PGCBL Player and Pitcher of the Week, Week 5

Front: PGCBL Player of the Week Chris Cruz (Cornell) in action against Amsterdam at Vet's Park. Above: Jesse Buratt (Baton Rouge C.C.) pitches for the Dawgs on June 14 in an exhibtion game. Photos courtesy Jon Rathburn/Little Falls Times

The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League is pleased to announce the winners of the PGCBL Player and Pitcher of the Week Award for the period of July 9 through July 15. This week, both awards have been claimed by the red-hot Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs, winners of a league record 11 games in a row. Mohawk Valley is the first team in league history to record a clean sweep of both weekly individual awards.

Mohawk Valley right fielder Chris Cruz (Cornell) has been selected as the PGCBL Player of the Week. He is the first Mohawk Valley hitter to win the PGCBL Player of the Week award. Mohawk Valley starting pitcher Jesse Buratt (Baton Rouge C.C.) authored the first no-hitter in league history and he has been chosen as the PGCBL Pitcher of the Week. Buratt is the second Dawgs’ pitcher this season and third overall to win the award.

Overall in eight games last week, the DiamondDawgs scored 72 runs for an average of nine per game. As a team, the Dawgs compiled a .339 batting average. Chris Cruz, the number-two batter in the Mohawk Valley line-up, was one of the catalysts for the Dawgs’ offense. He batted .441 (15-for-34) with three home runs, 13 RBI, 12 runs scored, five doubles and one triple. Cruz boasted a .912 slugging percentage and a .537 on-base percentage. He walked five times, was hit twice, stole two bases and compiled 31 total bases in eight games. The rising junior from Cornell University added two outfield assists.

Cruz, a native of Bay Shore, N.Y., posted five multi-hit, three multi-run and three multi-RBI games. He reached base safely via hit or walk in all eight Mohawk Valley wins. Two months ago, Chris Cruz punched Cornell’s ticket to the NCAA tournament with a walk-off home run at Cornell’s Hoy Field to defeat Dartmouth in Game 3 of the Ivy Championship Series. In his return to the Southern Tier one week ago against the Elmira Pioneers, Cruz dinged two home runs and finished 3-for-6 with five RBI and three runs scored in a 15-4 victory. He is one of four players this season to record five RBI in a single game.

In the second game of a Wednesday doubleheader at Albany, Cruz gunned down two runners from right field, one at home plate and another at third base. The Cornell crusher swatted three hits and scored three runs as well in an 11-3 triumph. He ended the week with at least one hit in five-straight games. He belted his third home run of the week on Friday night against Oneonta. The two-run smash, his fifth overall, broke a 4-4 tie in the fourth inning. Cruz closed out his eight-game week with three doubles and three RBI in an 8-3 win at Cooperstown on Sunday, Mohawk Valley’s 11th win in a row.

Through 29 games, Cruz is batting .336 with five home runs and 28 RBI. He leads the DiamondDawgs with 41 hits, 72 total bases, 20 walks and a .593 slugging percentage. Cruz is third among all Mohawk Valley swingers with 28 RBI. This past spring, Cruz set a Cornell single-season record with 12 home runs.

Jesse Buratt pitched a complete game no-hit shutout against the Albany Dutchmen on July 11 at Albany’s Bob Bellizzi Field. It was the first no-hitter in league history and the first in the seven-year history of the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs. Buratt allowed just four base runners in the seven-inning contest on two walks, one hit by pitch and one Mohawk Valley error. He struck out three and faced two batters over the minimum. The Baton Rouge Comm. College graduate forced eight fly outs and eight ground outs. He induced one double-play ground out and another runner was thrown out attempting to steal by catcher Eddie Sorondo (Delaware State). No Albany runner safely advanced past second base.

In two starts, Buratt is 2-0 with a 0.69 earned run average. He has earned road victories over the nationally-ranked Amsterdam Mohawks and the Albany Dutchmen. Buratt has allowed just one earned run in 13.0 innings as a starting pitcher. Overall, the Mohawk Valley hurler, who doubles occasionally as a third baseman, is 2-0 with a 2.67 ERA in five pitching appearances. He has struck out 13 batters in 17.1 innings and limited opponents to a .180 batting average.


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