By NATE DISCAVAGE
LITTLE FALLS, N.Y.- Hitting, fielding and pitching—any team that can outperform the other in two of the three categories tends to win the game. The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs dominated all three aspects in game one of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League Championship Series Sunday night against the Jamestown Jammers at Veterans Memorial Park.
Mohawk Valley blew past the Jammers 11-1.
Entering the bottom of the third inning with a 1-0 lead, the DiamondDawgs used a single and two walks to load the bases. Center fielder Ben Porter (Columbia) stepped up to the plate with two outs and broke the game open with a bases-clearing triple before scoring one batter later on an RBI-single by Austin Pollack (Hofstra).
“They had just intentionally walked Russ [Olive], so it became a little personal,” Porter said. “They wanted to face me instead, but he put one over the plate, and I put a good swing on it.”
On the mound, Diamondawgs pitchers limited the Jamestown offense, which averaged seven runs per game during the regular season, to one run on five hits while striking out 13.
Starter Tyler Ksiazek (Monmouth) struck out six batters in four and two-thirds innings. The bullpen combined to surrender one hit in the remaining five-and-one-third inning.
Joe Engel (Columbia) and Pollack both made impressive plays defensively leaping to snag a line drive and making a diving catch respectively to prevent the Jammers from taking extra bases.
On the other side of the diamond, Jamestown committed three errors—including two misplayed balls that allowed four runs to score for Mohawk Valley.
“We got more breaks and we capitalized on those breaks,” DiamondDawgs coach Blake Nation said. “They are a good team; they just had a few miscues in the outfield.”
Each DiamondDawgs player registered at least one hit in the game. Alexis Monge-Rodriguez (Barry), Tim Zeng (Fairfield), and Pollack all had multi-hit games.
In the victory, Russ Olive (UMASS-Lowell) set the Mohawk Valley record for most RBI in a single postseason, tallying his seventh with an RBI-single in the bottom of the first inning.
Nick Bernick (Niagara) paced Jamestown offensively with a double and scored the team’s only run of the night.
Both teams head to Jamestown for Game Two of the Championship Series on Monday. A win for the DiamondDawgs would give Mohawk Valley its second PGCBL title in three years. If the Jammers win, a decisive Game Three will be played in Jamestown on Tuesday.
“It’s been a long season, but we are ready to win the whole thing,” Porter said. “We can’t wait for tomorrow.”