PGCBL Daily Rundown - June 22, 2012

Pictured: Mohawk Valley's John Means (Fort Scott CC) leads the PGBCL in strikeouts. Photo courtesy Jon Rathburn/Little Falls Times

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Last Night's Games

Cooperstown 5 Newark 4 (Game 1)
Newark 6 Cooperstown 5 (Game 2)
Amsterdam 5 Oneonta 3 (Game 1)
Amsterdam 6 Oneonta 4 (Game 2)
Albany 6 Watertown 5
Mohawk Valley 8 Elmira 6

Today's Games and Pitching Probables

Mohawk Valley at Oneonta, 7:05 p.m.
Joe Michaud (Bryant) 1-1, 2.70 ERA vs. Nathaniel Abel (Virginia) 0-0, 2.25 ERA

Newark at Albany, 7:05 p.m.
Jonathan Christiensen (Okla. Baptist) 0-1, 4.63 ERA vs. David Stagg (Heartland CC) 1-1, 4.35 ERA

Glens Falls at Amsterdam, 7:05 p.m.
Mike Clarkson (South Florida) 0-2, 14.34 ERA vs. Taylor Martin (Kentucky) 1-0, 0.82 ERA

Watertown at Elmira, 7:05 p.m.
Nick Bradley (W. Michigan) 1-0, 4.22 ERA vs. John Melville (New Haven) 0-1, 3.97 ERA

*What a wild night on Thursday night as all six games were decided by two runs or less. Cooperstown's Ty Morris (CSU Monterey Bay), Newark's Cash Barker (Texas A&M Kingsville), Albany's Nick Chapman (UNC Greensboro) and Mohawk Valley's Eric Helmrich (Marist) all drove in the eventual winning run in their respective games in the last or second-to-last innings of play. Helmrich's RBI single against Elmira came as a pinch hitter.

*The biggest story of the season continues to be the Amsterdam Mohawks. Head coach Keith Griffin's team has now won 11 games overall and 10 in a row. The Mohawks are the first PGCBL team to reach double-digit wins. Amsterdam has also opened up a 3.5 game lead on second-place Oneonta a little over two weeks into the regular season. Moving into this Friday, it has been two weeks since the Mohawks have recorded a loss. The team is also undefeated at home (6-0).

*Amsterdam's Chase Williamson (Auburn) saved both games in the Mohawks' sweep of the Outlaws. Williamson retired the side in order in the seventh inning to close out a win for starter Matt Gage (Siena). More on Gage in a minute. The rising sophomore started for Amsterdam in the second game of the doubleheader at designated hitter and went 1-for-3 with a run scored. Williamson came in to pitch in the fifth with the Mohawks leading 4-3. He remained on the mound of the rest of the seven-inning game and allowed just one run on two hits in 2.1 frames. The biggest out Williamson recorded was the last. Oneonta loaded the bases with two away in the seventh. Williamson induced a game-ending fielders' choice to give th Mohawks their 10th-straight win.

*Elmira's overall winning streak and road winning streak came crashing to end in Little Falls on Thursday night. Elmira, like it had against Watertown and Glens Falls in two previous games, amassed a sizeable advantage early and the Pioneers led the DiamondDawgs 6-2 going into the bottom of the sixth. Mohawk Valley however went on to score six unanswered runs in an 8-6 win. Despite the loss, the Elmira offense has been outstanding over the course of the last week. The Pioneers finished their week-long road trip with 37 runs scored over five games. (Actual total 38 however one of those runs was scored on June 8 in Cooperstown prior to the game being suspended because of rain). Unofficially, Elmira finished the road trip with a 4-1 record.

*In the eighth inning in Little Falls last night, Mohawk Valley's Chris Cruz (Cornell) clubbed a massive home run to right field. He is only the second player in the last two seasons, Michael Gunn (Arkansas) being the other, to hit a home run over the right-field fence in Little Falls. The distance down the right field line at cavernous Vet's Park is 378 feet. Cruz has two home runs in his last two games. Prior to a solo smash at Watertown on Wednesday night, Cruz had not hit a home run in a game since Game 3 of the Ivy Championship Series against Dartmouth - a home run that clinched an NCAA automatic bid for Cornell.

*Back to Amsterdam's Matt Gage (Siena). The tall southpaw entered into Thursday's game against Oneonta having retired 26 of the last 27 batters he had faced for a scoreless streak of nine-straight innings. Remember Gage seated 17 of 18 batters at Oneonta on June 15 in a 5-4 extra-inning victory. Thursday, Gage retired three of the first four batters he faced to extend his scoreless streak to 10. He yielded an Oneonta run in the second on a one-out double to Lucas Leifield (Grand Canyon). Gage however did record the win, his third of the season.

