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Ailoa and Johnstone Help Mohawks Cruse Past Watertown

By Brendan Reilly

Box Score

The Amsterdam Mohawks shutout the Watertown Rams on Thursday by a score of 10-0. Connor Johnstone (Wake Forest) struck out the side in the 5th inning, and was outstanding all night. Amsterdam’s pitching staff only allowed three hits the entire game.

Joey Aiola (Marist) had his best game of the year. He went 2-4 for with two RBI and two runs scored. He laced an RBI double to right-centerfield in the eighth inning, and flashed the leather all game. He recorded eleven assists including a diving play and a 6-4-3 double play to end the game. Connor Johnstone also had his best outing of the year. Johnstone pitched six innings, and only allowed two hits while striking out seven. 

Sean Rackoski (Kansas) pitched seven innings for the Rams and allowed seven runs, only four of which were earned. 

Marcus Carson (Kentucky) started things off in the first inning with a single. He stole second, and then advanced to third on a throwing error by Watertown’s catcher Jason Scholl (Eastern Illinois). Jonathon Pryor (Wake Forest) grounded out to second and scored Carson to make it 1-0.

The Mohawks struck for two more in the second inning. After recording two straight outs, Rackoski thought he was almost out of the inning. However, 3B Drew Hercik (East Stroudsburg) overthrew a routine groundball, and while Tommy Kain (Lynn) started towards second, 1B Dustin Exford (Northeast Oklahoma A&M) committed another throwing error to move Kain to third. Joey Aiola then beat out an infield hit, and Kain came into score. After Carson singled and moved Aiola to second, Pryor singled and scored Aiola to take a 3-0 lead.

The Mohawks scored three more times in the third. After back-to-back singles by John Razzino (Franklin & Pierce) and JaVon Shelby (Kentucky), Joe Purritano (Dartmouth) doubled down the line in right to score Razzino. Alex DeBellis (Lynn) followed that up by grounding towards second, but JaVon Shelby slid under the tag as the throw came home. Tommy Kain scored Purritano on a sacrifice fly, and the Mohawks finished the inning with a 6-0 lead. 

Connor Johnstone had his best stretch of the year during the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Johnstone retired the last ten batters he faced, starting with a Nick Moore (Missouri) groundout to end the top of the third inning. At one point he struck out five batters in a row.

The Mohawks tacked on one more in the bottom of the seventh inning. Jack Czeszewski (Illinois State), who came in during the fifth inning for Jonathon Pryor, was hit by a pitch to start things off. He took second on a passed ball, and moved to third when Kevin Guthrie (Brown) pinch-hit for Josh Gardiner (Radford) and singled to right field. Jake Salpietro (Fairfield) grounded into a double play, but Czeszewski came into score to give the Mohawks a 7-0 lead. 

Amsterdam added three more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Joe Purritano and Alex DeBellis started the inning off with consecutive singles. Joey Aiola hammered a doubled in the right-centerfield alley to score Purritano. After walking Marcus Carson to load the bases, Kyle Simmons (Coker) hit Czeszewski with a pitch to bring in another run. Kevin Guthrie grounded out to second to score Aiola to make it 10-0, and that would be the last time the Mohawks scored. 

Connor Johnstone earned his second win of the year, and Rackoski took his second loss of the year. 

The Amsterdam Mohawks will travel to play the Albany Dutchmen to resume a game that was suspended on Monday, followed by a full nine-inning game. The Watertown Rams will travel to Elmira to take on the Pioneers.

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