PGCBL Daily Rundown - July 31, 2013

The league regular season and PGCBL East champion Amsterdam Mohawks huddle up following Tuesday night's home finale against Adirondack. Photo courtesy Jon Sargelis/Amsterdam Mohawks

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Note: Individual game box scores can be found linked on the scoreboard page which is part of the “Statistics” drop-down menu. The box scores are also linked on the statistics page for each team.

Last Night’s Scores
Watertown 4 Albany 0 (Game 1)
Albany 4 Watertown 0 (Game 2)
Mohawk Valley 6 Elmira 4 (Game 1)
Mohawk Valley 3 Elmira 2 (Game 2)
Newark 16 Utica 10
Glens Falls 3 Cooperstown 0
Amsterdam 13 Adirondack 3

Tonight’s Games
Cooperstown at Amsterdam, 5:00 PM
Albany at Glens Falls*, 5:05 PM (Completion of July 7 suspended game)
Utica at Watertown, 7:00 PM
Newark at Mohawk Valley, 7:05 PM
Adirondack at Elmira, 7:05 PM
Albany at Glens Falls, 7:05 PM

*Today is the final day of the 2013 PGCBL regular season. The playoffs begin tomorrow. This is the first year that the regular season has ended in the month of July. The 2011 regular season lasted until August 3. Last year’s regular season schedule concluded on August 1.

*If the playoffs started today…East 1) Amsterdam, bye; 3) Albany at 2) Mohawk Valley…West 1) Watertown, bye; 3) Newark at 2) Elmira. The opening round games between the two and three seeds in each division will be played tomorrow night.

*Games played-games remaining…Adirondack (47-1), Albany (46-2), Amsterdam (47-1), Cooperstown (43-1), Elmira (46-1), Glens Falls (46-2), Mohawk Valley (44-1), Newark (47-1), Utica (43-1), Watertown (47-1).

*For all of the rain that fell in the early part of the season, four PGCBL teams will still finish their complete 48-game schedules – Albany, Amsterdam, Glens Falls and Watertown. Newark and Adirondack will have also played all 48 of their games however a July 19 contest was halted in the top of the 10th inning and never finished – that game does not impact the league standings.

*For the playoffs, here is what we know. Following last night’s results, it’s fairly simple. In the East, Amsterdam and Mohawk Valley each have wrapped up playoff spots. Amsterdam won the division championship earlier this week and will have a bye on Thursday night. Mohawk Valley clinched a playoff spot and home-field advantage last night with a sweep of Elmira in Little Falls. The DiamondDawgs will host either the Albany Dutchmen or the Glens Falls Golden Eagles tomorrow night. Albany and Glens Falls enter into tonight tied with identical 25-21 records. A split doubleheader today would result in each having a 26-22 regular season mark. In that case, Albany would advance on to the playoffs on a head-to-head tiebreaker; Albany enters the day with a 5-3 lead in the season series. Glens Falls has to sweep Albany to make the playoffs while Albany needs just a split.

*In the West, the three playoff teams are set however there is still drama as to where the opening round game on Thursday night will be. Watertown won the division championship earlier this week and like Amsterdam, it will have an opening round bye on Thursday night. Both Elmira and Newark have punched tickets for Thursday night’s opening round game however the site of that game is still up in the air. Newark’s win in Utica on Tuesday night combined with Elmira’s losses at Mohawk Valley tied the two teams in the standings with 21-25 records. If the two teams tie, Elmira would host the opening round game between the two teams on Thursday based on a head-to-head tiebreaker with a 7-3 record in the season series. Elmira needs a win or a Newark loss to guarantee a home game on Thursday night. Newark has to defeat fellow playoff team Mohawk Valley and hope for Adirondack to beat Elmira at Dunn Field. 

*Amsterdam’s Dylan Smith (Auburn) set a new league record on Tuesday night with eight RBI in a win over the Adirondack Trail Blazers. Smith hit a two-run double in the first, a three-run double in the second and then a three-run home run in the eighth. He was 3-for-4 with runners on base and 3-for-3 with men in scoring position. Smith broke the previous league record of seven RBI set by Watertown’s Erick Gaylord (Campbell) on July 16, 2011. It should be noted that both games took place at Shuttleworth Park. Just one of Smith’s three hits was a home run while Gaylord’s seven RBI came from hitting four home runs. Following last night’s game, Smith, a rising sophomore from the SEC, is now tied for the league lead in RBI with Mohawk Valley’s Landon Thibodeaux (LSU Eunice).

*Amsterdam scored 13 runs on Tuesday night but the Tribe’s bullpen was electric in shutting down Adirondack’s offense. Thomas Young (Western Carolina), Zach Breen (Schenectady County C.C.), Alex Gagne (Maine) and Zach Quayle (Ave Maria) combined to no-hit Adirondack over the final five innings in relief of Trey Wingenter (Auburn). The group retired 15 of 19 Adirondack swingers and struck out eight. Breen, Gagne and Quayle teamed up to sit down 12 men in a row.

