Photo courtesy Jon Sargalis/Amsterdam Mohawks
Audio Call - Bob Rotruck, Amsterdam Mohawks
GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – One year ago, Keith Griffin’s Amsterdam Mohawks came up just one win short of capturing the inaugural Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League championship. Wednesday night in Glens Falls, the Mohawks left no doubt. Amsterdam scored seven times in the fourth inning and Chandler Shepherd (Kentucky) struck out 10 in 5.2 innings of relief as the Mohawks defeated the Glens Falls Golden Eagles, 13-6, to sweep the 2012 PGCBL Championship Series. The Mohawks won the best-of-three championship round, two games to none.
Amsterdam captured its first PGCBL championship and head coach Keith Griffin led the Mohawks to their third league crown in four years.
The host Golden Eagles, playing in front of a loud home crowd, sprinted out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Casey Rodrigue (LSU Eunice) reached on an infield single to start the Glens Falls’ first. Danny Brennan (Saint Louis) then rocked a double into deep center field off of Amsterdam starter Chris Kalica (Fairfield) that scored Casey Rodrigue with the first run of the night. Brennan, aided by a wild pitch, came around to score two batters later on a Mike Vigaliarolo (Saint Louis) sacrifice fly. Kalica limited the damage to just two runs as he struck out back-to-back batters to end the inning.
Amsterdam drew even in the third with a two-out rally against Glens Falls’ starter Cory Folk (Buffalo). Chase Williamson (Auburn) slapped a two-out double into right-center field, his first of four hits. The next batter, Ed Charlton (NJIT), plated Williamson with a triple to left field for Amsterdam’s first run. Charlton remained at third and the Mohawks packed the sacks with a pair of two-out walks. A fielding error on a ball hit by Zak Colby (Faulkner) brought Charlton home from third with the game-tying run. Amsterdam could have scored more however a tremendous running catch by second baseman Casey Rodrigue at the right field foul line on a Jeff Limbaugh (Parkland) pop up ended the inning.
The Mohawks took the lead for good in the fourth with a seven-run explosion on seven hits and one Glens Falls’ error. Amsterdam sent 13 men to the plate against three different Golden Eagle pitchers.
With the game tied 2-2, Amsterdam loaded the bases on a walk, a fielding error and a Josh Nethaway (UAlbany) bunt single. Following a Glens Falls’ pitching change, designated hitter Chase Williamson, Amsterdam’s closer during the regular season, broke the 2-2 tie with an RBI single into right field. Ed Charlton continued the hit parade with his second RBI of the evening on a base hit. Josh Nethaway darted home with the Mohawks’ third run of the frame on a Keaton Flint (Sacred Heart) fielders’ choice that saw Nethaway beat home a throw from Glens Falls shortstop Anthony Pisani (Southern Maine). Giuseppe Papaccio (Seton Hall) and Jeff Limbaugh (Parkland) capped off the seven-run eruption; Papaccio lashed a ground-rule double that scored two and Limbaugh followed with a two-RBI single.
Chandler Shepherd, pitching on three days’ rest, entered in the fourth inning. Saturday in Game 2 of the Amsterdam-Mohawk Valley series, Shepherd tossed a three-hitter over seven innings in a 10-1 victory. Shepherd was bend-but-not-break between the fourth and ninth innings. He allowed four runs on nine hits but set a season high with 10 strikeouts in his first relief appearance of the summer. Glens Falls was not able to get closer than four.
Glens Falls’ best threat against Shepherd came in the fifth inning. Three of the first four Golden Eagle batters in the fifth reached on hard-hit singles. With the bases loaded and one out, Mike Vigliarolo (Saint Louis) served up a single into center field that brought home Danny Brennan and Anthony Pisani. Kevin Meyers (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M) drove in the third Glens Falls run of the frame with a fielders’ choice. With the score 9-5 in favor of Amsterdam, Shepherd quashed the rally by striking Brandon Matthews (Yavapai).
