Mohawks unveil 2013 PGCBL schedule

AMSTERDAM – Things are going to look different in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League in 2013 as one team has departed, two were added, and the league realigned to include divisions.

The Mohawks will open their season June 5 at the College of Saint Rose, where they will face divisional opponent Albany. They will play their first home game the following night when they host one of the league’s newcomers, the Utica Brewers, at 7:05 p.m. at Shuttleworth Park.

They will host the other new team, the Adirondack Trail Blazers, on June 8.

Mohawks General Manager/President Brian Spagnola has been making the schedule for the past 10 years.

“Every year I get a little better at it,” Spagnola said. “It’s a difficult process because everyone has requests. At the end, everyone is usually pretty happy.”

One team not on the schedule is the Oneonta Outlaws, who are under new ownership, which wanted to cut travel. They returned to the New York Collegiate Baseball League.

The PGCBL will play a 48-game season, with 10 teams aligned in two divisions. The East Division will have the Mohawks, Dutchmen, Cooperstown Hawkeyes, Glens Falls Golden Eagles and Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs. The West Division will have the Adirondack Trail Blazers, Elmira Pioneers, Newark Pilots, Utica Brewers and Watertown Rams.

The league also added a new wrinkle to the playoffs. In past years, only four teams advanced. Starting this season, the top three teams from each division will advance to the playoffs.

“We think it will bring greater excitement to our regular season and and another layer of nail-biting pressure baseball to our playoff series.” PGCBL President Jeff Kunion said in a news release.

The second- and third-place finishers in each division square off in a one-game winner take-all-contest. The winner of that game moves on to a best of three series with the division champion. The PGCBL Championship series will pit the division playoff winners in a best-of-three series.

Spagnola said the new playoff structure was “highly debated.”

The league previously announced that the 2013 PGCBL All Star Game will be played on July 24 at Colburn Park in Newark.

Some aspects of the Mohawks schedule remain intact. They will play six Friday night home games, two of them against the Glens Falls Golden Eagles.

“In June it doesn’t matter, but in July we try to be home on Friday nights,” Spagnola said. “This area has the concert series and everyone is at a barbecue or one of the lakes. Saturday night is tough and on Friday night, there’s not a lot to do. We try to avoid Saturdays in July for sure.”

The schedule also maintains rivalries the Mohawks have built over the years. They will play the Golden Eagles, who Amsterdam defeated Aug. 6 to claim the PGCBL championship, eight times. They will play their 2012 semifinal opponent, the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs seven times. They will see their other two divisional opponents, Albany and Cooperstown, eight and six times respectively.

The regular season will end July 31 on the road against the Cooperstown Hawkeyes.