Brendan Tracy of the Amsterdam Mohawks (PC: Shawn Stannard/Stannard Photography)
The 2015 PGCBL season, the fifth in the league's history, was yet another one to remember.
For the first time since 2011, the Amsterdam Mohawks did not win the PGCBL Championship. Instead, the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs won their first PGCBL title by sweeping the Victor RailRiders—the representatives from the West—in the PGCBL Championship Series. In the division finals, Victor, in its first year of existence, swept the Elmira Pioneers in the West Division Championship Series while Mohawk Valley rallied from a 1-0 series deficit to beat Amsterdam two games to one in the East.
In the regular season, Amsterdam set a new PGCBL record with 40 wins—which topped its record set last year of 36. Elmira won its first West Division regular season title with a 33-17 campaign. The full regular season standings can be found here.
Below is a recap of each team's 2015 season:
Adirondack Trail Blazers
- The Adirondack Trail Blazers finished the 2015 season with a 17-33 record. The Trail Blazers finished in fifth place in the West Division, 16 games behind the Elmira Pioneers.
- Adirondack finished with the fifth-highest team OPS at .691. The Trail Blazers, who led the league with 24 home runs last year, clubbed 15 long balls this summer, which was good for the fourth-highest total. On the mound, Adirondack had the highest team ERA at 5.15 and Trail Blazer pitchers allowed 30 home runs.
- Chris Kwitzer was the leader of the Adirondack offense. Kwitzer was named to the first team All-PGCBL after finishing in the top five in both batting average and Runs Created. Kwitzer had the fourth-highest batting average at .366 and “created” the fifth-most runs at 31.974. Kyle Walker also hit the ball well for Matt Leahy’s club. Walker clubbed three home runs and drove in 18 runs while hitting .265.
- On the mound, Tom Fazzini and Zach Crim led the Trail Blazers. Fazzini appeared in 14 games (all in relief) and posted a 2.52 ERA. He was named Pitcher of the Week for Week Four. Crim appeared in 11 games and had a 2.86 ERA with 35 strikeouts.
- The Albany Dutchmen finished the 2015 season with a 23-26 record. The Dutchmen finished in third place in the East Division and lost the one-game playoff against the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs on July 31. The 23 wins are two more than the Dutchmen had in 2014.
- The Dutchmen went 5-2 in their first seven games after the All-Star Game on July 20 to help guide them into the postseason. Ultimately, the Dutchmen won a winner-take-all game on the last night of the regular season over Glens Falls to clinch the final spot in the East.
- The Dutchmen offense was led by Zach Remillard and Michael Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons led the team in batting average among qualifiers with a .301 mark and drove in 36 runs, which is an Albany record. Remillard finished the 2015 summer with a .276 batting average, 20 RBIs, three home runs and five stolen bases. He also hit 10 doubles and “created” nearly 20 runs for Nick Davey’s club. Remillard was named a first team All-PGCBL selection, while Fitzimmons was named to the second team.
- Nick Cioffi put forth a great season on the mound for the Dutchmen as he was named a second team All-PGCBL selection. In 59 innings of work, the right-hander went 5-1 with a 1.67 ERA and 52 strikeouts. Cioffi tossed three complete games—all in July—while walking just 19 batters all season.
- The Amsterdam Mohawks set a PGCBL record with 40 wins in the regular season, but came out a win short in the East Division Championship Series. The Mohawks were eliminated by the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs. Their 40-win campaign topped a record set by Keith Griffin’s club last year (36 wins).
- In the record-breaking season, the Mohawks led the PGCBL in both batting average (.286) and ERA (3.13). Opponents hit just .210 off Amsterdam pitching—the lowest average in the league—and the Mohawks’ team OPS of .822 also led the league. Amsterdam batters hit a whopping 42 home runs, 18 more than the next closest team (Mohawk Valley).
- Five hitters hit above .300 for the Mohawks (Brendan Tracy, .350; Hunter Tackett, .333; Tyler Kirkpatrick, .315; Justin Yurchak, .306; Riley Mahan, .303). Tackett hit seven home runs (tied for second in the league), had 38 RBIs (also tied for second) and stole 22 bases. He was named to the first team All-PGCBL along with catcher Handsome Monica, who led the league with nine home runs, which are tied for the second-most in PGCBL history. Catcher Scott Manea and Tracy were named to the second team All-PGCBL.
