The DiamondDawgs beat Jamestown’s Jammers 8-4 in a winner-takes-all third game Tuesday at Russell Dietrich Park and claimed the championship for the second time in three years. Zach Vennaro, a former New York Mills High School star now pitching at the University of Mount Olive and the lone holdover from the 2015 championship squad, got the final six outs and closed out the win at Russell Diethrick Park.
Each team had a two-run lead early. Jamestown scored the first two runs, and Mohawk Valley came back with four before the Jammers tied the game in the fourth inning.
The DiamondDawgs took the lead for good in the top of the fifth. Alex Monge-Rodriguez from Barry University tripled with one out and, after a Jamestown pitching change, scored on a double by Fairfield University’s Tim Zeng.
Mohawk Valley tacked on a run in the eighth inning and two more in the top of the ninth. Dan Deely from Sacramento State University doubled to drive home the run in the eighth, and Hofstra University’s Austin Pollack was thrown out trying to follow Columbia University’s Ben Porter across the plate.
In the ninth, Zeng and Russ Olive from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell each had an RBI-single.
Vennaro was called to the mound after an error and a walk had put the tying runs on base with nobody out against Treasure Valley Community College’s Levi Abrahamson in the bottom of the eighth. Vennaro got the first out on a pop-up, then induced a double play grounder to end the inning.
Working with a four-run cushion in the ninth, Vennaro yielded two singles to start the inning then retired the next three batters.
Vennaro and Abrahamson combined to throw four scoreless innings in relief of Southern New Hampshire University right-hander Joe DeSarro, a former Frankfort-Schuyler High School and Herkimer College hurler. DeSarro won for the 13th time in 15 PGCBL decisions over two years; the save was Vennaro’s 28th for the DiamondDawgs.
Adelphi University’s Lucas Terwilliger and Columbia’s Joe Engel, batting eighth and ninth for the DiamondDawgs, each had two of the team’s 10 hits, and Engel and Porter each scored two runs. Zeng had three RBI and Monmouth University’s Clay Koniencki had a two-run triple that gave Mohawk Valley a 3-2 lead in the third inning.
Canisius College’s John Conti had two hits for Jamestown and went 16-for-32 in the playoffs. The University of Texas-San Antonio’s Chris Estrada and Mercyhurst University’s Jason Standohar each added two hits, and Texas State University’s Skyler Valentine and Mercyhurst’s Alex O’Donnell each scored two runs.
The DiamondDawgs and the Amsterdam Mohawks have combined to win the last six league championships from the East Division. The 2011 Newark Pilots remain the only champion from the West Division in the 7-year-old league.