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Mohawks streakin' in PGCBL

Summer Collegiate : : Story
Allan Simpson        
Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mohawks Continue Charge Up
PGCBL Standings With Latest Win

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y.—The Amsterdam Mohawks continue to bring up the rear in the Eastern Division of the Perfect Game Collegiate League, but are beginning to make noises that they are ready to assume their customary role as the dominant team in the 10-team league.

With a 20-hit explosion Tuesday that highlighted a 17-0 win over Watertown, and a five home run outburst Wednesday that keyed an easy 11-3 victory over the Cooperstown Hawkeyes, the defending league champion Mohawks have now won five games in a row, and at 10-9, moved over the .500 mark for the first time this season.

After posting an overall 39-13 record a year ago, Amsterdam began the 2013 season at 2-7, and was struggling in all phases of the game.

We didn’t play well at all at the start, especially defensively, in part because we didn’t have all our players here,” said Keith Griffin, the team’s long-time head coach. “But everyone is here now, and we’ve gotten progressively better every game. Our pitching, in particular, has come on, and better defined itself.”

Had it not been for an uncharacteristic sixth-inning error Wednesday that opened the door for Cooperstown to score all three of its runs (all unearned), the Mohawks would have spun their third straight shutout. Lefthander Matt Snyder (Temple) and two relievers otherwise stymied the Hawkeyes, but the real story of Amsterdam’s latest victory was a relentless offensive attack.

DH Dylan Smith, a rising sophomore at Auburn, went deep twice for the Mohawks, including a three-run shot in the seventh, while shortstop John Sansone (Florida State), center fielder Ed Charlton (New Jersey Tech) and first baseman John Nogowski (Florida State) contributed solo shots to put the game out of reach early. All took full advantage of the short left-field porch at Cooperstown’s historic Doubleday Field, which measures just 296 down the line and 336 feet in the left-center field alley.

Even by finally climbing over the .500 mark, Amsterdam still finds itself in last place in the PGCBL’s Eastern Division—though closed to within 2-1/2 games of division leader Albany with their latest win. Oddly, the surging Mohawks have a better record than every team in the West, where every team is under .500 and Newark leads that division with just an 8-9 record.

Snyder, a 6-foot-4 southpaw who began his college career at Virginia Tech, transferred to Fulton-Montgomery (Md.) JC as a sophomore and moves on to Temple in the fall as a junior, kept Cooperstown off balance mostly with a deceptive delivery and a fastball at 90-91 mph, while pushing his record on the season to 2-0 and lowering his ERA to 1.35.

With a fastball that was clocked at 93-94 mph in his latest start, 6-foot-7 righthander Trey Wingenter (Auburn) is considered the best prospect on the Mohawks staff. He began the team’s streak of three consecutive games without allowing an earned run by pitching the first six innings of a 3-0 win over Newark Sunday, walking one and striking out six. It was his first win of the summer and improved his record in four starts to 1-1, 1.86 with 23 strikeouts in 19 innings.

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