Recorder file photo Amsterdam's Jonathan Pryor is greeted by teammates after scoring the tying run in the bottom of the fifth inning against Utica earlier this season at Shuttleworth Park.
Dave Wojeski / For The Recorder 7/10/2014 Amsterdam Assignment Amsterdam's Josh Gardiner dives safely back to first base before the tag of Watertown's Duston Exford during their game on Thursday night at Shuttleworth Park.
By MICHAEL KELLY
The Amsterdam Mohawks will begin their postseason tonight at Shuttleworth Park against the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs.
The DiamondDawgs advanced to the PGCBL East Division Championship Series after besting the Albany Dutchmen, 3-2, in a one-game playoff Thursday.
Meanwhile, Amsterdam advanced to the series as the East Division's regular-season champion. The Mohawks won a league record 36 games against 11 losses.
The two squads met eight times during the regular season, with Amsterdam winning six times.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
NEW YEAR, SAME ANSWER
At some point in the next week, Mohawks head coach Keith Griffin will finish his sixth summer as Amsterdam's skipper.
As has been his custom in past years, he declined this week to speculate on if he will return. Like always, he said, that decision will not be made for several weeks, after both team president Brian Spagnola and Griffin have some time to recharge from the most recent campaign.
"And, if he (Spagnola) wants me back, we'll talk," said Griffin. "If we decide we want to do it again, we'll start working on next year's team as quickly as we can."
Thus far, Griffin has guided the Mohawks to four league titles and 212 victories in his first five-plus seasons.
The winningest coach in franchise history, Griffin said this year's postseason results will not affect his decision.
"No, not really," he said. "If we win, there's no reason to think I wouldn't come back."
Out in Utica, the Mohawks -- and especially pitcher Taylor Blatch -- had a day to remember this past Sunday.
In a doubleheader of seven-inning games, Amsterdam took home 7-0 and 16-0 victories, with the former coming at the same time as Blatch's no-hitter against the Brewers.
Blatch struck out five in his outing, but walked four and hit one batter.
"I felt good in the bullpen; I was controlling all my pitches," he said. "Then, I went out on the mound and I wasn't able to locate a lot of pitches."
But Blatch soon found his way after walking his way into some early trouble. Quickly, he said, he moved away from trying to be perfect and instead relied on his fielders to make plays for him.
"And," he said, "they did."
"He's got good stuff, and when he had to make a pitch, he did," Griffin added.
Asked the age-old question for pitchers in his situation, Blatch said he knew all along that he had a no-hitter going Sunday.
"Everybody says you don't really realize it, but I always know," he said.
Blatch got to take in the day's second game from the bullpen, where no pitchers were called upon because of Kevin Guthrie's spectacular outing. While the Mohawks' offense thundered its way to 16 runs, Guthrie struck out 11 Brewers and allowed only four base runners in the contest.
Spotted an 11-0 lead before his third trip to the mound, Guthrie laughed thinking about Griffin's words to him before that inning.
"Guthrie, get us on the bus. Let's go," was what the pitcher said his coach told him.
The offensive display and pitching prowess started a big week for the Mohawks, which saw the club have a four-game stretch in which it outscored its opponents, 49-9.
"It (the doubleheader) was definitely big for us because we had been struggling on the offensive side of things," said Guthrie. "Our pitching had always been decent, and we now all know our roles going into the playoffs."
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