AMSTERDAM - It's been 22 innings since an Amsterdam Mohawks pitcher has allowed a run, earned or otherwise.
Just 24 hours after Taylor Martin and Matt Gage combined to shut out the Watertown Wizards, Chandler Shepherd threw eight scoreless innings and the Mohawks scraped out a pair of runs in a 2-0 victory over the Albany Dutchmen on Monday at Shuttleworth Park.
Shepherd allowed just two hits, struck out seven and walked only one.
Amsterdam’s Chandler Shepherd delivers a pitch in the first inning during Monday’s Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game against the Albany Dutchmen at Shuttleworth Park in?Amsterdam. (The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo)
"I just wanted to throw strikes and get ahead, and let the defense work," Shepherd said. "We've got a great defense here. That was a big part of it."
Picking up where Martin and Gage left off the previous night in Watertown, Shepherd only ran into trouble in two innings.
In the fourth inning with runners on first and third and two outs, Shepherd faked a pickoff throw toward Nick Chapman, who was on third base. Ryan Gasparra took off from first base, and Shepherd hung him up between first and second. After a short rundown, Mohawks' first baseman Nathan Gomez tagged Gasparra for the third out a split-second before Chapman crossed home plate with what would have been the game's first run.
"You hear those announcers say that move never works," Mohawks coach Keith Griffin said. "It always works when the guy's running and then it's a great play. And he just happened to get it. The guy ducks his head and is running. We got the tag before the guy scored and that was a good pick-me-up for us."
After that , Shepherd took over, retiring the next nine Dutchmen, striking out four over that span. Morgan Phillips broke the streak with a single up the middle to start the eighth inning, but Shepherd stranded him by retiring the next three batters.
"Going into the game, coach was talking about how they were going to be aggressive and swing the bat," Shepherd said. "It seems like that, you've just got to get ahead in the count, throw it where you want to throw it, and it worked out. The defense made great plays."
Chase Williamson pitched the ninth, getting three quick outs for the save, completing Amsterdam's second straight shutout.
"We have a great staff," Shepherd said. "Anybody who goes out there on the mound, everybody has confidence in them. Everybody at the park feels that way and we've just got to keep it going."
The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball-league leading Mohawks (7-2) finally scratched out a run off Albany starter Matt Snyder in the fifth inning.
Chase Green, who finished with three hits, doubled to center to lead off the inning, and then came around to score on Matt MacDowell's one-out single. The Mohawks tacked on another run in the seventh of Albany reliever Ricky Schafer when Gomez singled home Guiseppe Papaccio.
"That was a lot of pressure off me," Shepherd said. "Any time you get some runs, you feel immediately better on the mound. It just takes pressure off of you."
The Mohawks will visit the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs tonight and the Dutchmen on Wednesday night. They will return home Thursday for a doubleheader against the Oneonta Outlaws. The first game will begin at 3 p.m., followed by the annual Chamber of Commerce softball game, pitting the Fulton County chamber and the Montgomery County chamber against each other.
First pitch for the Mohawks' second game is slated for 7:05 p.m.
With the Mohawks in the middle of a stretch of eight games in seven days, Shepherd's performance may loom large, as it enabled Griffin to conserve his pitching staff.
"I was going to take him out after the sixth and then I was going to take him out after the seventh, but his pitch count was such that he kept himself where he ought to be," Griffin said. "And now we've got a rested bullpen going into [today], which is going to help us because we've got a game [tonight], a game Wednesday and two Thursday, and we're still a guy or two down in the bullpen."
Amsterdam 2, Albany 0
Albany000 000 000 - 0 2 0
Amsterdam000 010 10x - 2 13 1
Snyder, Schafer (7), Lacosse (8) and Gasparra; Shepherd, Williamson (9) and MacDowell, Colby (8)