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Late Lightning Delay "Sparks" Mohawks Comeback

(Photo: Giuseppe Papaccio scores on a Zak Colby single to tie the game 1-1 in the fourth. Picture courtesy Jon Sargalis.)

By Bob Rotruck

Box Score

The #3 nationally ranked Amsterdam Mohawks struck for three late runs following a 21-minute lightning delay as they defeated the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs 4-3 in 10 innings on Tuesday night in Shuttleworth Park. Zak Colby (Faulkner, Ala.) doubled of the Chain Monster in left to drive around Giuseppe Papaccio (Seton Hall) with the exciting walk-off victory as Amsterdam halted Mohawk Valley's league-record 11-game win streak.

The league's top hitter, Zak Colby had two RBI's in a 2-for-3 game and reached base a total of four times with his two walks. Colby has reached in nine of his last 10 plate appearances. And has the league's top batting average which moved up from .404 to .411 in the game.

Josh Nethaway (U. Albany) had tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth with his two-run single to left. The rally happened after a 21-minute delay due to some heat-lightning off to the far north of the ballpark. With the lightning apparently not coming any closer to Amsterdam, the umpires were persuaded by the coaches to resume play after it was determined that the heat-lightning in the distance was not posing any safety threat.

Amsterdam improved to 27-8 with the victory which includes a 6-1 record against second-place Mohawk Valley. The DiamondDawgs fall to 21-14 and now trail by 6.5 game in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League standings.

The game was the first of three to be played this week between the top two teams in the PGCBL.

Chase Williamson (Auburn) fired three inning of no-hit, shutout relief in the eighth, ninth and tenth to earn his first win of the season to go along with his league-leading six saves. Williamson began the game as the designated hitter before coming in to pitch later on and went 1-for-4 at the plate.

Ed Charlton (NJIT) singled in the bottom of the ninth to extend his league-record win streak to 19 straight. On Friday, he broke the old record of 15 straight games with a hit set by Tyler Townsend of Mohawk Valley last year.

Both starting pitchers threw well in a 1-1 tie for the first six innings. Rocky McCord (Auburn) started for Amsterdam and lasted six innings allowing one run while scattering eight singles and striking out five.

Cameron Sorgie (U. Albany) was even better for Mohawk Valley as he went seven brilliant innings of three-hit ball giving up one run with seven punch-outs.

Four singles in the fourth inning gave Mohawk Valley the initial lead at 1-0. Jack Morrow (Young Harris) singled to left and eventually came in when Fonda native Tyler Hall's (Herkimer CC) grounder in the hole at short went for a bases-loaded infield single.

Amsterdam equalized in the bottom of the fourth when Papaccio walked, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored a Colby single to left.

Mohawk Valley tried to retake the lead in the fifth but had two runners gunned down on the bases. Zak Colby nailed a runner trying to steal second. And D.J. Hoagboon (U. Albany) came up strong on a Jack Morrow single to left as he gunned down David Del Grande (Sacramento State) trying to score from second. Colby came up big on the receiving end in applying the tag on the hard-sliding Del Grande.

Reigning PGCBL Player of the Week Chris Cruz (Cornell) socked a two-run homer to right for Mohawk Valley in the top of the seventh off Amsterdam High School product Kyle Rufer (Schenectady CC) making his Mohawks debut.

Amsterdam had runners at second and third in the seventh inning but Sorgie was able to work out of it.

In the eighth, head coach Keith Griffin was ejected by home-plate umpire Anthony Sheets when Papaccio was not allowed to take first after being hit by a pitch. Sheetz ruled that Papaccio had not made the appropriate effort to evade the breaking ball of Raymond Morton thus drawing Griffin's ire.

Papaccio ended up walking anyway and then the game was halted in the eighth due to the lightning off to the north. Both teams hung around for the 21-minute delay and then the umpires determined it was safe for the game to continue.

It was that "spark" that pushed the Mohawks onto the victory as Mohawk Valley's flow seemed interrupted. After Colby and Chase Green walked with two outs to load the bases, Nethaway delivered on a full-count pitch with a solid single to left off Sal Lasanti (Bryant) to tie the game at 3-3 in the eighth.

Chase Williamson for Amsterdam hit a better in the 10th but he was quickly erased on an inning-ended 4-6-3 double-play sharply turned by Green and Papaccio.

That set the stage for the bottom of the tenth. Papaccio led off with a double to right-center that was almost caught on a tremendous diving effort by centerfielder Mark Stuckey (Marist). And then Colby blasted his 16th double of the season, second in the league, off the Chain Monster in left over the reach of the leaping Del Grande.

And the celebration was on first with a mass greeting of Papaccio crossing home with the winning run and then all sprinting out to Colby at second.

Mohawk Valley's 11-game win streak broke the previous league record 10-gamer set by the Amsterdam Mohawks from June 9-21. Mohawk Valley's win streak began in the same place where it ended. The DiamondDawgs first victory of the streak was on Thursday, July 5 at Shuttleworth Park with an 11-7 win over Amsterdam, the Dawgs only win over the Mohawks in seven tries this year.

Amsterdam has the day off Wednesday and then continues their Showdown Series with second-place Mohawk Valley on Thursday night on the road in Little Falls. Chandler Shephard (Kentucky) is the scheduled starter for the Mohawks. Amsterdam's next home game is Friday night against the Newark Pilots on Heroes Night with free admission for all police, firefighters, EMT's and military. Pregame live entertainment begins at 5:30 and a softball game between Amsterdam police and Amsterdam fire will also precede the 7:05 Mohawks' contest.

The DiamondDawgs will play at the Albany Dutchmen on Wednesday night before returning home against Amsterdam on Thursday.

Amsterdam and Mohawk Valley will also play each other on Sunday night at Shuttleworth Park.

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