At least 17 players with local ties will grace the rosters of this summer’s Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League teams, giving these players a chance to hone their skills against tough competition.
Among summer collegiate leagues, the Cape Cod league is considered the cream of the crop, but leagues like the PGCBL and the New England Collegiate Baseball League also draw players from some of the top teams and conferences in the country.
For Hudson Valley Community College freshman Franklin Miller, a right-handed pitcher from Ballston Spa, his stint with the Adirondack Trailblazers will be a good test after junior-college batters didn’t provide much of a test. He was 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA and four complete games this season.
“I was happy with how I performed. I’d like to get better this summer, though, definitely,” Miller said. “I’m definitely excited for a new challenge. I know this is going to be a chance to face better hitters than I’ve ever faced, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Games begin June 4, with the regular season running through the end of July.
Miller said his coaches at HVCC helped him develop his mental game this season, keeping him focused on the next pitch. Now, he wants to work on dialing in his already reliable command to a pinpoint accuracy.
“I think at this point, it’s more the little things I need to work on, like hitting spots and stuff like that,” Miller said. “If I miss over the plate with these hitters, they’re going to make me pay for it.”
For Schalmont graduate Chris Amorosi, who is playing with Siena this weekend in the NCAA Division I regionals, his assignment to the Albany Dutchmen in the PGCBL will be a chance to continue his comeback from injuries he suffered in high school that have hampered him the last few years.
The left-handed pitcher had bone spurs removed from his triceps area, then tried to come back a little too soon. After a slow start to his freshman season, though, he has gradually seen improvement.
He plans to use his time with the Dutchmen to get stronger and pick up tips from the coaches and his teammates from other programs.
“My main goal this summer is really to strengthen my arm, strengthen my core and my legs,” Amorosi said. “That stuff’s all in the weight room, not on the field. But also all these pitchers are coming together, and they all bring aspects [of the game] their coaches taught them. I’m just going to try to absorb as much as I can from the upperclassmen who are there and find little things I can use to strengthen my arm and stay healthy. If I can hone my mechanics and make those strong, hopefully get them as close to perfect as I can, I think that will help my arm strength and bring my velocity up.”
Amorosi got his first start of the season in Sunday’s first game of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship round against Canisius, and he threw 4 1⁄3 innings of shutout ball in a 6-5 win.
So far this season, he is 1-0 with a 4.58 ERA through 17 2⁄3 innings.
The Glens Falls Golden Eagles have more area talent on their team than any other PGCBL team: pitchers Ben Brown (Glenville), Michael Harrington (Queensbury), Michael McFerran (Albany) and Rick Morales (Siena), as well as infielder Joe Foran (Fort Ann, Siena).
The Trailblazers have pitchers Miller and Jabin Weaver (Fort Plain), as well as infielder Alex Lushkevich (Saratoga Springs) and outfielder Garrett Longhurst (UAlbany). The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs have a trio of pitchers from local colleges: Siena’s Ed Lewicki, Skidmore’s Nick Petrella and UAlbany’s Terry Dugdale. The Amsterdam Mohawks have pitchers Zach Breen (Watervliet) and Daniel Castro (UAlbany). Siena freshmen Taylor Ahearn and Dan Vasquez will play for the Elmira Pioneers, Ahearn in the outfield and Vasquez behind the plate. Amorosi is the lone local for the Dutchmen.
Amsterdam has won the last two league championships. The Mohawks roster for the upcoming season is loaded again, boasting seven SEC prospects and five from the ACC.
“It really excites me to be able to compete against some of the best players in the country and prove myself against guys from the SEC, the ACC and the A-10,” Amorosi said.