the three days following the PGCBL All-Star Game in Newark, N.Y., I
traveled to three different fields, saw four games, and six different
teams. The first stop was East Field Stadium in Glens Falls, followed
by a double-header at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam, and finally an
extra innings thriller at Bellizzi Field in Albany, NY.
the white lines the games were great, some pitching heavy, some with
offensive outbursts, but like the All-Star Game, it was the “other
stuff” that helped give the games a great family atmosphere.
example, Glens Falls had a “Bark at the Park” night and the local
Chamber of Commerce set up and offered promotions on food in the
stadium. The Amsterdam Mohawks had a promotion occurring every half
inning, allowing kids in the stands ample opportunity to get on the
field. Along with on-field promos, the Mohawk players also wore
special jerseys that were auctioned off at the end of the night for
charity and brought fans that much closer to their favorite players.
final stop, the Albany Dutchmen, had some unique promotions as well,
having their fans stay focused on even minute details throughout the
game with their “baseball bingo.” They also had a $10,000 contest
where a selected fan had one attempt to throw a pitch through a small
hole in plexiglass from the mound to the plate.
Hawkeyes at Glens Falls Golden Eagles
East Field Stadium
Falls General Manager: Darin Williams
Summer Records: Cooperstown:
17-24 | Glens
in 1970, East Field Stadium has seen its fair share of minor league
teams come through, as well as a handful of eventual MLB players
including John Smoltz and Kenny Williams, but since 2004 it has been
home to the Glens Falls Golden Eagles.
first regular season PGCBL game I experienced was actually the second
game of a double header between Cooperstown and Glens Falls, which
resulted in an 8-2 victory for Cooperstown. Unlike the All-Star Game
the night prior that had loads of offense, at least for the East,
this game didn’t feature any scoring until the seventh inning for
starting pitching for both teams was very strong, with a couple of
lefties getting things going on the mound. Jared Moore started the
game for Glens Falls, going four innings and picking up five
strikeouts. Although his fastball wasn’t overpowering at 80-83 mph,
Moore was able to miss bats and have quick innings, as he cruised
through 1-2-3 innings in both the third and the fourth. He showed a
good feel for his changeup which he was able to spot side-to-side and
burry it when needed, along with a low-70s curveball.
the fifth through seventh innings for Glens Falls was Zach Merciez, a
big, strong right-handed pitcher from Missouri State. Merciez worked
86-88 in those three innings, touching 89 twice, and didn’t lose
any velocity when throwing from the stretch. He also threw a mid-70s
slider and flashed a changeup from a three-quarters arm slot that
left his hand easy, as did his fastball, and was able to strike out
was in the top of the seventh however that Cooperstown got their
offense going a bit, and thanks to two walks and two defensive
miscues, the Hawkeyes were able to plate two runs and take the lead
2-0. After battling off some tough pitches and staying alive, Bryce
Anglin came through for Cooperstown, lining an 88 mph fastball from
Merciez down the left field line, plating the two runs that the team
would use on their way to secure a victory. The double by Anglin was
his team's second and final hit of the game, proving to be enough for
the distance for Cooperstown was Jack Stover of Saint Joseph’s who
cruised through the first six innings. His repertoire consisted of a
fastball that sat 82-85 and touched 86 mph early, a 69-71 mph
curveball which featured 1-to-7 break, and a mid-70s changeup, all of
which he used to pick up a handful of strikeouts. Along with the
pitchability that he showed throughout, Stover showed the ability to
control the running game, picking off two runners to help him escape
in two separate innings. It was in the seventh inning that the Golden
Eagles offense final scratch across a run after an RBI single up the
middle by Emmanuel Forcier of New Mexico Junior College.
single by Forcier was one of only three hits by the Golden Eagles,
the other two were singles off the bats of PGCBL All-Stars Buddy
Putnam and Josh Anderson. Putnam hit a line drive single to center
field in his first at bat, and he followed that with a loud fly ball
out to center field in his next trip to the plate. Josh Anderson also
collected a single in his first plate appearance, one that he hit to
the right center field gap. He continued to show off his power in his
third at-bat when he made hard contact to right center field again,
even though it was for an out. Anderson uses his strong lower half
well and showed that he can drive the ball with regular contact.
