AMSTERDAM - Even after winning their first Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League championship, the Amsterdam Mohawks continue to dominate the opposition with postseason honors.
After guiding the Mohawks to a 35 regular season victories and wins in four out of five of their postseason games, manager Keith Griffin was named the PGCBL Manager of the Year.
Griffin is not the only Mohawk to take home PGCBL top honors as Chandler Shepherd (Kentucky) was selected the league's Pitcher of the Year.
Amsterdam’s Chandler Shepherd delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Albany Dutchmen during a June 18 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam. Shepherd recently was named the PGCBL Pitcher of the Year. (The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo)
The PGCBL Player of the Year honor went to Ross Kivett (Kansas State) of the Glens Falls Golden Eagles.
In his fourth season as head coach of the Mohawks, Griffin coached Amsterdam to a franchise record 39 overall victories and a league championship. Between the regular season and playoffs, Amsterdam went 39-13 (.750) and finished the regular season eight games ahead of runner-up Glens Falls.
The Mohawks' 35 wins and .745 winning percentage established new regular-season marks for the PGCBL.
Amsterdam spent nine straight weeks, beginning in mid-June, ranked among Perfect Game's Summer Top 30, and seven week in a row in the national top 10. Amsterdam finished second in the national rankings.
Over the last four years, Griffin, a Pensacola, Fla., resident, has compiled 141 victories overall, 122 regular season victories, 19 playoff wins, three 30-win regular seasons and three league championships. Amsterdam has advanced to a league championship series four years in a row. Prior to Amsterdam, Griffin was a collegiate head coach at both Okaloosa-Walton (Fla.) J.C. and Jefferson Davis (Ala.) C.C.
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 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.
Shepherd opened the season with 14 straight scoreless innings and tossed a two-hit shutout for five innings and struck out seven at Cooperstown's Doubleday Field on June 10 and backed it up in his next outing with an eight-inning, six strike out, two-hit win over the Albany Dutchmen
Shepherd was nearly un-hittable in his final two regular season starts. He hurled a one-hit shutout for eight innings at Mohawk Valley on July 19 and tied his 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 innings against Mohawk Valley in his final start against offensive powerhouse Glens Falls before finishing with a three-hitter in a seven-inning complete game victory.
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. Pitching on three days rest, Shepherd 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, Shepherd finished the summer season with a 9-0 record, 1.73 earned run average and 64 strikeouts in 67.2 innings pitched.
Amsterdam's pitching staff was the best in the PGCBL. The Mohawks led the league in earned run average (3.34), wins (35), shutouts (five), innings pitched (428.1), fewest hits allowed (347), fewest runs allowed (194), fewest earned runs allowed (159), strikeouts (420) and opponents' batting average (.223). Shepherd led the league in opponents' batting average (.154) and tied for the league lead in victories (seven) and ERA (1.31). Shepherd and Rocky McCord (Auburn) tied for fifth in the league in strikeouts (50) and McCord was among the top five in ERA (1.71) and OBA (.180). Reliever Chase Williamson (Auburn) tied for the league lead in saves (eight) and was second in appearances (20).
Kivett, a junior at Kansas State University, captured the league's batting championship with a .401 average over 40 games played. He paced the league in batting average, on-base percentage (.497), hits (61) and stolen bases (37) despite missing the final week of the regular season due to a pre-planned trip to watch the Summer Olympics in London.
Kivett finished among the league's top five qualifying hitters in five other statistical categories including slugging percentage (.556), runs scored (41), total bases (86), triples (three) and times hit by a pitch (nine). For the season, Kivett batted .401 with three home runs, 29 RBI, 10 doubles and 22 walks. He paced the Glens Falls Golden Eagles in nine different statistical categories.
The Broadview Heights, Ohio, native reached base safely via hit, walk or hit by pitch in all 40 games that he played for the Golden Eagles and led all PGCBL batters with 21 multi-hit games. He struck out just nine times in 188 total plate appearances.
On the base paths, his 37 stolen bases shattered the PGCBL record of 22 set last season by Newark's Michael Bolling.