For the second time in as many years, the Amsterdam Mohawks are the champions of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. On the heels of an absolute gem from starting pitcher Matt Snyder (Fulton-Montgomery CC), the Mohawks took a 7-3 victory over the Elmira Pioneers to capture their second consecutive league championship on a magical night at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam, NY.
Something appears to be in the water in Amsterdam, as the Mohawks have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with each summer. Earlier this summer, Mohawks head coach Keith Griffin wouldn’t divulge any secrets about his process, but acknowledged the club has a specific process for identifying talent that could work in the PGCBL, and it appears that Griffin and the Mohawks have that process down to a science. Since the club really began to heat up, their PGCBL Championship run seemed inevitable.
Entering play on July 13, Amsterdam held a 17-15 record, and was no lock to even earn a playoff berth in the tough East Division, but they got hot at the right time. Since July 13, the club has put together an incredible 17-3-1 record. (The July 31 game against Cooperstown was suspended with the game tied at 4-4.)
Through four innings on Thursday night, neither the Mohawks nor the Pioneers had gotten on the scoreboard. Neither club had safely advanced a runner past second base. Then, in the bottom of the fifth, Amsterdam’s bats came alive. As the club collected five runs on three hits and three Elmira errors, every hitter in the lineup came to the plate.
Things got a little bit shaky for Snyder in the top of the sixth. With one out, Chris Knott (East Stroudsburg) singled, Ryan Plantier (Cornell) doubled, and Dave Hoffman (Siena) walked. Snyder wouldn’t be flustered, however, and escaped the inning with a fielder’s choice and a pop up.
After adding a run each in the sixth and the eighth, the Mohawks entered the ninth inning with a 7-0. Snyder got the first out of the inning, then left the game after a one-out single. Mike Urbanski (Binghamton), one of the top pitching prospects in the league, came into the game to seal the lid on the PGCBL season. A pair of hits and a pair of Amsterdam errors made it a 7-3 game. For the final out of the season, Urbanski got a fly ball to left field, where Jordan Ebert (Auburn) made the catch and gave Amsterdam its second consecutive PGCBL crown.