Opening Night at Shuttleworth Park (Photo courtesy Amsterdam Mohawks)
With just under one week remaining in the 2011 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League season, the Amsterdam Mohawks and the Glens Falls Golden Eagles are separated by one game in the race for the PGCBL East pennant. The Mohawks and the Golden Eagles are both ranked in the latest edition of the Summer "Top 25" national poll which was released on Wednesday. The summer collegiate ratings are compiled by PG Crosschecker and the web site CollegeSummerBaseball.net.
The current poll, according to the rankings web release, was expanded from 25 ranked teams to 35 with the start of postseason play in most summer leagues. The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League playoffs are scheduled to begin on Fri., Aug. 5.
To see the full rankings, click here
The Amsterdam Mohawks returned to the "Top 25" at number 22 after last week being relegated to the "Others receiving consideration" category. Amsterdam was rated 23rd in the nation in the poll released on July 12. Heading into the final six days of the regular season, the Mohawks have a 27-14 (.659) record which is the best in the eight-team PGCBL. Offensively, Amsterdam is first in the league in team batting average (.287), hits (386) and home runs (28). No other team in the loop has a batting average over .275. Luke Maile (Kentucky leads the Mohawks with a .408 batting average and seven home runs in just 21 games played. His 23 runs batted in are second to Josh Nethaway's (Albany) team-high 24. Five active Amsterdam hitters have a batting average over .300. Outfielder Jude Vidrine (Lamar) ranks fourth in the league (among qualifying players) in batting average with a .348 clip over 37 games.
Defensively, Amsterdam's 3.37 earned run average is the lowest of all PGCBL teams. The Mohawks have allowed just 129 earned runs in 41 games. The Tribe staff also leads the league in fewest batters walked (99). Amsterdam stands second in saves (14), fewest hits allowed (335) and strikeouts (349). Starting pitchers Brett Houseal (Marist, 2.25) and Mark Leiter Jr. (NJIT, 3.00) are ranked third (tie) and fifth respectively among league starting pitchers in earned run average. Leiter Jr. leads the league with 61 strikeouts in 48.0 innings pitched. Closer Abram Williams (Radford) has a loop-best 10 saves and he has compiled 21 saves in two regular seasons with the Mohawks.
The Glens Falls Golden Eagles, currently riding a three-game winning streak after Wednesday's doubleheader sweep at Cooperstown, are listed at number 33 among 35 ranked teams. The Golden Eagles at 26-15 (.634) have the second-best record and winning percentage in the PGCBL. The best fielding team in the circuit resides at East Field in Glens Falls. The Green and Gold lead the league in fielding percentage (.965) and fewest errors committed (51). Catcher Daniel Klein (Kansas State) leads the league in throwing out runners attempting to steal. Klein has gunned down 53.0% (9-of-17) of opposing would-be base stealers.
The Golden Eagles are topped by two-way threat Kyle Ruchim (Northwestern). Ruchim leads the Golden Eagles in batting average (.340), hits (48), doubles (15), home runs (six), total bases (81) and saves (eight). The Buffalo Grove, Ill., native is second on the team with 24 runs batted in. On the mound, Ruchim is 2-0 with a 2.45 earned run average over 13 appearances. He has struck out 36 batters in 18.1 innings. Other offensive standouts for the Golden Eagles include Josh Anderson (Yavapai), Ricky Claudio (St. Thomas, Fla.), David Olson (Tacoma CC) and Mike Kindel (Kansas State). Anderson leads the team in RBI (25) and stands second in batting average (.330) and home runs (five). Olson is batting .319 with two home runs and 24 RBI while Claudio is tied with Ruchim for the team lead in runs scored with 31. Kindel, a mid-season addition, has a .295 batting average, three home runs and 25 RBI in 29 games.
Starter Derek Mazzio (Saint Louis) is among the league leaders in earned run average. Mazzio's 2.25 ERA is tied for third-best in the league with Amsterdam's Brett Houseal and his 51 strikeouts in 48.0 innings are fourth-most among PGCBL pitchers. Brennan Perry (So. Maine) is tied for the first in the PGCBL in victories with five over eight appearances. Kayvon Bahramzadeh (Kansas State), a mid-season addition, is 2-0 with a 1.35 earned run average in five outings. He has 17 strikeouts in 20 innings and has given up just three runs. As a team, the Golden Eagles' pitching staff has the most strikeouts of any team with 361.
Perfect Game USA, baseball's largest scouting service, partnered with eight summer collegiate baseball teams located in upstate New York to form the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League in the fall of 2010. In addition to naming rights, Perfect Game actively assists the league and its' teams in identifying and recruiting top college and junior college prospects.