Amsterdam Mohawks outfielder Dylan Reynolds hits during Monday’s game against the Elmira Pioneers at Shuttleworth Park.
By ADAM SHINDER
Twenty-four hours later, what the Amsterdam Mohawks offense produced Sunday evening in Boonville still seemed a bit surreal — even for those who were a part of it. Nearly rewriting the entire Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League single-game hitting record book in one outing can have that effect.
The Mohawks were still buzzing Monday after their explosive performance Sunday against the Adirondack Trail Blazers, winning 22-12 in a game that saw Amsterdam tie the PGCBL record for runs in a game, set a new record for hits in one game with 29 and put together a 12-run first inning that stands as the second-highest scoring frame in league history.
“We really swung well,” Mohawks head coach Keith Griffin said prior to Monday’s game against the Elmira Pioneers at Shuttleworth Park. “You can’t really say it was good pitching if you get that many hits, but we did a lot of things right offensively.”
In the middle of all of it was outfielder Dylan Reynolds, who hit his first two home runs of the season — both in the first inning.
Any 12-run inning is monumentally impressive, but the Mohawks’ effort Sunday got an extra boost in difficulty considering the entire charge started with two outs and nobody on base. Adirondack pitcher Ryan Maya retired John Valente and Jake Mueller to start the game, but when T.J. Collett gave Amsterdam its first baserunner of the game with a single, the Mohawks flipped the switch and entered hyperspace.
Liam Wilson was hit by a pitch, and Reynolds followed with his first home run of the year to make it 3-0. Dustin Skelton and Valente later added RBI singles and Mueller chipped in a two-run single.
“We started with two outs and nobody on, and coach (Griffin) always stresses two-out hits,” Reynolds said. “We kept getting two-out hit after two-out hit and we just kept rolling.”
“We scored 12 runs with nobody on and two outs. The law of averages says that don’t happen very often, but it happened that night,” Griffin said.
And then, for a moment, it seemed like the inning was over when Collett swung at an 0-2 pitch from Maya for what looked to be an inning-ending strikeout. But, Mohawks head coach Keith Griffin argued that Collett had foul-tipped the pitch — which got by Adirondack catcher Matt Codispoti — and the call was overturned on appeal to keep the inning alive.
And the Mohawks kept pouring it on. With renewed life, Collett hammered a two-run single to make it 9-0, Liam Wilson doubled home Collett and then Reynolds came up again — and cranked a 2-2 pitch over the wall for his second homer of the inning.
“I was just trying to get a pitch I liked and drive it the other way for a base hit,” Reynolds said. “He threw what I wanted and I put a good swing on it.”
In the end, 14 straight Amsterdam batters reached with two outs, 13 of them coming against Maya, who was charged with 12 runs — all earned — on nine hits in two-thirds of an inning.
Of course, the Mohawks didn’t stop there. Mueller, Skelton and Dan Maynard all hit home runs to bring Amsterdam’s season total to a PGCBL-best 30 and eight different Amsterdam players finished with multi-hit games, led by five hits from Valente and four each from Skelton, Collett and Matt Gorski.
“One through nine is the best we’ve got, and the bench is the best we’ve got, too,” Reynolds said. “One is as good as nine.”
How dramatic was Amsterdam’s offensive performance? In the 31st game of the season, the Mohawks increased their team batting average by 12 points — from .290 to .302 — all in the span of one afternoon.
It’s not a game likely to be duplicated — the cozy confines of Adirondack’s Hanson Aggregates Field, a struggling Trail Blazers pitching staff and a whole lot of momentum provided the perfect storm for Amsterdam’s outburst — but the approach at the plate is something Griffin would like to see carry over for the stretch run.
“We’re trying to get them better, make them understand what’s important, have continual improvement and get to the bottom of this thing at the end of the season,” Griffin said.
“We had a good day,” Reynolds said. “Hopefully, we can get it to carry over.”
Monday, the Mohawks rebounded from an early five-run deficit to post an 11-8 win over Elmira. Valente and Wilson had three hits apiece and Maynard went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and two RBIs for Amsterdam. Elliott Anderson picked up the win in relief, with Carter Knapek picking up the save as he recorded a game-ending double play with the tying run at the plate in the ninth.