Amsterdam's Chandler Shepherd (Front: Courtesy The-Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo. Above: Courtesy Little Falls Times/Jon Rathburn)
The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League is proud to announce that Chandler Shepherd (Kentucky) of the Amsterdam Mohawks has been selected as the 2012 PGCBL Pitcher of the Year.
Shepherd, a 41st-round selection of the Chicago White Sox in the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, led the league in opponents’ batting average (.154) and tied for first in the PGCBL in victories (seven) and earned run average (1.31). He made eight starts during the regular season and compiled a 7-0 record. The nationally-ranked Mohawks went undefeated (8-0) when Shepherd was the starting pitcher. He struck out 50 and walked 12 in 55.0 innings pitched. Opponents managed just 29 overall hits. The Louisa, Ky., native was second among all league pitchers in innings and tied for fifth in strikeouts.
The rising sophomore from the University of Kentucky logged at least five innings in all eight starts during the regular season. He did not allow an earned run in five of his eight appearances and struck out at least five batters on six occasions. In addition, Shepherd's earned run average never rose higher than 1.35.
Following a run into the NCAA Regionals with the nationally-ranked Kentucky Wildcats, Shepherd opened his summer season with 14 scoreless innings in a row. He tossed a two-hit shutout for five innings and struck out seven at Cooperstown’s Doubleday Field on June 10. In his next start, Shepherd twirled another two-hitter, this time for eight innings, and struck out six in a 2-0 victory versus Albany. The UK hurler yielded his first earned run on June 23 at Cooperstown on an evening in which he struck out nine and fired a four-hitter for seven frames.
Shepherd was nearly un-hittable in his final two regular season starts. He spun a one-hit shutout for eight innings at Mohawk Valley on July 19. Shepherd tied his previous season high with nine strikeouts. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and had it broken up on a bunt single. The Amsterdam ace duplicated his no-hit effort through five frames (vs. Mohawk Valley) in his final start against offensive powerhouse Glens Falls. Shepherd no-hit the Golden Eagles for 5.1 innings and then yielded a one-out infield single in the sixth. He finished the night with a three-hitter in a seven-inning complete game victory.
The White Sox draft pick continued to excel in the league playoffs. Shepherd started in Game 2 of Amsterdam’s opening round playoff series with Mohawk Valley. He quieted the Mohawk Valley bats to the tune of one run on three hits over seven innings. After yielding a run in the first inning, Shepherd mowed down the next 15 batters he faced. He ended his night by retiring 21 of 24 Mohawk Valley hitters.
Just four days later, Shepherd made his first and only relief appearance of the summer in Game 2 of the PGCBL Championship Series at Glens Falls. The 2010 Lawrence County High School graduate, pitching on three days’ rest, logged a season high 10 strikeouts over 5.2 innings of relief to help lead Amsterdam to the league championship with a 13-6 victory.
Overall between the regular season and playoffs, Shepherd finished the summer season with a 9-0 record, 1.73 earned run average and 64 strikeouts in 67.2 innings pitched.
Pitcher of the Year Winners
2011 – Dominick Ruscitti, Newark
2012 – Chandler Shepherd, Amsterdam