 1. The Fonda standout blasted his three-run bomb in the fourth inning off Mohawk Valley starter Eddie Fitzpatrick (Brown) to give the Mohawks a 3-1 lead.
Zak Colby (Faulkner, Ala.) lined a solo home-run to lead off the fifth making it 4-1. And Nethaway later added an RBI double and then came in to score on a throwing error as the Mohawks held a 6-1 advantage thru five.
The Mohawks completed the scoring with a three-run double to left-center by catcher Matt MacDowell (Dartmouth) in the sixth inning that pushed the lead to 10-1 which was plenty for Amsterdam to lock in their plans to reserve Shuttleworth Park for at least one more night on Sunday.
Amsterdam bounced back strongly after an emotional and shocking defeat in 11 innings the night before in game one of the series in which the Mohawks were one strike away from victory a couple different times. The Mohawks trailed early but Nethaway’s homer sparked a big middle portion of the game for the offense.
Amsterdam scored three in the fourth, three more in the fifth and four runs in the sixth in reaching double digits for the ninth time total this season.
Game three is scheduled for Sunday night at 7:05 at Shuttleworth Park weather permitting. Mark Leiter, Jr. (NJIT) will be the starting pitcher for Amsterdam. The DiamondDawgs had not announced their starter although there was some speculation that they may go with Jesse Burratt (Baton Rouge C.C.) who has faced Amsterdam three times already this season and has the league’s only no-hitter a couple weeksago in a seven-inning game against the Albany Dutchmen.
The winner of Sunday night’s game will advance to the championship series which would begin on Tuesday night at Shuttleworth Park if Amsterdam is able to advance. Amsterdam would play either Glens Falls or Newark in the championships if they can make it.
The Mohawks have made it to the finals in each of Keith Griffin’s first three seasons as Amsterdam manager and are trying to make it again for the fourth year in a row.
Amsterdam - 000 334 000 – 10 8 0
Mohawk Valley – 100 000 000 – 1 3 2
W – Chandler Shephard (1-0)
L – Eddie Fitzpatrick (0-1)
Josh Nethaway, AM (1)
Zak Colby, AM (1)
Time – 2:50
Att – 903
Best-of-Three playoff series is even at one game each.
DAWGS PUT LEG UP ON MOHAWKS RALLY FOR 5-3 PLAYOFF WIN
The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs pulled off a dramatic comeback rally in game one of their playoff series with the Amsterdam Mohawks to take an unexpected 5-3 win in 11 innings on Friday night at Shuttleworth Park. The DiamondDawgs lead the best-of-three series one game to nothing.
Amsterdam was one strike away from victory a couple of times in the ninth inning but Mohawk Valley rallied to tie the score and force extras. Tyler Heck (Union) delivered a clutch based-loaded single to center off Chase Williamson (Auburn) with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to drive two runs as Mohawk Valley tied the game at 3-3.
Then it was David Del Grande (Sacramento State) who came through with a two-run double barely fair down the left-field line to score two more in the top of the 11th and give the visiting DiamondDawgs the comeback victory.
It was a little more of the same for Mohawk Valley who dramatically qualified for the playoffs in the last two games of the regular season. The DiamondDawgs had back-to-back must-win games on Tuesday and Wednesday and rallied from eighth inning deficits twice while getting help elsewhere in the league to snag the fourth and last playoff position. Their exciting and near miraculous run just carried right over with an even more dramatic finish in the post-season opener.
This game featured a little bit of everything. It began as a great pitchers’ duel through the first seven innings between Amsterdam’s Rocky McCord (Auburn) and Mohawk Valley’s Cameron Sorgie (U. Albany) who matched each other zero for zero.
Amsterdam took the initial lead in the bottom of the seventh inning on an infield single by Ed Charlton (NJIT) giving the Mohawks a 1-0 advantage. Scott Heath (Maine) blasted a two-out double to right to start the rally and then Keaton Flint (Sacred Heart) kept the inning alive by reaching on a third-strike wild pitch which set up Charlton’s grounder in the hole good enough to produce the game’s first run.
Amsterdam’s Flint tried to score on a Giuseppe Papaccio (Seton Hall) hit to left but Eric Helmrich (Marist gunned him down with a nice tag by Diamond Dawgs catcher Jonathon Scott (Bryant) who barely got back to nick Flint trying to dodge around him.
Mohawk Valley came back to tie the game 1-1 in the eighth manufacturing the tying run. Joe Carcone (Bryant) singled, was bunted up to second, moved to third on a wild pitch by Amsterdam pitcher Connor Kaden (Wake Forest) and then scored on a single to right by Del Grande.
Amsterdam re-took the lead again in the bottom of the eighth on an important rally against three DiamondDawgs relievers. Zac Colby (Faulkner, Ala.) and Jeff Limbaugh (Parkland) both drew walks and then Brian Ruby’s (Binghamton) single loaded the bases.
Against Mohawk Valley closer Sal Lisanti (Bryant), pinch-hitter Matt MacDowell would be hit in the foot with a pitch to force in the tie-breaking run and give Amsterdam lead 2-1. Scott Heath (Maine) hit a long-fly to center that was deep enough to drive in another on a sacrifice-fly.
Then Keaton Flint singled to center but Mark Stuckey came up large for the DiamondDawgs as they threw out the second consecutive Amsterdam runner at the plate with Brian Ruby’s hard-slide driving him into a tangle with the catcher Jonathon Scott who was somehow able to hang onto the ball in the awkward collision.
Amsterdam led 3-1 in the ninth but Mohawk Valley’s outfielders throwing out runners at home in the seventh and eighth would prove to be critical.
