Photo courtesy Steve Plopper/Newark Pilots
The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League placed three teams in the final edition of the 2011 Summer “Top 25” national poll. The 2011 summer collegiate rankings werre compiled by PG Crosschecker and the web site CollegeSummerBaseball.net.
The final poll of the summer was expanded from 35 teams to 50 teams in an attempt to recognize teams and leagues from across the country. The 2011 PGCBL champion Newark Pilots, Amsterdam Mohawks and Glens Falls Golden Eagles were among the top 50 summer teams in the country according to the Aug. 22 poll. Overall, teams from 21 leagues were represented in the Summer Top 50. The PGCBL was one of just five leagues with at least three teams in the national rankings.
To see the full list of ranked teams, click here
The 2011 PGCBL champion Newark Pilots earned the highest ranking of any PGCBL squad at number 27. Newark earned a second-place finish in the PGCBL West with a 26-22 (.542) record which was the fourth best among eight league teams. The Pilots lost Game 1 of the divisional playoffs to PGCBL West regular season champion Cooperstown but then roared back to win two-straight games over the Hawkeyes to advance on to the PGCBL Championship Series. Newark dropped the opening game of the league finals at home to nationally-ranked Amsterdam. However, the Pilots captured the best-of-three league championship series with a doubleheader sweep of the Mohawks at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam.
Newark starting pitcher Dominick Ruscitti (Kutztown) was named PGCBL Pitcher of the Year. Ruscitti led the PGCBL in victories (six) and earned run average (1.82).Overall, eight Pilots were named to the All-PGCBL first or second teams and two Pilots earned PGCBL Rising Stars recognition.
The Amsterdam Mohawks, nationally ranked for most of the season, ended the summer ranked 37th in the country. The Mohawks were one of only two PGCBL teams with at least 30 victories during the regular season. Amsterdam went 30-17 (.638) and finished a half game behind division champion Glens Falls. The Mohawks swept the Golden Eagles, two games to none, in the divisional playoffs and entered the PGCBL Championship Series as the higher seed. The Tribe took the opener over the Newark Pilots but dropped the next two games of the series at home.
Seven Mohawks were selected All-PGCBL and six of the seven were named to the first team. Amsterdam boasted the top offense in the league with a .288 team batting average and the top pitching staff in the loop with a 3.37 team earned run average. Individually, infielder Zach Shank (Marist) topped the circuit with 38 runs scored while pitcher Mark Leiter Jr. (NJIT) struck out a league-high 74. Additionally, Amsterdam dominated the PGCBL Rising Stars team with five selections.
The Glens Falls Golden Eagles, much like the Amsterdam Mohawks, spent most of the summer in the PG Crosschecker national rankings. Glens Falls finished the inaugural PGCBL season with the best record in the league (31-17, .646). The Golden Eagles earned the top seed and home-field advantage through the league playoffs. Longtime rival Amsterdam tripped up Glens Falls, two games to none, in the divisional playoffs, thus ending the season of the Green and Gold.
Five Golden Eagles earned All-PGCBL accolades and a trio of young standouts were named to the PGCBL Rising Stars team. The young talent on Glens Falls included third baseman Josh Anderson (Yavapai), the top-rated prospect in the PGCBL according to Baseball America
, dual-threat standout Kyle Ruchim (Northwestern) and starting pitcher Derek Mazzio (Saint Louis). All three were named to the PGCBL Rising Stars team and were All-PGCBL first team.
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.