As the Hall of Fame owner of the Oakland Raiders, the late Al Davis, once said, “Just win, baby.”
That was all the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs needed to do to earn their seat in the 2015 PGCBL playoffs, and they did just that on Saturday night at Veteran’s Memorial Park. Troy Scocca (Syosset, New York/Fairfield University) would have four RBI’s and two home runs, and the Diamond Dawgs knocked off the Saugerties Stallions, 8-5.
Scocca would get the Diamond Dawgs on the board first with some early fireworks, as his two-run shot to centerfield three batters in would score himself and Anthony Herrera (McKinney, Texas/University of Louisiana-Monroe). The Diamond Dawgs would spray four straight hits in the middle of the order before Andrew Turner (King of Prussia, Pennsylvania/Long Island University-Brooklyn) and Colin Hawk (Beech Grove, Indiana/University of Indianapolis) struck out to end the inning.
The Stallions would get on the board in the second inning, as a throwing error by Turner would score John Giakas (Staten Island, New York/Fairleigh-Dickinson University). Diamond Dawgs starter David Palmer (East Islip, New York/University of New Haven) would subsequently load the bases, but a fielder’s choice to Hawk would end the inning.
Matt Pagano (Cranston, Rhode Island/Marist College) would extend the Mohawk Valley lead in their half of the second, as his single and subsequent error by Saugerties center fielder Eric Downey (Colonie, New York/Herkimer CC). Scocca would get his third RBI of the night just two batters later, a bloop fly to center field that would score Pagano. Sam Machonis (Tampa, Florida/Florida Southern College) would get in on the scoring as well, when his single would score Scocca.
Keith Andrews’ (Commack, New York/SUNY Cortland) sacrifice fly to score Giakas would pull the Stallions to within four in the fourth. However, that would be all the Stallions would get, as Palmer would strike out Downey to end the inning.
Chris Reynolds’ (Wall, New Jersey/Manhattan College) sacrifice fly in the fifth would score Nick Russo (Shirley, New York/University of New Haven) and pull the Stallions to within three. The damage would be left to only one, as an acrobatic catch by Ryan Stekl (Lancaster, New York/Canisius College) from Hawk would end the inning.
A fielder’s choice by Thomas Walraven (Pine Bush, New York/University of New Haven) would add some insurance for Mohawk Valley in the bottom of the seventh and extend the lead back to four, 7-3.
Palmer would load the bases full of Stallions in the top of the eighth, and that would end his night, as he would be pulled for Lucas Godlewski (Little Falls, New York/Herkimer CC). Godlewski would get to work quickly, striking out Andrews to end the inning.
Scocca would not be done for the night, however. In the bottom of the eighth, he crushed a ball all the way to Route 5 in Little Falls off of Saugerties reliever Tyler LeMarre (North Kingstown, Rhode Island/Stonehill College) to make the score 8-3.
The Stallions were not done yet in the ninth, as Russo would hit a double all the way to the wall that would score Downey. Taylor Luckenbill (Pottsville, Pennsylvania/Susquehanna University) would add a sacrifice fly that would score Russo and close the lead to three. However, Godlewski would force Giakas to pop up to Hawk to slam the door on the Stallions (13-32).
Palmer would get the win for Mohawk Valley. Andrew Bruss would get the loss for Saugerties.
With the win, the Diamond Dawgs (26-18) have tied their best-ever season in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. They also had 26 wins last season.
The win, combined with a Glens Falls loss, will also guarantee postseason baseball in Little Falls, as the Diamond Dawgs will clinch the second seed in the playoffs.
The Diamond Dawgs hope to make the 2015 season the best they’ve ever had since they joined the PGCBL. They will have two attempts at their 27th win on Sunday as they have a doubleheader at Veterans’ Memorial Park against the Utica Brewers. The Stallions have a day off on Sunday before heading back to Cantine Field for a home-and-home series with the Amsterdam Mohawks that will conclude on Thursday.