2 and 3
Brewers at Amsterdam Mohawks
General Manager: Brian Spagnola
Summer Records: Utica:
16-26 | Amsterdam:
the first of two games on the day, Amsterdam found themselves
trailing Utica before the game even started. This is because the game
was a continuation game from earlier in the season in which Utica was
up 2-0 prior to rain postponing the contest. Amsterdam went on to
take both games by scores of 8-3 and 5-0, meaning the Amsterdam
pitching shut down Utica, allowing only one run in 17 innings of
lone run was an opposite field home run by Auburn outfielder Jay
Gonzalez, who was impressive during his round of BP at the All-Star
Game. Even though this was his first round tripper of the summer,
Gonzalez has shown a strong hit tool, also picking up a single that
he shot back up the middle.
Mohawks offense however was firing on all cylinders. They picked up
a run in the second to cut the early deficit in half, scored five
runs in the fifth to blow the game open, and added two more in the
sixth as insurance.
the way for Amsterdam offense was Brian Ruby, who smacked a double to
deep and added an infield single that registered 91 mph off the bat.
Also contributing at the plate for the Mohawks were Ed Charlton, who
lined a pitch down the left field line for an RBI double, and Devin
Wenzel, who pulled a ball hard at the third basemen and had the ball
bounce off his glove, bringing in three runs. John Nogowski also
picked up a double and Jordan Ebert collected an RBI on a fielders
turns out Charlton was just getting warmed up as he picked up three
more hits in the second game, missing the cycle by a home run, stole
a base and picked up an RBI. Charlton showed off all facets of his
game, showing good range in and reading the ball well off the bat,
along with a strong baseball IQ and speed on the bases.
attendance of the second game was 1,487, a figure that GM Brian
Spagnola attributes to the Mohawks games being an event for the
community, where people come to hang out and enjoy watching the boys
of summer, year after year.
fans that came out for the second game got to see a 5-0 victory for
the Mohawks, who scored two runs in the first and never looked back,
adding another run in the sixth and two more in the seventh. Joining
Charlton with some offense was Josh Gardiner, who got himself on base
twice with two singles to left field while driving in two runs.
Shane Zimmer also collected two singles and two RBI.
course good pitching always helps a team win and that is exactly what
Amsterdam received from Game 1 starter Jeremy Soule and Game 2
starter Rich Vrana. Soule is a 6-foot-5 right-hander from Fairfield
who ran his fastball up 90 mph in the first inning and 86-88 the
remainder of his three inning appearance, getting good run and
downhill plane on his fastball. He also showed a curveball at 74-76
mph, and despite slowing his arm, he was still able to get some depth
on the pitch.
Soule was Zach Breen, who topped 88 mph from a high three-quarters
slot, Christian Bartholomew, who also topped 88 mph and worked 84-87
mph, picked up a couple strikeouts, and Alex Gagne, who worked the
ninth, sat 82-84 mph on his fastball.
Vrana gave the Mohawks another strong performance in the second game,
working six scoreless innings, striking out six and allowing only two
base hits. A left handed pitcher from Marist, Vrana saw his fastball
top 87 in the first inning and maintained 83-86 mph on his fastball,
to go along with his breaking ball and a changeup which he used
frequently, sitting 72-75 mph.
the first game, the bullpen nailed down the back half of the game
with Zach Quayle working the seventh and eighth innings, pounding the
strike zone from a low three-quarters arm slot and spotting his
fastball and changeup well. In the final inning the ball was handed
to Chris Kalica who worked 85-86 mph on his fastball from an over the
top arm slot and mixed in a 70-72 mph curveball and a changeup that
hovered right around 80 mph.
