08/01/2013 3:58 AM
2012 PGCBL champion Amsterdam Mohawks
The 2013 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League season began on June 5 with 10 teams all pursuing the ultimate goal of winning a league championship. Nearly two months and over 200 games later, the field of six for the 2013 PGCBL playoffs has been set.
For the first time in the three-year history of the PGCBL, the top three teams in each division qualified for the league playoffs. Three of the six teams are first-time playoff participants in the PGCBL while the other three teams are making a return trip to the league's postseason tournament. The new playoff formula allowed for an exciting finish to the regular season as the final playoff participant and playoff seeds were not completely decided until the final two nights of the regular season.
Playoff representatives from the East Division include the defending league champion Amsterdam Mohawks, the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs and the Albany Dutchmen. The West Division playoff teams are the Watertown Rams, Newark Pilots and the Elmira Pioneers.
The opening round of the 2013 playoffs will be held on Thursday, August 1. The opening round will consist of a one-game playoff between the second and third seeds in each division. In the East Division, the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs will host the Albany Dutchmen at Veterans Memorial Park in Little Falls, N.Y. The winner of the game will advance to the best-of-three East Division finals to play the Amsterdam Mohawks. In the West Division, the Newark Pilots will host the Elmira Pioneers at Colburn Park in Newark, N.Y. The winner of the game will meet the Watertown Rams in the best-of-three West Division finals.
Weather permitting, the divisional finals will begin on Friday, August 2 in Amsterdam and Watertown and run through Sunday, August 4. The higher-seeded Mohawks and Rams will host Game 1 and if necessary, Game 3 in each series.
The winners of the divisional finals will advance on to the 2013 PGCBL Championship Series. The Championship Series is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, August 6.
Playoff Team Capsules
The 22nd nationally-ranked Amsterdam Mohawks captured the East Division championship and home-field advantage throughout the PGCBL playoffs with a 31-16 (.660) regular season record. Amsterdam finished the season on a 10-game winning streak and the Mohawks went 14-1 over their final 15 regularly-scheduled games. In three PGCBL seasons, head coach Keith Griffin has guided Amsterdam to a 96-45 (.681) record and three playoff appearances. Overall, Amsterdam is making its fifth-straight trip to the postseason. The Mohawks are the defending league champions and are the only team to play in each of the first two PGCBL Championship Series. Amsterdam is 7-3 all-time in the PGCBL playoffs. The Mohawks finished the regular season with the best record in the league for the second year in a row.
Mohawk Valley (26-19)
The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs are making their second-straight appearance in the PGCBL playoffs. Mohawk Valley went 16-10 in the month of July to finish off the regular season with a 26-19 (.578) record. The DiamondDawgs clinched a playoff spot and home-field advantage in the opening round of the playoffs on Tuesday night with a home doubleheader sweep of the Elmira Pioneers at Veterans Memorial Park. Head coach Roberto Vaz has won 51 games in two seasons at the helm of the DiamondDawgs. For the second year in a row, the Dawgs set a franchise single-season record for wins. Last August, Mohawk Valley took eventual league champion Amsterdam to the limit in a best-of-three opening round playoff series.
The Albany Dutchmen are making their first-ever playoff appearance. The Dutchmen did not punch their playoff ticket until just after midnight on Thursday morning. Albany defeated Glens Falls, 6-5, in a 16-inning thriller to clinch the final playoff spot in the East. The Dutchmen and Golden Eagles finished the regular season tied for third place in the division. Albany’s win over Glens Falls in the extra-inning game propelled the Dutchmen into the playoffs based on a 6-4 advantage in the regular season series. Albany set a franchise record with 26 total victories. Head coach Nick Davey’s Dutchmen led the league with five walk-off wins.
Like the Albany Dutchmen, the Watertown Rams will be participating in the PGCBL playoffs for the very first time. Watertown won a franchise record 29 games and captured its’ first-ever division championship. The Rams opened the summer with a 5-10 record. Watertown ended the regular season on a 24-9 run. The Silver and Black amassed separate winning streaks of seven, four and five games between June 26 and July 31. Of the six playoff teams, Watertown was the first to clinch a postseason bid. Watertown is making its first playoff appearance overall since 2008.
The Newark Pilots, 2011 league champions, have not missed the PGCBL playoffs in the three-year existence of the franchise. Newark outlasted Cooperstown in the 2011 divisional playoffs and went on to defeat Amsterdam in the PGCBL Championship Series. Last summer, the Pilots finished third in the league and qualified for the playoffs but ultimately fell short in a best-of-three opening round series to the Glens Falls Golden Eagles. Newark closed the 2013 regular season on an 8-2 run to clinch home-field advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. Five of the eight wins came on the road including two on the final two nights of the regular season at Utica and Mohawk Valley. Head coach Mike Armstrong is in his first year at the controls for the Pilots. Chris Ebright led Newark to the playoffs in 2011 and 2012 and amassed a 4-4 postseason record.
The Elmira Pioneers are one of three teams, along with Watertown and Albany, making their first appearance in the PGCBL playoffs. Head coach Matt Burch, in his second stint with the Elmira organization, has guided three separate summer collegiate Pioneer teams into the postseason. Burch’s 2007 Elmira side captured a summer collegiate league championship. The 2013 Pioneers won 21 regular season games and Burch skippered the Pios to a second third-place finish in three seasons.
3) Albany Dutchmen at 2) Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs (Aug. 1)
Albany/Mohawk Valley vs. 1) Amsterdam Mohawks
Game 1 – Albany/Mohawk Valley at Amsterdam (Aug. 2)
Game 2 – Amsterdam at Albany/Mohawk Valley (Aug. 3)
Game 3 – Albany/Mohawk Valley at Amsterdam (Aug. 4), if nec.
3) Elmira Pioneers at 2) Newark Pilots (Aug. 1)
Elmira/Newark vs. 1) Watertown Rams
Game 1 – Elmira/Newark at Watertown (Aug. 2)
Game 2 – Watertown at Elmira/Newark (Aug. 3)
Game 3 – Elmira/Newark at Watertown (Aug. 4), if nec.
PGCBL Championship Series
Game 1 - (Aug. 6)
Game 2 - (Aug. 7)
Game 3 - (Aug. 8)