Mohawks set to begin 20th season in Amsterdam

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Amsterdam Mohawks’ Jake Reinisch lines up a pitch during Tuesday’s first contest between the Amsterdam Mohawks and Saugerties Stallions in the 2021 championship series at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam on Aug. 3, 2021.

For a 20th season, Amsterdam’s boys of summer are back.

The Amsterdam Mohawks will celebrate their 20th season of summer collegiate baseball at Shuttleworth Park this year, with their 2022 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League season kicking off Friday night with a trip to East Field to face the Glens Falls Dragons.

The home opener comes a night later, as the Mohawks host the Saugerties Stallions on Saturday at 6:35 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s PGCBL Championship Series.

Here are a few things to look out for this season:

TALENT ON THE FIELD

As usual, the roster that will take the field this summer for head coach Keith Griffin — who has led the Mohawks in every full season since 2009 — will include players from a laundry list of power conference college programs.

On this year’s roster are representatives from defending NCAA champion Mississippi State, as well as Alabama, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, UConn, Florida State, Maryland, Wake Forest and Utah. 

There should be plenty of players providing power in the lineup this summer, as Hunter Hines hit 16 home runs this season at Mississippi State and Nick Kurtz belted 15 for Wake Forest.

There’s also plenty of talent on the mound, including a pair of local standouts. Amsterdam High School graduate Carson Cotugno is back at home this summer after redshirting this past season at Wake Forest, and OESJ High School product Von Baker is on the roster following his freshman season at Cornell.

PGCBL REALIGNMENT

With 16 teams in the league for 2022, the PGCBL opted to switch from its three-division format back to a two-division set-up. The move places the Mohawks in the East Division along with the Albany Dutchmen, Glens Falls Dragons, Boonville Baseball Club (formerly the Adirondack Trail Blazers), Saugerties Stallions, Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs, Watertown Rapids and Oneonta Outlaws.

The West Division consists of the Auburn DoubleDays, Utica Blue Sox, Batavia Muckdogs, Niagara Power, Geneva Red Wings, Jamestown Tarp Skunks, Newark Pilots and Elmira Pioneers.

Amsterdam’s most common opponents this year will be Saugerties (nine games), Glens Falls (eight games) and Albany (eight games). 

Among West Division teams, Amsterdam will only face Auburn, Utica and Niagara. Amsterdam’s schedule also includes a pair of home exhibition games against Canada’s Capital City Reds on June 20 and July 21.

A YEAR AGO

Last year, the Mohawks cruised to the best record in the PGCBL during the regular season, rolling to a 31-10 record and an East Division championship.

In the playoffs, Amsterdam notched a semifinal win over Auburn, but were then swept in the best-of-three championship series by Saugerties, which claimed its first league title.

The Mohawks will start this season seeking their 10th championship since relocating to Amsterdam in 2003. Seven of the team’s previous nine titles in Amsterdam — in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and, most recently, 2019 — came with Griffin at the helm.

By Adam Shinder

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