By: Christian De Guzman
LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – An Albany Dutchmen (21-14) record was set on Sunday during a crucial 8-5 win over the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs (24-13). The victory moved Albany within two games of second place in the PGCBL East Division.
History was made in the sixth inning when Chris Seng (Louisville) broke for second base. He slid in safely for his 29th stolen base of the season to set a new Dutchmen single season record in stolen bases. Seng broke JJ Shimko’s record of 28 swiped bags, which was set in the 2016 PGCBL season.
“That was a goal I set in the beginning of the season,” said Seng. “I’m more happy about using my speed throughout the season to help the team win.”
The DiamondDawgs took an early lead in the first inning. A sacrifice fly with the bases loaded by Jacob Josey (Florida Atlantic) and two singles by Ryan Keenan (Vanderbilt) and Jimmy Joyce (Hofstra) gave the DiamondDawgs an early 3-0 lead. This marked the second time this season that Dutchmen starter Logan Savell (Ole Miss) allowed three Mohawk Valley runs to score in the second inning.
The Dutchmen grabbed control of the game in the second inning. Seng opened the scoring with a two-run single to left field to pull Albany within one. Mitchell Henshaw followed suit two batters later with another two-run single to left field to give the Dutchmen the lead for good. A wild pitch that scored Ryan McGee (Siena) and a sacrifice fly by Luke Franzoni (Xavier) completed a six-run inning for Albany.
PGCBL All-Star Cole Miller (Herkimer) started the game for the DiamondDawgs and struggled in his second game against the Dutchmen this season. On June 22nd, Miller pitched six strong innings against Albany, allowing two runs on six hits while recording five strikeouts. The left-hander was not as fortunate on Sunday, allowing all six runs in three innings pitched on seven hits. Miller only recorded one strikeout and took the loss.
“We stepped into the box today with confidence against him,” said Dutchmen Assistant Coach Sean Buchanan. “There was no intimidation. We were offensive in the box and stayed aggressive.”
After his rocky first inning, Savell settled down and keep the potent Mohawk Valley offense at bay. Despite not recording a strikeout, the right-hander only allowed one more run in his last four innings of work to preserve the Dutchmen lead in the middle innings.
“He was a victim of a little bad luck in the first inning,” said Buchanan. “He was pitching well and things started to roll his way a little bit.”
Blake Bales (Virginia) came out to start the sixth inning and dominated on the mound. He set a new personal season-high with eight strikeouts in three innings of relief against the DiamondDawgs. The PGCBL All-Star controlled the tempo and prevent Mohawk Valley from gaining momentum as the Dutchmen rallied around him.
“Everything was working,” said Bales. “Mitch was calling a great game and I was throwing pitches exactly where I wanted to in the counts I wanted.”
Albany added more runs in the sixth and eighth inning. McGee drove in a run in the sixth with a line drive single to center field. Henshaw followed suit with his third RBI of the game on another single into left field. The Dutchmen held an 8-4 lead going into the ninth inning.
Bales initially started the ninth, but he allowed two singles and a walk to load the bases as fatigue started to set in. Buchanan brought in Joe Kruszka (UAlbany) to close out the game, and although the right-hander allowed a run to score on a wild pitch, the DiamondDawgs couldn’t mount a comeback. Kruszka struck out one batter en route to his second save with the Dutchmen to close out the 8-5 victory.
Seng and Henshaw went 3-5 in the win with five RBIs between the two batters. Ryan McGee also went 2-4 with an RBI. Every Dutchmen reached base safely and only Josh Hall (Ole Miss) failed to record a hit in a 13-hit outburst for Albany.
With the win, Albany moves to two games behind Mohawk Valley for second place in the PGCBL East Division. The first round of the PGCBL playoffs is a one-game series and the top two teams in each division host the series at home.
“If we can catch up to them and have that home game that will be super beneficial for us,” said Bales.
Albany’s next game is at Shuttleworth Park on Tuesday, July 23rd against the Amsterdam Mohawks. First pitch is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. The next Dutchmen home game is a doubleheader against the Oneonta Outlaws on Saturday, July 27th with first pitch for game one set at 3:00 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit dutchmenbaseball.com.
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