Dave Wojeski / For The Recorder 7/1/2014 Amsterdam Assignment Amsterdam pitcher, Kevin Guthrie delivers a pitch to a Glens Falls batter during the first inning of their game on Tuesday night at Shuttleworth Park.
Dave Wojeski / For The Recorder 7/1/2014 Amsterdam Assignment Mohawk's first baseman, Brendan Tracy fields a a high hop off a Glens Falls batter during their game on Tuesday night at Shuttleworth Park.
Dave Wojeski / For The Recorder 7/1/2014 Amsterdam Assignment Amsterdam's JaVon Shelby is greeted by teammates after scoring against Glens Falls during their game on Tuesday night at Shuttleworth Park.
By ADAM SHINDER
JaVon Shelby's not a fan of rain delays and their incessant ability to disrupt a team's rhythm and momentum.
For Shelby and the rest of the Amsterdam Mohawks, that didn't seem to matter one bit.
The Mohawks sat on the shelf for 45 minutes Tuesday as they waited out a thunderstorm in the third inning, but when they returned they scored nine straight runs over the next four innings with Shelby leading the way in a 12-6 victory over the Glens Falls Golden Eagles that pulled Amsterdam into a tie for first place in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League East Division.
"I hate rain delays," Shelby said. "They can either kill you, or they can help you. Tonight, it helped us."
Despite his aversion to rain delays, Shelby turned in his best game of the season, going 3-for-3 with a solo home run, two doubles, two runs batted in, two stolen bases and four runs scored. All three of his hits came after the rain delay, including his RBI double that kicked off the scoring in the Mohawks' three-run third inning.
Brendan Tracy also went 3-for-3 for the Mohawks (16-7) and Jonathan Pryor drove in three runs as Amsterdam won its fourth straight game and picked up its 14th victory in a 15-game stretch following the team's 2-6 start to the season. With the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs rained out Tuesday, Amsterdam pulled even for first place in the PGCBL East heading into tonight's meeting between the two teams in Little Falls.
"We've gotten better," Amsterdam coach Keith Griffin said. "Sometimes it doesn't show in a particular inning, but through the course of the year, we're much, much better now we are from where we are when we started."
When the delay started, the Mohawks held a 3-2 lead after Glens Falls' JQ Folena flipped a two-run single to right off Amsterdam starting pitcher Kevin Guthrie. Forty-five minutes later, Joe Randall relieved Guthrie and retired Brennan Price to end the threat, and the Mohawks responded with three runs in the third, four in the fourth, one in the fifth and two in the sixth to pull away for good.
"It's hard to keep focus after a long rain delay, but we popped right out and hit some balls hard that inning right afterward," Tracy said.
Shelby capped off his night in the fifth with a solo blast to left off John Leiter that hit the very top of the fence and caromed over the wall for his first homer of the season.
"(Leiter) threw me a curveball, I fouled it off and I knew it was coming again," Shelby said. "I just swung and I couldn't get any air underneath it, so it just hit off the top. But, I put a nice swing on it and it still went out."
Glens Falls pulled back four runs late in the game led by Richard Gugliemi, who went 3-for-4 with a home run and two doubles. The Mohawks also turned in some sloppy play, committing three errors that contributed to four unearned runs on a muggy night where the game -- thanks to the rain delay -- dragged through a four-hour runtime.
"They scored six, but we gave them four," Griffin said. "If we'd have played better defense, we'd have one the game very, very handily and very easily, but we didn't. It wasn't a clean game. It was a long game, and the weather played a factor in that."
"You don't always win 'em perfect, you just want to win 'em," he added.
With the Mohawks now on the verge of taking sole possession of first place in their division for the first team this season, Shelby said the team feels its momentum building heading into tonight's trip to Little Falls -- which will mark the halfway point of the regular season.
"We're just getting started," he said. "So, tune in."
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