Glens Falls, N.Y.-The Glens Falls Dragons (22-28) and the Albany Dutchmen (23-26) went head to head at East Field Thursday night in a winner take all battle for the third and final playoff spot in the PGCBL East Division. When it was over the Dutchmen had pounded out 11 hits, five for extra bases as they defeated the Dragons 7-1.
After both teams placed runners on base in the first inning without scoring, Albany took the early lead in the top of the second when DH Michael Fitzsimmons (Mississippi) blasted a solo shot over the center field wall off of Glens Falls starter Alex Yarem (Campbell) to give his squad a 1-0 lead.
Albany increased their lead in the second. Hunter Boose (Georgia Regents) led off the inning with a single, which was followed by another base hit from Jack Weiller (Virginia). Weiller's hit scored Boose who had advanced to second on a passed ball. Grayson Lewis (Rice) then picked up his second hit of the game, a double down the right field line to plate Weiller to make it 3-0. After two were out and it looked like the Dragons may be able to get out of the jam, Fitzsimmons struck again, this time with an RBI single to extend the Dutchmen lead to 4-0.
Meanwhile, Albany starter Nick Cioffi (Towson) was on cruise control. Cioffi only gave up a pair of Glens Falls hits over the first five innings. The Dragons did get a couple of runners on in the first, and had runners on second and third in the fourth, but came up empty.
Fitzsimmons came through once again in the top of the fifth. After Lewis doubled and Jesse Cooper walked, smacked a double to chase home Lewis and Cooper to make it 6-0. A Glens Falls throwing error would result in another run for the Dutchmen to give them a seven run lead.
Cioffi (5-2) went seven innings for the Dutchmen to get the win, yielding just three hits, while striking out three and walking three as well. Cioffi entered the game with a 1.90 ERA, and only helped that as he did not give up a run to the Dragons before giving way to reliever Andrew Giddings (Ave Maria). Yarem (3-2) took the loss for Glens Falls.
The Dragons ruined the shutout bid in the ninth when Harrison Bragg (Tacoma CC) singled and scored on a fielder's choice by Matt Flynn (St. Anselm) who picked up the RBI.
Fitzsimmons finished the night 3 for 4 with four RBI for the Dutchmen. Lewis, Cooper and Boose were all 2 for 4 for Albany.
Bragg (Tacoma CC) was 2 for 4 for the Dragons, while Jake Vieth (Tacoma CC) and Bryce Aldridge (University of Indianapolis) had a hit apiece.
With the win Albany moves on to meet the #2 seeded Mohawk Valley DiamondDogs Friday in a one game playoff for the right to meet Amsterdam in the PGCBL East Division Championship series.