Mohawks’ early struggles continue

AMSTERDAM – An eighth-inning rally by the Amsterdam Mohawks fell short as Amsterdam dropped their third straight game 6-5 to the Albany Dutchmen in a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League contest at Shuttleworth Park on Wednesday night.

Defensive miscues plagued the Mohawks throughout the game. The Mohawks committed three errors in the contest, two by shortstop Ronnie Bernick in innings that yielded runs for the Dutchmen.

“We’re so inconsistent right now,” Mohawks coach Keith Griffin said. “Tonight we came out and we took a nap defensively. It cost us.”

Mohawks starting pitcher Trey Wingenter was shaky early on, walking four batters in his first two innings of work. Blunders, free bases and a wild pitch by Wingenter put the Mohawks in an early 1-0 hole.

“We gave him [Wingenter] a lot of base runners early,” said Griffin “What you need to do is establish ‘hey we’re here to play tonight,’ and with five walks obviously you don’t do that. We just didn’t command the zone very well.”

The Mohawks opened the bottom of the first with two singles off the bats of Josh Gardiner and Ed Charlton. Charlton was doubled up at first base on a lineout to the second baseman, putting an end to the early threat.

After surrendering a home run to Albany’s Matt Dacey in the third inning, Wingenter settled down, inducing a double play ball to erase a runner that reached on an error before getting Jonathan Torres to ground out to short.

The Mohawks pushed their first run across when Colin Gay banged into an RBI fielder’s choice, scoring Gardiner who singled to open the frame.

After Bernick’s second error of the game and another walk issued by Wingenter put two runners on base, Fonda-Fultonville graduate Luke Nethaway drove a two-RBI double into the gap in left-center field, giving the Dutchmen a 4-2 lead. In the sixth, Zach Remilliard doubled home two more runs for the Dutchmen off Mohawks reliever Zach Quayle.

The Dutchmen used five pitchers in the game, but the Mohawks couldn’t seem to get anything going offensively throughout.

All was silent until the bottom of the eighth, when the Mohawks mounted a rally that woke up an otherwise listless crowd at Shuttleworth Park. Albany brought in sidewinder Thomas Belcher to start the inning. Belcher hit the leadoff batter, Charlton, before surrendering a walk to Gay and an RBI single to Shane Zimmer. After Devin Wenzel reached on Albany’s only error of the game, John Nogowski banged into an RBI fielder’s choice. Second-year Mohawk Brian Ruby hit a sacrifice fly to right to push across the third run of the inning for the Mohawks. Belcher yielded to Ben Seabrook, who struck out Bernick to end the inning, preserving a 6-5 Dutchmen lead heading into the ninth.

Mohawks relievers combined to stop the Dutchmen from scoring in the final three innings, including Rich Vrana, who struck out two in a perfect ninth inning for Amsterdam. With one more chance to tie or take the lead, pinch-hitter Kyle Barrett reached on a single for Amsterdam before Charlton struck out and Barrett was picked off hung up between first and second base. Seabrook got Gay to line out to first, securing a 6-5 win for Albany.

“It’s when you need your best at bat that you need to be dialed in,” Griffin said. “That’s what we’re lacking right now. We need to improve on that.”

The Mohawks record sits at 1-3 following the loss. According to Griffin, a coach who is used to success during his stint with the Mohawks, the team is close to hitting its stride.

“We’re close. We’re a work in progress,” Griffin said. “I wish we could close the gap and start winning a few games. We need to win some games so they understand what we’re doing.”

The Mohawks will try to end their losing streak tonight in Elmira as they take on the Pioneers. The next home game for the Mohawks will be Friday as they take on the Cooperstown Hawkeyes at 7:05 p.m.

Albany 6, Amsterdam 5

Albany011 022 000 – 6 8 1

Amsterdam001 100 030 – 5 10 3

Bannon, Davitt (4) and Rupiper, Rushing (7), Belcher (8), Seabrook (8) and Nethaway; Wingenter, Quayle (6), Butler (8), Vrana (9) and Skinner.