Adirondack escapes Amsterdam with thrilling victory

Filed by the Amsterdam Mohawks...

The Adirondack Trail Blazers pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat as the Amsterdam Mohawks escaped Shuttleworth Park with a 7-6 victory on Saturday night. Amsterdam had the bases loaded with nobody  out in the bottom of the ninth inning but Trail Blazers closer Kevin Sweeney (Northern Illinois) miraculously preserved the victory with a strikeout and double-play ball. He also stranded to runners on base in the eighth cutting short the Mohawks rally in that inning as well.

The Trail Blazers are a new team this year to the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League located in Boonville, N.Y. They improve to 3-3 with the victory. Defending League Champion Amsterdam falls to 2-5.

Chris Divarco (Northern Illinois) had a two-run double and went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and one run scored for the Trail Blazers. Mike Parsons (Rider) was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, one RBI and two runs scored.

Keith Ryan (Ave Maria) threw two innings of shutout relief for his first victory as he set the stage for the Adirondack comeback and their four-run rally in the seventh. And Chris Sweeney recorded a six-out save including his fantastic finish at the end.

Adirondack turned four double-plays including one to win the game at the end.

Alex Gagne (Maine) was the losing pitcher for the Mohawks. Devin Wenzel (Cincnnati) socked an rbi double and scored a run for Amsterdam. Ed Charlton (NJIT) was 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run. Brian Ruby was also 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored.

But it was Charlton and Ruby who were not able to convert on the biggest opportunities of the night for the Mohawks. Charlton bounced into a double-play in the second when the bases were loaded. And he struck out in the eighth with the tying and go-ahead men in scoring position.

Ruby bounced into a double-play at the end of the game and was beaten by a whisker on the relay as the Mohawks just missed equalizing.

Amsterdam raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first against starter Matt Engler (Mohawk Valley C.C.) including back-to-back RBI doubles by Shane Zimmer (Canisius) and Devin Wenzel.

Adirondack quickly recovered two of those runs in the top of the second on Divarco's blast to the gap in left-center. And they tied the game at 3-3 in the third in a Mike Parsons rbi knock.

The Mohawks re-took the lead at 4-3 in the fourth taking advantage of an Adirondack error and eventually bringing around Ruby to score.

Amsterdam maintained the 4-3 lead until the seventh when the Trail Blazers would strike four times in an extended rally. A pair of hits to start it off followed by a couple of groundout ribbies made it 5-4 in favor of the visitors.

A couple more hits and a walk loaded the bases setting up a costly Mohawks error when Amsterdam catcher Kevin Guthrie (Brown) threw the ball wildly trying to pick-off the runner at first. A good throw almost certainly would have nabbed him but instead that error plus a wild pitch would boost Adirondack's lead to 7-4.

Amsterdam sliced into the lead in the eighth with three walks and a hit batter against Adirondack hurler Chris Rheaume (Ave Maria). But Kevin Sweeney entered to begin his six-out save. He put away the next three batters in order allowing just one more run to scored on a ground-out. Charlton struck-out leaving runners stranded at second and third and the Mohawks trailed 7-6.

Sweeney walked a batter and then plunked back-to-back hitters as Amsterdam loaded up the bases with nobody out. But a strikeout of Guthrie and a double-play that got Ruby ended the game.

Amsterdam plays a doubleheader at Glens Falls Sunday at 5:00 with Logan Fullmer and TBA scheduled as the starters. The Mohawks return to Shuttleworth Park Wednesday night against Elmira. Friday night's Amsterdam home game is another Fireworks Night.

Adirondack is on the road Sunday evening at 7:00 traveling to the Utica Brewers. They return to "The Smith" on Tuesday when they host the Mohawks in a rematch.

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