Wrapping up the Amsterdam Mohawks’ historically dominant 2022 PGCBL season

Amsterdam Mohawks outfielder Zach Gardiner celebrates with teammate Josh Overbeek after a home run during Game 1 of the PGCBL Championship Series against the Batavia Muckdogs on Aug. 2 at Shuttleworth Park.
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Amsterdam Mohawks outfielder Zach Gardiner celebrates with teammate Josh Overbeek after a home run during Game 1 of the PGCBL Championship Series against the Batavia Muckdogs on Aug. 2 at Shuttleworth Park.

The best statistical season in Amsterdam Mohawks history ended in perfect fashion, with Amsterdam regaining its status as Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League champions.

The Mohawks wrapped up their sixth PGCBL title since the league’s 2011 inception — and eighth league title since head coach Keith Griffin took over in 2009 — on Wednesday night by defeating the Batavia Muckdogs in the league’s best-of-three championship series.

Hoisting the trophy capped off a season for the ages. The Mohawks celebrated 20 years in Amsterdam with a spectacular campaign that saw the team set a franchise and league record for best regular-season winning percentage at .859.

By the time the Mohawks started celebrating in Batavia, they’d played 51 games during the summer. The result? Forty-three wins, seven losses, one tie.

Here are five things to know from Amsterdam’s historic championship season.

THE WIN STREAK

In past years, if Griffin’s Mohawks teams would get off to slow-to-middling starts to the season, the head coach tended to point out that it often took collegiate hitters 15, maybe 20 games to truly adjust from using aluminum bats during their scholastic season to swinging a wood bat in the summer.

Those slow starts haven’t plagued the Mohawks for a while, and this year the club put its stamp on the PGCBL from the start. Amsterdam started the season 8-0, raced out to the top of the East Division and never looked back. 

That set the tone for a dominant run through the month of June that saw the Mohawks collect nine wins by 10 or more runs during the season’s opening month, finishing June at a ridiculous 21-4.

THE (EVEN LONGER) WIN STREAK

If the start of June was historically good for the Mohawks, the start of July was even better. After a 5-2 loss to Oneonta on June 29, Amsterdam reeled off a franchise-record 14-game win streak that covered the last game of June and the first 13 games of July.

While explosive offense fueled Amsterdam at the start of the season, pitching led the second win streak, holding opponents to three or fewer runs on 10 occasions during the streak.

The Mohawks did not lose back-to-back games at any point during the regular season. The only “rough stretch” came from July 19-25, when they went 1-2-1 over a four-game stretch that came well after clinching the East Division title.

From that point on, Amsterdam won its final four regular-season games, then went 4-1 in the playoffs to take home the title.

STAT ATTACK

So, just how statistically good were the Mohawks in 2022?

Here’s just a collection of statistical categories they led the league in this summer.

Offensively, Amsterdam’s was the PGCBL’s top team in batting average (.305), on-base percentage (.419), slugging percentage (.424), hits (463), runs (355), runs batted in (300), doubles (90) and home runs (27).

On the mound, the Mohawks led the league in earned run average (2.33), runs allowed (122), strikeouts (490), opposing batting average (.196), opposing slugging percentage (.260), WHIP (1.24) and shutouts.

Oh, and they were the league’s best defensive team, too, with the PGCBL-best .973 field percentage and a league-low 41 errors.

Among individual offensive standouts, Gage Miller finished second in batting average at .400, and led the league with 15 doubles. Seven different players had at least 20 RBIs, the same number of players who hit better than .300 for the season.

Among the pitching staff, Amsterdam used 20 different pitchers, 14 of whom finished the season with an ERA lower than 3.00 — including nine hurlers with sub-2.00 ERAs. Aidan Kidd and Cade Citelli, the team’s top two starters, both had ERAs lower than 1.00 and combined for 91 strikeouts in 62 1-3 innings. Luis Misla racked up a team-high 53 strikeouts in just 26 1-3 innings, tying for fifth in the league in strikeouts despite working exclusively out of the bullpen. 

MEASURE OF REVENGE

In 2021, the Mohawks were almost as dominant during the regular season as they were this summer, posting a 31-10 record, but were beaten by the team that finished behind them in the East Division, the Saugerties Stallions, in the league championship series.

This year, the Mohawks returned the favor by utterly dominating their rivals to the southeast. Amsterdam went undefeated against Saugerties this season, going 8-0-1 against the Stallions during the regular season, then eliminating them from the postseason in the East Division final.

GOTTAM GOT ‘EM

Santhosh Gottam was an ace in relief for the Mohawks during the regular season, going 2-0 with two saves in 28 2-3 innings over 15 appearances. But just one of those appearances — a four-inning stint in a doubleheader against the Auburn Doubledays — came in a start.

Gottam’s second start came in the most important game of the season, and earned him championship series most valuable player honors. The righthander started the decisive Game 3 against Batavia and held the Muckdogs to a run on three hits in seven-plus innings to pave the way to Amsterdam’s victory.

Gottam wasn’t the only Mohawk who stepped up in the playoffs. Zach Gardiner was a star throughout the regular season, hitting .343 and driving in a team-high 37 runs, but he found his power stroke in the playoffs. After hitting just one home run during the regular season, Gardiner went deep twice in the championship series against Batavia.

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