The homestanding Amsterdam Mohawks held a lead after 6 1/2 innings in their scheduled 7-inning Independent Collegiate Baseball League opener Monday at Shuttleworth Park.
And then something that seemed rather strange happened. The Mohawks batted one more time.
“I would say more times than not it will happen,” Mohawks president and general manager Brian Spagnola said. “Guys need work.”
For the record, Albany Dutch pitcher Anthony Amoroso retired the Mohawks in order in the bottom of the seventh inning with a pair of strikeouts to finish off a marathon 7-4 Mohawks win.
“It was all about their pitcher getting his work in,” Mohawks head coach Greg Christodulu said. “A couple of our guys got an extra at-bat out of it.”
Amoroso was the fourth Dutch hurler and the ninth in all to take the mound, and he worked two innings.
“In the fifth inning I checked with their head coach, and he said he [Amoroso] needed two innings,” Spagnola said. “We were good with it.”
The idea of the four-team, 30-game league is for guys to get pitching, hitting and fielding reps in live game situations, while doing it with safety protocols in the COVID-19 environment in place between the lines — and outside of them, as well. The college guys in the league played only a handful of games at most before their seasons were called off in the spring, and those just out of high school didn’t get to play ball at all.
“It’s definitely a different mind-set,” said Mohawks shortstop and Saratoga High School graduate Nick Kondo. “Everyone is shaking off the rust. We’re trying to be competitive and at the same time get our work in.”
Kondo was the only player in the game to collect multiple hits, with an infield single and a two-run double to go with a stolen base.
“My first round of BP I put five balls into the dirt,” said Kondo, who is transferring from UAlbany to Chapman (Calif.) for his senior year of collegiate baseball that was taken away due the coronavirus pandemic. “We all can use the work. Thirty games is real important. I’d rather shake it off now than in the fall.”
That rust could be seen in some of the stats that came out of the game, including 22 combined strikeouts, and 20 combined bases on balls which factored into the game’s 2 1/2 hour stretch. Every pitcher that worked issued at least one walk..
“I am not surprised at all,” Kondo said of the walk total. “It will get better.”
“It’s all about continued development,” Christodulu said.
Recent Shenendehowa High School graduate and Wake Forest-bound Jake Reinisch had a double and a sacrifice fly for the Mohawks, Brian Hart had a single and picked up two RBIs, Andrew Pedone doubled, and Dan Parslow and Reilly Hall had run-scoring singles.
Nick DeBrino hit a two-run double for the Dutch, and Ryan McGee had a sacrifice fly.
“A lot of familiar faces,” Kondo said. “It feels like I’m back in high school.”
Kondo ripped a solo homer in the second game, kick-starting a seven-run sixth inning as the Mohawks rallied for a 7-3 win.
Hart had a 2-run single in the uprising; two runs came across on bases loaded walks and two more came across on a wild pitches.
The game ended in a traditional 6 1/2 innings with the home team ahead.
Ballston Spa graduate and Boston College rising sophomore Luke Gold belted a two-run homer in a three-run first for the Dutch.