- On the mound, Zach Logue was named co-Pitcher of the Year after posting an undefeated 7-0 record with a 2.29 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 51 innings pitched. He also started the All-Star Game for the East and opponents hit just .214 off him. Reliever Kyle Smith was also named to the first team all-league after striking out more than 14 batters per nine innings. Nine of Amsterdam’s 10 pitchers who had more than 10 appearances had an ERA under five.
- The Elmira Pioneers finished the 2015 season with a 33-17 record en route to their first West Division regular season title. The Pioneers were defeated in the West Division Championship Series by the Victor RailRiders. The 33-17 record set a PGCBL club record and is an improvement over 2014, which saw Matt Burch’s club go 26-21.
- The Pioneer offense was one of the best in the league. Elmira hit .273 as a team, third-highest in the league and posted a .750 OPS, also the third-highest among PGCBL teams. Despite having the PGCBL leader in ERA, Elmira posted the second-highest team ERA at 4.89.
- First Baseman Christian Santisteban was named the PGCBL Player of the Year as he hit .377 with six home runs and 38 RBIs. The Miami native finished second in the league in batting and tied for second in RBIs, while finishing tied for third with his six home runs. Outside of the Triple Crown categories, Santisteban scored 41 times (third in the league) and led the PGCBL with 58 hits and 43 walks. Will LaRue was named to the second team All-PGCBL as he led the league with 26 stolen bases and also hit .340.
- On the mound, Justin Lewis and Kyano Cummings were the most dominant tandem in the league. Lewis led the league with a 1.36 ERA in 52.2 innings, while Cummings was named co-Pitcher of the Year after finishing in the top five in all three pitching Triple Crown categories, garnering five wins (tied for third), posting a 1.69 ERA (fourth) and tying the PGCBL strikeout record with 74.
Glens Falls Dragons
- The Glens Falls Dragons finished the 2015 season with an 22-28 record. The Dragons finished in fourth place in the East Division, a game and a half back of Albany for the final playoff spot. The 22 wins are four more than Glens Falls had in 2014.
- At the plate, Glens Falls hit .246, which is a point higher than its .245 mark last year. On the mound, the Dragons posted a team ERA of 4.61, which oddly enough is also a one point improvement from last year.
- Ryan Hooper, Mark Powell and Jake Vieth led the Dragons lineup. Hooper was named to the first team All-PGCBL as he reached base nearly 44 percent of the time and finished with an OPS of 1.045. Powell led Glens Falls in hitting with a .327 batting average, while Vieth hit .297 and drove in 35 runs and drew 25 walks.
- Cameron Churchill and Alex Yarem were the anchors of the Dragons pitching staff. Churchill appeared in 12 games and had a 2.97 ERA while Yarem tossed 60 innings with a 3.30 ERA. Tyler Ehlers, who was solid for Glens Falls in 2014 as well, made five appearances (all starts) and posted a 2.25 ERA.
Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs
- The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs won their first PGCBL championship by sweeping the Victor RailRiders in the PGCBL Championship Series. The DiamondDawgs finished the regular season with a 32-18 record, which was good for second place in the East behind Amsterdam, who Mohawk Valley beat in the East Division Championship Series.
- Mohawk Valley finished second in the league with a .284 team batting average and a .781 OPS. A year after leading the league in stolen bases, the DiamondDawgs stole just 66 bags, the third-fewest in the league. Instead, Mohawk Valley relied more on the long ball as Blake Nation’s club hit the second-most home runs in the league at 24.
- The DiamondDawgs, like Amsterdam, had five players who played a significant number of games hit above .300 (Ryan Stekl, .358; Sam Machonis, .338; Troy Scocca, .335; Matt Pagano, .305; Thomas Walraven, .302). Scocca, who started the All-Star Game for the East, was named first team All-PGCBL after leading he league with 40 RBIs and he hit six home runs (tied for the third-most in the league).
- Anthony Herrera almost single-handedly led Mohawk Valley to the championship. In a decisive third game of the East Championship Series, the right-hander fired five innings of one-run ball in relief to get the win and he notched two saves in the PGCBL Championship Series against Victor, including 2.1 scoreless in the clinching game. During the regular season, Herrera did not allow an earned run and just allowed one run total in 16 appearances. He was named second team All-PGCBL. Adam Ashenfarb led the rotation with a 2.16 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts) as he went 5-2.
- The Newark Pilots finished the 2015 season with a 20-30 record. The Pilots finished in fourth place in the West Division, trailing the Utica Brewers by one game for the final playoff spot in the West. This year was the first time Newark did not make the postseason and comes a year after the Pilots made it all the way to the PGCBL Championship Series.
