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Mohawks advance to PGCBL Finals

Summer Collegiate : : Story
Hudson Belinsky        
Published: Monday, August 05, 2013

AMSTERDAM, N.Y. – In an intense, do-or-die matchup, the Amsterdam Mohawks earned a spot in the PGCBL finals with a 9-4 victory over the Albany Dutchmen. The Mohawks are now two wins away from winning their second consecutive PGCBL Championship.

The game started off with both teams going back and forth. Both starting pitchers struggled to settle in. In the top of the first, Albany outfielder Anthony Marks (Coastal Carolina) hit a dribbler up the middle for an infield single. Bradley Noland (North Alabama) then laid down a sacrifice bunt, and Marks went from first to third. An infield single from Tyler Orris (Millersville) then gave the Dutchmen a 1-0 lead.

Amsterdam responded immediately, taking advantage of two errors in the bottom of the first to get runners on first and third with just one out. Then, back-to-back singles from Ed Charlton (NJIT) and Josh Gardiner (Radford) gave the Mohawks a 2-1 lead.

In the bottom of the second, the Mohawks added another run when, with a runner on second base and one out, Jordan Ebert (Auburn) barreled a low 82-mph fastball from Dylan Collett (Keene State) to right field.

Starting pitcher Trey Wingenter (Auburn) tossed an excellent game for the Mohawks, but made one mistake all night, and it came in the top of the third inning. With runners on first and second and two outs, PGCBL Home Run Derby Champion Matt Dacey (Richmond) stepped up to the plate. Wingenter, working both sides of the plate, tried to sneak a fastball by Dacey on the outer third of the strike zone, but Dacey wouldn’t be fooled; he crushed the 88-mph offering over the wall in left field for an opposite field, three-run home run. The crowd in Amsterdam, which had many fans cheering on the Dutchmen, erupted in applause as Albany took a 4-3 lead.

You run into a fastball, and it doesn’t take much to get out of here,” Wingenter said of the home run.

Head Coach Keith Griffin, regretted calling for the outside fastball. “I kicked myself in the butt because I probably called the wrong spot,” Griffin said. “(Dacey) was probably looking outside, we threw it outside and he hit over the wall. Probably should have come back in like we did the last few times against him.”

But the Mohawks, who had lost just one of their past 13 games, would not be deterred in their quest for a championship. In the bottom of the third inning, Charlton lead off with a long single off the wall in left field. The next batter, John Sansone (Florida State) crushed an inside fastball over the wall in left field to give Amsterdam a 5-4 lead that they would not relinquish.

After Sansone’s blast, things cooled off for a bit. Wingenter was locked in; he ended up tossing six innings and allowing four runs on six hits and three walks. His fastball sat in the upper-80s and topped out at 90 mph, and he mixed in a filthy curveball and slider combination that kept Albany hitters off balance as he finished his start with three straight scoreless frames.

The pesky Mohawks added four insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh, and got scoreless innings from Zach Quayle (Ave Maria), Chris Kalica (Schenectady CC), and Mike Urbanski (Binghamton) to seal the victory.

Coach Keith Griffin has now led the Mohawks to league finals in each of the past five seasons, which includes the three-year history of the PGCBL. The Mohawks will host the Elmira Pioneers in Game 1 of a three-game series at Shuttleworth Park on Tuesday night. Game 2 will be at Dunn Field in Elmira, and Game 3, if necessary, will return to Amsterdam. The game time for all three games will be 7:05 pm EST.

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