LITTLE FALLS, NY—There’s a reason why they play nine innings in baseball. Just ask the Albany Dutchmen, who needed every single one of them to beat the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs at Veteran’s Memorial Park on Saturdaynight.
An error by Diamond Dawg third baseman Christian Malave (Milton, CT/Herkimer CC) would prove to be the turning point of the game, as the Dutchmen scored all of their runs in the late innings to take down Mohawk Valley, 3-2.
Both starters, Mohawk Valley’s Anthony Rupp (Staten Island, NY/LIU-Brooklyn) and Albany’s Jack Grabek (Guilderland, NY/Bucknell) started out strong for their respective teams, only allowing one hit apiece through the first three innings. Rupp would actually be a little more brilliant, going four innings with only the one hit on his record. At one point, between the fourth and the seventh innings, Rupp would retire ten Dutchmen in a row. That streak would be broken by Justin Childers’ (Pickerington, OH/Ohio Dominican) walk in the top of the seventh inning.
Michael Ketchmark (Dallas,TX/Dartmouth College), in his debut for the Diamond Dawgs, scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Ketchmark slammed a home run to the left-center bleachers, Mohawk Valley’s first of the season, to put the Diamond Dawgs up 1-0. However, that would be all Grabek would give up, as he would strike out Nick Plachno (Bristol, CT/Central Connecticut State) to end the fourth inning.
That scoreless streak would end in the top of the seventh inning, as Albany’s Micah McHugh (Zachary, LA/University of Mississippi) would hammer a ball to deep left field, scoring Childers and chasing Rupp from the game, leaving reliever Shane Reardon (Kinnelon, NJ/Southern New Hampshire) in his place. Grabek would not go much further either for the Dutchmen, being replaced by Michael Maul (Houston, TX/Trinity University). Mall would pitch himself into a first-and-second jam before putting Michael Martinez (West New York, NJ/Rutgers) out to end the seventh inning.
An error was made by Malave that would have ended the top of the eighth inning, and Childers would make him pay with a two-run double into left field. The double would score JJ Shimko (Jacksonville, FL/University of South Carolina-Upstate) and Jon Skidmore (Dallas, TX/Dallas Baptist) and chase Reardon from the game, replacing him with designated hitter Plachno.
Jeff Rivera (Toa Baja, Puerto Rico/College of the Cumberlands) would replace Maul in the bottom of the eighth inning, and he would start by giving up a double to center field by Tanner Leenknecht (Billings, MT/Treasure Valley CC). However, that would be all he would give up, as the Diamond Dawgs would end the inning with another zero on the scoreboard.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Diamond Dawgs would claw back to within one as an error by the Albany shortstop would score Ketchmark. However, that was all that Rivera would give up, as he would give up two quick outs to lock up the game in Little Falls.
Rivera would pick up the save for the Dutchmen (3-1), while Maul would get the win. Plachno would get the loss in relief for the Diamond Dawgs (0-4).
Albany heads back to Bob Bellizzi Field on Sunday as they take on the Saugerties Stallions, trying to maintain their position atop the Eastern Division. The Diamond Dawgs will try yet again to get their first win of the season as they finish up a stand of four out of five games at Veteran’s Memorial Park with Sunday’s game against the Glens Falls Dragons.