*The Mohawks reached double-digits in runs scored for the ninth time this season on Tuesday night. Amsterdam’s 313 total runs lead the league. The Mohawks are five runs away from tying and six runs away from breaking the league record of 318 runs scored, set last season by Glens Falls.

*Amsterdam, in its current 10-game winning streak, has outscored opponents, 96-29. That’s an average victory of almost 10-3.

*Over the last two nights, there have been two doubleheaders with identical scores. Glens Falls and Newark traded 2-1 decisions on Monday night at Colburn Park. Tuesday, Watertown and Albany traded 4-0 shutouts. Also, each of the last night two nights, Mohawk Valley has been involved in a walk-off. The DiamondDawgs lost on Monday night, 4-3, to Amsterdam on a walk-off wild pitch. Last night, MV’s Jordan Serena (Columbia) scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the seventh to give the Dawgs a 3-2 walk-off win over Elmira.

*Albany’s Zach Remillard (Coastal Carolina) nearly hit for the cycle on Tuesday night in Watertown. The 2012 Houston Astros draft pick hit a three-run home run, doubled and tripled in Albany’s 4-0 win over Watertown. He missed the cycle by a single. Remillard’s home run was his first of the season. He hit four last year with the Dutchmen as a Coastal Carolina pre-frosh.

*Albany’s Jose Hernandez (Dean) and Watertown’s Kevin Klaess (Cypress) pitched dueling shutouts on Tuesday night at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds. Klaess pitched 6.1 innings in a combined shutout with reliever Matt Hennie (St. John’s) in the opener. Klaess tossed a four-hitter, walked three and struck out three. He was taken out after facing one batter in the top of the seventh inning .Hernandez bested Klaess in the night cap with a complete game five-hit shutout. Hernandez walked three and struck out a season-high seven. Hernandez retired the side in order three times and then pitched out of a second-and-third, no-out jam in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the shutout.

*Watertown’s win over Albany in the opening game of Tuesday’s twin bill gave the Rams their 28th victory of the summer. The win tied a Watertown franchise record for single-season victories. Watertown last won 28 games in 2005 as a member of the New York Collegiate Baseball League. The 2005 Watertown Wizards went 28-18 to finish second in the NYCBL’s Eastern Division. Watertown beat Amsterdam in the divisional playoffs and advanced to the NYCBL finals against Hornell. The head coach of the 28-win 2005 squad was current general manager Todd Kirkey.

*Another terrific pitching performance took place at East Field in Glens Falls where the Golden Eagles won a low-scoring affair with the Cooperstown Hawkeyes. Just five days earlier, Cooperstown had swept Glens Falls in a doubleheader in which the Eagles were held to two runs in 14 innings and went 12-straight frames in the twin bill without a run. Tuesday, it was the Eagles’ turn to quiet the bats of the opposition. Armand Rugel (Stonehill), Jared Moore (Kansas State), Zach Merciez (Missouri State) and Matt Eckelman (Saint Louis) combined on a three-hit shutout. Rugel retired 15 of the 19 men he faced over five scoreless innings. He conceded just one hit. Moore struck out three and walked two in two hit-less and scoreless stanzas. Merceiz and Ecklelman each allowed one hit but both retired three of the four batters they faced.

*Two of the Golden Eagles’ three runs came via two-out hits. Kyle Holder (Grossmont) broke a scoreless tie in the second with a two-out RBI single. In the eighth, with Glens Falls leading, 2-0, Bryan Ramirez (UTPA) slapped a two-out RBI double.

*Cooperstown’s Cody Smith (Black Hawk) was strong in back-to-back starts against Glens Falls. Last Thursday, Smith struck out six in a complete game six-hitter as Cooperstown defeated Glens Falls, 8-2, in the first game of a doubleheader at East Field. Smith returned to top the East Field hill on Tuesday night. He held the Golden Eagles to just three hits and struck out three over five innings but he conceded a two-out RBI single in the second and that proved to be the eventual game-winning run for Glens Falls.

*Mohawk Valley’s Casey Rodrigue (LSU Eunice) liked to do things in two’s on Tuesday. Rodrigue hit two solo home runs in the first game of a doubleheader against Elmira. In the second game, the Indiana-bound infielder laid down two sacrifice bunts in a 3-2 triumph. Rodrigue’s sacrifice hit in the bottom of the seventh moved pinch runner Jordan Serena (Columbia) to second which helped set up the game-winning sequence.

