Coming into Sunday’s doubleheader against the Utica Brewers, the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs only needed one out of the two wins to secure their best season ever in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. They were tied going into Sunday night’s games with last season’s team, which had 26 wins.
It turned out they wouldn’t even need the second game, as the Diamond Dawgs clinched their best season ever in a sweep of the Brewers, 6-3 and 8-7.
The Brewers got on the board first in Game One, as Dan Vucovich (Lititz, Pennsylvania/College of the Holy Cross) would hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Utica leadoff hitter Jared Baldinelli (Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada/St. Bonaventure University). That would be it for Utica, however, as Taylor Olmstead (Greenwich, Connecticut/University of Connecticut) would line out to Mohawk Valley starter Payton Coddou (Napoleonville, Louisiana/University of Louisiana-Monroe) to end the Brewer half of the first.
Utica extended their lead to two in the very next inning, when Mason McClellan (McDonough, Georgia/Lake Sumter CC) would hit a long home run to left-center field.
Kyle Schade’s (Dunkirk, Maryland/St. Andrews University) single would score the speedy Olmstead from second in the third and keep Utica’s “picket fence” (ones down the scoreboard) going. However, McClellan would pop out to right fielder Brian Cox to end the inning.
Anthony Herrera would get the Diamond Dawgs (27-18) on the board in a hurry, as on only the second pitch of the third inning, Herrera blasted one over the left-center fence.
The Diamond Dawgs would slash the lead to one in the fourth, when Colin Hawk’s (Beech Grove, Indiana/University of Indianapolis) single would score Ryan Stekl (Lancaster, New York/Canisius College). They would then tie the game on a single that seemed to bounce of Baldinelli’s wrist that would score Hawk. However, Baldinelli would stay in the game.
Utica (18-27) would attempt three straight bunts to start the top of the sixth inning on reliever Ryan O’Connor (Bloomfield, New Jersey/Fairfield University). However, it would not produce any runs, as O’Connor would strike out the last two Brewers to end the inning.
The Diamond Dawgs would finally get ahead in the sixth, when Sam Machonis (Tampa, Florida/Florida Southern College) hit another home run, this time to right-center field, to give Mohawk Valley a 4-3 lead. Brian Cox (North Kingston, Rhode Island/LeMoyne College) would hit one just short of the wall for a double that would score Malcolm Kelsey (Piscataway, New Jersey/St. John Fisher College) and put the Diamond Dawgs ahead by two. That would chase Utica starter Chase Cleary (Arvada, Colorado/University of Northern Colorado) out of the game, where he would be replaced by Jake Amoroso (Stratford, Connecticut/Pace University). Herrera would continue his spectacular day at the plate, blooping one over the head of Utica shortstop Ryan Cox to score Cox.
Herrera (McKinney, Texas/University of Louisiana-Monroe) would move from second to the pitching spot in the seventh, and he would set the Brewers down in order to close the book on Game One.
Coddou would get the 27th win for the Diamond Dawgs, which is a team record for the most wins the Diamond Dawgs have accumulated in a season. Herrera would get the save. Cleary would get the loss for the Brewers.
In Game Two, Mohawk Valley starter Zachary Vennaro (New Hartford, New York/Monroe CC) would start by hitting Vincent Capone. Capone would eventually be brought home on a line-drive single to center field.
Vennaro would subsequently load the bases full of Brewers. However, he would strike out Nick McIntee (Randolph, Minnesota/Wayne State College) to end the inning.
The Brewers would extend their lead to two in the second. A groundout by Capone would score Ismael Herrera (Trumbull, Connecticut/Norfolk State).
Mohawk Valley would tie the game up with one swing of the bat in the second, as Anthony Capo’s (Staten Island, New York/Long Island University-Brooklyn) single would score Kelsey and Hawk. Thomas Walraven (Pine Bush, New York/University of New Haven) would get into the scoring in the second, as his single would score Capo. Stekl would walk in Cox with two outs to extend the lead to four before Kelsey (after batting around) would fly out to center field to end the inning.
Jonathan Lindau (Pine Bush, New York/SUNY Orange), in his first night and second game for Mohawk Valley, would extend the Diamond Dawgs’ lead to three in the third with a single that would score Hawk. That would chase Bellinger from the game, and get him replaced by Alec Morrison (Osterville, Massachusetts/College of the Holy Cross). Cox would continue the scoring with a single that would score Andrew Turner (King of Prussia, Pennsylvania/Long Island University-Brooklyn).
Vennaro would load the bases full of Brewers again in the fourth. Capone would make him pay for that with a double that would score three Brewers and cut the lead to only one. Capone would score later on a wild pitch to tie the game at six. That would chase Vennaro out of the game, replacing him with Lucas Godlewski (Little Falls, New York/Herkimer College).
Hawk would pull the Diamond Dawgs ahead again in the fourth, as his single off relieverWei-Yang Tsao (Pingtung City, Pingtung County/National Taiwan Sport University) would score Stekl. Lindau would sacrifice himself to score Kelsey before a pop fly to the shortstop would end the inning.
The Brewers would get one back in the seventh inning, when Capone would score off of a wild pitch by reliever Shawn Kanwisher (Washington Township, New Jersey), but that is as close as the Brewers would get, as Kanwisher retired the last two batters to close the book on the doubleheader.
Vennaro would get the win in Game Two for the Diamond Dawgs (28-18), and Kanwisher would get the save. Morrison would be saddled with the loss for the Brewers (18-28).
With the wins, the Diamond Dawgs are at 28 wins, which is their best season ever since joining the PGCBL in its inaugural season in 2011.
The Diamond Dawgs have an off day on Monday before heading back to Veteran’s Memorial Park in Little Falls on Tuesday for a doubleheader with the Adirondack Trail Blazers. The Brewers will head off to Victor High School for a very important doubleheader with the RailRiders.