Amsterdam Mohawks to face Utica Blue Sox for PGCBL title

AMSTERDAM – With all the excitement and nerves surrounding a decisive Game 3 of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League East Division Championship Series, it was the Amsterdam Mohawks who remained focused and calm.

After surrendering a 3-0 lead before losing 4-3 in Game 2 on Thursday, the Mohawks rebounded to take a 4-1 win over the Albany Dutchmen and claim the final spot in the PGCBL Championship Series on Friday at Shuttleworth Park.

It marks the fifth time in the six-year history of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League that the Mohawks will play for the title.

Amsterdam won the league crown in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and lost in the championship series in 2011 to Newark. Last year, the Mohawks lost to eventual champion Mohawk Valley in the East Division finals, marking the first time in league history that Amsterdam did not play for the title.

Amsterdam also won the last two New York Collegiate Baseball League championships in 2009 and 2010 before the PGCBL was formed in 2011.

Austin Keen (Kentucky) pitched six innings against a Dutchmen team that managed just two hits and an unearned run. Keen struck out eight before turning the game over to the bullpen.

Meanwhile, the Amsterdam offense went to work in the bottom of the first. Andruw Gazzola (Stony Brook) worked a nine-pitch walk to start the game and back-to-back balls in play allowed him to move to third with two outs. Joe Genord (South Florida) put the home team on the board when he took an 0-1 pitch the opposite way to right field and out for a two-run home run. It proved to be all that Amsterdam needed.

Keen retired 13 straight batters from the second inning until the sixth. Amsterdam added another run in the bottom of the fourth. Nick Patten (Delaware) added a long ball that was crushed to left field to make it 3-0 Mohawks.

Albany finally broke through in the top of the sixth. Cole Malloy (Butler) reached on an error by Tristen Carranza (New Mexico State) and scored two batters later on J.J. Shimko’s (USC Upstate) double to left to make it 3-1.

Amsterdam responded in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Gazzola singled and stole second. Chris Givin (Xavier) doubled down the left field line to drive in Gazzola and the lead was back up to three.

Mike Bonaiuto (Fairfield) and Chase Haney (Florida State) kept the Dutchmen at bay the rest of the game. Haney picked up the save after tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings in which he allowed one hit and struck out four.

The win went to Keen, while the loss was charged to Albany starter Kale Morton (Azusa Pacific).

With the win, the Mohawks will represent that East Division in the 2016 PGCBL Championship Series, which begins tonight. The Mohawks will travel to Murnane Field at Donovan Stadium to face the Utica Blue Sox at 6:35 p.m. in the first game of the best-of-three series.

Utica defeated the Elmira Pioneers, 5-2, on Thursday in Game 3 of the West Division Championship Series.

Amsterdam 4, Albany 1

Albany000 001 000 – 1 5 0

Amsterdam200 100 10x – 4 6 1

Morton, Steffens (6), Harris (7), Owens (8) and Alford; Keen, Bonaiuto (7), Haney (8) and Genord.

By -