Josh Nethaway (U. Albany) blasted a three-run homer and added an RBI double as he drove in four total to lead the Amsterdam Mohawks to a 10-1 rout at the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs Saturday night. The victory evens the best-of-three series at one game apiece setting up a game three showdown Sunday night at Shuttleworth Park to see who will advance to the championships.
Chandler Shephard (Kentucky) was dazzling again on the mound for Amsterdam. The top pitcher in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League this season lasted seven innings surrendering just three hits while striking out five. Shephard led the league in wins and ERA as he went 7-0, 1.31 in the regular season.
He gave up a solo home-run to Chris Cruz (Cornell) in the first inning as Mohawk Valley took a 1-0 lead but then proceeded to retired the next 15 in a row before giving up a couple of infield singles in the sixth and seventh.
In the meanwhile, Nethaway was having a big bounce-back night after having his struggles the evening before in an 0-for-3 performance in Game 1. The Fonda standout blasted his three-run bomb in the fourth inning off Mohawk Valley tarter Eddie Fitzpatrick (Brown) to give the Mohawks a 3-1 lead.
Zak Colby (Faulkner, Ala.) lined a solo home-run to lead off the fifth making it 4-1. And Nethaway later added an RBI double and then came in to score on a throwing error as the Mohawks held a 6-1 advantage thru five.
The Mohawks completed the scoring with a three-run double to left-center by catcher Matt MacDowell (Dartmouth) in the sixth inning that pushed the lead to 10-1 which was plenty for Amsterdam to lock in their plans to reserve Shuttleworth Park for at least one more night on Sunday.
Amsterdam bounced back strongly after an emotional and shocking defeat in 11 innings the night before in game one of the series in which the Mohawks were one strike away from victory a couple different times. The Mohawks trailed early but Nethaway's homer sparked a big middle portion of the game for the offense.
Amsterdam scored three in the fourth, three more in the fifth and four runs in the sixth in reaching double digits for the ninth time total this season.
Game three is scheduled for Sunday night at 7:05 at Shuttleworth Park weather permitting. Mark Leiter, Jr. (NJIT) will be the starting pitcher for Amsterdam. The DiamondDawgs had not announced their starter although there was some speculation that they may go with Jesse Burratt (Baton Rouge C.C.) who has faced Amsterdam three times already this season and has the league's only no-hitter a couple weeks ago in a seven-inning game against the Albany Dutchmen.
The winner of Sunday night's game will advance to the championship series which would begin on Tuesday night at Shuttleworth Park if Amsterdam is able to advance. Amsterdam would play either Glens Falls or Newark in the championships if they can make it.
The Mohawks have made it to the finals in each of Keith Griffin's first three seasons as Amsterdam manager and are trying to make it again for the fourth year in a row.