Mohawks lose to Trail Blazers, 7-6

AMSTERDAM – The Amsterdam Mohawks and Adirondack Trail Blazers combined for seven errors in what was one of the sloppiest games of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League season Saturday night. After some late-inning dramatics by Amsterdam, the Trail Blazers were able to hold on for a 7-6 victory.

Shoddy defense plagued Amsterdam (2-5) once again, just 24 hours after head coach Keith Griffin praised his teams defense in a win over Cooperstown. He was singing a different tune regarding his team’s defense after Saturday’s loss.

“Awful,” Griffin said. “Defense was awful. Yeah, awful.”

Amsterdam starting pitcher Matt Ternowchek lasted only four innings, laboring after retiring the side in order in the first.

The Mohawks jumped on Adirondack (2-5) lefty Matt Engler early and often. Colin Gay ripped a double into left field in the bottom of the first, followed by an RBI single by Ed Charlton. After Engler hit Mohawks’ first baseman John Nogowski with a pitch, Shane Zimmer and Devin Wenzel each doubled and picked up RBIs. The 3-0 lead would not last for long, as Ternowchek and the Mohawks’ defense struggled in the next half inning.

Ternowchek allowed three hits in an inning that was extended by an error by second baseman Josh Gardiner. The Trail Blazers tied up the ball game in the third as Ronnie Bernick’s team-leading fifth error of the season lengthened another inning, leading to an RBI single to left off the bat of Mike Parsons. Bernick committed his sixth error of the season later in the ball game. Griffin commented on Bernick’s steady miscues in the field.

“Eventually he’s going to sit over there with me,” Griffin said. “We’re looking into making some moves and we’re going to do that.”

Ternowchek faced seven batters in both the second and third inning before setting down the Trail Blazers in order in the fourth, his final inning of work. Ternowchek exited having given up two earned runs and five hits, and striking out four.

Two fourth inning errors by Adirondack second baseman Vin Barbato led to a run for the Mohawks, giving them a 4-3 lead. Engler left the game after five full innings of work.?He gave up eight hits and recorded no strikeouts.

The sloppy play led to many long innings for both teams. The Trail Blazers sent at least seven batters to the plate in three innings, while the Mohawks sent seven to the plate twice.

The Trail Blazers blew the game wide open in the top of the seventh against Amsterdam reliever Alex Gagne. Gagne surrendered base hits to the first two batters he faced before both runners came around to score on RBI groundouts. One out away from getting out of the inning, Gagne gave up two more singles, one by way of a bunt, before walking two batters. A throwing error on a pickoff attempt by Mohawks catcher Kevin Guthrie and a wild pitch by Gagne forced in two more runs, putting the Mohawks in a 7-4 hole. Guthrie was playing catcher for the first time since high school while regular starter Keith Skinner sat out with a jammed thumb.

After throwing two straight balls to the ninth batter of the inning, Griffin pulled Gagne in favor of Chris Kalica, who came back to strike out the batter.

Squandering golden opportunities offensively seemed to be the theme of the night for the Mohawks. After Adirondack reliever Chris Rheaume walked the bases loaded in the home half of the eighth, he hit Bernick in the helmet, forcing in a run.

It was the second straight night that someone was hit in the head at Shuttleworth Park. Luckily, after laying on the ground for a few moments, Bernick was able to take his base and remain in the game.

The Mohawks managed one more run before Charlton struck out swinging to end the inning.

Amsterdam loaded the bases with zero outs again in the ninth after Adirondack reliever Kevin Sweeney walked one and hit two. After a mound visit, Sweeney struck out Guthrie before inducing a game-ending double play off the bat of Brian Ruby.

“The problem is we didn’t play really well. So many balls it seemed like we were a step behind,” said Griffin. “We strike out when it matters the most right now. I’ve got to coach them better and they’ve got to play better.”

After committing four more errors Saturday, the Mohawks now lead the PGCBL with 17.

Ruby and Gay both finished the game with three base hits for Amsterdam.

The Mohawks travel to Glens Falls today to take on the Golden Eagles, with first pitch slated for 7 p.m. at East Field.

Adirondack 7, Amsterdam 6

Adirondack021 000 400 – 7 10 3

Amsterdam300 100 020 – 6 10 4

Engler, Ryan (6), Rheaume (8), Sweeney (8) and Cecilia; Ternowchek, Butler (5), Gagne (7), Kalica (7) and Skinner