LITTLE FALLS, NY – When the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs and the Amsterdam Mohawks get together, you can expect a lot of drama. The hundreds of fans that packed Veteran’s Memorial Park certainly got that and a whole lot more on Friday night.
The Diamond Dawgs took the game to the bottom of the ninth and delivered, with good baserunning being the factor in a 6-5 game that came down to the final out.
Sam Zayciek (Mooresville, NC/High Point) got the Mohawks started in the second, putting a jolt into a ball that skied into left field and scored Michael Turconi (Beaver Falls, PA/Wake Forest). Geordon Blanton (Plantsville, KY/Marshall) extended the lead to two, coming home on a wild pitch by Mohawk Valley starter Jimmy Joyce (Wantagh, NY/Hofstra). Zayicek would come home on a sacrifice by Dalton Reese (Colliersville, TN/Tennessee). Kyle Johnson (Jackson, NJ/Rider) cut the Mohawk Valley deficit to two after a no-doubt solo home run just four pitches into the fourth.
The Mohawks brought the lead back to three on an RBI single by Kevin Jimenez (Tumacacori, AZ/New Mexico State) into left in the fourth. That hit would score Reese again, his second of the night. However, Nick Cimillo (Airmont, NY/Manhattan) needed only one baserunner (a Joseph Carpenter (Cornwall, PA/Delaware) single), plus another two pitches to place a ball over the left field wall to cut the lead to just one run.
Johnson would come up in the clutch once again in the fourth, hitting another RBI single that scored Dylan Klock (St. Johnsville, NY/St. Thomas Aquinas).
The Mohawks regained the lead on a single by Reese, but that was all Keegan Leffler (Wilton, NY/Herkimer) would allow, as a beautiful play by Cimillo caught Reese off of first base to end the top of the fifth inning. The resilient Diamond Dawgs would tie it up once again in the sixth, on an RBI single by Johnson that brought home Klock.
It would stay that way until the bottom of the ninth when Ryan Hernandez reached base on an error and Owen Wosleger, who had just before came home to score the game-winning run.
Connor Stapleton (Staten Island, NY/Concordia) picked up the win for Mohawk Valley (4-2), while Tyler Stafflinger (Manalapan, NJ/NJIT) picked up the Mohawks’ first loss of the season (4-1).
The Diamond Dawgs and Mohawks will meet again Saturday at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam. The game is the second part of a doubleheader with the New York State Class A Baseball Championship Quarterfinal, also a Mohawk Valley/Capital Region matchup between Whitesboro and Ballston Spa. Barring any delays, the first pitch in Amsterdam is scheduled for 6:45 pm.
Photos by Dave Warner