A Kyle Skeels (Coastal Carolina University) sacrifice fly would score Jack Gethings (Fairfield University) to provide the walkoff win in the bottom of the 11th Tuesday night, giving the #2 seed Albany Dutchmen (28-20) the win over the #3 seed Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs by a score of 2-1.
The victory would be the first time the Dutchmen have advanced to the East Division Finals since 2013 after losing to the DiamondDawgs in Little Falls the past two seasons.
A pitchers duel would quickly emerge, as DiamondDawg All-Star David Palmer (University of New Haven) would get the ball for the road team and Gavin Wallace (Fairfield University) would get the ball for the Dutchmen. Each pitcher would only allow one run in their respective starts, as the one run Palmer would allow in his seven innings would be unearned and Wallace would allow just the one in his eight innings of dominant work.
Albany would begin the scoring in the bottom of the third, as Jon Skidmore (Dallas Baptist University) would get to second on a Mohawk Valley error. He would advance to third on a JJ Shimko (University of South Carolina Upstate) groundout, and would come home to score on a Gethings groundout to give the Dutchmen the 1-0 lead.
It would take until the sixth inning for the visitors to respond, as Drew Arciuolo would single off his Fairfield teammate and, after moving to second on a sacrifice bunt, would score on a Kevin Radziewicz (Fairfield University) single to tie it at one.
Neither team would have very many opportunities for the remainder of the game, as each bullpen picked up right where their starters left off. Nate Harris (Louisiana Tech University) would get the win for his three innings of relief work, allowing only two hits, both in his first inning of work, while striking out three. He would retire the next six batters he faced, including three strikeouts to solidify the Dutchmen chances of victory. Colin Bohnert (Rutgers University) would be solid for the DiamondDawgs, going three innings, allowing only one hit while striking out three and facing the minimum.
However, the Dutchmen’s luck would change against the DiamondDawg closer Zachary Vennaro (Monroe Community College). Gethings would lead off the half with a single into left, and after Justin Childers (Ohio Dominican University) was hit by a pitch after trying to sacrifice bunt, the Dutchmen would quickly have runners on first and second and no out. Dutchmen Head Coach Nick Davey would turn to his aggressive ways again, and the Dutchmen would perfectly execute a double steal. Skeels would turn on a Vennaro fastball into left center, and Gethings would beat the throw home for the win.
Wallace’s efforts would earn him Recognize Player of the Game recognition, as he went eight innings, allowing only the one run on six hits and one walk while striking out seven. Skeels would finish 0-for-3 with a walk and the game winning RBI. Gethings would end his night with two of the six Dutchmen hits, going 2-for-4 with a run and a RBI.
The loss would end the season for the DiamondDawgs, and the Dutchmen will advance to the East Division Finals to face the #1 seed Amsterdam Mohawks in the best of three-game series, hosting Game Two on Thursday. The schedule for the series will look like this:
Wednesday August 3rd: Game One; 6:35 first pitch at Amsterdam
Thursday August 4th: Game Two; 7:05 first pitch at Albany
Friday August 5th: Game Three (if necessary); 6:35 first pitch at Amsterdam