Utica starters came out firing, as both Hunter McIntosh (Game 1) and
Matt Hendricks (Game 2) saw their fastballs touch 88. McIntosh worked
the first three innings, with quick 1-2-3 innings in both the second
and third. Hendricks went a bit longer, getting through five innings
and picking up a few strikeouts thanks to his ability to spot three
pitches; a 85-87 mph fastball, a 73-76 mph curveball 73-76 mph and a
mid-70s changeup that he threw to both sides of the plate. He also
picked off two base runners.
Valley Diamond Dawgs at Albany Dutchmen
General Manager: Jason Brinkman
Summer Records: Mohawk
Valley: 24-17 | Albany:
fourth game that I saw may have been the best of them all. Through
the first three innings there were a total of three base runners. Two
of the runners belonged to Mohawk Valley thanks to Jordan Serena
being hit by a pitch in the first inning and Sam Dexter collecting
his first of two singles in the third inning. The lone runner for
Albany came in the first inning, from the two-hole hitter Tyler Orris
who knocked a single to right field.
fourth inning was a different story, as both teams brought across two
runs, the only runs that would be scored by either team until extra
innings. Mohawk Valley found their groove in the fourth as the first
four batters reached base. Singles by Dalton Herrington, Landon
Thibodeaux and Jordan Friend and a walk by Casey Rodrigue helped the
Diamond Dawgs score their first run, followed by a sac fly from Craig
Lepre, giving Mohawk Valley their 2-0 lead.
didn't deter the Albany Dutchmen though as they came firing right
back in the bottom of the inning. Tyler Orris got things going again
for the Dutchmen offense, drawing a walk and coming around to score
quickly thanks to a line-drive single off the bat of Matt Dacey, a
Perfect Game National alum. With two outs in the inning and a runner
on first, Bradley Noland hit a line drive triple to the left-center
field gap, the first extra-base hit of the game, which tied the game
the next five innings offense was virtually non-existent, with only
one hit for each side, mostly due to the performances of starting
pitchers, Gavin Culpepper (Mohawk Valley) and Matt Gallup (Albany).
Each pitcher went 7 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs. Gallup
showed the ability to throw to both sides of the plate and use his
three-pitch mix effectively. His fastball sat 80-83 mph, topping 84
throughout his outing, with his changeup sitting at 73 mph to go
along with a low-70s curveball, which he used to pick up four
strikeouts. Aside from the fourth, Gallup had very quick innings.
extra-large, lean-framed Culpepper maintained his mid- to upper-80s
velocity (peaking at 89 with a lot of 88s) throughout his appearance.
Throwing from a three-quarters arm angle, Culpepper showed a very
quick arm with which the ball came out of easily and got some tail on
his fastball. He currently doesn't use his lower half and height to
his advantage as part of his delivery, as it's to envision him
throwing harder given his arm action once his mechanics get in sync.
He also featured two types of curveballs, an upper-60s "get me
over" offering and a 72-75 mph tight breaker, and he also threw
a low-70s changeup.
Long came in to relieve Culpepper, closing out the eighth inning
before giving way to PGCBL All-Star submariner Tyler Bray. Bray
showed the same quick arm and movement on his fastball as he did in
Newark three days earlier, but he bumped his velocity up, topping at
88 mph in this outing. He struck out the side in the ninth for a
quick 1-2-3 inning and was on his way to picking up a victory,
pitching in the bottom of the 10th with a one-run lead, with runners
on first and second and two strikes on the batter.
that situation the batter was three-hole hitter Chris Suseck, who up
to this at bat was 0-for-4 and found himself down 1-2 in his fifth
plate appearance. Looking for something he could drive, Suseck found
just that in a changeup that Bray left up and in, the one mistake in
Bray's two innings, and Suseck drove it to the left gap for a game
winning two-run double, helping the Albany Dutchmen claim sole
position of third place in the standings.
up the win was Thomas Belcher, who despite giving a run in the 10th,
was equally effective as Bray was for Mohawk Valley. Scoring that run
was Dalton Herrington, his second time touching home plate during the
game, after another base hit by Casey Rodgriue. Belcher struck out
one batter with his fastball sitting in the mid-80s, touching 87, and
mixed in a low-70s curveball and a 77 mph change.