AMSTERDAM — As Brian Cady’s voice echoed over the public address system at Rao Family Stadium at Shuttleworth Park, it could only mean one thing — Amsterdam Mohawks Baseball.
The Mohawks kicked off their 2023 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League season with a contest against the Albany Dutchmen on Thursday night.
“I’m really excited,” said Amsterdam coach Keith Griffin. “Every year it’s exciting to get the season started. It’s a great atmosphere, with great fans. We’ve got a really, really good program and we’re going to keep that going this year.”
Amsterdam is looking to defend the PGCBL championship after claiming the title last season in three games over the Batavia Muckdogs.
“The past two weeks have been so crazy getting everything ready,” said Mohawks general manager Brian Spagnola. “Earlier today, I said, ‘Hopefully, people show up for the game.’ We put in a lot of preparation over the winter. I think there was some buzz with the great season we had, and we’ve had some upgrades to the stadium.”
After the pregame festivities concluded and the fans settled in, Spagonla estimated approximately 1,300 fans in attendance on Thursday night.
“It’s a hot day for these guys in New York,” joked Griffin, who arrived in Amsterdam from his Florida home on Monday, with the temperature in the upper-80s at first pitch. “Everyday it’s like this, man. At least May through October.”
Gage Miller, the 2022 PGCBL Player of the Year, returned to Amsterdam, as well as some familiar faces from around Section 2.
“Really, it’s just going to be about baseball, going to the lake a little bit and having fun with the guys,” said Miller on his expectations for the summer. “I got recruited out here last year, which really helped me.”
Over the winter, Miller announced that he would be joining the baseball team at the University of Alabama.
“We’ve got a lot of good players,” said Miller, who plays second base. “I think we’re going to have a lot of fun.”
“We’ve got a bunch of good players here,” Griffin said. “Gage Miller came back and he was the player of the year last year. We’ve got Von Baker back too, but the beauty of what we do is working with a new group every year.”
“Coach Griffin, he’s great to have back too,” said Spagnola. “There’s still a lot of guys not here, but we’re going to be a good, competitive team and will hopefully put on a show for the crowd every night.”
Carson Cotugno, a right handed pitcher who is from Amsterdam, is one of the players the Mohawks are waiting on. Cotugno is still with his college team, Wake Forest, which is playing in the NCAA Tournament.
Amsterdam picked up a 10-0 mercy rule victory over Albany in seven innings.
Tyler Sausville, a left-hander from Colonie, tossed five innings scoreless in the start, earning the win. He allowed three hits, while striking out three. Gio Conte and Ryan Taffe each pitched an inning of scoreless relief.
Zach Eldred blasted a solo home run, while Eddy Leon went 3 for 3 with three RBIs. Bryce Hubbard tacked on two hits, a double and an RBI.