Recap - DiamondDawgs keep playoff hopes alive with win over Mohawks

The first-place Amsterdam Mohawks had their six-game winning streak come to an end as the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs triumphed in their do-or-die game at Shuttleworth Park on the second-to-last day of the PGCBL regular season. Mohawk Valley's 10-5 victory over #3 nationally ranked Amsterdam means they are still alive for a potential playoff spot heading into the regular-season's last game Wednesday night.

#3 nationally ranked Amsterdam had a 5-4 lead in the eighth inning and a chance to eliminate the DiamondDawgs from playoff contention following the news that Oneonta had won their game over Newark 8-3. But the Dawgs rallied for six runs in the top of the eighth in the clutch must-win comeback. The victory keeps Mohawk Valley just a half-game behind the fourth-place Oneonta Outlaws for the last remaining playoff spot.

The Amsterdam Mohawks are on cruise-control as they have clinched the top-seed for the playoffs which begin on Friday at Shuttleworth Park. They brought in Mayfield standout D.J. Hoagboon (U. Albany) from the outfield to pitch once Mohawk Valley had taken the lead and he ended up making a little history in the process.

Hoagboon came in to pitch the rest of the eighth inning right-handed. And then switched it up and pitched left-handed in the ninth. He is believed to be the first Mohawk as well as first pitcher in PGCBL history to pitch with both arms in the same game. Hoagboon had pitched with both arms as a high school standout at Mayfield-Central.

Mohawk Valley has to win their game Wednesday night at the Watertown Wizards AND hope for the Oneonta Outlaws to lose at Glens Falls in order to make the post-season. The comeback win with their backs against the wall against first-place Amsterdam was an emotional night for a DiamondDawgs team that had been snake-bit all season long against their Mohawk River rivals to the east. Mohawk Valley knew they had to win to stay alive. The back-to-back doubles in the eighth inning by Chris Cruz and Jack Morrow to begin that rally and give them the lead brought about exuberant cheers from their dugout in their excited playoff push.

Amsterdam finished the regular-season series with a 9-2 advantage in 11 games against the DiamondDawgs in what may also be a first-round playoff matchup IF Mohawk Valley pulls it off in the season's last day. Amsterdam is 35-11 while Mohawk Valley improved to 24-21.

The DiamondDawgs took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on the eighth home-run of the season by Chris Cruz (Cornell) off Amsterdam starter Chris Kalica (Fairfield). Cruz is in a three-way tie for the league-lead in home-runs with his teammates Jack Morrow and Eric Helmrich.

Cruz would finish with four RBI's in the game including a sac-fly in the sixth and a game-tying double in the eighth to start their key six-run rally.

Amsterdam had back to take the lead in the sixth inning including a two-run double by Keaton Flint (Sacred Heart) which tied the score at 4-4 and then an RBI double by Hoagboon that made it 5-4 for the home team.

After Cruz tied the game in the top of the eighth with his double into the right-field corner. Jack Morrow (Young Harris) would follow suit with a near-homer off the fence in right-center to drive in Cruz and give the DiamondDawgs the lead at 6-5.

That would be their last hit of the inning. A handful of walks and fielder's-choice plays later and it would be a 10-5 deficit for Amsterdam.

Hoagboon in his historic ambidextrous performance issued a bases-loaded walk right-handed when he entered and then struck-out Cruz. In the ninth inning as a lefty pitcher, he recorded two fly-outs and a ground-out in a perfect 1-2-3 inning. It was Hoagboon's first pitching stint of the season although he had done a similar ambidextrous pitching performance in an exhibition game against the Tri-County Bees early in the year.

Not only did Hoagboon have his unique night on the mound. He also went 3-for-5 at the platewith an RBI double that had given Amsterdam a 5-4 lead at the time. Keaton Flynt also had three hits in the game plus a walk in reaching four times.

Amsterdam rested a couple of their top players as they get ready for their playoff push. Zac Colby (Faulkner) and Ed Charlton (NJIT) had the night off for the Mohawks.

The Mohawks struggled in this one in their only loss in over a week. Amsterdam committed a season-high five errors and also had a couple of base-running miscues that hurt the cause.

The Mohawks finish the regular season on the road at the Albany Dutchmen Wednesday night. Mohawk Valley has another must-win game to finish the regular season Wednesday at Watertown.

Amsterdam will host game 1 of the opening round best-of-three series at Shuttleworth Park on Friday night against a yet to be determined opponent. Game 2 will be Saturday on the road. And Game 3, if necessary, will be back in Amsterdam on Sunday.

If the Mohawks should advance to the championship series then they would host game 1 of the finals on Tuesday, August 7. Game 3 for all the marbles, if necessary, would also be at Shuttleworth Park on Thursday, August 9.

Follow the nationally ranked Mohawks in their post-season championship push on 

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