- The Pilots hit above .250 as a team (.251) and had a .673 team OPS, which was the third lowest in the PGCBL. Newark did steal 106 bases as a team, which was the second-most in the league. The Pilots had the second-lowest team ERA with a 3.80 mark and opponents hit .246 off Newark pitching.
- The quartet of Cody Wiktorski, Kyle Norman, Mark Martin and Will Gorman led the Newark lineup. Wiktorski set a PGCBL record with 26 extra base hits, including 18 doubles, as he has been named to the first team All-PGCBL. Norman hit .316, which led the Pilots; Martin drove in 28 runs and Gorman hit five home runs.
- Vinny Martin was one of the most dominant relievers in the league. The right-hander finished with a 0.87 ERA in 18 appearances, while notching six saves. The starting rotation was led by Jacob Wloczewski and Logan Harasta, who finished with ERAs of 1.91 and 2.23, respectively. Harasta struck out 34 batters and opponents hit just .205 off Wloczewski.
- The Saugerties Stallions finished the 2015 season with a 14-35 record. The Stallions, in their first year of existence, finished in fifth place in the East Division, trailing the Amsterdam Mohawks by 25.5 games.
- Despite the league-worst record, Saugerties finished with the fifth-highest team batting average at .254. The Stallions stole the fourth-most bases with 79. On the mound, Matt Righter’s club had the fourth-highest ERA at 4.50, while opponents hit .267 off Stallions pitching.
- The Stallions did not have a player on the first team All-PGCBL, but catcher John Giakas was named to the second team after hitting .300 on the summer. Joe Venturino had the highest batting average on the team at .330 and Dylan Sprague led the team in RBIs with 20.
- On the mound, Andrew Carkner allowed just two earned runs in 11 appearances and in 10 appearances (nine starts), Anthony Rocco had a 2.81 ERA with 30 strikeouts.
- The Utica Brewers finished the 2015 season with a 21-29 record en route to their first PGCBL postseason appearance. The Brewers finished in third place in the West Division. This year was a big improvement for Utica after they went 9-36 in 2014.
- As a team, Utica had the fourth-highest batting average at .265 and its team OPS of .711 was also the fourth-highest in the league. The Brewers hit the third-most home runs in the PGCBL with 17. On the mound, Utica’s team ERA of 4.17 was the fifth in the league and opponents hit .261 off Brewers pitching.
- Ryan Cox won the 2015 PGCBL batting title with a .383 batting average. Cox overtook Elmira’s Christian Santisteban in the final days of the regular season to claim the batting title. Including the postseason, Cox had multiple hits in the final three games of the season. Cox was named to the second team All-PGCBL and was joined by teammates Jared Baldinelli, who hit .347, and Taylor Olmstead, who hit seven home runs with 26 RBIs.
- Starter Michael Messier was lights out for the Brewers starting rotation. The Bellarmine product finished with a 1.38 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts) and struck out 36 batters. He started the All-Star Game for the West. Collin Gee and Ryan Simpler were also strong for Chris Amaya’s club, posting ERAs of 2.89 and 2.94, respectively, in 17 combined starts.
- The Victor RailRiders finished the 2015 season with a 27-23 record. The RailRiders, in their first season of existence, finished in second place in the West Division, but advanced to the PGCBL Championship Series by beating Utica in the one-game playoff and sweeping Elmira in the West Division Championship Series.
- Victor had the third-lowest team batting average at .247, but scored the fifth-most runs in the league with 252. On the mound, Victor had the third-lowest team ERA at 4.03, while opponents hit .248 off RailRider pitching. Coach Dan Shwam was named the 2015 PGCBL Coach of the Year.
- First team All-PGCBL selection Evan Fernandez led the Victor offense as he finished with the third-highest batting average (.373) in the PGCBL. Fernandez also stole 14 bases. Teammate Mark Cardinalli was named to the second team All-PGCBL after hitting .308 with three home runs and 31 RBIs. Brady Acker and Tommy Wagner also hit above .300 for the RailRiders at .353 and .303, respectively.
- Luke Tomczyk was the anchor of the Victor pitching staff as he posted a 1.28 ERA with 37 strikeouts in eight appearances (six starts). Chris Kemp notched seven saves to go along with a 2.41 ERA and Dylan Swetman had a 1.92 ERA in 16 appearances (all in relief).
The PGCBL is affiliated with Perfect Game, the largest independent scouting service in the country. Last year, more than 1,400 professional players had either worn the uniform of a PGCBL team or participated in a Perfect Game event.
For more information about the PGCBL, visit www.pgcbl.com and follow the league on Twitter, @PGCBLbaseball.