Trevor Junquera/Recorder staff Amsterdam Mohawks' Jonathan Pryor (11) crosses home plate against Adirondack, Monday at Shuttleworth Park. Waiting for Pryor is teammate Brendan Tracy.
Trevor Junquera/Recorder staff Amsterdam Mohawks first baseman Brendan Tracy attempts to tag out an Adirondack runner Monday at Shuttleworth Park.
Trevor Junquera/Recorder staff Amsterdam pitcher Zack Brown throws a pitch to an Adirondack batter Monday at Shuttleworth Park.
Trevor Junquera/Recorder staff Amsterdam second baseman Josh Gardiner makes a catch in short right field.
By MICHAEL KELLY
With a 6-4 victory against the Adirondack Trail Blazers Monday at Shuttleworth Park, the Amsterdam Mohawks picked up a milestone win on a rainy night.
On the strength of a strong pitching performance from starter Zack Brown and a pair of three-run innings, the Mohawks pushed their record to 35-10, tying the franchise's own PGCBL record for most wins in a regular season. Monday's victory tied this year's Mohawks with the 2012 bunch, which won the league title and is generally viewed as the top team in franchise history.
But that designation could be changing to head coach Keith Griffin's current crop of Mohawks if the next week and change plays out just right.
"This team has a chance," said Griffin. "If this team will get focused and play right, and we can win it, this team has the chance to be our best team."
On a night where a scheduled doubleheader's second half was canceled in the second inning because of rain, the Mohawks used the early contest to show how they have put so much space between themselves and the rest of the PGCBL in the standings. In pushing themselves to a lead of 9.5 games on the rest of the league, the Mohawks received nine strikeouts in six innings of three-run ball from Brown, while five different players contributed RBIs.
"Going into the playoffs, we want to be swinging the bat well and we've been doing that these past couple days," said Mohawks outfielder John Razzino, who was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored Monday.
Adirondack (17-27) struck first with a pair of runs in the second inning, as Brad Jones connected for a two-run double as part of his two-hit night. The Trail Blazers got a third run in the third inning, but Brown was almost perfect after allowing that run on a fielder's choice; the right-hander retired 10 of his final 11 batters faced.
"His stuff was good," said Griffin, "just sometimes he gets in a fight with himself out there."
The Mohawks' offense bailed Brown out of his early trouble. Second baseman Josh Gardiner had a two-run single in the second inning and Razzino followed with an RBI single. Later, in the fifth inning, third baseman Thomas Kain continued his torrid hitting with an RBI double, and first baseman Brendan Tracy and outfielder Jonathan Pryor also added RBIs in the frame.
Dealing with Adirondack pitcher Brian Sondergard's junk-balling ways through the first four-plus innings, Griffin said he was pleased his Mohawks were able to find enough offense against the crafty lefty.
"We made some nice adjustments and swung the bat a lot better," said Griffin. "We did a lot of things right in those two (three-run) innings."
John McCarren allowed a solo home run in the seventh inning in picking up his second save of the season for Amsterdam.
Besides Razzino's three-hit night, Gardiner, Kain and Tracy each had two hits apiece for Amsterdam against Adirondack.
The two squads played through the top of the second inning in the nightcap of the doubleheader before that game was called. The contest will not be made up as both teams do not visit Shuttleworth Park again before the regular season's conclusion Wednesday.
The Mohawks now are scheduled to get two chances to break their own PGCBL record for wins in a regular season, as the squad will play host tonight to Mohawk Valley before traveling to Albany to finish the slate.
Gardiner said the Mohawks' main goal for the next two games is a simple one.
"Just keep it going; the tires are going, so let's just keep on rolling," said Gardiner, whose Mohawks have won five consecutive games.
Gardiner and Razzino said the squad will use the chance to make some Amsterdam -- and PGCBL history -- as motivation these next couple days.
"It really does (matter). We want to be the best team we can be," Gardiner said.
"We know about the team from [past] years, how talented they were," said Razzino. "We all want to win every day and it's definitely cool that we could break a record. That's hard to do here because they've been so successful."
Griffin said achieving a new wins record would make for a nice achievement for this year's squad. But, he said, before this year's group can be compared in full to past teams, it needs to add a postseason championship to its resume.
"You've got to win it to be mentioned with that group," he said. "We haven't done that yet."
"If the right team shows up, we'll win the playoffs," said Griffin. "There's no doubt we'll win it."
NOTES: Adirondack started Jabin Weaver, a Fort Plain High School graduate, in Monday's second game. Weaver, a right-handed hurler, threw one inning before the game was canceled, allowing two runs on three hits, while striking out one. ... Griffin said the Mohawks will use a variety of pitchers for one-to-two inning stints in the club's final two games of the regular season. ... Gardiner picked up his 100th and 101st career hits Monday in a Mohawks uniform. ... The win was the third of the season for Amsterdam's Brown.
Follow MICHAEL KELLY on Twitter at twitter.com/RecorderMK