As the great actor Sam Elliott once said in the cult classic, The Big Lebowski, “sometimes you get the b’ar and sometimes the b’ar, he gets you.”
Sunday night at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Little Falls, the bear got the Amsterdam Mohawks, as they racked up nine strikeouts. Mohawk Valley starter Marcus Failing (Fort Plain, New York/Herkimer CC) and Zachary Vennaro (New Hartford, New York/Monroe CC) combined to shut out the Mohawks, 5-0 and even the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League Eastern Division Championship series at one game apiece.
The first run of the game would go to the Diamond Dawgs in the first inning, as Ryan Stekl’s (Lancaster, New York/Canisius College) RBI single would score Matt Pagano (Cranston, Rhode Island/Marist College). Amsterdam starter Brad Schaenzer (Oxford, Michigan/University of Kentucky) would load the bases one batter later, and would dance out of danger with a 4-3 double play to end the inning.
Stekl would score another RBI in the fifth, as his triple would score Troy Scocca (Syosset, New York/Fairfield University). Sam Machonis (Tampa, Florida/Florida Southern College) would extend the Mohawk Valley lead to three on his single that would score Stekl. After getting into a first-and-second jam two batters, that would be all for Schaenzer, as Mohawks coach Keith Griffin would pull him for Evy Ruibal (Millburn, New Jersey/University of Notre Dame).
Ruibal’s throwing error in the sixth would allow the Diamond Dawgs to extend their lead, as it would score the speedy Anthony Herrera (McKinney, Texas/University of Louisiana-Monroe. Ruibal was trying to get Pagano out at first on a bunt single, but the throw would get over Brendan Tracy’s (Rumford, Rhode Island/Fairfield University) head, out of play, and let Herrera score. Stekl would get his third RBI of the night, as he sacrificed himself to score Pagano. The damage would be mitigated to three, however, as Ruibal would force Machonis to pop out to center field to end the sixth inning.
Starter Marcus Failing would pitch a figurative gem for the Diamond Dawgs. He would hold the Mohawks scoreless for seven-and-one-third scoreless innings before being pulled for Vennaro.
The 5-0 lead was all Vennaro would need, as he would hold the Mohawks to two hits the rest of the way to even the series at one.
Failing would get the win and Vennaro the save for the Diamond Dawgs. Schaenzer would get the loss for Amsterdam.
With the win in Little Falls, it all comes down to one game: a winner-takes-all matchup at Shuttleworth Park on Monday night between the same two teams.