By: Christian De Guzman
GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – The Albany Dutchmen (20-12) scored four runs in the ninth inning to defeat the Glens Falls Dragons (11-24) 8-7 on Monday Night. Albany increases its winning streak to three and is 8-2 in its last 10 games.
The Dutchmen and the Dragons traded runs early in the game. Glens Falls scored in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI single from Evan St. Claire (Siena). Albany got the run right back in the top of the second inning with a solo home run from Ben Metzinger (Louisville) over the left field fence.
Glens Falls took control of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. A single from PGCBL All-Star Brian Hart (Marist) gave the Dragons the lead and an error by Parker Noland (Vanderbilt) allowed another Glens Falls run to cross the plate. Hart later scored on a wild pitch and a Donovan Rhoden (Hudson Valley CC) double gave the Dragons a 5-1 lead over the Dutchmen. All four runs in the inning came off Dutchmen reliever Greg Allard (Saint Rose).
Meanwhile, the Dutchmen struggled to figure out how to attack Brandt Sundean (Florida Gulf Coast) throughout the evening. The left-hander shut down Albany’s offense, allowing only one run on three hits. Sundean only struck out two Dutchmen batters but flyouts and groundouts prevented Albany from gaining any momentum against the Glens Falls starter.
“He made some pitches early in counts,” said Dutchmen Head Coach Nick Davey. “I didn’t expect him to get that deep in the ballgame.”
Albany started its comeback bid in the top of the eighth inning. Aaron Roose (Azusa Pacific) extended his team lead in RBIs with his 22nd and 23rd of the season on a two-run single. Luke Franzoni (Xavier) later brought the Dutchmen within one run as his sacrifice fly made the score 5-4 in favor of Glens Falls. Glens Falls responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning courtesy of a Shamus Connolly (Wagner) bloop double to take a 7-4 lead.
The Dutchmen restarted their comeback attempt in the top of the ninth. With two outs in the inning, Ryan McGee (Siena) walked to extend the ballgame for Justin Bench (Ole Miss). The PGCBL East Division All-Star starting shortstop launched his fourth home run of the season over the left field wall to pull Albany within one run.
“That home run was pretty big,” said Davey.
After walks to Noland and Roose, Metzinger came to the plate with Josh Hall (Ole Miss) running for Noland. An error by Dragons reliever Hunter Tabb (LSU Eunice) brought home Hall from second and moved Roose to third. A wild pitch from Tabb later brought home Roose to give Albany an 8-7 lead, which was the first lead of the game for the Dutchmen.
“We have Hall as a weapon there to change the game,” said Davey. “There was no way I wasn’t going to attempt to score him there.”
Albany gave the ball to Joe Kruszka (UAlbany) for the ninth inning as the right-hander locked down the win with his first save for the Dutchmen. Kruszka struck out the side in order to prevent a possible Glens Falls comeback.
“Joe is one of the most fierce competitors I’ve been around,” said Davey. “I kinda knew it was over once we gave him the ball.”
With the victory, Albany becomes the fifth team in the PGCBL to reach 20 wins on the season. The Dutchmen sit five games behind Amsterdam for first in the PGCBL East Division and sit two games behind Mohawk Valley for second place. The top two teams in each division earn home-field advantage for the first round of the PGCBL Playoffs.
Albany now heads to the all-star break, but eight Dutchmen players and coaches will participate in the all-star festivities in Saugerties, New York on Tuesday. Roose and Bench are starters for the PGCBL East Division, while Tommy Pellis (Seton Hill), Mitchell Henshaw (St. John’s), Blake Bales (Virginia) and Nick Grabek (Fairfield) are reserves players. Luke Franzoni (Xavier) will participate in the home run derby, while Dutchmen Assistant Coach Jack Hawke will be on the coaching staff for the PGCBL East Division.
Albany’s next game is on Thursday, July 18th, at the Oneonta Outlaws. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. The next Dutchmen home game is a doubleheader on Saturday, July 20th, against the Glens Falls Dragons with game one starting at 3:00 p.m. For tickets and more information visit dutchmenbaseball.com.
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