Filed by the Amsterdam Mohawks...
The Amsterdam Mohawks were in a race against Mother Nature on Thursday night at Shuttleworth Park. Just as the rains were getting harder and harder and bringing the field to "unplayable" status, the Amsterdam Mohawks were somehow able to rally from behind for an improbable 9-6 victory in a rain-shortened six-inning game against the Elmira Pioneers.
Amsterdam trailed 6-3 heading into the bottom of the sixth and all involved were well aware that this could certainly be the last chance for the Mohawks. In fact, that's exactly what it turned out to be. And the Tribe made the most of it and somehow pulled out their sixth win in a row.
It was hardly the best game of the year for the Mohawks who struggled in the field committing a season-high seven errors practically handing the Pioneers leads of 3-0 and 6-3. But Amsterdam was able to overcome the adversity as the rain was growing stronger and stronger.
The storm that hit Shuttleworth Park resulting in the shortened game surprised no one.
In fact, the teams went through the preliminaries a little bit earlier than usual in an attempt to get the game started on the mindset that every minute ahead of the impending storm could make the different. The 7:05 scheduled game actually began at 7:01. And indeed, those extra minutes very well may have been the difference-maker in this strange game.
Jordan Ebert (Auburn) and Josh Gardiner (Radford) socked back-to-back home-runs for Amsterdam in the second inning. For each player, it was their third homer of the season. It was also the fourth time this year Amsterdam has gone back-to-back and the third time in just the last two games.
John Sansone went 3-for-4 with a double. He knocked out two singles in the sixth inning alone scoring the first run of the rally and then driving in the last two of the night.
Elmira struck early and took a 3-0 lead with two runs in the first inning and another in the second. with Brian Bashara (Old Dominion) and Ryan Plantier (Cornell) singling and walking and then eventually coming around in the opening frame. A pair of errors in the third allowed Frankie Navarette (Samford) to make it 3-0.
Amsterdam teed-off back-to-back on Elmira starter Tanner Hawley (Wofford) in the third to cut the lead to 3-2.
Matt Ternowchek was the hard-luck starter for Amsterdam who received precious little help from his defense. He went four innings surrendering just two hits and allowing four runs only two of which were earned while walking three and striking out four.
More errors by Amsterdam led to more runs for Elmira who made it 4-3 in the third and then 6-3 in the top of the sixth as the rains got going.
But the Mohawks had one last chance for a rally before the game would be called. And they sent 11 men to the plate in their six-run frame that began with three straight singles by John Sansone (Florida State), John Nogowski (Florida State) and Jordan Ebert (Auburn).
Josh Gardiner's (Radford) sac-fly made the score 6-5. And Dylan Smith (Auburn) lined the game-tying hit barely fair into the left-field corner for an RBI double playing Ebert.
Somehow play continued. And with a couple more Mohawks reaching to load the bases, Ed Charlton would get hit by a pitch to force in a run and then John Sansone would single in his second trip of the inning to bring in two more and make it 9-6.
By that point, the rain was in downpour status. The tarp was brought out to cover the field but by the time the diamond was covered it had already taken too much. After a conference with the coaches and both umpires, the announcement was made that the game was called and that Amsterdam emerged with the surprising and improbable victory.
Amsterdam improved to 11-9 with their sixth straight win while Elmira fell to 7-10 suffering their second consecutive loss.
Amsterdam is home on Friday night against Glens Falls at 7:05 on Heroes Night and NBT Bank Night. There is free admission to the game for all police, fire, military and EMT personnel and also free admission for anyone with a bank-card from NBT. Logan Fullmer (Maine) will start for the Mohawks against the Golden Eagles.
The Elmira Pioneers travel to Little Falls Friday night taking on the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs. The Pio's return to Dunn Field Saturday night hosting the Cooperstown Hawkeyes at 7:05.