Five Former Mohawks to Return in 2012

Josh Nethaway (left) and Demarcus Henderson (right) are both returning to the Mohawks for a second season. Photos courtesy Amsterdam Recorder
AMSTERDAM, N.Y. – Over the last three seasons, the Amsterdam Mohawks have won 102 games, two division championships, two league championships and have advanced to the championship round of the playoffs three times. The 2012 Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League will feature five players returning to Shuttleworth Park for a second season.

Mohawks President Brian Spagnola and head coach Keith Griffin have re-signed four players from the 2011 squad including catcher Josh Nethaway (Fonda-Fultonville/UAlbany), infielder Demarcus Henderson (Miss. State) and pitchers Derrick Brewer (Radford) and Matt Gage (Broadalbin-Perth/Siena). In addition, the team has picked up 2010 Amsterdam all-league pitcher Dan Zlotnick (Marist).

"These guys have all been here before and we were excited that they thought enough of Amsterdam to want to come back.  In addition to being great players, all five are super kids as well", said Mohawks General Manager Brian Spagnola.

The list of returning players is headlined by UAlbany redshirt sophomore Josh Nethaway. The three-sport star from Fonda-Fultonville High School currently leads the Albany Great Danes in batting average (.321), runs scored (22), doubles (nine), runs batted in (18), slugging percentage (.462) and fielding percentage (.994). This spring, Nethaway has been used in a utility role starting at first base and in the outfield. Last summer, Josh was a PGCBL Rising Star with the Mohawks though his season was cut short due to injury. He appeared in 35 games and batted .314 with two home runs and 26 RBI. He tied for the team lead in doubles and his 26 runs batted in over 35 games played were just second on the squad to Jude Vidrine’s 29. One of Josh’s two home runs was a grand slam at Cooperstown’s historic Doubleday Field in an Amsterdam victory.

Mississippi State redshirt freshman Demarcus Henderson played just 10 games for the Diamond Dogs last spring. After spending a summer in Amsterdam, Henderson, a 2010 draft pick of the Houston Astros, has found a starting role in Starkville. He ran off a 10-game hitting streak between Mar. 3 and Mar. 14 and was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week on Mar. 12 after compiling seven hits and five runs in a five-game stretch against Penn State and Mercer. With the Mohawks last summer, Demarcus appeared in 45 regular season and playoff games and started 35. He missed just four games during the regular season and smashed 24 hits. The former Waynesboro High School quarterback scored the eventual winning run in Game 1 of the divisional playoffs against Glens Falls.

Radford University junior Derrick Brewer was one of the steady, near-every day relievers last summer for the Mohawks. He tied with closer and collegiate teammate Abram Williams for the most appearances on the squad and in the entire eight-team PGCBL with 21. He went 3-1 with one save, a 3.08 earned run average and 29 strikeouts in 31.1 innings pitched. Derrick also tossed one scoreless inning in the PGCBL All-Star Game. Back in the New River Valley this spring, Brewer has pitched in 16 of Radford’s 36 games and has logged 20.1 innings for skipper Joe Raccuia. He is second among RU hurlers in appearances.

Siena College freshman Matt Gage was a late-season addition by the Mohawks in 2011. However, he did not see game action. The 6-foot-4 southpaw has been a spot starter and long reliever for the Saints this spring. He has pitched in nine games and struck out 14 batters in 19.2 innings. Last spring, Matt was an all-state pitcher at Broadalbin-Perth High School. He fanned 138 batters over his final two varsity seasons. As a senior, Gage struck out 16 South Glens Falls batters in a complete game no-hitter. He added a 14-strikeout complete game versus Queensbury.

Marist College junior utility player Dan Zlotnick was a member of the league champion Amsterdam Mohawks in 2010. He dominated opposing batters to the tune of a 4-0 record, 1.57 earned run average and 43 strikeouts in 46.0 innings pitched. Zlotnick topped the Tribe in innings and tied with Sean Bouthilette for the team high in strikeouts. He carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning in a game at Watertown and later tossed seven shutout innings against Elmira in Game 2 of the championship series. Dan was named all-league first team. This spring in Poughkeepsie, Dan has been primarily used as a reliever. He already has 10 pitching victories in his Marist career.

The Mohawks have had great success with returning players.  2010-11 catcher Luke Maile of Kentucky was outstanding in his two years here.  Some other players who have played multiple years in Amsterdam are current Pirates outfielder Mel Rojas Jr 2009-10, current Angels catcher Rick Pacione from Marist 2008/2010, closer Abram Williams 2010-11 of Radford, current Padres catcher Matt Colantonio of Brown 2009-10, and Kentucky pitcher Sean Bouthilette 2009-10.

The Amsterdam Mohawks, proud members of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, open their 2012 season on Wed., June 6, against the Cooperstown Hawkeyes at historic Doubleday Field. The Mohawks play their home opener on Thurs., June 7, against the Albany Dutchmen. First pitch at Shuttleworth Park is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Follow the Amsterdam Mohawks on Twitter at @MohawksBaseball.

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