Filed by the Amsterdam Mohawks...
AMSTERDAM, N.Y. - The Amsterdam Mohawks clinched the regular season championship in the PGCBL East in dramatic fashion on Monday night with a 4-3 walk-off win over the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs at Shuttleworth Park. For the third time this season, Amsterdam won a game in walk-off fashion. It is also the fourth game this year between Amsterdam and Mohawk Valley decided by one run.
Ed Charlton (NJIT) led off the bottom of the ninth with a single into right field off of Mohawk Valley starting pitcher Keegan Long (St. Joseph's, Ind.). After a walk to John Nogowski (Florida St.) and a Brian Ruby (Binghamton) sacrifice bunt, Charlton, representing the division championship-clinching run, was standing 90 feet away from home plate.
Tyler Bray (ULM) relieved Long and hit Josh Gardiner (Radford) with one out to load the bases. Then, on the first pitch to the next batter, Jordan Ebert (Auburn), Bray threw a ball that went straight to the backstop at Shuttleworth Park. The ball bounced hard off the brick wall and back to Mohawk Valley catcher David Peretti (Union, N.Y.). Ed Charlton, racing home from third, slid head first and just got under the tag of Tyler Bray to win the game and send the the crowd of 1,174 fans into a frenzy.
Mike Urbanski (Binghamton) picked up the win for Amsterdam in relief. He allowed an inherited runner to score in the eighth on a suicide squeeze but allowed just one hit in two innings to record his fifth victory. Amsterdam starter Chris Kalica (St. John's) did not figure in the decision. He pitched a two-hit shutout over six innings and retired 18 of the 20 batters he faced.
Mohawk Valley's Keegan Long was saddled with the loss. Long shut out the Mohawks over the first five innings and carried a no-hitter into the sixth. He allowed four runs on four hits, walked three and struck out nine over 8.1 innings. The loss was his first of the summer.
The first five innings featured a scoreless pitchers' duel between Colonie native Kalica of the Mohawks and Long of the Diamond Dawgs. The only two hits recorded in the first five innings were by Mohawk Valley's Willie Shaw (William & Mary) and Jordan Friend (Alabama A&M).
Amsterdam's John Sansone (Florida St.) broke the scoreless tie in the sixth with a two-run home run. Mohawk Valley answered back with its first run of the game in the top of the seventh with a Casey Rodrigue (LSU Eunice) sacrifice fly that scored Dalton Harrington (ULM).
The Mohawks added to their lead in the seventh. John Nogowski smashed a lead-off double. He moved to third on a wild pitch and scored three batters later on a Jordan Ebert (Auburn) fielders' choice.
Mohawk Valley rallied back to tie the game in the top half of the eighth. David Peretti hit a lead-off single against Amsterdam reliever Christian Bartholomew (Wake Forest) and raced over to third on an Amsterdam throwing error that allowed Sam Dexter (Southern Maine) to safely reach first. A walk to Jordan Serena (Columbia) loaded the bases and Willie Shaw (William & Mary) followed with a single into left field that moved each runner up one base. Mike Urbanski relieved Bartholomew with the bases loaded and no outs. Sam Dexter scored the game-tying run for the DiamondDawgs on a successful suicide squeeze bunt by Landon Thibodeaux (LSU Eunice). Urbanski stranded two runners on base to end the inning with the score tied, 3-3.
Amsterdam won the game and the division title on the Charlton walk-off wild pitch and secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Amsterdam's first playoff game will be Friday, August 2. The Mohawks will face the winner of the opening round game between the second and third seeds in the East.
Mohawk Valley still has yet to clinch a playoff spot, but sits in second place in the PGCBL East, one game ahead of the third-place Albany Dutchmen and 1.5 games above the fourth-place Glens Falls Golden Eagles.
Amsterdam is at home on Tuesday night against the Adirondack TrailBlazers at 7:05 at Shuttleworth Park. Trey Wingenter (Auburn) is slated to start for the Mohawks.
Mohawk Valley returns home to Veterans Memorial Park on Tuesday night to host the Elmira Pioneers in a doubleheader beginning at 5:05 p.m.