Twenty four hours after dropping a 5-0 decision in Little Falls, the Amsterdam Mohawks did something in the playoffs they haven’t done before: they didn’t make it to the final round. Amsterdam lost the third and deciding game of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) East Division series to the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs 5-1, Monday night at Shuttleworth Park.
“They clearly outplayed us twice,” Amsterdam Mohawks coach Keith Griffin said. “Their pitchers were really good.”
Diammond Dawgs starting hurler Ryan O’Connor and reliever Anthony Herrera scattered eight hits, and got plenty of support from a flawless Dawgs defense. Third baseman Thomas Walraven snagged a liner off the bat of Tyler Kirkpatrick with one out in the bottom of the second inning and moments later followed that play with a diving catch off the bat of Gage West to retire the side. The back to back plays gave Mohawk Valley all the momentum they needed in the top of the third.
Mohawks starting pitcher Fernando Guerrero was cruising through the first two innings recording three strikeouts in the opening frame and not allowing a hit, but after an infield error put Anthony Herrera on to lead off the third, a pair of deep fly ball outs to center field became an omen for the next swing of the bat. Troy Scocca put a charge into one and sent it over the right field wall giving the Dawgs all the runs they would need putting them up 2-0. However, the Mohawks still had plenty of fight left in them and would challenge in their half of third.
Riley Mahan was hit by a pitch to start the Mohawks best scoring chance. Justin Yurchak then cracked one into right field sending Mahan around the bases. Scocca’s throw to relay man Herrera was on the mark as was the ensuing throw to catcher Chris Rave who put the tag on Mahan for the first out. A single by Hunter Tackett and a walk to Brendan Tracy loaded the bases, but the Dawgs defense eliminated any chance of a run with a double play started by shortstop Colin Hawk. Herrera would then come in to pitch the last five innings scattering four hits, striking out seven and walking none.
“We got a bunch of hits ,” Coach Griffin said. “But, we couldn’t get anyone in.”
The Mohawks put lead off batters on in the fourth inning with Macy Holdsworth’s single, the sixth inning on a Tracy single, and the eighth inning on a Yurchak double, but failed to score. Amsterdam finally broke through in the ninth when West singled with two out to score Craig Dedelow who had reached on a double that was only the second extra base hit for Amsterdam. The run broke a 17 inning scoreless streak for the Mohawks, their longest of the year. The rally was too late though, as the Dawgs already had the game well in hand getting RBI doubles from Herrera in the fourth inning, and an RBI double from Scocca, and a run scoring single from Ryan Stekl in the seventh. The loss brought a remarkable season to an end.
“We got to 41-12 which is a phenomenal season,” Coach Griffin said. “Forty wins in the regular season (PGCBL record), it really was a good year.”
The Mohawks have won multiple titles in both the PGCBL and the New York Collegiate Baseball League during Griffins’ seven year tenure at the helm. Griffin said he hadn’t decided yet on another year but would sit down and talk with Mohawks general manager Brian Spagnola.
“If this is my last year it’s been a heck of a run,” Griffin said. “Seven years. It’s been a good run.”
More baseball to come
Shuttleworth Park will be one of the sites for the Empire State Prospect Games. On August 14-16, both Shuttlworth Park and Fulton-Montgomery Community College will host a series of baseball games for high school players from across the state. Some future Mohawks are bound to be among them. For a schedule of the games go to their website at www.empirestateprospectgames.com