Summer Collegiate : : Story
Friday, August 08, 2014

Mohawks complete 3-peat

Chris Real        
Photo: Perfect Game

For the third consecutive year in a row, the Amsterdam Mohawks are the PGCBL Champions after a 12-1 win in Newark clinched the title.

Amsterdam jumped out to an early lead after two innings of play after scoring two runs in both the first and second innings. And that’s all starting pitcher Taylor Blatch would need as he kept his hot streak going with a complete game performance.

Blatch pitched a complete game, allowing one run on six hits and struck out nine.

I felt good last night, I felt 100 percent in the sixth inning and I think the coaches noticed that and asked me what I wanted to do. I told them I wanted to pitch it because I was feeling good,” he said.

The Mohawks widened their lead in the fourth inning when they plated six runs to extend their lead to 10-1 and tacked on two more insurance runs late in the game.

JaVon Shelby had three hits for Amsterdam, including a double, and also had two RBIs and three runs scored. Blake Logan added three hits to go with three RBIs for the Mohawks and Thomas Cain added three RBIs on one hit and scored a run. Leadoff hitter Marcus Carson also had three hits for the Mohawks and scored three runs in the game two win.

Similar to their title clinching game, Amsterdam had solid pitching and a balanced offensive performance in their 9-3 game one victory.

Ryan Clark started game one and pitched 3.1 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out two. Zack Brown relieved Clark and pitched 5.2 scoreless innings without allowing a hit as he struck out seven while only allowing one walk to earn the win.

Once again Cain was the offensive leader for the Mohawks, going 3-4 with a home run, three RBIs and -two runs scored. Brendan Tracy added a three-run shot and leadoff hitter Marcus Carson went 3-4 with a run scored.

Overall, Head Coach Keith Griffin was pleased with his team’s all around performance in the postseason.

We pitched phenomenally, we had great starting pitching,” he said. “We brought in Zack Brown and he was the best guy to ever pitch on that field that night, it was incredible. The stuff, the velocity, the command, the presence and the poise, it was just awesome.

We threw Taylor Blatch last night and he was awesome, just absolutely awesome.”

For Blatch, winning the PGCBL championship is different than any other previous championship he has won.

It’s weird, I’ve never had something like that before,” he said. “I’ve had championships for districts in high school, but getting to know these guys during the summer, it’s like a family and being able to win a championship, that means a lot to the community and the coaches was really nice.

I’m glad we were able to have that good experience all together.”

As far as being the winning pitcher in the championship clinching game, it was a task Blatch was ready for and wanted to accomplish for his teammates.

It was nice, having that kind of responsibility, it’s hard to explain, Blatch said. “They scored twelve runs; it’s kind of hard not to do well when your team is crushing the ball. Having that big of a lead boosts your confidence and it was good knowing if I do what I need to do, I can help win a championship for these guys.”

This year’s Amsterdam Mohawks squad finished with a 40-11 record after starting the PGCBL season 2-6 and Coach Griffin says this team has set the bar high for the rest of the PGCBL.

I’ve been here six years and we’ve won it five times,” Griffin said. “This is clearly the best team we’ve ever had, this is a special group. This is the deepest pitching staff we’ve ever had; very good hitters just kept getting better and made this the best team ever.

This will probably be arguably one of the greatest teams, they just set the bar for the rest of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League to catch this team. This team went 40-11 after a 2-6 start. They got better, they bought in and it was a lot of fun to be around.”

At the beginning of the season, Coach Griffin said he has three goals he wants to accomplish by the end of the PGCBL season.

When we get these guys, I say I have three goals for you,” he said. “First thing I want to do is win the championship, I mean that’s the goal when I come in and I tell them that the first day. The second goal is I want you to get better. And the third goal is I want you to go back home healthy and I feel if we accomplish those three goals, we’ve had a good summer.

I think we did that and I think those guys will go back as better players than when we got them.”

For Taylor Blatch who will be returning to Florida State for his sophomore year, he certainly has a accomplished all three of those goals and will take what he learned from this summer and implement it to his career as a Seminole.

Back at Florida State, I was told as a reliever to mainly throw my slider and fastball, to command those,” he said. “I felt restricted from the regular pitches I liked to throw. This summer I let pitching coach, Heath Storey, know the types of pitches I was trying to work on in order to be a starter for next year.

He said whatever you need we’ll work with you and I just worked on two extra pitches, the changeup and the two-seam. If my fastball and slider aren’t working and that’s all I’m allowed to throw, then its not going to end up very well. But having those other alternatives this summer helped my summer be favorable.”

As this year’s Mohawks return to college PGCBL champions, a new group of players will come in next year with the same three goals Coach Griffin wants accomplished. If they too buy in, the Mohawks could possibly be four-time champions.

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