After a record-setting season, Amsterdam Mohawks second baseman Josh Gardiner was named the 2014 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League Player of the Year when the league announced its annual awards Sunday.
Gardiner became the second straight Mohawks player to win the award, joining his teammate from the 2013 PGCBL champions, John Nogowski.
After hitting .327 last summer as Amsterdam's everyday second baseman, Gardiner returned to the role at Shuttleworth Park after his junior season at Radford University and was even better. His .415 batting average during the regular season finished second in the league behind Mike Carter of the Adirondack Trail Blazers and sits as the second-highest average in the league's four-year history, while Gardiner's league-leading .543 on-base percentage shattered the record of .497 set by Nogowski last year and Ross Kivett of the Glens Falls Golden Eagles in 2012.
Along with batting average and on-base percentage, Gardiner finished among the top five in the PGCBL in five other offensive categories. He finished fifth in slugging percentage (.511), fourth in hits (56), fifth in runs batted in (29), first in hit by pitches (10) and second in walks (29). He also finished tied for seventh in the league in stolen bases, swiping 16 bags in 21 attempts.
The Culpepper, Va. native was named the PGCBL Player of the Week for Week 4 of the regular season, when he went 10-for-19 with five RBIs and a .654 on-base percentage from June 26 to July 2. He finished the season in the top five among Mohawks players in every offensive category except for home runs on a team that set a PGCBL record with 36 regular-season wins and will play in its fourth straight PGCBL Championship Series this week.
Jayson Yano of the Newark Pilots was named the PGCBL Pitcher of the Year.
Unsurprisingly, Gardiner was also the choice at second base on the PGCBL's 2014 All-League Team, where he gave Amsterdam one of a league-high six selections on the first team. Also named to the team were outfielders John Razzino and Marcus Carson, starting pitchers EJ Ashworth and Taylor Blatch and relief pitcher Thomas Hackimer. Third baseman Tommy Kain was named to the second team.
Razzino hit .370 during the regular season, good for third in the league, while finishing tied for second in the PGCBL with five home runs and holding second in RBIs on his own with 34. The Franklin Pierce product also led the league with 23 stolen bases in 26 attempts.
Carson, the Mohawks' leadoff man, was fourth in the league with a .347 batting average while also finishing tied for second in the PGCBL with a team-best 38 runs scored. The University of Kentucky speedster also boasted a .478 on-base percentage and stole 14 bases.
Blatch went 5-1 during the regular season with a 1.80 earned run average in seven starts. He struck out 37 batters in 40 innings and held opposing hitters to a paltry .163 batting average. In Blatch's final start of the regular season, he threw the second no-hitter in PGCBL history in the first game of a July 27 doubleheader against the Utica Brewers.
Ashworth finished third in the league among qualified pitchers with a 2.02 ERA over 49 innings while posting a 5-0 regular-season record. The Fairfield University product finished second in the league with 45 strikeouts and held hitters to a .194 batting average.
Hackimer posted a 3-0 record with six saves and a sterling 0.98 ERA in 27 2/3 innings over 17 relief appearances before suffering a late-season leg injury. Despite working in relief, the sidearmer from St. John's University finished third in the PGCBL with 44 strikeouts and opponents hit just .138 off him.
-- Staff report