Mohawks win first game in East Division Playoff

The Amsterdam Mohawks won the first game of their best of three Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) East Division series with the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs 15-4 on Saturday night. They got plenty of offense scoring seven runs in the first two innings to back the four hit effort of starting hurler Zach Logue.

There were two outs in the bottom of the first inning when Hunter Tackett singled, followed by a walk to Brendan Tracy. Both runners came around to score on hits by Handsome Monica and Scott Manea. Macy Holdsworth’s double to center field put Amsterdam up 4-0 after the first frame.

Mohawks’ left fielder Aidan Mcermott led off the bottom of the second inning with a single and moved into scoring position when Riley Mahan was safe at first on a fielder’s choice grounder. Moments later, third baseman Justin Yurchak provided the game winning hit crushing a home run over the right field fence. It’s was Yurchak’s second home run of the week after belting one on Tuesday night against the Albany Dutchmen.

“He’s such a good ballplayer,” said Mohawks manager Keith Griffin. “He swings at strikes and is solid hitter.”

Yurchak’s blast off Diamond Dawgs starting pitcher Adam Ashenfarb gave Amsterdam a 7-0 lead after two, and before the night was over every member of the Mohawks starting lineup would score at least one run. That would be more than enough for Zach Logue.

Logue, a left- hander out of the University of Kentucky was 7-0 for the Mohawks this season heading into Saturday’s game, and didn’t allow a base hit until Andrew Turner’s single with one out in the third. Logue went six strong innings allowing only a pair of runs on four hits, striking out five and walking four.

“Logue was outstanding through four,” said Griffin. “He had a little trouble later on but our bullpen and defense came through. Logue was strong once again.”

Amsterdam’s infield turned a pair of inning ending double plays in the third and seventh frames with the consistent teamwork of shortstop Riely Mahan, second baseman Macy Holdsworth and first baseman Brendan Tracy. Right fielder Tyler Kirkpatrick erased a Mohawk Valley scoring threat in the sixth after a double by Chris Rave had plated one run, Kirkpatrick fired a laser to Tracy who relayed the ball home where Manea’s tag was in time to nab Ryan Stekl at the plate.

Christian Maldonado and Joe Randle finished up the pitching chores for the Mohawks. Maldonado hurled a scoreless seventh, and Randle allowed an RBI double by Troy Scocca and a run scoring single to Rave in the eighth before finishing off a scoreless ninth. Tackett and Tracy scored two runs apiece for Amsterdam, who scored four runs in bottom of the eighth on five consecutive walks issued by Diamond Dawgs pitching and an RBI single by Mahan, who finished the night with three of Amsterdam’s 13 hits. The Mohawks will try to wrap up the series tonight when they travel to Little Falls for Game 2.

“They’re swinging the bats really well,” Coach Griffin said of his hitters. “We have to be ready to play. Tomorrow we start 0-0. A win tomorrow and we move on.”

A win by the Mohawks on Sunday will put them in the PGCBL Championship series once again, where they will take on the winner of the Elmira Pioneers and Victor Railriders series.

A fun time at the old ballpark

Every summer the Amsterdam Mohawks enlist a team of interns to help with the fun that has become part of the tradition that children come to expect at Mohawks home games at Shuttleworth Park. At the center of attention has always been the lead public relations intern. This year that role has been filled admirably by Kelsey Dorado, a student from the State University of New York at Oneonta. On Saturday, Dorado did more than her share; taking a pie to the face after a sneak attack by some of her fellow interns, and then had to put on a baseball uniform while racing young Reed Moss to the finish line. But, through it all Dorado has been a good sport and has managed to see to it that the kids have fun. Before the seventh inning she was helping four-year old Amelia Spagnola rehearse her lines for “God Bless America”, and on the field helped Jordan Goebel sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” It’s no surprise who the children pick to accompany them to the playground and bounce house in the stadium. So, when people say that “Kelsey is the best”, they mean it.

(Photos by Scott Mulford)

Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.