PC: Travis Larner
The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League is pleased to announce that Blake Nation of the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs has been selected as the 2016 Coach of the Year.
Nation guided the defending champion DiamondDawgs to a 27-20 record, continuing the streak of Mohawk Valley playoff appearances with Nation at the helm. The DiamondDawgs finished in third place in the East Division before losing to the Albany Dutchmen in the East Division semifinals.
"Blake did an outstanding job guiding the DiamondDawgs this season. They had a rough start waiting for the majority of the team to finish the NCAA regionals. Once his team was in place, they started winning in games bunches, most impressive," said PGCBL President Jeff Kunion.
The DiamondDawgs, who posted a 15-8 home record, went 25-1 when leading after seven innings, the best mark in the league, and were one of five teams to have a winning percentage above .500 in one-run games. Nation led the 2015 PGCBL Champions to a 15-9 record in July after a team ERA of 3.10 led the DiamondDawgs to an above-.500 record in June.
Mohawk Valley had a .266 team batting average, the fifth-highest in the league, and committed only 49 errors, the fewest in the league. On the mount, DiamondDawg pitchers posted a 3.39 ERA, the fourth-lowest mark in the PGCBL.
Said Mohawk Valley owner/GM Travis Heiser: "I am very proud of what Coach Nation has been able to accomplish here in the Mohawk Valley. Coach embodies what it means to be a MV DiamondDawg. Not only does he develop these players on the field but does so off the field and I'm confident when these players go back to their college teams they are both better players and even better men. As an organization we are thrilled for Coach to receive this deserving honor. Knowing Coach, he will deflect this attention and say it was a team effort and acknowledge his players as well as Coach Luby but he is very deserving of Coach of the Year honors and we echo those sentiments. We are very lucky to have both Coach Nation and Luby here in Little Falls and we knew we had the best coach and it's nice to see him recognized by the league. We are very proud of our team's effort this year and can't say enough about Coach Nation's work ethic and dedication to this organization and applaud him on this outstanding honor as PGCBL Coach of the Year.”
Nation led the East Division All-Star Team to a 9-1 win over the West Division in the 2016 PGCBL All-Star Game in Albany.
He took over as head coach of the DiamondDawgs in 2014 and guided the team to a 26-19 record, good for second place in the East Division. In 2015, Mohawk Valley, under Nation’s leadership, went 32-18 in the regular season and lost just one game en route to the PGCBL Championship, the first in team history.
Coach of the Year Winners
2016 – Blake Nation, Mohawk Valley
2015 – Dan Shwam, Victor
2014 – Mike Armstrong, Newark
2013 – Nick Davey, Albany
2012 – Keith Griffin, Amsterdam
2011 – Eric Coleman, Cooperstown
The PGCBL is affiliated with Perfect Game, the largest independent scouting service in the country. Last year, more than 1,400 professional players had either worn the uniform of a PGCBL team or participated in a Perfect Game event.
For more information about the PGCBL, visit www.pgcbl.com and follow the league on Twitter, @PGCBLbaseball.