Adam Shinder/Recorder staff Amsterdam Mohawks head coach Keith Griffin (4) walks back to the dugout after giving instructions to his team during Friday's game against the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs at Shuttleworth Park.
By ADAM SHINDER
After 10 games of nearly flawless baseball, the mistakes the Amsterdam Mohawks had been avoiding were probably bound to catch up to them at some point. Friday night, the problems the Mohawks had recently been roaring past finally reared their ugly heads.
With a chance to grab a share of first place in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League East Division with a win Friday night against the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs, the Mohawks instead struggled to find a rhythm against Mohawk Valley starting pitcher Nick Petrella -- who needed just 99 pitches to fire a complete game -- while a few defensive mishaps coupled with some timely DiamondDawgs' hits to snap Amsterdam's win streak at 10 with a 5-2 loss at Shuttleworth Park.
"I thought we really played poorly," Amsterdam head coach Keith Griffin said. "But, I don't want to take anything away from (Mohawk Valley). They did a good job."
Petrella scattered eight hits, including a two-run double by Jake Salpietro in the fourth inning that gave Amsterdam (12-7) its only runs of the game, but pounded the strike zone to keep the Mohawks at bay. The righthander only had three strikeouts, but didn't walk a batter.
"Just going out there and throwing strikes is kind of what we preach," said DiamondDawgs coach Blake Nation. "We do pitchers' (batting practice) with no walks, so they're happy Nick could go out there and do that."
Frustrating for Griffin and the Mohawks was the ease in which Petrella moved through the lineup, going through nine innings without working a single three-ball count.
"We'd have a good at-bat, then a bad at-bat, then a good at-bat, then a bad at-bat," Griffin said. "That's what happened tonight. We didn't have enough good at-bats in a row."
The Mohawks scratched out a lead in the fourth on three straight two-out hits -- singles by Brendan Tracy and the debuting Joe Purritano before Salpietro ripped a two-run double -- but only got one runner past second base the rest of the way.
Twice, Amsterdam had runners thrown out at the plate, and the team's best chance to mount a rally in the seventh inning was cut out on a tight umpiring call when Jack Czeszewski was called out trying to stretch a single into a double.
"It would've been a nice play if he'd got in safe, and I thought he was safe and the ump got the right call, but he called him out," Griffin said. "Certainly, it could've been a big play in the game, but it turned out they got five (runs) and that would've only got us up to three."
Mohawks starter Connor Johnstone navigated his way through a rocky first couple innings to keep the 'Dawgs (14-5) scoreless until the top of the sixth, when his first pitch to Mohawk Valley cleanup hitter Zane Smith was smashed just over the wall in right for a game-tying two-run home run that turned the game completely on its ear.
"(Johnstone) settled in, then all of a sudden we made a mistake and threw the wrong pitch, guy hit a two-run home run," Griffin said. "After that, they just won the game. From inning six on, they completely won the game."
Mohawk Valley plated the go-ahead run against reliever John McCarren in the seventh on a two-out Colin Hawk RBI single to center, with Greg Fazio scoring easily from third after he advanced there on a throwing error by Mohawks catcher Alex DeBellis when Fazio stole second base.
The DiamondDawgs brought in two more runs in the eighth thanks to an error by Amsterdam centerfielder Marcus Carson, who overran Gus Craig's single as Smith scored from first and Craig ended up at third, eventually scoring on Eric Strano's sacrifice fly.
"I didn't think our energy was very good and I didn't think we played very good," Griffin said. "We didn't have enough good, winning plays today."
With their 10-game win streak over and now sitting two games back of Mohawk Valley for the top spot in the PGCBL East Division, the Mohawks are back in action on the road tonight against the Glens Falls Golden Eagles.
"You don't win it in June, and I say that all the time," Griffin said. "I just wish we'd have played better tonight. We've just got to get back playing good."
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