Mohawks slip past DiamondDawgs, 4-3

AMSTERDAM – The Amsterdam Mohawks used brilliant pitching Monday night to squeak out a 4-3 victory over the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs in a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League matchup at Shuttleworth Park.

Amsterdam’s ace Matt Snyder was on the hill for Amsterdam. Making his fifth start of the season, Snyder came in with a team-best 1.35 ERA.

Snyder sailed through two innings, allowing just one base runner before running into trouble in the third. After hitting the first batter of the inning, Snyder allowed a single, followed by a sacrifice fly that pushed home the first run of the ballgame. He would go on to face the minimum three batters in the fourth and fifth innings.

Snyder threw a curveball, changeup, and slider for strikes Monday, in addition to a fastball that Snyder said didn’t have as much velocity on it as usual.

“Today, more than anything, I had the best feel for off-speed pitches,” Snyder said. “Being able to have those three pitches in your repertoire is always nice in games like this.”

Amsterdam managed just two hits through three innings off Mohawk Valley starting pitcher Gavin Culpepper. In the fourth with Smith on second base, catcher Keith Skinner lifted a fly ball high in the air to right field that barely cleared the wall for a two-run home run.

Carrying a 2-1 lead into the sixth, the DiamondDawgs finally got to Snyder. Mohawk Valley left fielder Jordan Serena hit a double down the left field line to start the inning. After getting Jordan Friend to fly out to right, Snyder walked Dalton Herrington. Serena and Herrington pulled off a double steal, putting runners at second and third with one out. Willie Shaw smashed a grounder directly to John Nogowski at first base, who fired to Skinner at the plate to nail Serena for the second out of the inning. With Landon Thibodeaux at the plate, Snyder threw over to first, catching Shaw hung out to dry between first and second base. Herrington broke from third as Nogowski once again fired to Skinner, who dropped the ball allowing Herrington to retreat and Shaw to reach second safely. Thibodeaux lined a single into left-center field following Skinner’s miscue, driving in two runs and putting Mohawk Valley up 3-2. Head coach Keith Griffin pulled Snyder in favor of Mike Urbanski, a move that proved fruitful for Amsterdam. Urbanski struck out the next batter to get out of the inning and wouldn’t allow a base runner for the rest of the game. Snyder exited having given up just three runs on five hits.

“Matt was phenomenal,” Griffin said. “And as good as he was, we followed up with Urbanski who had his best stuff tonight. What a night of pitching we had.”

Amsterdam was able to take advantage of some shoddy play by the DiamondDawgs in the seventh. Ronnie Bernick drew a walk to start the inning, followed by an infield single by Kyle Barrett. Josh Gardiner dropped down a sacrifice bunt to put runners at second and third before Culpepper issued an intentional walk to Nogowski. With the tying run at third, Culpepper plunked Jordan Ebert with the first pitch he threw, knotting the game at three apiece. Culpepper was removed and Zach Williams came in to strike out the first two Mohawks he faced, but not before uncorking a wild pitch that allowed Barrett to scamper home for the go-ahead run.

Burbanks was perfect out for Amsterdam. He struck out two batters in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, closing out the 4-3 win for the Mohawks and finishing with seven strikeouts in just 3 innings of work.

“I tried to work on some things during the week. I didn’t go out of the windup tonight,” said Urbanski. “I didn’t try to over think it, I was just throwing.”

Snyder, who came in with a 2-0 record, was thankful that Urbanski was able to hold off Mohawk Valley while Amsterdam mounted a comeback.

“I like the “zero” in my loss column,” Snyder said. “When you’ve got a guy like Mike Urbanski that throws in the low 90’s every time and has good secondary stuff, it’s good to have a guy like that on your team to back you up and know that he’s going to get the job done.”

In addition to the win, for the second straight week a Mohawk hitter was named PGCBL Player of the Week.

Following in Nogowski’s footsteps, Auburn’s Dylan Smith garnered the honors for the week of June 24 through June 30. For the week, Smith batted .550 (11 for 20) with 13 RBI, six runs scored, two home runs, and four multi-hit efforts.

Just two games back of Glens Falls for first place in the PGCBL East Division, the Mohawks will travel to Glens Falls to take on the Golden Eagles today at 7 p.m. as they continue their charge up the standings.

Amsterdam 4, Mohawk Valley 3

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Amsterdam000 200 20x – 4 7 1

Culpepper, Williams (7) and Lepre; Snyder, Urbanski (6) and Skinner, Brennan (9)