AMSTERDAM — The top-seeded Amsterdam Mohawks dropped the first game of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League East Division championship series to the third-seeded Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs by a score of 4-3.
The Mohawks outhit the DiamondDawgs, 7-5, tallying five hits in the first two innings.
However, Mohawk Valley relief pitcher, Clay Chatham, came in in the second inning and held the Mohawks to just two hits for the remainder of the game.
“We started off real sharp, I thought, but they brought a reliever in that shut us down for six innings today,” Amsterdam Mohawks coach Doug O’Brey said. “Hats off to him. We just didn’t really get the bats going.”
Amsterdam jumped out to 3-0 lead in the second inning. Dan Maynard led off with a base hit to center field and then stole second base. A single by Will Holland moved Maynard to third and then Anthony Gonnella drove a hit to right field that brought Maynard home to put the Mohawks on the board. With Holland on second and Gonnella on first, Julian Gallup drew a walk to load the bases. The DiamondDawgs brought in Chatham with one out and John Valente at bat. Valente hit a shot to the short stop who flipped to second to put Gallup out but an error on the throw to first allowed Holland and Gonnella to score with Valente safe at first giving the Mohawks a 3-0 lead after two innings.
The DiamondDawgs managed to put up a run in the fourth inning. Alexis Monge-Rodriguez was hit by a pitch to start the inning with a runner at first. Tim Zeng slapped a single to right field and Monge-Rodriguez went to third. Austin Pollack hit to second and the Mohawks turned a double play but Monge-Rodriguez was able to score on the play making it a 3-1 ballgame.
With Chatham holding the Mohawks to only one base runner until the eighth inning, the DiamondDawgs’ offense rallied in the sixth to take the lead. Joe Engel started the inning off with a base hit. A walk to Monge-Rodriguez and another walk to Zeng loaded the bases. With one out, Russ Olive hit down the left field line that allowed all three base runners to score and the DiamondDawgs took a 4-3 lead.
The Mohawks threatened to tie the game in the eighth. Valente hit a high bouncer to third and beat the throw to get on. Jake Mueller smacked the ball right to second where Valente was tagged out for the first out. With Mueller at first Eric Rivera launched a hit deep off the center field wall. Mueller was waved around at third by O’Brey to try to score but he was thrown out at the plate to keep the Mohawks from tying the game.
“I took a gamble there,” O’Brey said. “We weren’t really hitting it and I was taking a chance to try to get that run in and, hopefully, they would throw the ball away and we would tie the game,” he said. “I thought they had to make two great throws to get him and they did.”
Amsterdam was unable to put anything together in the ninth giving the DiamondDawgs a 4-3 win and a 1-0 lead in the East Division Championship Series. Amsterdam will travel to Little Falls today for Game 2 at 6:35 p.m. and try to tie the series up forcing a decisive Game 3 on Friday at Shuttleworth Park.
“We talked about how good teams bounce back. We’ve been doing that all year,” O’Brey said. “We’ve got our backs against the wall but these guys seem to be persevering over the last week or two. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow at Mohawk Valley.”
Mohawk Valley 4, Amsterdam 3
Mohawk Valley 000 103 000 — 4 5 1
Amsterdam 030 000 000 — 3 7 3
McKinney, Chatham (2), Vennaro and Koniencki; Gauthier, B. Anderson, E. Anderson and Maynard.