The Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League continue to rise in the national rankings. The fourth summer Top 30 poll of the 2012 season has been released by Perfect Game and the Mohawks are now ranked fourth in the country among all summer baseball teams. The Mohawks trail only the top-ranked Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League, the Mankato MoonDogs of the Northwoods League and the Keene Swamp Bats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Over the last three weeks, the Mohawks haven risen dramatically in the national rankings from 11th to sixth and now to four.
According to a Perfect Game press release, teams in the poll are ranked on the following criteria: won-loss record, league dominance, depth and quality of professional talent and overall strength of the league. All of the teams ranked in the top 30 this week have at least a .500 winning percentage.
To see the press release and the full rankings, click here
With three weeks remaining in the regular season, the Amsterdam Mohawks lead the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League with a 23-6 (.793) record. Amsterdam leads its’ closest competitor, Glens Falls, by seven games in the league standings.
The Mohawks’ .793 winning percentage is the second-best in the country. Amsterdam’s 23 wins are tied for fourth-most nationally however the number of games played varies league-to-league.
In the brief two-year history of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, no team has been ranked higher in the Perfect Game summer baseball poll. Amsterdam’s ranking of four is also the highest ranking the team has achieved in its’ over 30 years of existence.
The Mohawks are led by 2011 Chicago White Sox 41st-round selection Chandler Shepherd (Kentucky). Shepherd leads the PGCBL in victories (five) and earned run average (0.26). Shepherd has won all five of his starts this season and has allowed one earned run in 34.0 innings. The rising sophomore from the University Kentucky has struck out 33 and walked just five. Opponents are batting .148 against Shepherd who has earned three of his five victories on the road.
Other Amsterdam pitching standouts have included Mark Leiter Jr. (NJIT) and Rocky McCord (Auburn). Leiter, a mid-season signing, made his second start of the summer this past weekend at Elmira and struck out 10 batters over six innings in a four-hit shutout. Leiter is 2-0 with a 1.50 earned run average since returning to the team. McCord (Auburn), a 36th-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2011, is 3-0 with a 1.27 earned run average through five starts. He has 30 strikeouts in 28.1 innings.
Infielder and catcher Zak Colby (Faulkner) earned a PGCBL Co-Player of the Week Award on Monday. Colby led the Mohawks to a 4-2 week between July 2 and July 8. He batted .520 with one home run, eight RBI, 13 hits and seven runs scored. Colby slugged .840 and compiled a .548 on-base percentage in six contests. The Hanford, Calif., native had three multi-hit, two multi-run and two multi-RBI games. He book-ended the week with two outstanding performances. Colby went 4-for-4 against Albany with two doubles, two RBI and one run scored. Sunday, Zak recorded a perfect 5-for-5 performance with three RBI and three runs scored in a win over Cooperstown.
Amsterdam left fielder Evan Stephens (Wake Forest) continues to lead the league with a .459 batting average while center fielder Ed Charlton (NJIT), who did not play last week, is first in the PGCBL with six home runs.
Overall, the Mohawks have won five summer baseball championships (1988, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010) and sent over 100 players on to professional baseball. Currently, there are over 30 Mohawks in professional baseball topped by Philadelphia Phillies’ outfielder Hunter Pence (2002).
The Mohawks are in the midst of celebrating their 10th anniversary season at Amsterdam’s Shuttleworth Park. The team, which was former in the late 1970s, played in at Central Park in Schenectady until 2002. The Mohawks moved to the Rug City of Amsterdam in 2003 and have been playing at the former Mohawk Mills Park ever since.
Perfect Game USA, baseball’s largest scouting service, partnered with eight summer collegiate baseball teams in the fall of 2010 to form the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. In addition to naming rights, Perfect Game actively assists the league in identifying and recruiting top college and junior college prospects.