The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs took home the 2015 PGCBL Championship
The 2015 PGCBL season was full of action and saw a different team win the championship for the first time in four years.
With the New Year approaching, here’s a look back at the PGCBL in 2015 and some notes about the 2016 season:
The 2015 season featured two new teams join the league as the Saugerties Stallions joined the East Division and the Victor RailRiders joined the West. It was also the first regular season in which teams played a 50-game slate.
The Amsterdam Mohawks set a PGCBL record with 40 wins en route to their fourth straight division title, winning the East by eight games. In the West, the Elmira Pioneers rode strong pitching to their first division title, finishing six games up on Victor.
The 2015 PGCBL All-Star Game was played at Veterans Memorial Park in Little Falls New, York. The East Division remained undefeated in All-Star Game play with an 18-2 win over the West as Scott Manea of the Amsterdam Mohawks took home MVP honors.
Ryan Cox of the Utica Brewers took home the batting title with a .383 average while Amsterdam’s Handsome Monica clubbed nine home runs to lead the league. Mohawk Valley’s Troy Scocca was a threat across the board — leading the league with 40 RBIs while hitting .335 at the plate, including 20 extra-base hits.
After winning their first round matchups, the Victor RailRiders and Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs both went into the West and East Division Championship Series, respectively, as underdogs.
The DiamondDawgs, pitted against the record-breaking Amsterdam Mohawks, lost Game One in Amsterdam, 15-4. Back at home in Little Falls, Mohawk Valley shut out the Mohawks to tie the series at a game apiece. In the decisive Game Three, the DiamondDawgs again relied on utility man Anthony Herrera en route to a 5-1 win and their first East Division Championship.
On the road at Historic Dunn Field, the Victor RailRiders topped the Elmira Pioneers, 6-1, in Game One of the West Division Championship Series. In Game Two, the RailRiders shut out the Pioneers, 4-0, to win the West Division Championship in the franchise’s first year of existence.
In Game One of the PGCBL Championship Series, Mohawk Valley scored five runs in the top of the third inning to lead the DiamondDawgs to an 8-5 win. In Game Two in Little Falls, the DiamondDawgs came back from a 4-1 deficit and got 2.1 scoreless innings of relief from Anthony Herrera to lead them to their first PGCBL Championship. In the postseason, Herrera tossed 10.2 innings total this postseason with a 0.84 ERA, a win and three saves.
Dan Shwam was selected as the 2015 PGCBL Coach of the Year. Shwam guided the Victor RailRiders to a 27-23 record, including an 18-8 mark at home.
Christian Santisteban of the Elmira Pioneers was chosen as the 2015 PGCBL Player of the Year. Santisteban led the Pioneers to their first West Division title as he hit .377 with six home runs and 38 RBIs. The Miami native finished second in the league in batting and tied for second in RBIs, while finishing tied for third with his six home runs.
Zach Logue of the Amsterdam Mohawks and Kyano Cummings of the Elmira Pioneers were selected as co-Pitchers of the Year for the 2015 season. Logue won seven games, which tied a PGCBL record set by 2012 Mohawk Chandler Shepherd and 2012 Oneonta Outlaw Sheldon Lee. Cummings also tied a PGCBL record this summer, striking out 74 batters, which tied 2011 Amsterdam Mohawk Mark Leiter’s record.
As for the All-League Team, eight of the 10 teams in the PGCBL had a representative named to the first team and the Amsterdam Mohawks had the most selections of any team (4).
On a national level, four players were named to the Perfect Game Summer Collegiate All-American teams. Elmira’s Kyano Cummings was selected to the second team; Troy Scocca and Anthony Herrera of Mohawk Valley were named to the third team; and Christian Santisteban received honorable mention. Amsterdam pitcher Kyle Smith was honored as the top professional prospect by Perfect Game USA.
What to expect in 2016
Shortly after the end of the 2015 season, the league announced that three new teams have joined the PGCBL. The Oneonta Outlaws, who were in the league in 2012, have re-joined the league along with the Jamestown Jammers and the Geneva Red Wings.
The 2016 season will again feature a 50 game schedule for each team. The full 2016 schedule will be released in January.
In 2016, the PGCBL postseason will feature four teams from each division. In the new playoff format, the No. 4 seed and the No. 1 seed will square off in a one-game playoff and will face off against the winner of the one-game playoff between the No. 3 and No. 2 seeds. The winner of each one-game playoff will proceed to the East Division Championship and West Division Championship Series, respectively.
The higher seed in each divisional championship round will host games one and three while the lower seed hosts game two. The winners of the best-of-three league championship series will meet in the PGCBL Championship Series.
In the PGCBL Championship Series, the lower seed—based on regular season record—will host game one, while the higher seed will host games two and three.
The PGCBL is affiliated with Perfect Game USA, the largest independent baseball scouting service in the United States.
For more information about the PGCBL, visit www.pgcbl.com and follow the league on Twitter, @PGCBLbaseball.