Mohawks win third straight league title

NEWARK – With the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League championship on the line, the Amsterdam Mohawks came out swinging.

After pounding out 12 hits in the 9-3 victory over the Newark Pilots in Wednesday’s opening game, the Mohawks hitters remained red hot, hammering out 16 hits en route to a dominating 12-1 victory over the Pilots Thursday night to collect their third-straight PGCBL championship.

Amsterdam finished the season with a 37-11 record to establish a new PGCBL mark. Newark won the West Division and closed out its season with a 27-20 record.

“Everybody contributed. This has been our best year and this is a team that others will be measured against in the history of collegiate baseball,” Amsterdam coach Keith Griffin said. “When you go right that line up down, you feel really good. It is awesome.”

The Mohawks showed they were ready to lock up the championship in a hurry.

Marcus Carson stroked the first pitch of the game from Braxton Wilks down the right-field line for a double before advancing to third on a wild pitch and scoring on JaVon Shelby’s single. Josh Gardiner followed with a single and Alex DeBellis walked to load the bases. Brendan Tracy was hit by a pitch, allowing Shelby to walk across the plate for a 2-0 Amsterdam lead.

The Pilots got a run back in the bottom of the first on back-to-back singles by Logan Boyher and Tim Lewis before Tanner Giesel walked to load the bases. Boyher crossed the plate on Austin Clock’s sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 2-1.

Amsterdam widened its lead in the top of the second when Carson was hit by a pitch and scored on Shelby’s double. Shelby also scored on a single by Gardiner to build the lead to 4-1.

That was all Amsterdam starter Taylor Blatch needed.

Blatch set the Pilots down in order in the bottom of the second and stayed in control of the game by scattering four hits over the final eight innings and striking out nine.

“The first inning was a little rocky then I made a few adjustments, but I felt good throughout the entire game and in control,” Blatch said.

The Mohawks put the game out of reach in the top of the fourth inning, sending 10 batters to the plate in a six-run, six hit outburst to stretch their lead to 10-1.

With Blatch in control on the mound, the Mohawks tacked on runs in the sixth and eighth innings to take home their third straight PGCBL title and fifth championship in six years under the guidance of coach Griffin.

“I am very excited for this team,” Griffin said. “It is a great organization. Brian [Spagnola] and I have had a great relationship every year I have been here. I told him earlier that I will be coming back next year and am looking forward to doing this again.”

Blatch finished the night giving up one run on six hits, while striking out nine and walking four.

“His stuff was incredible tonight. Almost like what Zack Brown threw last night,” Griffin said. “He threw a lot of great change ups, and mixed them in nicely. I was watching his pitch count but after the first inning he never really was in bad shape and never really labored. It was kind of easy pitching so I decided to leave him in there I told him one time if he walked a guy I was going to take him out. When he did I went out, and he asked me to give him one more. I was going to make the change because we had Connor Johnstone ready, but I let him finish it.”

Shelby finished the night with two singles, a double, two RBIs and three runs scored, while Carson and Blake Logan both had a double and two singles. Logan and Tommy Kain picked up three RBIs apiece.

PGCBL Championship

Game 2

Amsterdam 12, Newark 1

Amsterdam Mohawks220 601 010 – 12 16 0

Newark Pilots100 000 000 – 1 6 2

Blatch and Logan; Wilks, Sanders (4), McGuire (4), Robbins (7), Teachout (9) and Boyher.