LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – A walk-off grand slam from Aaron Roose (Azusa Pacific) completed an Albany Dutchmen (12-10) comeback against the Amsterdam Mohawks (17-4) on Saturday night. The Dutchmen defeated the PGCBL-leading Mohawks 5-4 in the first meeting between the two teams at Connors Park this season.
“He’s a kid you really can’t take out of the lineup,” said Dutchmen Head Coach Nick Davey. “He’s a guy we want up in that situation. He’s clutch and a true baseball player.”
The Dutchmen trailed to the Mohawks 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning. Tommy Pellis (Seton Hill) started the inning with single off new Mohawks pitcher Drew Wilden (Maryland). After a strikeout, pinch-hitters Chris Seng (Louisville) and Mitchell Henshaw (St. John’s) reached base safely with a walk and single respectively.
That sequence loaded the bases for Roose, who took a 3-1 pitch from Wilden deep over the left field fence to end the ballgame. The home run was Roose’s second grand slam of the season. He previously hit a grand slam last week against Mohawk Valley to give the Dutchmen a two-run lead in the sixth inning of a seven-inning game.
“All day I kinda felt like I was getting beat with a fastball,” said Roose. “Fortunately, I got into a hitter’s count and did some damage.”
The first few innings saw a pitching duel between the starters for both teams in Ben Seiler (Siena) and David Harrison (North Carolina State). The first run of the ball game came from Amsterdam after a Max Costes (Maryland) sacrifice fly in the top of the first. Albany responded with a run in the bottom of the third after a wild pitch from Harrison scored Ryan McGee (Siena).
The Dutchmen failed to capitalize on their opportunities at the plate early on against the Mohawks pitching staff. Before the ninth inning, the Dutchmen left eight runners on base, including six in scoring position. Albany only had three hits before its rally in the ninth.
“Early on we shot ourselves in the foot,” said Roose.
Amsterdam took a lead in the fourth after a Kevin Jimenez (New Mexico State) groundout scored Rook Ellington (Kentucky). The Mohawks extended their lead in the 5th when they had one out and the bases loaded. Ellington grounded a ball to shortstop, and while the first out was recorded at second, the relay throw from Will Duff (Vanderbilt) bounced away from Roose at first base, allowing two Mohawks to score.
The Dutchmen bullpen kept Albany in the ballgame. Greg Allard (Saint Rose) and Aaron Dona (St. Thomas Aquinas) pitched four innings of relief, allowing a combined one hit and two strikeouts over four innings of work. The duo did not allow a Mohawk to advance past second base.
“That’s the best I’ve seen Allard look,” said Davey. “Our bullpen has been very good.”
With the victory Albany moves to two game over .500 and picks up its second win of the season against the Mohawks. The Dutchmen are 2-3 against Amsterdam, who still hold the best record in the PGCBL after the loss to Albany.
“That game can be a season changer,” said Davey. “I think we feel like it’s a good matchup.”
Albany looks to continue the momentum against the Glens Falls Dragons on Sunday in a doubleheader at Connors Park at Siena College. First pitch for game one is set for 3:00 p.m. with game two starting approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one. For tickets and more information, visit dutchmenbaseball.com.