AMSTERDAM - Keith Griffin has done it again. He's been the skipper of the Amsterdam Mohawks for five years and now has five straight appearances in the league championship series under his leadership.
Amsterdam defeated the Albany Dutchmen 9-4 on Sunday night at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam to take the East Division Finals 2 games to 1.
The Mohawks will meet the Elmira Pioneers in the best-of-three championship series of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League beginning tonight with Game 1 at Shuttleworth Park. Game 2 will be Wednesday night at Dunn Field in Elmira, and then Game 3, if necessary, will be Thursday back in Amsterdam.
Sunday, 950 vocal fans went into a frenzy when Mike Urbanski (Binghamton) induced a game-ending double-play on a grounder to shortstop John Sansone (Florida State). Sansone also blasted a two-run homer in the third inning of the game that proved to be the game-winning RBIs.
The Albany Dutchmen are in their fourth season of existence and were making their first appearance in the post-season. They advanced in the opening round with an 11-inning victory at Mohawk Valley on Thursday in a one-game playoff while Amsterdam had a first-round bye. Then they pushed Amsterdam to the limit before falling just short in the winner-take-all game.
Griffin is the all-time winningest manager in Mohawks' franchise history with 153 total regular-season victories. Griffin is now 21-4 all-time in the post-season with the Mohawks. It is the second straight season for Amsterdam to win a deciding Game 3 in the division playoffs at Shuttleworth Park. Last year in the division playoffs, Mark Leiter Jr. struck out 13 DiamondDawgs batters to get Amsterdam to the championship series past Mohawk Valley.
Amsterdam won the overall season series over Albany 6 games to 5, including the 2-1 mark in the playoffs. Six of the 11 games were decided by one run, four were decided via walk-off, including Albany's Game 2 win on Saturday, and three went to extra innings.
The Mohawks now face the Elmira Pioneers in the league championship series for the second time in four years. Amsterdam celebrated a 2-0 championship sweep at Dunn Field in Elmira for the 2010 title. It is the first championship rematch in Keith Griffin's tenure with Amsterdam.
Amsterdam was 3-1 against the Pioneers this year, including a 10-1 victory at Dunn Field the last time the two teams met on July 25. Elmira finished third in the West Division with a record of 21-26. They won at the Newark Pilots on Thursday in their opening one-game playoff and then swept the first-place Watertown Rams with victories on Friday and Saturday.