Citelli, home runs lead Amsterdam to Game 1 PGCBL finals win over Batavia

Amsterdam Mohawks pitcher Cade Citelli on the mound against Batavia Tuesday, Aug. 2.

Amsterdam Mohawks pitcher Cade Citelli on the mound against Batavia Tuesday, Aug. 2.

AMSTERDAM — It was a battle of contrasting pitchers in game 1 of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League finals Tuesday, and speed won.

Amsterdam’s Cade Citelli, from the University of Houston, consistently threw his fastball around 92 or 93 mph. Batavia’s Tyler Prospero went for movement on his curves and breaking balls, with his fastball reaching the low 80s – the speed that Citelli’s slower pitches were registering at.

The Mohawks’ hitters figured out Prospero enough to earn a 9-5 win at Shuttleworth Park, with Citelli finishing with 10 strikeouts. Game 2 in the best-of-three series is 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. If Batavia wins it, game 3 will follow shortly thereafter.

“It took us a little while to figure (Prospero) out, but after that, I thought we did a good job,” Amsterdam manager Keith Griffin said. “Citelli was not his best Citelli, but he was good enough.”

As it did Monday in the East Division final, Amsterdam had an error lead to a run in the top of the first inning. Tyler Cannoe hit into a double play, but it still scored leadoff batter Josh Leadham, who had reached on the error.

It didn’t take long for Amsterdam to get the run back. In the bottom of the first, Zach Gardiner parked one well over the right field fence.

The Mohawks — vying for their sixth PGCBL title and first since 2019 — went ahead 2-1 in the second on Nick Giamarusti’s infield single. They added another run in the third when Cade Bush’s fielder’s choice scored Gardiner.

Batavia got one back in the fourth on Daniel Burroway’s ground-rule RBI double. Amsterdam made it 4-2 in the fifth when Brett Coker hit a towering shot over the left field fence.

The Mohawks weren’t done with home runs, or the special jumping celebration the players do after each one. In the sixth, Bush lined one over the top of the left field fence to make it 5-2 and mark the end of Prospero’s night.

Later that inning, leadoff batter Gage Miller lined a two-run double down the right field line to increase Amsterdam’s lead to 7-2. Coker reached for a low pitch but got it into left field for an RBI and an 8-2 lead.

Bush hit his second homer of the night in the bottom of the seventh, equally as impressive.

Amsterdam reliever Jude Abbadessa got in trouble in the eighth, allowing three runs, including a two-run single by Leadham, in two-thirds of an inning. Nolan Lamere replaced him after that hit and got the third out on a popup, and controlled the ninth.

“I thought Abbadessa would go in and shut them down, but I’ve thrown him three times in the last four days; probably asked too much of him,” Griffin said. “And Lamere has been good the whole time. He did a really good job of finishing us up.

Amsterdam has won the PGCBL title in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2019. It also reached the finals in 2011 and 2021.

Batavia 100 100 030 — 5 6 0

Amsterdam 110 114 10x — 9 12 1

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