Mohawk Valley head coach Blake Nation on the mound for a visit with the DiamondDawgs (photo credit: Beth Park/Laura Lynn's Photography).
By Joshua McMullen
LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. – It's been a whirlwind season for the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs.
From an eight-game winning streak to a six-game losing streak to end the season to an run to the championship series that almost nobody - save the fans at Veteran's Memorial Park - expected, the DiamondDawgs have see it all. Now, they're one win away from seeing their second Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) championship trophy in three years.
Mohawk Valley took advantage of two four-run innings and a three-RBI triple from Ben Porter (Newton, MA/Columbia) to put the game out of reach early, knocking off the Jamestown Jammers, 11-1. The Dawgs now hold a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three PGCBL Championship Series.
Russ Olive (Chelmsford, MA/UMass Lowell) started off the scoring for Mohawk Valley with a screaming grounder that almost got to the right-center field wall. That hard hit would score Alexis Monge-Rodriguez (Pembroke Pines, FL/Barry) and give Olive the DiamondDawgs' playoff record for RBIs, breaking a tie with 2015 alumni Troy Scocca and Ryan Stekl.
Porter extended the lead to four in the third on a deep three-run triple that scored Tim Zeng (Lumberton, NJ/Fairfield), Olive, and his classmate from Columbia, Joe Engel (Downers Grove, IL/Columbia). Austin Pollack (Harrison, NY/Hofstra) got into the scoring column himself by plating Porter on a rocket to left field. That would be the end for Jamestown starter Isaac Meza (Valencia, CA/CSU Bakersfield), who was pulled in favor of Nolan Hunt (Westifield, NY/Canisius) after just 2.2 innings.
Zeng extended the lead in the fourth with a hot liner to right field. Unfortunately for the Jammers, right fielder John Conti (Niagara Falls, NY/Canisius) committed a Bill Buckner-like mistake, as the ball went through his legs, allowing Monge-Rodriguez and Engel to score.
Conti would make up for his error in the fifth inning, putting an RBI single into the gap to score Nick Bernick (Pittsburgh, PA/Niagara) and getting the Jammers on the board. The base hit would reduce the deficit to six runs for Jamestown at 7-1.
Clay Koniencki (Schwenksville, PA/Monmouth) got into the scoring column in the eighth, knocking a ball between the Jamestown shortstop and third baseman to drive in Monge-Rodriguez. Following an RBI fielder's choice off the bat of Olive, Dan Deely (Sonoma, CA/Sacramento State) put the game into double digits with a two-run double that scored Pollack and Olive.
Jonathan Sell (Charlton, NY/Herkimer) came in and pitched the ninth for the DiamondDawgs and surrendered just one walk to Christian Deaton (Bakersfield, CA/CSU Bakersfield) before striking out the next two Jamestown batters to put the game away.
Levi Abrahamson (Mountain Home, ID/Treasure Valley C.C.) tossed 2.1 scoreless relief innings and picked up the win for Mohawk Valley, which is now one win away from its second PGCBL championship in three years. Meza was tagged with the loss for Jamestown.
The two teams will meet tomorrow night at Diethrick Park in Jamestown, N.Y., for Game 2 of the PGCBL Championship Series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.