AMSTERDAM — The Amsterdam Mohawks came into the first round of the playoffs prepared to reclaim their spot atop the PGCBL. They had to play their divisional rivals the Albany Dutchmen. The Dutchmen only missed the top spot in the division by a few games. Even though their offense and defense were in consistent, big errors by Albany allowed them to skate by, winning 9-8.
Amsterdam got started early with the game’s first seven runs. In the first inning, a double steal by Michael Ludowig (Wake Forest University) and Mike Antico (St. John’s University) scored the first run. Then in the bottom of the second, three batters got on base thanks to big mistakes by the middle infielders. An additional four runners reached base in the inning, scoring six runs. The top play was Tanner Allen (Mississippi State) hitting a bases clearing double to put half of the runs on the board.
Sloppy play and bad pitches helped Albany score eight unanswered runs in the middle innings. A wild pitch and a three run homer by Cameron Masterman (University of Louisville) to left center scored four runs off of Zane Stephens (Mississippi State) in the top of the third. Stephens lost all of his control by the time the fourth inning came around. He was pulled after hitting the first two batters he faced. With a 2-1 count Justin Wright (Louisville Commit) hit a home run to centerfield, a total of 390 ft to score another three runs.
Amsterdam coach Keith Griffin said “We may some wrong pitches to the wrong guys and then all of a sudden they were back in it.”
It was Shane Muntz’s (Wake Forest University) lack of hustle that caused the next run by Albany. On a routine passed ball Muntz jogged over to it while Jerry Huntzinger (Seton Hall University) rounded second and headed to third. In an attempt to catch him before he got there Muntz threw down to third but missed into the dirt. Jerry Huntzinger came home and put the Dutchmen up one.
The Amsterdam Mohawks had a lot of trouble getting their bats on the ball most of the night. After the second inning their next hit came in the sixth inning, a double by Tanner Allen.
“We need a better plan on offense. We got hurt by a million fastballs. When we do a good job with that we are a good team,” said Griffin.
With Allen on the base path, Amsterdam drew another walk and then Justin Foscue (Mississippi State) skated a ground ball under the short stop Lucas Dunn’s (University of Louisville) glove, bringing the tying run home. Dunn had two other errors on the game, all of which were hit by Justin Foscue. Dunn was replaced by Ryan Lutz (Seton Hall University).
The chalk held until the bottom of the ninth. Jake Hammon (Morehead State) got another ground ball in between the second baseman’s legs, and Peralta Jr. drew a walk to start up the inning. Then Mike Antico hit a single loading the bases for Richie Barrella (Manhattan University). It only took a few pitches for the game to end as the ball found its way through Jerry Huntzinger’s legs to let Hammon run home for the win.
The Mohawks will have to play the Watertown Rapids tonight at 6:30 p.m., only 18 hours of rest before the best-of-three semifinals begin.
“We’ll play them vanilla and see what we can do from our end. I know that they a lot of power, so we’ll try to minimize that,” said Griffin.