LITTLE FALLS, NY – You want hard hitting? You want impressive pitching? You want a heart-stopping extra inning-ending?
If you came to Veteran’s Memorial Park on Friday, you got all that and more in the rivalry game between the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs and the Amsterdam Mohawks.
Mohawk Valley had three home runs from three different players, including a grand slam from Ryan Hernandez, but it would not be enough, as Amsterdam would ride a six-run seventh to win 11-9 in extra innings.
What started as a pitcher’s duel between Mohawk Valley’s Sal Fusco (Albany, NY/UMass Lowell) and Amsterdam’s David Harrison (Rocky Mount, NC/NC State) came to a screeching halt in the third. Harrison loaded up the bases with Diamond Dawgs, thanks to back-to-back leadoff singles and a walk. Ryan Hernandez (Tampa, FL/Houston) made him pay with a no-doubt ball crushed to left-center field to give Mohawk Valley an early 4-0 lead.
Not to be outdone, Kyle Johnson (Jackson, NJ/Rider) parked the first pitch he saw over the left field bleachers in the fourth to extend the lead to 5-0 for Mohawk Valley.
Amsterdam got on the board in the fifth, when D.J. Poteet (Johns Creek, GA/Wake Forest) slapped an RBI single that would score Max Costes (Baltimore, MD/Maryland). Dalton Reese (Colliersville, TN/Tennessee) brought the deficit to two with a 2-RBI single that scored Mitch Hartigan (Jupiter, FL/Florida Atlantic) and Kevin Jimenez (Tumacacori, AZ/New Mexico State).
The Diamond Dawgs would extend the lead back to three on a double by Justin Guerrera (/Fairfield) that scored Dylan Klock (St. Johnsville, NY/St. Thomas Aquinas) all the way from first base. Guerrera would score on a hard-hit single by Hernandez, the very next batter.
After a scoreless sixth, Poteet got the Mohawks back on the board, jolting a double to right field that would score a run. Not to be outdone, Julio Cortez (Weston, FL/South Florida) blooped a single to left field that scored Jimenez. The Mohawks would score three of their subsequent four runs on errors by the Mohawk Valley pitcher and shortstop, scoring six runs on three hits with two errors and eleven Amsterdam batters facing two Diamond Dawg pitchers.
Amsterdam would not enjoy the lead for very long, as Nick Cimillo (Airmont, NY/Manhattan) tied it up with the first pitch he saw in the seventh. Cimillo broke up an 0-for-three night to that point with a moon ball to left field, scoring himself and Joseph Carpenter (Cornwall, PA/Delaware). That gave him five home runs in the 2019 season, tying him with teammate Hernandez for the PGCBL’s home run lead.
An RBI single in the tenth by former pinch runner Johnny Decker (Coeymans Hollow, NY/Stony Brook) would score Poteet and give the Mohawks the lead. JD Mundy (Roanoke, VA/Radford) would score another run, with an RBI single to left field, but a controversial call (the runner at third was tagged out, negating the second run) would keep the lead at just two. That would be all reliever Drew Wilden (West Deptford, NJ/Maryland) would need, setting Mohawk Valley (0-0) down in order to finish the game.
Hunter Sibley (Millville, NJ/Iona) got the loss for Mohawk Valley, losers of their fourth straight game.
Mohawk Valley will be on the road Saturday for a doubleheader at Siena Field with the Albany Dutchmen. The first pitch of the matinee game will be at 3:05 pm, with the second game kicking off 20 minutes after the conclusion. Amsterdam will head back to Shuttleworth Park on Saturday for a 6:45 start against the Watertown Rapids.
Photos by Dave Warner