The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs in the middle of a playoff race returned home to play the Albany Dutchman in a critical game for the final playoff spot with the season winding down on Saturday night; however rain dampened any chances of playing as both teams waited for two hours before calling off the game. The DiamondDawgs were back at it Sunday for its final home game of the season, a matinee, against the regular season champion Amsterdam Mohawks as the Dawgs are clenching to the final playoff spot.
Former Major League pitcher and New York Yankee Tommy John was on hand prior to the start of the game to give the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs players a pep talk and some words of wisdom. John spoke to the players about giving it all during the season and finishing strong. He also told the young DiamondDawgs to continue to push themselves to be better and to evaluate themselves after every game in an effort to continue to improve. He also shared stories with the players from his playing days and spoke about his craft – pitching. When speaking of pitching John stressed the importance of throwing hard and changing speeds to keep batters off guard and brought the example home when he spoke of an outing he had with some pitchers he was coaching. John explained that in a golf outing he asked pitcher to bring two golf clubs – a putter and any club they would like. He explained that just like they had to adjust their swings depending on the shot and distance of the hole the same mentality holds true in pitching. Tommy John then suited up and coached first base for the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs.
Cameron Sorgie (UAlbany) 1-1. 3.60 was called on to take the mound for the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs while the Mohawks called on Mark Leiter Jr. 3-0, 1.08 (NJIT). The Mohawks wasted no time in scoring their first run after Jeff Boehm (Kentucky) singled and moved to second after the pitcher overthrew first base and Zak Colby (Faulkner) doubled to plate the runner. The DiamondDawgs tied the game up at 1-1 after Chris Cruz (Cornell) singled in the bottom of the third to score David Del Grande (Sacramento State) from second. The DiamondDawgs added one more run in the bottom of the fourth inning when Tyler Heck (Union) grounded out but scored the runner at third. The Mohawks responded quickly and tied the ball game up at 2-2 following a single by Zak Colby (Faulkner) in the top of the fifth. Jeff Limbaugh (Parkland) deposited a ball in the centerfield bleachers in the top of the sixth as he launched a two-run home run and the Mohawks grabbed a 4-2 lead. Amsterdam added another run in the top of the seventh after DJ Hoagboon (UAlbany) doubled to score Colby. The DiamondDawgs efforts to score in the bottom of the eighth were thwarted when Joe Carcone (Bryant) was thrown out at home attempting to score from second. Mike Gaglianese (Purdue) came on in the ninth for the DiamondDawgs and recorded a one-two-three inning forcing two ground outs and a pop out. The Mohawks brought in Chase Williamson (Auburn) who started the game at second base to close out the game but Jack Morrow (Young Harris) belted a solo homerun with two outs but that was the best the Dawgs could do for a rally as the game ended with Amsterdam winning 5-3.
The DiamondDawg offense was led by Jack Morrow (Young Harris) who was 2 for 3 with a homerun, a double, two walks, one run and an RBI and Jonathan Scott (Bryant) who was 1 for 2 with a double, a run scored and two walks. The Mohawk offense was led by Zak Colby (Faulkner) who was 4 for 5 with three doubles, a run, two RBI and a stolen base, DJ Hoagboon (UAlbany) who was 2 for 4 with an RBI and Jeff Limbaugh (Parkland) who went 2 for 3 with a homerun, a double, a run scored and two RBI.
Cameron Sorgie (UAlbany) picked up the loss with six innings pitched giving up seven hits, four runs (three earned), two walks, four strikeouts and a hit batter. Taylor Wright (Brown) pitched two innings giving up three hits and a run and Mike Gaglianese (Purdue) came in for one inning.
Mark Leiter Jr. (NJIT) grabbed the win with four innings of work giving up a hit, two runs, seven walks, three strikeouts and a hit batter. Kyle Rufer (Schenectady C.C.) pitched 2 2/3 innings giving up a hit, three walks, and four strikeouts and Conner Kaden (Wake Forest) pitched an inning and a third and gave up two hits. Chase Williamson (Auburn) finished off with an inning of work giving up a hit and a run and picked up the save.
The DiamondDawgs head to Elmira on Monday and then finish out the season in Amsterdam on Tuesday night looking to wrap up the league’s final playoff spot.