LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. – It seems the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs and the Albany Dutchmen just can't get rid of each other. For the last four years, the two teams have faced each other in a one-game playoff to determine who got to go to the Eastern Division championship.
On the last day of the 2017 regular season, it was established they would meet for the fifth straight year. It was just a matter of where.
The Albany Dutchmen answered that one with aplomb, as with an 18-3 victory in a continuation of a game from last week, they clinched home-field advantage for the one-game playoff with Mohawk Valley. They would put icing on the proverbial cake in the nightcap, needing only two hours to knock off the DiamondDawgs 10-4.
In the continuation of Game One, the DiamondDawgs started off hot, on an RBI double by Austin Pollack (Harrison, NY/Hofstra) that scored Dan Deely (Sonoma, NY/Sacramento State).
Unfortunately for Mohawk Valley, Albany picked up right where they left off about a week ago, as reliever Quenten Thomas (Chesterfield, VA/Norfolk State) allowed 12 Dutchmen to come up to bat. When the dust settled, Albany found their lead doubled at 15-2.
Justin Decker (Rotterdam, NY/Dominican) started off the bottom of the seventh by cracking a big solo home run off of reliever Nico Ramos (Holland Patent, NY/Siena). Jon Skidmore (Dallas, TX/Dallas Baptist) and Griffen Herrera (Glendora, CA/Azusa Pacific) would come home by virtue of a Nick Estrella (Tucson, AZ/Azusa Pacific) stand-up double to extend the Albany cushion to 18-2.
Tom Moore (Burnt Hills, NY/College of St. Rose) gave the DiamondDawgs another run in the top of the eighth, when his fielder's choice ground out to third base scored Clay Koniencki (Schwenksville, PA/Monmouth).
Roel Garcia (Deer Park, TX/Rice) picked up the win for Albany, who clinched at least one more game at Siena Field for the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League playoffs. Thomas was saddled with the loss for Mohawk Valley.
In Game Two, an error, a walk and a hit batsman would fill the bases full of Dutchmen in the second. Zach Durfee (Malta, NY/Siena) brought a run home with a fielder's choice just one batter later, scoring Skidmore. Another error, this time by the Mohawk Valley left fielder, brought home Decker. Unfortunately for starter Josh Arnold (Petersburg, NJ/Fairfield), Herrera would park a ball over the left-center field for a grand slam. The Dutchmen got another home run, this one a two-run shot off of the bat of Chase Allen (Sharpsburg, GA/Limestone).
Moore broke the three-inning scoreless streak by the DiamondDawgs by parking a ball over the wall in straightaway center field to bring Mohawk Valley to within seven.
Adam Elliot (Louisville, KY/Louisville) would repay Moore's solo shot with a solo home run that almost cleared the center-field bleachers to return the Albany lead to eight.
A wild pitch and an error by the Albany shortstop would score two Mohawk Valley runs in the fifth, scoring Ramos and Moore.
Durfee scored another run in the eighth, this time on an inside-the-park home run after a misplay on a fly ball in right field.
Lucas Terwilliger (Elmira, NY/Adelphi) made the score at least respectable in the eighth, as a rocket of an RBI single scored Tim Zeng (Lumberton, NJ/Fairfield).
From there, the Albany relievers, sensing the heat was off of them, threw a perfect ninth inning to put the game away for the Dutchmen.
Deavan Phillips (Dade City, FL/Ave Maria) picked up the win for Albany, while Arnold picked up the loss for Mohawk Valley.
This means that for the fifth straight year in a row, the Dutchmen and DiamondDawgs will battle it out to determine who will go to the Eastern Division Championship Series. First pitch at Siena Field will be thrown at 5:05 p.m. on Tuesday, August 1.