*Veterans Memorial Park in Little Falls isn’t exactly known as a home run paradise. The spacious dimensions at the Vet – including 378 feet down the right-field line – tend to yield a low number of home runs. In the first game of Tuesday’s Mohawk Valley-Elmira doubleheader, the Pioneers and DiamondDawgs clubbed four clouts. Elmira’s Chris Knott (East Stroudsburg) hit a solo home run in the second inning and that was immediately matched by a solo swat from MV’s Casey Rodrigue (LSU Eunice). Rodrigue added another solo home run in his second at-bat and two batters later, Trey Hunt III (Point Loma Nazarene) hit a two-run home run.

*Mohawk Valley reliever Zach Williams (UC Davis) earned every ounce of his second save of the season in the opening game against Elmira. Williams entered in the sixth inning in the midst of an Elmira rally. The Pioneers had already scored twice and had the potential tying run at the plate with two outs. Williams induced an inning-ending pop out to move the game into the bottom of the sixth. Elmira then loaded the bases against Williams in the seventh on a double and a pair of walks sandwiched in between a few strikeouts. Williams however would strand all three runners on base to end the game – he induced Elmira’s Ryan Plantier (Cornell) into a game-ending fly out into center field.

*Elmira’s sixth-inning rally in the opener nearly cut Mohawk Valley’s lead to one. MV center fielder Dalton Herrington (ULM) however had something to say about that. With runners on the corners, Chris Knott (East Stroudsburg) drilled a double into the right-center field gap. One run scored and the runner from first attempted to score as well. Dalton Herrington threw home from the outfield and was able to cut down Ryan Plantier (Cornell) at the plate for the second out of the inning.

*Eight of the 10 runs scored in the Elmira-MV opening game were recorded by Elmira’s Chris Knott (East Stroudsburg) and Spencer Henderson (UC Davis) and MV’s Casey Rodrigue (LSU Eunice) and Craig Lepre (Albany). All four men scored two runs each.

*Elmira’s Brian Bashara (Old Dominion) drove in both Pioneer runs in the night cap without recording a hit. Bashara plated Elmira’s first score on a ground out in the second inning. His sacrifice fly in the sixth tied the game, 2-2.

*With Mohawk Valley’s walk-off win on Tuesday night, nine of 10 PGCBL teams have won games this year on a walk-off play. Newark is the only team in the league without a walk-off win this season.

*Newark has scored a lot of runs in the Mohawk Valley region this season. Earlier this year, the Pilots flew away from Adirondack with a league single-game record 22 runs in a 22-7 win over the Trail Blazers at the Smith Sports Complex. The Pilots scored eight runs apiece in subsequent trips to Adirondack and also had five at Utica in an early season game. Tuesday night, Newark scored 16 runs on 11 hits. The Pilots took the runway quickly with 12 scores in the first two innings.

*The Pilots bookended their win over Utica with runs in bunches on Tuesday night. Newark scored 12 times in the first two innings and then added four more runs in the eighth and ninth. Lance Hamilton (Rochester) was the Pilots’ top gun in the first two frames with four combined RBI on back-to-back two-run singles. Samm Wiggins (Houston Baptist) also hit a three-run home run in the first inning for Newark. Seven Pilot players in the game scored two runs each.

*The top of Utica’s batting order did all of the damage for the Brewers on Tuesday night. Batters 1 through 5 – K’Shawn Smith (Stetson), Jay Gonzalez (Auburn), Michael Pierson (App. State), Joe Gallub (Concordia, N.Y.) and Spencer Mumford (South Florida State) combined to go 13-for-21 with 10 RBI and eight runs scored. Gallub finished 4-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI. Jay Gonzalez (Auburn) scored three runs, drove in three runs and mashed three hits. Spencer Mumford had three RBI and Michael Pierson belted an RBI triple and scored twice.

Did you know? One fact about a random PGCBL player each day…
*Utica’s Michael Pierson (Appalachian State) graduated from the Pine Crest School in Boca Raton, Fla., as the all-time leader in runs scored (100), total bases (179), batting average (.446), on-base percentage (.556) and games pitched (41). He set single-season records as a senior at Pine Crest in batting average (.551), on-base percentage (.667), runs scored (41) and hits (43). Pierson, the current PGCBL leader in batting average, was named the District 14-3A Player of the Year by The Coral Springs, Fla., native was tapped first team All-Broward County 1A-3A by both Baseball Player Magazine and the Sun Sentinel.

