On Monday afternoon, the Amsterdam Mohawks hosted the Shikoku Island League Plus All-Stars for an exhibition game at Shuttleworth Park. Shikoku Island won the seven-inning contest by a score of 13-0. While the score was one-sided, the Mohawks learned about what it takes to make it at the next level.
The game was arranged between Mohawks management and Zak Colby, a member of the 2012 Amsterdam Mohawks PGCBL championship team now playing in the Shikoku Island League. Zak Colby and Mohawks head coach Keith Griffin have kept in touch since Colby left the Capital District.
“Zak was the type of player who arrived early to help set up for practice and one of the last to leave,” said Griffin. Colby’s dedication and passion for the game have paid off. He currently leads the Shikoku Island League in batting average, home runs, and defense.
In the contest, Colby went 2-for-4 with a single, double, and two RBIs. After the game, he explained how the players in Japan approach the game of baseball. In Japan, players workout for the entire four hours leading up to a game, including plank exercises to strengthen the core. Practices last for ten hours a day and the season lasts from late January to early November. Pitchers throw 30-pitch bullpens a day and an additional 25 if the first 30 aren’t good enough.
Offensively, the Mohawks mustered one hit off the Shikoku pitching staff (a double in the 3rd by Nick Schaub). Coach Griffin used this game to illustrate the better pitching at the upper levels.
“(Shikoku) had guys that threw hard,” Griffin said in a post-game interview with The Recorder’s Adam Shinder. “Now our guys understand what it takes to make it to the next level.”
Before departing Shuttleworth, Colby offered one final piece of advice to the 2016 Mohawks. He told them to enjoy their time in Amsterdam because the ballpark brings great fans (ones who are the first to congratulate you, but also critique you during bad games), a historic park, and a great atmosphere.
The Mohawks are currently 1-3 on the season and return to PGCBL action on Tuesday when they host the unbeaten Saugerties Stallions at Shuttleworth Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
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