LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. (WKTV) - For the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs, it was about exorcising old ghosts in this one-game playoff.
They went into the playoffs last year, facing the same team they faced this year—the Albany Dutchmen-- and sent the fans home disappointed with an 11-inning loss.
Just like the Curse of the Bambino before it, the Diamond Dawgs would exorcise the ghosts of Veteran’s Memorial Stadium, beating the Dutchmen 3-2 for their first ever playoff win in PGCBL history.
For the first four innings, it was a back-and-forth pitcher’s duel between starters Nick Petrella (West Sayville, NY/Skidmore) and Jake Welch (Spencerport, NY/Notre Dame College). As a matter of fact, for those four innings, neither a single Dutchman nor Diamond Dawg made it past second base, before Albany’s James Locklear got to third in the top of the fifth.
Mohawk Valley would finally get on the board in the bottom of the fifth, as a single by Trey Stover (Lock Haven, PA/Hartford) would score Eric Strano (Robbinsville, NJ/Rider). They would pick up another run on a sacrifice hit by Gus Craig (Columbia), which would score Joey Carcone (Utica, NY/St. Rose). One batter later, a double by Zach Collett (Westbrook, Maine/New Haven) would extend the lead to three, as he would score Stover.
Welch would have a very good outing for the Dutchmen, going 6 1/3 innings and only giving up those three runs-- all of them earned-- before being pulled for Jose Hernandez (Perth Amboy, NJ/Dean College). Petrella would pitch even better, only allowing four hits and no runs in 7 2/3 innings before being pulled by Lucas Godlewski (Little Falls, NY/Herkimer College).
Albany would pull the lead back to one in the top of the eighth inning, as a bouncing single to right field by Cameron Miller (Houston, TX/Baylor) would score Danny Hrbek (Effort, PA/Radford) and Ernie Clement (Rochester, NY/Virginia). Godlewski would get out of a second-and-third jam just one batter later, as he would strike out Nick Jewett (Phoenix, AZ/Trinity) to get out of the eighth.
Hernandez would go 1 1/3 innings of one-hit ball for the Dutchmen before being pulled for Austin Foote (Lake Zurich, IL/Indiana) in the bottom of the eighth. He would strike out only one batter, Diamond Dawg left fielder Michael Triller (Rutland, VT/Clemson), before being pulled for Kyle Zurak (East Amherst, NY/Radford). Zurak would fan right fielder Jayson Sullivan (Charlton, NY/Sacred Heart) to end the inning.
Godlewski would only play one inning for Mohawk Valley, allowing the only two runs for Albany, both of them earned, as he would be pulled for Bryan Greig (New City, NY/Mercy). Greig would slam the door on the Dutchmen’s season, striking out three Dutchmen to end the game.
Petrella would get the win for the Diamond Dawgs. Welch would be saddled with a very tough loss.
With the win, Mohawk Valley moves on to the Eastern Division finals, where they will face an old rival, the Amsterdam Mohawks. Game One will be played Friday at Shuttleworth Park.