Adam Shinder/Recorder staff Amsterdam Mohawks third baseman JaVon Shelby, right, dives safely back to first base on an attempted pickoff play next to Utica Brewers first baseman Hayden Kelly (34) during Wednesday's game at Shuttleworth Park.
Adam Shinder/Recorder staff Amsterdam Mohawks pitcher Zack Brown throws a warmup pitch prior to Wednesday's game against the Utica Brewers at Shuttleworth Park.
Adam Shinder/Recorder staff Amsterdam Mohawks outfielder Marcus Carson (1) stands in at the plate in front of Utica Brewers catcher Crachard Laing during Wednesday's game at Shuttleworth Park.
By ADAM SHINDER
After a 77-minute rain delay, a game that dragged for three-plus hours and a ninth inning with more twists and turns than an Agatha Christie mystery, Blake Logan decided it was time to send the few Amsterdam Mohawks faithful who still occupied Shuttleworth Park Wednesday night after 11 p.m. home happy.
After closer Zach Breen let a one-run lead against the Utica Brewers slip away in the top of the ninth inning, the Mohawks found themselves on the brink of their first two-game losing streak in nearly six weeks, but Utica reliever Chad Moss left the door a little too open. After a series of walks, hit batters, errors and wild pitches, Logan provided the final bit of heroics with his two-out, two-run single through the right side of the infield that gave Amsterdam a 5-4 walk-off win and put an end to a marathon evening.
"I was in a hole, 0-2, and then you've just got to battle and hit the pitcher's pitch," Logan said while wiping off the plate of whipped cream that Kevin Guthrie had just slammed in his face. "He threw me two straight balls, and I told myself, 'Don't try to do to much. If he throws it outside, just take it the other way.' I think I've been trying to do too much at the plate, so I just tried to put it in play. It got through the hole and that was it."
The Mohawks' (30-9) improbable rally against Moss all came together with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, as Joey Aiola led off the inning with a single, but was quickly canceled out when the sidearming Moss got Jack Czeszewski to ground into a 1-6-3 double play.
Then the fun began.
Marcus Carson walked, Tommy Kain was hit by a pitch and Josh Gardiner reached on an error by Utica shortstop Zach Torriente to load the bases. With John Razzino at the plate, Moss unleashed a wild pitch to score Carson. Moss then hit Razzino with the next pitch to load the bases once again and set the stage for Logan, who fell behind 0-2 in the count before battling back to even and singling to right, with pinch-runner Jake Salpietro scoring the tying run before Gardiner slid in just ahead of the tag from Brewers catcher Crachard Laing to win the game.
"We caught a few breaks there at the end, finally got a little life in us," Logan said. "I was glad we could come out with a victory, and you learn your lesson that way, rather than the other way."
The rally, Mohawks coach Keith Griffin said, masked an uneven performance at the plate from his team. Amsterdam managed just two runs on six hits through eight innings against Utica starter John McGinty, and dating back to Monday's loss to the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs, the Mohawks plated just three runs in a 17-inning stretch before their ninth-inning rally Wednesday.
"I'm excited to win the game. I always am, because I'm a winner and winners always want to win," Griffin said. "What I don't like is where we're playing, which is not good. We had one run two nights ago, we had two runs through eight innings tonight, so through 17 innings we had three runs. We're not swinging the bat well. Maybe this will give us a spark. Maybe this will get us going in the right direction."
Mohawks starting pitcher Zack Brown, less than 24 hours removed from a trip to the hospital, turned in one of his best outings of the season, striking out eight and scattering three hits over six innings, allowing a run on Hayden Kelly's two-out infield single in the sixth.
"We had him in the hospital, and we weren't going to start him, but he was adamant that he was gonna pitch," Griffin said. "I thought he was outstanding."
The Mohawks got an RBI single from John Razzino in the first and an RBI double from Czeszewski to retake the lead in the sixth, but Utica rallied in the top of the ninth when Breen walked the first two batters, got the next two hitters out, but surrendered a two-run single to Laing and an RBI hit from Adam Pexton to give the Brewers a 4-2 lead.
But, considering the opposite directions the two teams have traveled in this season -- while the Mohawks are 30-9, Wednesday's loss dropped cellar-dwelling Utica to 7-31 -- perhaps it was fitting that things turned back in Amsterdam's favor.
"Bad teams find ways to lose, good teams find ways to win," Griffin said. "We've got a good team. We've got a very good team. This is a good baseball team. I want to be a championship baseball team, and I don't know if we're a championship baseball team, because I don't know if we're offensively talented enough right now."
The Mohawks are back in action tonight with a 7 p.m. road game against the Elmira Pioneers before returning home Friday night at 6:35 to host the Albany Dutchmen.
Follow ADAM SHINDER on Twitter at twitter.com/RecorderShinder