By Sam Reis
The Amsterdam Mohawks limited the Utica Blue Sox to just four hits in a 5-1 victory to officially clinch the East Division at Rao Family Stadium on Saturday night.
Tyler Sausville (New Haven/Xavier) made his eighth start and ninth appearance on the mound this season for Amsterdam. The southpaw started off with a 1-2-3 opening frame.
Holden de Jong (NJIT) made his sixth start on the hill for Utica. Just like Sausville, the left-hander began his outing by retiring the side in order. De Jong finished his shortest start of the summer with a solid second inning, allowing just one hit while recording a strikeout and no walks in his two innings of work.
Marcus Kruzan (St. Thomas) replaced de Jong in the third, making his fifth appearance and second against Amsterdam. After a 1-2-3 third inning, Zach Eldred (Brockport) broke the deadlock with a solo home run to left field in the fourth. Kruzan’s night came to an end after the fourth as that home run was the only hit he allowed in two innings.
After conceding a double to lead off the fifth, Tyler Sausville took care of the next three batters to wrap up five scoreless innings in which he only gave up two hits while walking three and striking out four.
Colin Skermont (Herkimer CC) became the third Utica pitcher of the game in the fifth inning, appearing in his third game and second against Amsterdam. After Jalen Debose (Florida Atlantic) grounded out to begin the inning, Jaxson West (Alabama/Florida State) reached first on an error, Dakota Duffalo (Utah) singled and Luke Zeisloft (Maryland) walked to load the bases. That is when Skermont was pulled, lasting just ⅓ of an inning. Alex Canino (Limestone) came in to pitch in his sixth game of the season. Marek Houston (Wake Forest), the first batter he faced, recorded a single that drove in West and Duffalo to extend Amsterdam’s lead to 3-0.
Gio Conte (UConn) came in to pitch for Amsterdam in the sixth inning, making his ninth appearance and second against Utica. Pitching in his first game since July 4th, the right-hander kept the Blue Sox off the board, only giving up a hit to the first batter he faced with one walk and no strikeouts in two innings.
Alex Canino pitched through the sixth, allowing two hits with a walk and a strikeout in 1 ⅔ innings. Jordan Savinon (Felician) replaced him in the seventh, appearing in his sixth game of the summer. The left-hander had no issues and retired the side in order, striking out the middle batter.
Ben Huckans (St. John Fisher) came in for Gio Conte in the eighth, making his fifth appearance since joining the team. The Amsterdam native had a 1-2-3 inning to begin his outing.
Bill Rozakis (Siena) became the sixth and final pitcher for Utica in the eighth, appearing in his sixth game this season. With one out, Bruer Webster (Utah) walked and Gage Miller (Bishop State CC) doubled to put runners on second and third. Then, during Zach Eldred’s plate appearance, Webster scored on a passed ball and Miller advanced to third. Eldred also walked to put runners on the corners. Luke Longo (NJIT) grounded out to drive in Miller and make it 5-1.
That RBI from Longo was his 39th, tied for the fourth most in a single season in Mohawks history.
Norris McClure (Spring Hill) led off the ninth with a home run to put the Blue Sox on the board. However, Ben Huckans put down the next three batters, striking out the last two to secure the victory for Amsterdam.
In a low scoring affair, Amsterdam outhit Utica 6-4 while both teams committed one error. Saturday marked the regular season finale between the teams as the Mohawks improved to 3-1 against the Blue Sox. Zach Eldred was the only player with multiple hits, finishing 2-for-3 with a home run and a double.
Marcus Kruzan suffered the loss, moving him to 0-2. Utica drops to 23-12, losing just its third game of July. The Blue Sox now have seven contests remaining in the regular season as they try to secure second place in the east and a first round bye in the playoffs. Utica is back in action on Monday with a trip to Oneonta at 7:00.
Tyler Sausville earned the win for Amsterdam, improving to 6-1. The left-hander is now the only pitcher in the PGCBL with six wins. With four strikeouts on the night, he has 49 this season, just one behind the league leader. Ben Huckans recorded the save, his first of the season. With the win, the Mohawks have officially secured the #1 seed throughout the postseason with five regular season games remaining. Now 34-4-1, Amsterdam is home again on Monday to take on Albany at 6:35.