Red-hot Mohawks win 11th straight
AMSTERDAM – In a Tuesday night matchup between the best and the worst teams in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, Dylan Smith and the Amsterdam Mohawks rolled past the Adirondack Trail Blazers 13-3.
Smith knocked in a PGCBL season-high eight runs in a romp that saw the Mohawks (31-16) pitching staff strike out 13 Trail Blazers (16-30).
Mohawks head coach Keith Griffin would have liked to rest a few guys Tuesday, but nagging late-season injuries reared their heads throughout the game for Amsterdam. A back injury to Jordan Ebert and a muscle strain for Brian Ruby led to John Nogowski and John Sansone having to play during a scheduled night off.
“I really wanted Nogowski and Sansone to not play tonight, but we couldn’t do it because some guys got banged up,” said Griffin.
Amsterdam came in winners of 10 straight games and 14 of their last 15.
Matt Engler made his seventh start of the season for Adirondack. Engler started the game with a 9.09 ERA and did nothing to improve it Tuesday.
Smith got the Mohawks started in the bottom of the first with a two-run double to deep center field. Ed Charlton and Ebert scored after Charlton had walked and a pitch had hit Ebert. Ebert looked uncomfortable after taking a ball to the back, but would notch a sacrifice fly in the second inning before leaving the ball game. Kyle Barrett and Charlton registered RBI base hits for Amsterdam in the second inning in addition to Ebert’s sacrifice fly to take a 5-1 lead.
Trey Wingenter took the hill for Amsterdam in the final home game of the season. Chris Divarco hit a long home run to center field off Wingenter in the second. Wingenter allowed three hits in the third, including an RBI double to Dominic Fazio to cut into the Amsterdam lead.
Engler and the Trail Blazers ran into more trouble in the fourth. After allowing three of the first four batters of the inning to reach base, Smith smacked a bases-clearing double down the left-field line to push the Mohawks’ lead to 8-2.
One of the newer Mohawks, Thomas Young, labored through the fifth inning in relief of Wingenter. Adirondack pushed across its final run of the game using a string of walks, a hit batsman, and a Mohawks fielding error. Zach Breen, another recently added Mohawk, struck out two in a scoreless inning.
Smith’s encore performance came with the Mohawks up 9-3 in the eighth inning. Charlton and Sansone singled ahead of Smith who crushed a three-run home run over the left field wall for his sixth, seventh, and eighth RBI of the game. The previous 2013 game-high for a single player was six.
Zach Quayle pitched two perfect innings to close out the Mohawks’ 11th straight victory, eventually getting his Ave Maria University teammate Keith Ryan to ground out to Josh Gardiner at second base.
“I thought everybody out of the bullpen threw pretty well,” said Griffin. “Quayle’s been good every time he’s walked out there.”
Griffin also mentioned that there might have been some inspiration in the audience for Smith on Tuesday.
“His coach flew up to watch him and it was a nice night,” said Griffin. “Dylan swung the bat well. It was good for us.”
With just one regular season game left to play, the Mohawks find themselves with the league lead in batting average, hits, and runs scored. Their pitching staff sports the second-best ERA at 3.37.
The Mohawks will wrap up the regular season today in Cooperstown at 5 p.m.
Before the game, the Mohawks players and coaching staff will be visiting the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
Griffin said the team will not be taking batting practice or infield, rather going out to “just play the game.”
The Mohawks first playoff game is scheduled for Friday at Shuttleworth Park.
Matt Snyder will get the start in game one while Rich Vrana will get the nod in game two.
The opponent will be determined after a one-game playoff Thursday between Mohawk Valley and either Glens Falls or Albany.
Amsterdam 13, Adirondack 3
Adirondack011 010 000 – 3 4 2
Amsterdam230 310 04x – 13 14 1
Engler, Dungey (5), Rheaume (8) and Fazio; Wingenter, Young (5), Breen (6), Gagne (7), Quayle (8) and Guthrie