*Gage is one of three players tied for the league lead in victories with three. The other two players are Albany reliever Trevor Lacosse (Bryant) and Newark starter/reliever Andrew Tidwell (Saginaw Valley State). Both Gage and Tidwell have started games this season while Lacosse is a straight reliever for the Dutchmen.

*While Albany's comeback win last night was highlighted by Nick Chapman's RBI single in the eighth inning, credit has to be given to Albany catcher Alex Jurczynski (Oswego State). After Watertown reliever Kole Mickolio (Utah Valley) retired the first two Albany hitters of the frame, Jurczynski ripped a single. He stole second to move into scoring position, setting up the game-winning hit by Chapman.

*The road loss recorded by the Watertown Wizards was their first of the season.

*It has been a streaky season for the Oneonta Outlaws. The franchise in its first season in PGCBL has seen four different streaks over the course of the first few weeks of the regular season. Oneonta opened with three-straight wins and then lost three games in a row. The losing skid was answered by a four-game winning streak that vaulted the team into second place in the PGCBL. However that four-game win streak ended on Thursday night in Amsterdam and the Outlaws enter Friday's home game with Mohawk Valley having lost two in a row.

*The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs are 2-0 when Chris Cruz (Cornell) clubs a home run. The Dawgs have amassed their first two-game win streak of the season as Chris Cruz has belted clouts in back-to-back games. Mohawk Valley's offense in two wins have accounted for 17 runs on 18 hits; opponents have helped with eight combined errors.

*Mohawk Valley's Aaron Casper (Canisius) has not been charged with an earned run in six appearances this season. The Duanesburg, N.Y., native is 1-1 with a 0.00 earned run average in 10.1 innings. Casper has allowed just four hits and three walks. He has 11 strikeouts.

*Jordan Enos (Holy Cross) of the Watertown Wizards is off to a strong start through his first two games wearing the Purple and Gold. Enos has smashed four hits in nine at-bats and two of the four hits have gone for doubles. The Stockton, Calif., native has driven in three runs and struck out just once in nine plate appearances.

Looking Ahead
*Where has the season gone? We're already up to the third Friday of the regular season and in one week, we'll be just around the corner from July.

*Look who's finally back home, the Elmira Pioneers. The Pios return back to the Twin Tiers for a home game for the first time in nearly one week for a home date with the Watertown Wizards. Elmira's averaged well over 2,000 fans per game at a renovated Dunn Field with a high of over 4,600 on Opening Night against the Newark Pilots. The last time Watertown bused into Elmira, the Wizards escaped with a 6-4 comeback victory on June 9. The Purple and Gold tallied three times in the ninth inning to send the fans home unhappy. More recently, Elmira won a wild 12-9 decision at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds earlier this week.

*The Glens Falls Golden Eagles were the last team to defeat the Amsterdam Mohawks. An 11-8 victory for the Golden Eagles came on June 8 at East Field. Since then, the Mohawks have run off 10-straight victories to go from 1-2 to 11-2. The rivalry that dates back to 2004 continues on Friday night at Shuttleworth Park where the Mohawks are undefeated (6-0) this season. Amsterdam has not lost in the Rug City since Game 3 of the 2011 PGCBLCS to the Newark Pilots. Not only will Shuttleworth Park be abuzz beacuse of a Golden Eagles-Mohawks game, but it will also play host to Parkfest 2012 which begins in the afternoon at 4:00 p.m. Parkfest weekend annually draws some of the biggest crowds of the summer in Amsterdam.

*Albany, fresh off an exciting victory over Watertown on Thursday night, wraps up a three-game homestand at Bob Bellizzi Field against the Newark Pilots. The Pilots are in the midst of a brief trip to the eastern part of the state with games against Cooperstown and Albany. Newark traveled I-90 East earlier in the week as well to Mohawk Valley. Both teams enter into the game off of wins and they are separated by just a half-game in the league standings; Albany has a game at hand because of one fewer game played. Friday will be the first meeting of the season between the Dutch and Pilots, they'll play three times more including twice more next week.

*Oneonta is back at Damaschke Field for the first time since Monday when the Outlaws clipped the Glens Falls Golden Eagles to the tune of an 8-4 victory. The Orange and Black, who host Mohawk Valley tonight, have played just four games in the City of the Hills this season and Friday will be the fifth. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Watertown has already played nine of 24 scheduled home games. The Outlaws and DiamondDawgs have yet to meet this season and have not played one another since 2010. The Dawgs have barked their way offensively to two-straight victories while Oneonta is coming off a pair of tough losses at Amsterdam in a doubleheader. The Outlaws will also honor the 2012 New York State Class B baseball champion Oneonta High School Yellow Jackets prior to the game. 

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