Player and Pitchers of the Year Recognized

By: Ryan Murphy

The Albany Dutchmen are pleased to recognize the team's fourth annual Player and Pitcher of the Year. Brandt Holland (North Alabama) was selected as the Player of the Year, while Matt Pierce (Siena) and Justin Bureau (Ave Maria) shared Pitcher of the Year honors. The Dutchmen have been presenting these postseason awards since 2014, and the honored players were recognized before the home game on July 29.

Brandt Holland came to Albany from North Alabama, and left as the third Division II player to claim the highest Dutchmen honor. Holland was a mainstay in the middle of the Albany order, and put together a season that saw him land in the top five in franchise history in three offensive categories. The first baseman was the most powerful member of the Dutchmen order, belting five home runs with 36 runs batted in. The 36 RBIs tied Michael Fitzsimmons' franchise record from two seasons ago, and was tied for fourth in the PGCBL. Holland was one of nine PGCBL players to hit five home runs this season, four of which played their home games at notoriously homer-happy Shuttlesworth Park in Amsterdam. The slugger was also fifth in team history in extra-base hits (15), and fourth in slugging percentage (.512).

Holland caught fire near the end of the season, leading the Dutchmen to the number two seed in the Eastern Division and a home playoff game. In a stretch from July 19 to July 25, Holland drove in 12 runs in six games, hitting three home runs. The Dutchmen went 4-2 in that stretch, and the was named the Spotlight Player of the Week for his efforts.

In addition to his honor as PGCBL Pitcher of the Year honor, Matt Pierce was recognized as the team's co-Pitcher of the Year. Pierce joins Nick Cioffi as the second local product to win the award. Pierce set a league record with eight wins on the season, as the Siena product earned a victory in eight of the 12 appearances he made. He was the PGCBL ERA champion with a 1.71 mark, the third best in Dutchmen history among pitchers with 40 or more innings. The righthander from Schenectady did not allow more than two runs in any of his outings, and allowed just 11 walks in his 42 innings on the mound.

Pierce was at his best in the month of July, going 4-0 in his final four starts of the season. He defeated three teams that qualified for the PGCBL Playoffs, picking up wins over Onondaga, Amsterdam, and Saugerties. The victory over Oneonta on the road was his crowning acheivement, as the righthander allowed just one hit over six shutout innings with six strikeouts. The win over Oneonta tied the franchise record with his fifth win of the season, and saw Pierce set season-highs in innings pitched and strikeouts.

Sharing the award of co-Pitcher of the Year was closer Justin Bureau. Bureau put together one of the best seasons in PGCBL history for a closer, as the Ave Maria Gyrene did not allow a run- earned or otherwise- in 21 innings on the mound. Bureau tied a franchise record with eight saves, and added three victories. A PGCBL All-Star, Bureat struck out 30 hitters with only six walks, and allowed only nine hits. In his 17 appearances, Bureau recorded at least one strikeout in all but one of his outings, and allowed more than one hit only twice.

Bureau set the franchise record with the lowest earned run average, becoming the first pitcher in nine years of Albany Dutchmen baseball to not allow a run over at least 20 innings. The righthander also recorded the lowest batting average against in the team's history, as opposing hitters batted just .127 against him. Finally, Bureau was just the seventh pitcher to pitch at least 17 times in an Albany uniform.

The Dutchmen are pleased to recognize the accomplishments of each of these three players, and wish all of them the best in their future baseball endeavors.

2014: Drew Tolson (Baylor)
2015: Nick Cioffi (Saint Rose)
2016: Evan Giles (Indiana State)
2017: Matt Pierce (Siena) and Justin Bureau (Ave Maria)

2014: Sean Aspinall (Azusa Pacific)
2015: Michael Fitzsimmons (Ole Miss)
2016: JJ Shimko (South Carolina Upstate) and Justin Childers (Ohio Dominican)
2017: Brandt Holland (North Alabama)

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