By: Luke McGrath
August 10th, 2017
The Albany Dutchmen found a new place to call home this summer at Siena College Ballpark and thrived in the new environment recording a franchise record 33-16 regular season record, surpassing last seasons franchise record by five wins.
Players from as far as Glendora, California to as near as Delmar, New York all came together under Head Coach Nick Davey to work on developing their games and to put on a show for fans across New York State.
The Dutchmen did just that, from walk off wins to dominant pitching performances, from 18 run games to one run thrillers, the summer of 2017 for the Albany Dutchmen was one that won’t soon be forgotten.
Albany plays in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) where the season begins on June 1st. After starting 1-1, the Dutchmen, along with much of the league, had its next three games rained out.
That time off was used to practice at All-Stars Academy and grow team chemistry. After losing the next two games to fall to 1-3, the Dutchmen did something that had never been done in franchise history, a nine game winning streak.
Surpassing a previous record of six set twice in 2013, Albany put together a run of dominant baseball that impressed fans all across the PGCBL.
Albany secured its first walk off win of the summer on June 11th when Brad Gneiting (Rice) bolted home on a wild pitch to keep the Dutchmen win streak alive.
One of the highlights of the summer came outside of PGCBL play when the Dutchmen took on the MiLB Tri-City ValleyCats (affiliate of the Houston Astros) in an exhibition game on June 15th. Playing against professional talent, Albany rallied behind Greg Marino (Stony Brook) who pitched six innings of two run ball to help Albany to the 3-2 victory in front of a crowd of over 4,000 fans.
The Dutchmen stumbled to finish off June winning three of nine, finishing the month with a 13-9 record. In July the Dutchmen started off on a high note taking down the Amsterdam Mohawks 5-3 to snap the defending champions 12 game winning streak.
Two nights later on the Fourth of July Marino turned in a gem for the record books pitching 6.2 innings, facing the minimum number of batters and doing it all in just 55 pitches in the 11-0 win over the Saugerties Stallions.
On the 9th the Dutchmen took down the Stallions again, this time in dramatic fashion. Albany was shut out for most of the game until a two out comeback in the eighth gave Coach Davey’s squad new hope.
Brandt Holland (North Alabama) came into the game as a pinch hitter and ripped a 3 run double giving Albany a 3-2 lead they would not surrender on the annual Pink Game that raised funds for the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
The clutch hit by Holland was just one of the many clutch at bats that led him to be named the Player of the Year for the Dutchmen.
Albany went on to win four of six before the PGCBL All-Star break. Five Dutchmen players were honored with All-Star Game nominations along with seven other players selected to play in the Prospect Game.
Two Dutchmen players nominated for the All-Star game went on to win co-pitchers of the year for Albany. Matt Pierce (Siena) set a PGCBL record with eight wins and sported a 1.71 ERA on the summer. Pierce was honored alongside Justin Bureau (Ave Maria) who hurled 21.2 innings and never allowed an earned run. Bureau also tied the franchise record for saves with eight.
Following the All-Star Game, the Dutchmen fell to the Mohawks on the 19th and it looked as if Albany would not be able to catch up to the Diamond Dawgs for second place in the East Division and the right to host a home playoff game.
The following day in a doubleheader against the Diamond Dawgs the Dutchmen bats came alive in the sweep of Mohawk Valley highlighted by a Brandt Holland grand slam in game one.
The doubleheader sweep was the beginning of a 10-2 stretch to end the historic regular season. During that stretch the Dutchmen had many more memorable moments, one being a 16 inning thriller.
In a game continuing from June 15th that was tied at three after 10 innings, the Dutchmen played seven innings of bonus baseball to determine a winner. After the Dutchmen bullpen held the Diamond Dawgs scoreless, Peyton Sockwell (North Alabama) roped the game winning hit to give Albany the walk off win in the bottom of the 16th.
With the two seed locked in place at the end of the regular season, the Dutchmen hosted the Diamond Dawgs in the Eastern Division one game playoff, the fifth straight season the two teams matched up in the one game playoff.
Albany’s historic season ended in a 4-3 defeat following a 3 run triple from Russ Olive (UMass Lowell) of Mohawk Valley in seventh inning. It was a timely win for the Diamond Dawgs, as the Dutchmen held a 6-0 regular season record against the familiar foe. Mohawk Valley went on to beat Amsterdam and Jamestown to claim the 2017 PGCBL Championship.
Although the season ended a few days earlier than many expected, Albany proved their dominance in its first season at Siena Field with a foundation in place for future success in the PGCBL.
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