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Amsterdam Clinches League's Best Record with Walk-off Win

By Brandon Hillier

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The Amsterdam Mohawks clinched a first round bye in the Eastern Division Playoffs and the league's best record in dramatic fashion with a 4-3 walk-off win over the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs Monday night. For the second time this year, Amsterdam won a game with a ball hitting the backstop, allowing the game-winning run to cross. It is also the fourth game this year between Amsterdam and Mohawk Valley decided by one run. 
Ed Charlton (New Jersey Tech) led off the bottom of the ninth slapping a single to right off of Mohawk Valley starting pitcher Keegan Long (St. Joseph's (Ind.)). After a John Nogowski (Florida St.) walk and a Brian Ruby (Binghampton) sacrifice bunt, Charlton was standing 90 feet from clinching the Division title and league's best record. 
Tyler Bray (ULM) came in to relieve Long and plunked the first batter he saw. Then, on the first pitch to his next better, Bray threw a ball that went straight to the brick wall at Shuttleworth Park. The ball bounced hard off the wall back to the DiamondDawg's catcher. Charlton slid head first and just got under the Bray tag to win the game. The crowd of 1,174 Mohawks' fans went crazy as the team mobbed Charlton at home plate. 
For most of the game, zeros were placed in the runs and hits columns for both teams. Colonie-native and Amsterdam spot-starter Chris Kalica (St. John's) pitched six innings of two-hit, shut-out baseball. His counterpart, Keegan Long held the potent Mohawks offense hitless until the sixth inning as well. Long came out in the ninth inning. He had nine strikeouts and allowed only two Mohawks' hits in his eight innings of work. 
John Sansone (Florida St.) broke the scoring drought with a two-run homer in the sixth. Mohawk Valley answered back with their first run of the game in the top of the seventh with a Casey Rodrigue (LSU Eunice) sacrifice fly that brought Dalton Harrington (ULM) across the plate.
John Sansone after his 2-run home run
The Mohawks tacked on one more in the seventh when John Nogowski's leadoff double turned into a run on a Jordan Ebert (Auburn) blooper to center. The Mohawks led 3-1 heading into the eight inning. 
Mohawk Valley tied the game in the top half of the eighth when David Peretti (Union) scored with a Willie Shaw (William & Mary) single to left and Sam Dexter, after reaching on a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt, came across on a Landon Thibodeaux (LSU Eunice) suicide squeeze.
Amsterdam won the game and the division title on the Charlton walk-off wild pitch and secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Amsterdam's first playoff game will be next Friday, August 2, after the two and three seeds in the East play each other in a one game playoff to advance.
Mohawk Valley still hasn't clinched a playoff spot, but sits in second place in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League East Division above the Glens Falls Golden Eagles and Albany Dutchmen.
Amsterdam is at home on Tuesday night against the Adirondack TrailBlazers at 7:05 at Shuttleworth Park. Trey Wingenter (Auburn) will start for the Mohawks, but will be on a pitch count, according to Coach Keith Griffin.
Mohawk Valley will battle the Elmira Pioneers at Veterans' Memorial Park in Little Falls, also Tuesday night at 7:05. 
                             R H E (LOB)
MV 000 000 120  3 6  1  (6)
AM 000 002 101  4 4  2  (3)
Amsterdam - 30-16
Mohawk Valley - 24-18
Attendance: 1,174
Game Time: 2:36
W - Mike Urbanski (5-2)
L - Keegan Long (4-1)
Extra Base Hits
Doubles: MV Jordan Friend, AM John Nogowski
Homeruns: John Sansone

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