The Amsterdam Mohawks entered this weeks’ action as a hurting unit. With a pair of regulars to the lineup nursing injuries, and the team on a three-game losing streak, something positive needed to happen. Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Saugeties provided the spark that turned into a flame on Wednesday as the Mohawks got another outstanding effort on the mound from Joe Lasorsa and a trio of relievers, and got some key hits including a three-run blast from newcomer Dalton Skelton leading to their second two-hit shutout in as many nights, 8-0 over the Glen Falls Dragons.
“We’ve had great pitching two nights in a row,” Amsterdam Mohawks manager Keith Griffin said. “It was a great effort. Our guys really threw well and it’s a credit to them.”
Lasorsa started for the Mohawks and retired the first nine batters he faced before giving up a pair singles to Bryan Uliana and Phoenix Hernanadez in the fourth. The Mohawks lefty pitched five solid innings allowing only the two hits, walked two, and struck out three. Holden White came on to pitch for Amsterdam in the sixth and gave the home team two more strong innings, striking out four before handing over the pitching duties to Eliott Anderson who hurled a perfect eighth inning and striking out one. Ben Anderson finished off the shutout getting a pair of fly outs and fanning the last batter to wrap up back-to-back two-hit shutouts by the Mohawks pitching staff.
“Joe Lasorsa was outstanding tonight,” Griffin said. “Holden White and Eliott Anderson were really good and Ben Anderson finished it off for us.”
The Mohawks offense gave its pitchers plenty of support starting from the very first Mohawks at bat. Third baseman John Valente led off the bottom of the first with a home run off Dragons started Tom Taplin putting the home team up 1-0 after one. Chris Hamilton connected for another solo shot in the third, but the Amsterdam offense was still looking to put together that big inning. They broke through in the seventh with a bases-clearing double by Jake Mueller.
“What really separated us was the big hit by Mueller,” Griffin said.
Dan Maynard led off the Mohawks’ seventh with a walk followed by Dalton Skelton being hit by a pitch. Julian Gallup drew a walk one out later loading the bases and setting the stage for the top of the Mohawks batting order. Mueller’s two-out drive into center field brought all three runs around to score opening up a 5-0 Mohawks lead. But, it was only the beginning of the fireworks.
Dylan Reynolds led off the home half of the eighth with a double to right, and Maynard was aboard with a walk bringing Dalton Skelton to the plate with only one out. Skelton lifted a high fly ball to right that cleared the fence for a three run shot, his first of the season, in his first home game for the Mohawks. Amsterdam took an 8-0 lead, more than enough for Ben Anderson to work with as he closed out the win with a perfect ninth.
“Dalton is going to be o-kay,” Griffin said. “He’s a really good defender. That was a big hit for him.”
Dalton Skelton, whose brother is Dustin Skelton, joined the Mohawks at a most needed time with injuries to TJ Collett and Liam Wilson recently thinning the Amsterdam lineup. Dalton Skelton’s performance on Wednesday along with Julian Gallup’s efforts on Tuesday have helped rejuvenate the Mohawks batting order at a crucial time with the playoffs only a week away.
Hamilton added a single in the eighth inning for his second hit of the game. Overall the Mohawks pounded out ten hits including the three home runs.
“We put together some really good at bats tonight,” Griffin said. “I’m pleased with the effort. We’ve put together two good nights in a row.”
The Mohawks have not been scored upon for 18 innings in their last two home games and opponents have managed only four hits against Mohawks pitching.
Entering Wednesday’s game, the Amsterdam Mohawks magic number to clinch the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) East Division title stood at three. Both the Albany Dutchman and Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs trailed the Mohawks by three and a half games. The two teams played a double header on Wednesday making the chances of the Mohawks clinching unlikely. Amsterdam travels to Glens Falls on Thursday for a 7pm start at East Field. The Mohawks return home on Friday for the final regular season home game against the Adirondack Trail Blazers. The first pitch of the potential first place clinching game is slated for 6:35pm.
Wednesday night was also Autism Action Night at Shuttleworth Park. New York State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara was on hand in support of the cause. The post game festivities also featured a concert by former Amsterdam Mohawk Dan Zlotnick, who was a pitcher on both the 2010 and 2012 Mohawks championship teams.