Filed by the Amsterdam Mohawks...
AMSTERDAM, N.Y. - Amsterdam defeated the Albany Dutchmen 9-4 on Sunday night at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam to take the East Division Finals 2 games to 1. The Mohawks clinched their third-straight trip to the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League Championship Series and fifth playoff finals appearance under head coach Keith Griffin. The loss ended an outstanding season for Albany in which the Dutchmen set a franchise record for regular season wins and advanced to the playoffs for the first-time ever.
The Mohawks will meet the Elmira Pioneers in the Best of 3 Championship Series of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League beginning Tuesday night with Game 1 at Shuttleworth Park. Game 2 will be Wednesday night at Dunn Field in Elmira and then Game 3, if necessary, will be on Thursday back in Amsterdam.
950 vocal fans went into a frenzy when Mike Urbanski (Binghamton) induced a game-ending double-play on a grounder to shortstop John Sansone (Florida State). Sansone also blasted a two-run homer in the third inning of the game that proved to be the game-winning RBIs.
Trey Wingenter (Auburn) made one mistake early in the game when he surrendered a three-run opposite field home run to Matthew Dacey (Michigan) giving Albany a 4-3 lead in the third inning. But he would not allow a run after that as the 6'7" righty worked his way through six innings to earn the victory. He scattered six hits and allowing four earned runs while striking out four and walking three.
"I think Trey really battled," head coach Keith Griffin said. "Sometimes he walked 'em or he hit one or whatever but I thought Trey really battled and kept us in the thing. I kick myself in the butt because I probably called the wrong spot. (Dacey) was probably looking outside and we threw it outside and he hit it over the wall. But Trey really battled for us and gave us a good effort. And that was a big home run by Sansone, it really was, and he played tremendous defense again too."
Dylan Collett (Keene St) won the regular-season ERA crown in the PGCBL this season with a 1.71 mark but was not as effective in this game in taking the loss making it only into the third inning and allowing five runs, three earned. He left after surrendering a two-run homer to John Sansone in the third that gave Amsterdam the lead for good at 5-4.
Regularly a starter, Sean Spicer (Baylor) made his first appearance out of the bullpen to keep Albany within striking distance with shutout ball for four innings but ran down in the seventh and also had his defense let him down as Amsterdam would tally four unearned runs in the big late rally to put the game away.
An exhausted Albany team that played three extra-inning must-win games this week just to reach this point ended up committing a season-high seven errors in the game including four in the seventh inning while the Mohawks were ready to pounce on the opportunities.
"We did some good things and fortunately for us they didn't do some good things defensively that helped a lot in that inning," Griffin said. "But like I told the guys at the end of the night, tonight's about the Mohawks. It ain't about them, it's about us."
Amsterdam score four runs in that seventh-inning rally to boost their slim one-run advantage up to 9-4 and essentially put the game away.
Jordan Ebert (Auburn) was 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored for the Dutchmen. Ed Charlton (NJIT) reached base four times and went 2-for-3 with an RBI, two runs scored, and a stolen base.
Dacey hit his big blast for Albany in the third inning over the Chain Monster to give Albany the lead. He had another big chance in the top of the seventh when it was still a tight game. Trailing 5-4, Dacey faced lefty Zach Quayle (Ave Maria) with runners at first and second as the Dutch had a chance to tie or take the lead. Dacey hit a bullet but it ended up going straight into the glove of first baseman John Nogowski who then stepped on first for the easy unassisted double play to cut the threat short.
The Albany Dutchmen are in their fourth season of existence and were making their first ever appearance in the post-season. They advanced in the opening round with an 11-inning victory at Mohawk Valley on Thursday in a one-game playoff while Amsterdam had a first-round bye. Then they pushed Amsterdam to the limit before falling just short in the winner-take-all game.
Keith Griffin is the all-time winningest manager in Mohawks' franchise history with 153 total regular season victories. Griffin is now 21-4 all-time in the post-season with the Mohawks. It is the second straight season for Amsterdam to win a deciding Game 3 in the division playoffs at Shuttleworth Park. Last year in the division playoffs, Mark Leiter, Jr. struck out 13 DiamondDawgs batters to get Amsterdam to the championship series past Mohawk Valley.
Amsterdam won the overall season-series over Albany 6 games to 5 including the 2-1 mark in the playoffs. Six of the 11 games were decided by one-run, four were decided via walk-off including Albany's Game 2 win on Saturday, and three went to extra innings. The series between the two rivals this year could not have been any tighter.
The Mohawks now face the Elmira Pioneers in the league championship series for the second time in four years. Amsterdam celebrated a 2-0 Championship sweep at Dunn Field in Elmira for the 2010 title. It is the first championship rematch in Keith Griffin's tenure with Amsterdam.
Amsterdam was 3-1 against the Pioneers this year including a 10-1 victory at Dunn Field the last time the two teams met on Thursday, July 25. Elmira finished third in the West Division with a record of 21-26. They won at the Newark Pilots on Thursday night in their opening one-game playoff and then swept the first-place Watertown Rams with victories on Friday and Saturday.
Listen to the Mohawks in the Championship Series for the fifth season in a row on 1490 WCSS and on the internet at WCSS1490.com and ustream.tv Channel Mohawks Radio. Broadcast coverage each night will begin at 6:40.