The Eagles, still trailing 9-5, threatened again in the seventh as Mike Vigliarolo reached second on Amsterdam’s lone error of the night. Shepherd forced Vigliarolo to remain on second as he struck out Chase Griffin (Georgia Southern) and Kevin Meyers back-to-back to end the inning and the threat.
The Mohawks aided Shepherd’s cause with four two-out scores in the eighth inning. A single by Zak Colby (Faulkner) and a walk to Jeff Limbaugh (Parkland) along with a wild pitch gave Amsterdam runners on second and third with no one out. A ground ball hit back up the middle by D.J. Hoagboon (UAlbany) was fielded by Glens Falls’ reliever Jordan Keysor (Skidmore). Keysor tagged out Colby who was caught up between home and third for the first out. Reliever Neil Fryer (Siena), who replaced the southpaw Keysor after the fielders’ choice, was greeted by back-to-back RBI singles from Brian Ruby (Binghamton) and Josh Nethway. Chase Williamson concluded the four-run deluge with a two-RBI single.
Glens Falls made one last gasp in the ninth. Casey Rodrigue walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and then advanced to third on a Danny Brennan base hit. Rodrigue scored the final run of the Championship Series on a wild pitch. Chandler Shepherd struck out Alberto Morales (Clarendon) to record his 10th punchout of the evening and the first out of the frame. He forced the next batter, Mike Vigliarolo to fly out to right field. Shepherd then left the game with two outs and a runner on third. Connor Kaden (Wake Forest) came on in relief and struck out Chase Griffin (Georgia Southern) to end the game and the series.
Chase Williamson topped a 17-hit explosion for the Mohawks. He went 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. All nine Amsterdam starters had at least one hit. Ed Charlton and Giuseppe Papaccio each totaled two hits and drove in two runs; Charlton also scored twice. Five different Mohawks recorded two runs apiece including Charlton, Williamson, D.J. Hoagboon (UAlbany), Brian Ruby (Binghamton) and Josh Nethaway (UAlbany).
Amsterdam starter Chris Kalica limited Glens Falls to two runs on three hits in three innings.
Mike Vigliarolo drove in three of Glens Falls’ six runs. Danny Brennan paced the Golden Eagles’ offense with three hits including a double and Casey Rodrigue went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Catcher J.P. Rousseau (Western Nevada-2012-13) also had two hits.
Glens Falls’ Jordan Keysor (Skidmore) excelled in relief. The lefty struck out four in 4.1 innings and allowed just two Amsterdam runs on four hits.
NOTES: Amsterdam finished the season with 39 overall victories, the most in its franchise history…The Mohawks have played in the PGCBL finals twice in two seasons…Amsterdam won four games in a row to capture the playoff championship; the Mohawks won Games 2 and 3 against Mohawk Valley and then swept Glens Falls in the finals…The Mohawks finished the season with a 19-6 overall record away from Shuttleworth Park…Chandler Shepherd, who went 7-0 prior to the playoffs with 50 K and a 1.31 earned run average did not record a 10-strikeout game during the regular season…Shepherd finished his summer 9-0 overall with 64 strikeouts and a 1.73 earned run average in 67.2 innings pitched…The Mohawks franchise has won six overall summer baseball championships (1988, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2012)…Amsterdam has played in a league championship series four years in a row and six times since moving to Shuttleworth Park in 2003…Glens Falls has competed in three league championship series (2007, 2008, 2012)…Chase Williamson finished the Championship Series with four hits, three RBI, two runs scored and two scoreless innings of relief; Williamson tossed two shutout frames in Amsterdam’s Game 1 victory.
R H E
Amsterdam 13 17 1
Glens Falls 6 12 2
Chris Kalica, Chandler Shepherd (4) (W, 2-0), Connor Kaden (9) and D.J. Hoagboon
Cory Folk (L, 0-1), Wes Judish (4), Jordan Keysor (4), Neil Fryer (8) and J.P. Rousseau
Time – 3:35
Attendance – 710
PGCBL Championship Series, Game 2