Quick hits on tonight’s games…
*It makes sense that the season-long rivalry between the Glens Falls Golden Eagles and the Albany Dutchmen comes down to the final night of the regular season. The last seven games in the season series have been decided by one run and that’s seven of eight complete games between the two teams. Three of the games have been decided on walk-off hits. The last meeting between the two teams, which swayed the series in Albany’s favor by two (5-3), saw the Dutchmen come back from a 7-0 deficit to defeat the Golden Eagles, 10-9. All-Star Game Home Run Derby winner Matthew Dacey (Richmond 2013-14) broke a 9-9 tie in the eighth with a solo home run. Walk-off hits in the season series have been posted by Albany’s Zach Remillard (Coastal Carolina) and Glens Falls’ Bryan Ramirez (UTPA). The two teams also played a 16-inning marathon, the longest game in PGCBL history, on June 29 at East Field. Ramirez ended the game with a walk-off single. Glens Falls has two wins at home this season over Albany. Tonight’s doubleheader will start with the resumption of a game from July 7 with Glens Falls ahead, 4-0. The Golden Eagles and Dutchmen will start in the top of the fifth inning. The regularly-scheduled game will follow. Glens Falls has to sweep Albany to make the playoffs while Albany just needs a split to move into the postseason. Glens Falls has made seven postseason trips in franchise history including six in a row, three in the PGCBL. Albany is bidding for its’ first-ever playoff appearance.

*The Adirondack Trail Blazers have been a thorn in the side of the Elmira Pioneers. Adirondack doubled up Elmira, 10-5, back on June 23 at Dunn Field in a hotly-contested game. The two teams met for the second time on July 20 at the Smith Sports Complex in Boonville and Adirondack slipped away with a 5-4 victory. Tonight, the two teams meet for the rubber match in their season series. Elmira has to defeat Adirondack to clinch home-field advantage for Thursday night’s opening round playoff game against Newark. If the Pioneers lose, then they have to hope Newark loses as well to Mohawk Valley. The Pios were clipped in both ends of a double dip on Tuesday night at Mohawk Valley and are 1-7 in their last eight games. Thirteen of Elmira’s 21 wins have been at Dunn Field. Elmira won its last home game, 11-9, over Albany on July 26 in front of a season-high crowd of 4,471. Adirondack can play the role of spoiler. The Blazers have scored 15 runs in two games versus Elmira. The Boonville side belted out 12 hits against the Pioneers in its lone trip to the Southern Tier on June 23.

*The playoff-bound Newark Pilots have quietly been one of the hottest teams in the league since the PGCBL All-Star Game. Mike Armstrong’s Pilots have gone 5-2 since the All-Star Game and are in the midst of a 7-2 stretch after last night’s 16-10 victory at Utica. However, Newark has to win tonight at Mohawk Valley and get help from Adirondack to host Elmira on Thursday night in the opening round of the PGCBL playoffs. The Pilots conclude a two-game swing through the Mohawk Valley tonight in Little Falls against the DiamondDawgs. Just under one week ago, the two teams split a twin bill at Colburn Park on the night after the PGCBL All-Star Game. The season series between the Pilots and the DiamondDawgs is tied at two wins apiece. Newark pulled out a 2-1 win at the Vet earlier this season but returned to Little Falls on July 20 and dropped a 4-3 decision. The Pilots, in search of a home game Thursday night, have been road warriors with four-straight road wins at Watertown (x2), Cooperstown and Utica. Newark hasn’t lost a road game since its July 20 defeat at Mohawk Valley. The DiamondDawgs are 12-2 in their last 14 games and Tuesday night’s sweep of Elmira clinched Mohawk Valley a spot in the playoffs and a home game in the opening round. The DiamondDawgs are unbeaten in their last four home games with all four wins coming against PGCBL West opponents.

*Elsewhere, the nationally-ranked Amsterdam Mohawks travel to Cooperstown and the Watertown Rams host the Utica Brewers. Amsterdam’s 31-16 record is the best in the PGCBL. With a win, the Mohawks can clinch the second-best regular season mark in league history. Last year’s Tribe team went 35-12 (.745) en route to the league title. Amsterdam is also one win away from tying the PGCBL’s record for longest winning streak. The Mohawks have won 10 games in a row and need one more to match Mohawk Valley’s league record 11-game winning streak from 2012. The Mohawks are 1-1 at Cooperstown’s Doubleday Field this season. Keith Griffin’s club bashed five home runs in its last visit to the “Birthplace of Baseball.” Meanwhile, up in the North Country, the Watertown Rams need one more win to set a new franchise record for wins in a single season. The Rams tied the franchise record for wins on Tuesday night with a triumph over Albany in the opening game of a doubleheader. Watertown has gone 15-7 at home this season; the Rams lead the league with a .682 home winning percentage. A Ram win tonight would also split the season series between Watertown and Utica; the Sons of Saranac enter tonight with a 4-3 record vs. the Silver and Black. Utica’s Michael Pierson (Appalachian State) will also look to finish off the summer as the PGCBL’s batting champion. Pierson enters the night with a .404 batting average. He leads Elmira’s Chris Kalousdian (Manhattan) by .021. His current average is also .003 higher than the league record of .401 which was set last summer by 2012 PGCBL Player of the Year Ross Kivett (Kansas State).

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