By: Jason Palatsky
Justin Childers (Ohio Dominican University) would be the walkoff hero Thursday night, as his single through the left side of the infield in the bottom of the ninth would score Jack Owens (Bryant University) from third to give the Albany Dutchmen (28-20) the victory over the Amsterdam Mohawks (34-15) 4-3 Thursday night.
The win ties the PGCBL East Division Finals at one game apiece and forces a series deciding Game Three Friday night in Amsterdam, as the third walkoff in a row for the Dutchmen on their home field would give them the victory in Game Two.
Amsterdam would open up the scoring in their first at-bats of the evening, as a Joe Genord (University of South Florida) single would score Tyler Frank (Florida Atlantic University) to give the visitors the early 1-0 lead.
After not scoring in the second, the Mohawks would put runs up in back-to-back innings in the third and fourth, opening their lead to 3-0. Chris Givin (Xavier University) would score on an error in the third and Dan Maynard (University of Maryland) would come home on a passed ball in the fourth to make it a 3-0 ballgame.
Albany would quickly respond though, tying up the ballgame in the bottom of the fourth. The Dutchmen would have runners on first and third with one out, and Brent Alford (Augusta University) would single to score Childers. After Mychael Goudreau (Azusa Pacific University) went to third on Alford’s single and Jon Skidmore (Dallas Baptist University) walked to load the bases, back-to-back RBI singles from Bray Curreri (College of Saint Rose) and Cole Malloy (Butler University) would tie the game at three.
The Dutchmen bullpen would hold the Amsterdam offense quiet for the remainder of the game, as Joe Pokrentowski (College of Saint Rose) would be the leading force for the Dutchmen. The Golden Knight product went 2.2 innings in relief, allowing only one hit and two walks with three strikeouts in relief.
With a runner on third and two outs in the top of the ninth, Dutchmen Head Coach Nick Davey would go to Nate Harris (Louisiana Tech University) to get the righty on righty matchup with Givin, the league’s batting champion (.383). A battle would ensue between the two, and Harris would come out on top striking Givin out on a well executed offspeed pitch to strand the possibly game-winning run on third.
That big strikeout would seemingly wake up the home fans, as the fans would rally behind the team’s efforts to win in the bottom of the ninth.
After Curreri walked to leadoff the inning, he was picked off on a close play at first. Coach Bill Behrle, who has been the first base coach all season, argued furiously with the call and was ejected. The ejection seemingly added to the increasing energy in the Dutchmen dugout and in the stadium, as Tim Naughton (North Carolina State) would get less and less steady as the innings events happened. Malloy and JJ Shimko (University of South Carolina Upstate) would get take back-to-back hit by pitches. Jack Gethings (Fairfield University) would follow with a four pitch walk, and while a meeting at the mound happened, Davey would pinch run the pitcher in Owens for Malloy, who was in obvious pain. After taking a pair of pitches below the zone, Childers would single through the 6.5 hole with the infield in to score the pitcher pinch running at third to take the victory.
Alford led the offense Friday night, as he was the only Dutchmen with mutiple hits on the evening, going 2-for-4 with a run and a RBI. Goudreau finished 1-for-3 with a run, while Curreri tallied a 1-for-3 line with a walk and a RBI. Malloy would end his evening with a 1-for-2 stat line to go with a walk and a RBI.
Dutchmen starter Dylan D'Anna (Siena College) would give another solid start to Davey and the Dutchmen, going six strong innings while allowing only three runs (two earned) on five hits and one walk while striking out three. D'Anna mixed his pitches well throughout the evening, not allowing the Mohawks to frequently square up any pitches while working each side of the plate.
The win forces a do-or-die game in Amsterdam tomorrow night, as the two teams will meet for a 6:35 square off to decide who will win the PGCBL East Division Finals and advance to the PGCBL Championship to face off with the Utica Blue Sox. If the Dutchmen win tomorrow night, Game One will be at home on Saturday.
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