Amsterdam Mohawks pitcher Thomas Lane delivers during the first inning of Friday’s game against the Saugerties Stallions at Shuttleworth Park. (Adam Shinder/Recorder staff)
By ADAM SHINDER
If the Amsterdam Mohawks string together a few more offensive performances like the one they produced Thursday night against the Saugerties Stallions, Keith Griffin will be a very happy coach indeed.
Coming back from a day off after a couple of rough outings at the plate, the Mohawks pounded the ball all over Cantine Field during Thursday’s 11-5 win over Saugerties, clubbing 13 hits — including three doubles and a pair of home runs. After a few wins that Griffin thought were more a product of the Mohawks being the beneficiary of some mistakes made by their opponents, Thursday’s result came from the Mohawks taking the game by the horns.
“We really swung well last night, and it was us. It didn’t matter who was pitching, we did a nice job,” Griffin said prior to Friday’s game against Saugerties at Shuttleworth Park. “We controlled the game offensively. We hit a few doubles, couple home runs, did some good things. We hit the ball hard last night.”
Now, it’s all about sustaining that over an extended period. It didn’t work out Friday night, as the Mohawks managed just five hits in a 7-2 loss to Saugerties.
“The question is if we can build off that,” Griffin said. “If we can build off that, we’ll be OK. That’s a good starting point.”
Catcher Danny Maynard, the lone returning player from Amsterdam’s 2016 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League team, said Thursday’s game should be the template of what the Mohawks want to replicate for the rest of the summer.
“We’re gonna have some growing pains early on in the season, just like every other team, so it’s not like we’re in a tough spot,” Maynard said. “Last night, it seemed like everything came together. We were swinging the bat well, we pitched well, we played good defense. Hopefully, we have more of those games in a row consistently. That’s the goal.”
As well as the Mohawks hit the ball Thursday night, the pitching wasn’t flawless — but it was good enough to get the job done. Starter Brandon Reitz was solid over four innings, new arrival Elliott Anderson logged two innings out of the bullpen in his season debut, fellow debutant Nick Bird tossed two solid innings and Nick DeBrino finished things off in the ninth.
“Our stuff was much, much better last night — especially Reitz. It was good to see Elliott Anderson out there, I thought Bird threw really well and then DeBrino closed it out,” Griffin said.
The Mohawks will be a little undermanned over the weekend with first baseman T.J. Collett out of town for a wedding and a few players nursing injuries, but Griffin said the team should be at nearly full strength by Monday with even more players due to arrive — including a three-player contingent from Wake Forest.
“By Monday, almost everyone except the Mississippi State guys will be here,” he said. “We should be good that way, We’re getting closer to be full strength, and then it’s just learning what they need to learn when they get here. There’ll be some growing pains, but then hopefully everybody takes off and we start going the right way.”
Friday’s game against Saugerties was the fourth game between the Mohawks and Stallions in the past six days, and that won’t be the end of a busy stretch between the two teams.
After a few days’ break from each other, the Mohawks and Stallions will meet for three games in two days next week — a doubleheader Friday in Amsterdam, followed by a June 24 game in Saugerties — for a total of seven meetings between the two teams in Amsterdam’s first 19 games.
“It’s an odd schedule we play,” Griffin said. “You never know who they’re pitching or who you missed. It is what it is. They’re much improved, they swing the bat really well and you’ve got to pitch to beat them. We’ve done that a couple times, and one time we pitched good enough and our bullpen let us down.”
The unbalanced Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League schedule has produced some strange quirks this season. The Mohawks play Saugerties 11 times, but will only see the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs four times — none of those at Shuttleworth Park, thanks to a June 6 rainout in Amsterdam that will be made up as part of a doubleheader the next time the Mohawks visit Little Falls.
Contact ADAM SHINDER at [email protected]