LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. – The Albany Dutchmen came in to Veteran's Memorial Park in Little Falls on Friday with one goal: sweep the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs and make the Eastern Division playoff race that much tighter. Mission accomplished.
The Dutchmen took advantage of timely pitching and batting to sweep the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs, 7-6 and 6-2. With that, the top three teams are separated by just five games with a little more than a week to go in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) regular season.
The Dutchmen struck first just three batters in to Game One, as Nick Gallo (West Palm Beach, FL/Oklahoma State) bounced a ball past Mohawk Valley shortstop Alexis Monge-Rodriguez (Pembroke Pines, FL/Barry) and scored Nick Estrella (Tucson, AZ/Azusa Pacific). They would add another in the second on a routine play by Griffen Herrera (Glendora, CA/Azusa Pacific) that scored Justin Childers (Pickerington, OH/Ohio Dominican).
Brandt Holland (Sheffield, AL/North Alabama) extended the Albany lead to six by parking a ball in the center field bleachers to bring home three of his teammates with the grand slam. Two Mohawk Valley errors, by the third baseman and the left fielder, would allow Colin Kaucher (Toledo, OH/Ohio Dominican) to score just a couple of batters later.
Back-to-back walks by Joe Engel (Downers Grove, IL/Columbia) and Dan Deely (Sonoma, CA/Sacramento State) would allow the Diamond Dawgs to get two runs back in the third. Their free passes to first base allowed Ben Porter (Newton, MA/Columbia) and Johnny Mayer (Suffolk, VA/Norfolk State) to score and cut the Dutchmen lead to five.
Mohawk Valley was given new life in the bottom of the fifth, as back-to-back-to-back walks by Albany starter Jack Grabek (Guilderland, NY/Bucknell) loaded up the bases. After a strikeout, Grabek and reliever Trace Norkus (Hillsboro Beach, FL/North Florida) would allow back-to-back-to-back singles. That allowed the Diamond Dawgs to cut the lead to one, 7-6 on four RBIs from Russ Olive (Chelmsford, MA/UMass Lowell) and Mohawk Valley newcomer Lucas Terwilliger (Elmira, NY/Adelphi).
From there, Justin Bureau struck out three straight Mohawk Valley batters to put Game One away and get the save. Grabek got the win, while Crandall Poore (Marietta, GA/Middle Georgia State) picked up the loss.
In Game Two, the scoring began rather oddly, as a comebacker by Olive bounced off of second base, over shortstop Peyton Sockwell's (Lawrenceburg, TN/North Alabama) head, and into right field. That would score Tim Zeng (Lumberton, NJ/Fairfield).
The Dutchmen got the lead back and then some in the fourth, starting with Holland's solo shot to the deepest part of center field to tie the game up. Chris Villa (Staten Island, NY/Seton Hall) gave Albany the lead on an RBI single that scored Justin Decker (Rotterdam, NY/Dominican).
In the fifth, Albany would score four runs, scattering five straight hits before reliever Jonathan Sell (Charlton, NY/Herkimer) got three straight outs to mitigate the damage.
The Diamond Dawgs would get one back on an error, as a throwing error by the Albany second baseman allowed Clay Koniencki (Schwenksville, PA/Monmouth) to occupy first and allowed Deely to come home.
However, it was not enough, as relievers Mike Pepio (Lake Como, NJ/East Stroudsburg) and JD Mundt (Louisville, KY/Louisville) kept Mohawk Valley (24-10) quiet the rest of the way to put the game away for the Dutchmen (24-14).
Boyle would get the win for Albany, while Sell picked up the loss.
Mohawk Valley will be on the road for the next three days, starting in Saugerties on Friday to face off against the Stallions. The Dutchmen will head back to Siena Field on Friday for a doubleheader against the Utica Blue Sox.