LITTLE FALLS - It was an unhappy stretch for Josh Nethaway between the time he was pulled in the middle of an at-bat Friday until Saturday's game at Veterans Memorial Park in Little Falls.
"I wasn't happy all day," he said. "I felt like I had something to prove."
And he did Saturday.
Amsterdam Mohawks first baseman Jeff Limbaugh picks a throw from third baseman Brian Ruby to retire Mohawk Valley’s Jonathan Scott during the second inning of Game 2 of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League first-round series at Veterans Memorial Park in Little Falls. (The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo)
A night after he struck out three times and was pinch hit for on his way to a fourth, Nethaway sparked the Amsterdam Mohawks' offense hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning as the Mohawks ran off to a 10-1 victory in Game 2 of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League first-round series.
"It was definitely relief," Nethaway said. "I needed something like that. Just squaring the ball up felt good."
Nethaway also dumped a double down the right-field line to score Zak Colby, and finished the night with four RBIs.
"We were going to play him all the way," Mohawks coach Keith Griffin said. "He's one of our better players. He just needs to play well. He had a big hit tonight, the three-run homer and the double, which is good to see. He hit the ball to center and right field."
That was all starting pitcher Chandler Shepherd needed, as the only run he surrendered came on a first-inning home run by Chris Cruz.
"That inning I said 'I know you guys are going to get one back for me. My bad,'" Shepherd said. "I just left a pitch over the plate and Cruz put a good swing on it. I was just reassuring the guys that I was going to come back and not make the same mistake again."
The rest of the game, the Mohawks' ace was brilliant. Shepherd went seven innings, allowing just the one run and striking out four. Dennis Buckley and Chris Kalica each threw a scoreless inning in the eighth and ninth, respectively.
"[Shepherd] the best pitcher in the league," Griffin said. "I felt really good that we'd be in good shape. We had our pitching set up the way we wanted. We had a great bullpen tonight."
The Diamond Dawgs' pitching wasn't so great. Starter Eddie Fitzpatrick lasted only four innings, and two other relievers allowed six runs between the fifth and sixth innings. Mohawk Valley's best pitcher of the night was center fielder Mark Stuckey, who blanked the Mohawks for three innings.
Matt MacDowell highlighted a four-run sixth inning for the Mohawks with a three-run double to left field off Taylor Wright.
After several games of lamenting missed opportunities, the Mohawks finally got the runners in.
"That's the key to our team," Griffin said. "We're going to get some guys on. We're going to have chances, but we have to take advantage of the chances. If we take advantage of the chances and score four, five or six runs, we have a chance to win games. We should have that many chances, but someone has to step up and want to hit in that situation."
The series will now shift back to Shuttleworth Park, where Mark Leiter Jr. will take the mound against Mohawk Valley's Jesse Burratt.
The winner will face the second-seeded Glens Falls Golden Eagles, who clinched a berth in the league championship series with a 10-8 win over the third-seeded Newark Pilots to complete a 2-0 series sweep.
"We got a little excitement in us now," Nethaway said. "We were a little flat last night, even the beginning of today. When the bats came alive, it gave us a good spark and got us ready to go for tomorrow."
Amsterdam 10, Mohawk Valley 1
Amsterdam000 324 000 - 10 8 0
Mohawk Valley100 000 000 - 1 3 2
Shepherd, Buckley (8), Kalica (9) and MacDowell; Fitzpatrick, Morton (5), Gaglianese (5), Wright (6), Stuckey (7) and Scott.