LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. – The Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs and the Amsterdam Mohawks combined for 24 runs on Opening Day, each getting 12 in wins over Glens Falls and expansion club Onondaga, respectively. Friday at Veterans Memorial Park, they would only combine for a third of that. Mohawk Valley knocked another two home runs for four in just two games to defeat its bitter rival by the score of 5-1.
The Diamond Dawgs would strike first, putting Mohawks starter Brandon Reitz (Ocala, FL/Florida State) in a first-and-third jam after Ben Porter (Newton, MA/Columbia University) walked and Matt Smith (Placerville, CA/Sacramento State University) singled with just one out. Smith would make it even worse, stealing second just a couple pitches later. Russ Olive ( would break the scoreless tie when his sacrifice fly to center field would score Porter. However, that was all Reitz would allow, as the next Mohawk Valley hitter would fly out and end the first inning.
Reitz would find himself in another first-and-second jam in the second that would turn into a bases-loaded jam when Porter singled, the second of back-to-back singles by himself and Johnny Mayer (Suffolk, VA/Norfolk State University). However, the baserunners would be stranded when Reitz struck Zack Coker (Tuscaloosa, AL/University of Alabama) out to end the inning.
Back-to-back hit batsmen by Mohawk Valley starter Jonathan McKinney (Marietta, GA/Southern Union State CC) would quickly put Mohawks at first and second to start the top of the third. They would get to second and third on a squeeze-play bunt by Dylan Reynolds (Hamden, CT/Fairfield). Eric Rivera (West Park, FL/Florida Atlantic University) would bring Cameron Collett (Altamont, NY/Marshall University) home on a hot grounder that would continue the jam for McKinney. Fortunately, the score would remain tied, as McKinney would easily get the next two Mohawks out to end the top of the third.
Smith only needed four pitches in the bottom of the third to break the 1-1 tie. His solo, no-doubt home run over the left-center field fence put the Diamond Dawgs up 2-1.
Coker would extend the lead just five pitches into the fifth inning, with Mohawk Valley's fourth home run in just two nights. His solo bomb off the Little League clubhouse in left field extended the Diamond Dawgs' lead to 3-1 and made for an inauspicious start for Amsterdam reliever Carter Knapek (Albany, NY/UMass). A double error by Amsterdam third baseman Liam Wilson and left fielder Reynolds allowed another Diamond Dawg to score, as Smith would come all the way from second base. Joe Engel would bring another run home on a line-drive single to left field that would bring Clay Koniecki (Schwenksville, PA/Monmouth) home. Knapek would mercifully get out of the inning on a pop fly by Mayer to end the three-run Mohawk Valley fifth inning.
McKinney would pitch admirably for the Diamond Dawgs after allowing the Mohawks' run, only allowing three Amsterdam batters to reach base in the next three innings. He would receive his well-earned rest after the seventh, giving way to Nick Caregnato and Quenten Thomas. Both relievers would only allow one baserunner the rest of the way to put the Mohawks away.
McKinney would pick up the win for Mohawk Valley (2-0). Reitz would get the loss for Amsterdam (1-1).
The Diamond Dawgs hit the road for their first road trip of the season, as they head to Siena College to face the Albany Dutchmen on Saturday. The Mohawks look to get back on track back at Shuttleworth Park on Saturday as they welcome into Amserdam the Glens Falls Dragons.