The sixth try was the charm for the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs who used a season-high 16-hit attack in defeating the #6 nationally ranked Amsterdam Mohawks 11-7 at Shuttleworth Park. It was Mohawk Valley's first win in six tries against Amsterdam this year. The Thursday night contest also represented the first time this season that Amsterdam has lost back-to-back games.
The first-place Mohawks fell to 20-5 in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League while the DiamondDawgs improved to 10-13 as they snapped a three-game losing streak. They stand 1.5 games behind fourth-place Oneonta in the chase for the last playoff spot.
Amsterdam and Mohawk Valley were tied 4-4 into the seventh inning but the DiamondDawgs scored seven runs in the final threes innings including three in the seventh, three in the eighth and one more in the ninth to put the game away.
Jack Morrow (Young Harris) had three hits for the victors including two doubles and three RBI's increasing his team-leading total to 21. And Mark Stuckey (Marist) launched a pair of doubles of impressive doubles for the Dawgs, both of which just missed being homeruns. He went 3-for-5 including one that helped the seal the victory as he drove in three in the eighth inning to increase their slim 7-5 advantage to 10-5.
Brian Ruby (Binghamton) made his Amsterdam debut a successful one with a 2-for-5 performance including an RBI double that tied the game at 4-4 at the time. Chase Williamson (Auburn) hit a solo homerun in the ninth inning for his second in his last two at-bats. He similarly entered as a late substitute in Amsterdam's last game on Tuesday and socked a game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.
Jesse Buratt (Baton Rouge CC) was impressive for Mohawk Valley in his first start of the year. Entering the game having received more playing time in the infield and as a DH than as a pitcher, he would last six solid innings scattering seven hits while allowing only one earned run. Buratt had only thrown four innings of relief work in three appearances before more than doubling his season work-load in a single night.
Raymond Morton (Norfolk State) allowed three runs, two of which were earned, in a three-inning finish to register his first save.
Matt Gage (Siena) ended up taking the loss for Amsterdam in relief despite generally throwing well. He pitched shutout ball allowing just one hit from the fourth through the sixth. But then was touched for an earned run in the seventh and three runs total as Mohawk Valley broke a late 4-4 tie.
Gage had seven strikeouts in his four-inning stint to increase his league-leading total to 46.
Mohawk Valley struck first for a run against Amsterdam starter Taylor Martin (Kentucky) in the first inning on back-to-back doubles by David Del Grande (Sacramento State) and Jack Morrow.
Amsterdam took their lone lead of the night in the bottom of the first when Zak Colby (Faulkner) hustled down the first-base line to force a hurried throw to the pitcher covering from first-baseman Jack Morrow on a grounder. On the bad throw, Evan Stephens (Wake Forest) and Demarcus Henderson (Mississippi State) both came in to score. They had initially reached on a dropped third-strike and a hit-by-pitch so the Mohawks' first two runs came via zero base-hits.
Mohawk Valley rallied for three in third inning on four hits against Martin, three for extra-bases. Tyler Heck (Union) got things started with a double to the left-field corner. Jack Morrow would single him home, would advance on a big double off the top of the fence by Stuckey and then score on a wild pitch. Luke Nethaway (Herkimer CC), younger brother of Amsterdam's Josh who was out of the lineup tonight, blasted a triple deep to the gap in right-center to make it 4-2. His long drive was almost hauled in by Amsterdam right-fielder Jeff Boehm (Kentucky) but his attempt at a fine over-the-shoulder catch after covering all that ground just glanced off his glove and fell safely.
Amsterdam would tie it with single runs in the third and fifth. Chase Green (SIU-Edwardsville) singled home Evan Stephens. And Brian Ruby's long double to left-center plated Boehm to make it 4-4.
A walk and an errant throw by Gage on a bunt attempt helped Mohawk Valley set up the tie-breaking rally in the seventh inning. Gage's bad throw that went wide allowed Tyler Heck to score all the way from first making it 5-4. Then Morrow's single plated Chris Cruz extending in to 6-4. A couple batters later with the bases loaded, Tyler Hall (Herkimer CC) singled to center to score one but Demarcus Henderson for Amsterdam gunned down the next runner at the plate with a fine tag by Matt MacDowell (Dartmouth) to end the rally.
The Mohawks would close the gap to 7-5 in the bottom of the seventh with Chase Green doubling to the left-field corner and then scoring on consecutive balks by pitcher Morton.
But Stuckey's monster bases-loaded blast off the top of the Chain Monster in left would give Mohawk Valley a more comfortable 10-5 advantage in the eighth. Stuckey just missed a grand slam on the shot. And had almost homered earlier in the game on his previous double.
Amsterdam scored two in the bottom of the ninth but would not have a dramatic six-run rally in their last chance this time. Williamson sliced his second homer in his last two at-bats over the right-field fence this time to lead off the innings. And Colby would drive in a run as well but Morton was able to end the inning and the game with no more damage.
Amsterdam concludes their three-game homestand on Friday night against the Glens Falls Golden Eagles who have surged to second-place in the PGCBL having won seven of their last eight. The game will be a meeting of the top two teams in the league and is the third out of eight on the schedule between the two heated rivals. Glens Falls is 2-0 against Amsterdam this season. The league's top pitcher so far, Chandler Shephard (Kentucky) will be the starting pitcher for the Mohawks. The 4-0 right-hander has a microscopic 0.33 ERA.
Mohawk Valley is idle Friday for their third day off of the week. They return home Saturday night at 7:00 against the Cooperstown Hawkeyes.
Follow the action of Amsterdam Mohawks baseball all season long on ustream.tv/channel/mohawksradio.R