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Cooperstown pulls out wild win over Mohawks

(Photo: Chase Williamson heads for home after hitting a game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning. Photo courtesy Jon Sargalis)

By Bob Rotruck

Box Score

The nationally-ranked Amsterdam Mohawks looked as though they were going to pull off a miraculous comeback to extend their winning streak to 10 games but after a furious rally in the ninth ended up falling in the 10th inning to the Cooperstown Hawkeyes 9-8.

The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League contest was in front of a jammed and standing-room only crowd on Fireworks Night at Shuttleworth Park. Amsterdam trailed 8-2 in the ninth but the whole crowd was still around because of the upcoming fireworks show. Chase Williamson (Auburn) provided his own fireworks in the game itself with a game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the ninth making the score 8-8.

But Cooperstown's Coleman Barron (Davidson) knocked in a game-winning in the top of the 10th and the Hawkeyes were still able to prevail.

It was the second time this season that Barron has produced an extra-inning winner against the Mohawks. He also socked a game-winning home-run in the bottom of the 14th for a walkoff win earlier in the year.

The sixth-ranked Amsterdam Mohawks fall to 20-4 with the loss. The Cooperstown Hawkeyes improved to 9-14 with the victory. Amsterdam's win streak came to an end playing the same team against whom it had originally begun. The first of the Mohawks' nine straight victories was a 3-1 final at Cooperstown on Saturday, June 23.

Cooperstown had overcome a 2-1 deficit in the seventh inning with a big seven-run rally to take an 8-2 lead. It was the most runs the Mohawks had allowed in a single inning this year.

Then came Amsterdam's turn to shine in front of the huge turnout. But in spite of their tremendous rally, it was still not over and the Hawkeyes were able to battle through the emotions of blowing the six-run advantage in the ninth and grab the win an inning later.

Both team's starters threw well in the contest in what was initially a low-scoring affair. Cooperstown's Andrew Grann  (New Paltz) lasted 5.2 innings giving up just five hits while allowing only one earned run of two scored total. Amsterdam's Connor Kaden (Wake Forest) went six solid innings giving up just four hits and one earned run while striking out six.

Barron's RBI single in the fifth put Cooperstown on the board first. Amsterdam bounced back with two runs in the sixth with leadoff doubles by Demarcus Henderson (Mississippi State) and Nathan Gomez (Marshall). Gomez came in a batter later on a muffed grounder to give the Mohawks the lead.

Amsterdam was still threatening in the sixth trying to build on their 2-1 lead but relief pitcher Josh Ingham induced a groundout of Scott Heath (Maine) to cut the rally short.

Then came the top of the seventh which would be a big seven-run rally for the visitors sending 11 batters to the plate. Quinn Pippin's RBI double (Tulane) tied the score. Steven Kandborg's (Wentachee) single gave Cooperstown the lead at 3-2.

And then a few batters later, it would be a bases-loaded double to the wall in left-center by Jacob Hubert (Laredo CC) to plate everybody an break the game wide open giving Cooperstown a big 7-2 advantage. Tyler Mautner (Buffalo) would lift a deep fly to center for a sacrifice to score Hubert to cap the big inning and make it 8-2.

Josh Ingham was still working in the ninth as Amsterdam would get the dramatics going. Matt MacDowell (Dartmouth), Scott Heath (Maine) and Evan Stephens (Wake Forest) all knocked back-to-back-to-back singles to start it off.

Then the controversy of the inning took place as Demarcus Henderson bounced one up the middle and beat out the double-play relay throw back at first as a run scored. His hustle would prove to be critical in the comeback. Cooperstown head coach Eric Coleman challenged the call and would to set the stage for a bigger protest later.

D.J. Hoagboon (Univ. Albany) singled to make it 8-4 and Chase Green (SIU-Edwardsville) walked to load up the bases for Chase Williamson whose high arcing shot deep into the night over the fence in left-center brought the huge crowd to a frenzied roar.

The incredible game-tying grand slam on a 2-1 pitch by the top relief pitcher on the team appeared to pave the way for a fairy-tale finish for the Mohawks. It was also at that point that Eric Coleman of Cooperstown lost his cool and raced out of the dugout to challenge home-plate umpire Anthony Sheets about his frustration at some of the balls and strikes that helped the Amsterdam rally. Coleman would get ejected from the game while the team was still in celebration and the crowd was going bananas at the Williamson grand slam.

Quinn Pippin would single of Kevin Archbold (Univ. Albany) in the top of the 10th and eventually would score when Coleman Barron would hit a game-winning two-out single to center off Matt Pirro (Wake Forest).

Scott Heath would knock a one-out single in the bottom fo the 10th and advance to second on a groundout but Cody Cooper (Northern Kentucky) would strike out Demarcus Henderson to slam the door on the Mohawks and end the wild and crazy night of baseball.

The game marked the midway point of the season for the Mohawks who have now played 24 out of their 48 game regular season schedule.

First-place Amsterdam has a day off Wednesday and then returns home Thursday and Friday for a couple more games on this homestand. Thursday's game against the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs is Mojo's birthday celebration.

Cooperstown is back at home on the fourth of July for a 5:00 game against the Watertown Wizards.

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