AMSTERDAM - The playoff race in the East division of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League is tight. The Amsterdam Mohawks put themselves in first place Monday night after storming back from a 7-0 first inning deficit to beat the Albany Dutchmen 13-9 at Shuttleworth Park.
Entering Monday's action the Mohawks (24-16) could have fallen back as far as fourth place with a loss to the Dutchmen (22-17). After the first inning it looked like that fate was all but assured.
However, the Amsterdam Mohawks offense had other ideas.
Amsterdam’s Kyle Barrett connects for a single during Monday’s Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game against the Albany Dutchmen at Shuttleworth Park.
The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich
Dylan Dwyer lasted just 1/3 of an inning in his eighth start of the season for Amsterdam. Dwyer issued three singles and walked two, including a bases loaded walk that forced in the second run of the inning, before head coach Keith Griffin made a pitching change. Christian Bartholomew came in and gave up a sacrifice fly, two more singles, a walk, and an RBI fielders choice before finally getting Zach Remillard, the 12th batter of the inning, to fly out to center field. All in all the Dutchmen pushed across seven runs in the inning, putting Amsterdam in an early hole.
"When they came in I said, 'It's our time'," Griffin said. "Just go out there and don't give away at bats."
Amsterdam went relatively quietly in the first against Dutchmen starter Bryan Carr, but sent nine men to the plate in the second. Josh Gardiner led off the inning with a single and would come around to score on an RBI single by Kevin Guthrie. Kyle Barrett and Jordan Ebert singled to push across two more runs for Amsterdam, and the Mohawks added one more run to bring them within four of Albany.
Albany used an RBI groundout to add to their lead in the third and Amsterdam played small ball in the home half to push across two more runs of their own. Ed Charlton banged into an RBI groundout to score Gardiner, who doubled to lead off the inning, and John Sansone hit a sacrifice fly to score Ruby who had singled.
With an 8-6 lead, Albany's Derrick Armstrong hit a home run off Amsterdam reliever Chris Kalica to extend the Dutchmen's cushion.
Gardiner, who had singled and doubled in his first two plate appearances, smashed a three-run shot to left in the fourth, evening the score at nine apiece and sending the Mohawks crowd into a frenzy. Charlton hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth that scored John Nogowski and gave the Mohawks their first lead of the ballgame, completing an improbable comeback.
In the seventh the Mohawks tacked on three more runs on the strength of four hits, the first of which was Guthrie's third hit of the ball game. Two Dutchmen errors also furthered Amsterdam's cause.
After the home run allowed by Kalica in the fourth, Mohawks pitching was dominant. Kalica, Zach Quayle, and Mike Urbanski combined to give up just two hits and didn't allow a walk. Urbanski, who had come in to face the final batter of the eighth inning, shut the door in the ninth to secure the win.
With Mohawk Valley's win over Glens Falls Monday, the Mohawks now sit atop the East division standings. With eight games left, that doesn't matter to Griffin.
"I'd rather be in first place next Wednesday," Griffin said. "Even though we are tonight, if we don't play good, we might not even make the playoffs because everything is so bunched up. The only thing I care about is these guys continuing to play hard and continuing to grind. If we do that, we'll be in good shape."
Several Mohawks played a role in Monday's offensive explosion and comeback victory. Gardiner had four hits in the game, falling just a triple short of the cycle. Barrett and Guthrie each notched three hits, while Ebert and Dylan Smith had two. Every Mohawks starter reached base at least one time.
The win marks three straight versus division rival Albany and eight wins in Amsterdam's last nine games.
The Mohawks will not be in action until Thursday when they travel to Elmira to take on the Pioneers due to the PGCBL All-Star game taking place Wednesday in Newark. Amsterdam will be well represented, as seven Mohawks were named to the East team that is coached by Griffin.
Amsterdam 13, Albany 9
Albany701 100 000 - 9 9 5
Amsterdam042 301 30x - 13 15 2
Carr, Naughton (4), Murphy (5), Collett (6) and Rupiper, Nethaway (3); Dwyer, Bartholomew (2), Kalica (4), Quayle (6), Urbanski (8) and Guthrie, Skinner (8)