After guiding the Amsterdam Mohawks to the most regular-season wins in the league and their sixth Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) Championship, Keith Griffin was crowned the 2022 PGCBL Coach of the Year.
Now a two-time recipient of the PGCBL’s Coach of the Year Award, Griffin added to his already legendary status as one of the greatest skippers on the summer ball circuit with yet another dominant performance in 2022. However, the respected bench boss wanted to emphasize that he isn’t the only one in the Carpet City who deserves praise.
“When you win Coach of the Year, there are so many people behind the scenes that make it easier,” Griffin said. “We had great players, the best team I ever had in Amsterdam, period. And our assistant coaches and support staff were incredible.
“The credit goes to them. I just get the award.”
The Mohawks won the East Division title with a 39-6 record and a .859 win percentage before taking the best-of-three championship series from the Batavia Muckdogs earlier this month. Statistically, Amsterdam ranked first in the PGCBL in team batting average (.305) with a league-high 7.7 runs per game. At the same time, the pitching staff stifled opposing hitters all summer long with a 2.33 earned-run average and .196 batting average against.
Not only did the Mohawks put up video-game-like numbers in all aspects of the game, but Griffin commended them for their team-first approach and outstanding work ethic.
“Our motto the whole year was ‘Every game has its own life,’” he explained. “We’re going to talk briefly about yesterday’s game and hopefully learn from our mistakes, but we’re not going to look ahead to tomorrow’s game; we’re going to play for today.”
And for a coach who has helped countless future MLB draft picks hone their skills over his 13-year career with the Mohawks, Griffin wasn’t afraid to reiterate where this year’s squad ranks in his mind.
“I don’t know if any of them will be as good as Luke Maile or Mark Leiter (Jr.) or Mel Rojas or any of the guys we had in the big leagues who were just stud baseball players, but I know one thing: From one to 30, it was the best team we ever had.”
“History will prove over time if some of these guys get a chance to play after college and make their own mark,” Griffin added. “But for a summer, I’ve never seen a better team.”
An Alabama native who now resides in sunny Florida, Griffin, 67, has not yet made a decision regarding the summer of 2023 with Amsterdam President and General Manager Brian Spagnola.
“I’m getting closer to the end, I absolutely know that,” Griffin said. “This group rejuvenated me. It was such a fun group to coach. Can we do that back-to-back, as far as good human beings who enjoy playing and all that stuff? I hope so. But I really don’t know.”