For the fourth season in a row, the Mohawks (41-6-1) return to the PGCBL Championship after a 5-3 East Division Final victory over the Stallions (28-20-2). After sweeping Amsterdam in last year’s league title, Saugerties finished 2022 winless in ten meetups against the Mohawks. Amsterdam’s quest for its sixth PGCBL crown continues tomorrow night, in a best-of-three series against Batavia, who defeated Utica 6-0 in the West Division Final.
Collin Brougham (South Alabama) made his fifth start for the Mohawks and didn’t get help from his defense early. In the top of the first, Evan Goforth (Indiana) reached on an error from shortstop Cam Love (Rutgers) and later scored on a Garrison Berkley (UT-Arlington) double. Then, with runners on the corners and two outs, catcher Mark Black (Gardiner-Webb) dropped strike three during JP Tighe’s (Georgia Southern) at bat, as Berkley touched home plate and increased the lead 2-0 Stallions. Amsterdam had no response in the bottom of the frame, as the top of the order went down 1-2-3 vs. All-Star James Reilly (St. Thomas Aquinas).
The Mohawks would make some noise, however, in the bottom of the second. Zach Gardiner (Marshall) singled and Briggs Rutter (Middle Tennessee State) was plunked before Reilly recorded an out. A wild pitch in the middle of Ian Petrutz’s (Maryland) at bat let the runners move over to second and third. On Reilly’s next pitch, Petrutz grounded out to short and Goforth got the out at first, but Gardiner scored from third to get Amsterdam back within one. Brougham retired the side in the top of the third, and the Mohawks chipped away yet again in the bottom of the inning. Amsterdam made two quick outs but then received two consecutive singles from Love and Brett Coker (Middle Tennessee State). Gardiner came to the plate and grounded one through the hole and into right for a game-tying RBI single.
In the top of the fourth, Brougham couldn’t keep Saugerties silent for a third straight inning. A hit by pitch and a single put Stallions on first and second with one out. The bottom man in the order, Jahlani Rogers (Sante Fe College), preceded to swing at the first pitch and line one to left which allowed Tighe to score from second. Santhosh Gottam (Brown) came in relief of Brougham after he then loaded the bases with one out. Luckily for the latter, Gottam recorded a strikeout and a groundout to get out of the jam. In 3.1 innings pitched, Brougham allowed three runs (one earned) off five hits with six punchouts.
Reilly kept the Mohawks off the board in the bottom of the fourth, and Gottam followed with a shutout top of the fifth. Saugerties kept Reilly on the bump in the bottom of the inning, and the redshirt junior rewarded the Stallions with another clean frame. In the top of the sixth, Gottam surrendered a leadoff single to Rogers which ended his outing after 1.2 innings. Florida State’s Conner Whittaker entered from the bullpen and got out of the frame unscathed thanks in part to a pair of punchouts. In the bottom of the sixth, Reilly trotted out once more. After a groundout, Rutter and Petrutz reached on a walk and a strikeout, respectively. As a result, Reilly was pulled.
His replacement, Drake Quinn (Marist), hurled a wild pitch that moved both baserunners over, and a Cade Bush (Florida State) RBI groundout allowed Rutter to tie the contest at three. Next up was Black, who worked a two-out walk that put runners on the corners for Nick Giamarusti (John A. Logan CC). The freshman soon sent a single to left that scored Petrutz and gave Amsterdam its first lead all game. Meanwhile, in the outfield, the ball was mishandled by Berkley. The E7 gave Black enough time to score from first and increase the advantage 5-3 Mohawks. Reilly was handed the loss in his first and only start all summer, going 5.1 innings and giving up four runs off five hits and two walks.
Giamarusti gave Amsterdam the lead, and Whittaker made sure to hold onto it across the final three innings. The freshman allowed Saugerties second and third with one out in the top of the seventh but held tough with a strikeout and a flyout to center. In the eighth, a 5-4-3 double play and a punchout of All-Star Brandon Fish (UMass-Lowell) got the job done. Lastly, in the top of the ninth, Berkley provided some late drama. The redshirt freshman led off and reached on another error from Love. Whittaker dialed in to leave him stranded, though, fanning three Stallions to send the Mohawks into celebration mode. The Florida native received the win, pitching four scoreless innings with seven punchouts.
Gardiner was the lone Mohawk with multiple hits, finishing 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Tonight, Amsterdam hosts Batavia for Game One of the PGCBL Championship. The game marks the first time the Mohawks face the Muckdogs, as 2022 is only Batavia’s second season in the Perfect Game League. First pitch is at 6:45 pm, so make sure to watch the video broadcast on the Amsterdam Mohawks’ Facebook Page through Facebook Live then.