Chase Williamson came on to try to close it out in the ninth and easily recorded the first two outs. But then the bottom of the lineup rallied to tie the score as Williamson struggled with his control. Tom Valichka was hit by a pitch when Williamson was one strike away from winning the game and the crowd was cranking up the noise-level. Jonathon Scott delivered a single that just bounced into center to keep it going and then Joe Carcone was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
With the tying man at second base in the form of Scott, Tyler Heck delivered his big single to center. With a 1-2 count and Amsterdam one strike away yet again and the crowd worked into a frenzy with excitement, Heck came up with the clutch hit to spoil the party for the #3 nationally ranked Mohawks.
Charlton was trying to come up with the ball quickly as he charged in with hopes of throwing out Scott at the plate to win the game. But the ball hit off of Charlton as he was possibly trying to hurry the play and Scott was able to score without a throw. If Charlton fields the ball cleanly it likely would have been a very close play at home and the throw may have been the game-winner for Amsterdam.
Instead, the Mohawks and DiamondDawgs were tied at 3-3 going into the bottom of the ninth. Amsterdam threatened in the bottom of the ninth against Lisanti beginning with a leadoff single by Charlton who was bunted up to second by Papaccio. But after Zak Colby was intentionally walked, Lisanti pushed the game to extras with a strikeout of D.J. Hoagboon (U. Albany) and a pop-out of Jeff Limbaugh.
Williamson walked a couple of batters in the 11th, Stuckey and Scott. And with two outs a wild pitch advanced them to second and third. After Heck was intentionally walked, David Del Grande delivered the game-winner bounced down the third-base line just beyond the reach of Brian Ruby at third for Amsterdam. He ranged over and was able to get a glove on the ball but the hard-bouncer got past him and rolled away allowing two runs to score.
Lisanti stayed on for his fourth inning of the game to shutdown the Mohawks in the 11th and get the win.
Chandler Shephard (Kentucky) who was perhaps the league’s top pitcher this year starts for Amsterdam Saturday night at Mohawk Valley in a must-win game for the Mohawks. If Amsterdam is able to even the series at one game apiece then they will play the deciding Game 3 on Sunday night at 7:05 at Shuttleworth Park.
Mohawk Valley – 000 000 012 02 – 5 10 0
Amsterdam - 000 000 120 00 – 3 11 1
W – Sal Lisanti (1-0)
L – Chase Williamson (0-1)
S – None
Time – 3:49
Att – 1211
Mohawk Valley leads Best of Three series one game to zero.
MV DIAMONDDAWGS FIGHT THEIR WAY TO PGCBL PLAYOFF BERTH-PAIRINGS SET
Nine teams began the 2012 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League season on June 6 in hopes of winning a summer baseball championship. Over 200 league games and nearly two months later, the field for the 2012 PGCBL playoffs is set. Four teams will begin postseason play on Friday, August 3.
The nationally-ranked Amsterdam Mohawks clinched the PGCBL regular season championship with a record of 35-12. The Mohawks, who have been in the top 5 of Perfect Game’s Summer Top 30 poll for the last three weeks, set a league and franchise mark with 35 regular season victories.
Amsterdam will be the number one seed in the playoffs. Head coach Keith Griffin has led the Mohawks to the playoffs in each of his four seasons at the helm. The Mohawks advanced to the PGCBL Championship Series in 2011 but fell one win shy of the league title.
With last night’s thrilling 8-5 victory over the Oneonta Outlaws, the Glens Falls Golden Eagles clinched second place in the league standings. Ninth-year head coach John Mayotte skippered his team to a 27-20 record. The Golden Eagles were the champions of the PGCBL East last season and were the top overall seed in the 2011 playoffs; Glens Falls was eliminated by Amsterdam in the divisional playoffs.
The 2011 PGCBL champion Newark Pilots will have a chance to defend their title in the postseason. Head coach Chris Ebright guided the Pilots to the league crown last summer in their first year of existence. The Pilots return to the postseason for the second year in a row.
Newark finished the regular season 26-20 and set a franchise single-season record for victories. Last year, the Pilots came from down 1-0 in the divisional playoffs and the Championship Series to defeat the Cooperstown Hawkeyes and Amsterdam Mohawks en route to the league title.
The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs clinched the fourth and final playoff spot on the final day of the regular season. Mohawk Valley defeated Watertown 9-3 on Wednesday night and then moved into fourth place by virtue of Oneonta’s 8-5 loss to Glens Falls.
The DiamondDawgs ended the regular season on a three-game winning streak. Mohawk Valley set a franchise record with 25 victories and head coach Roberto Vaz led the team to a 25-21 mark.
The other opening round series will pit second-seeded Glens Falls against third-seeded Newark. The opening round will be contested in a best-of-three series format as will the championship round. The schedule for the opening round of the playoffs is as follows…
1. Amsterdam (35-12) vs. 4. Mohawk Valley (25-21)
Game 1: Mohawk Valley at Amsterdam, 7:05 p.m. (Aug. 3)
Game 2: Amsterdam at Mohawk Valley, 7:05 p.m. (Aug. 4)
Game 3: Mohawk Valley at Amsterdam (if nec.), 7:05 p.m. (Aug. 5)
2. Glens Falls (27-20) vs. 3. Newark (26-20)
Game 1: Newark at Glens Falls, 7:00 p.m. (Aug. 3)
Game 2: Glens Falls at Newark, 7:00 p.m. (Aug. 4)
Game 3: Newark at Glens Falls, 7:00 p.m. (if nec.) (Aug. 5)
The 2012 PGCBL Championship Series is scheduled to open on Tuesday, August 7. The first game of the series will be played at the site of the highest remaining seed.