For the first time in franchise history, the Dutchmen are pleased to announce the selection of an Albany player as the PGCBL Pitcher of the Year. The league announced Wednesday that Matt Pierce (Siena) has been named the top pitcher in the PGCBL for the 2017 season. Pierce is the first Dutchmen player in the nine-year history of the franchise to be named either the Player or Pitcher of the Year. The only other Dutchmen to earn a league-wide award was head coach Nick Davey, who was named PGCBL Coach of the Year in 2013.
“It feels rewarding to be named Pitcher of the Year,” Pierce said. “It feels great to see all of the hard work put in over these past months of summer baseball pay off."
Pierce, who was named a PGCBL All-Star and the Dutchmen's co-Pitcher of the Year, made 12 appearances with five starts for the 2017 Dutchmen. The Siena righthander wrote his name in the PGCBL record books with a league record eight wins, breaking the existing mark of seven with a win on July 30 over the Onondaga Flames. Pierce had broken the Dutchmen record for wins by mid-July, winning six times in his first ten appearances.
In addition to his 8-1 record (his only loss came in an outing where he did not allow an earned run), Pierce recorded a 1.71 ERA over 42 innings. Pierce's ERA ranks third-best in Dutchmen history among pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched, and was the lowest ERA in the PGCBL among eligible pitchers by nearly 60 points.
Playing at his home field this summer, the righty did not allow more than two runs in any of his 12 appearances, and walked just 11 hitters in his 42 innings on the mound. He allowed less than a hit an inning, and recorded a 1.17 WHIP. Pierce's ERA did not move above the 2.00 mark after June 16.
Four of his five starts came in July, when he went 4-0 including three victories on the road. His signature start came on July 6, when the Dutchmen rolled to an 11-1 victory over the Oneonta Outlaws. Pierce allowed just one hit over his six shutout innings on the mound, striking out a season-high six batters. He also earned victories over three playoff teams in the final month of the season, defeating the Amsterdam Mohawks, Saugerties Stallions, and the Onondaga Flames.
"I cannot be happier for a kid that’s worked as hard as he has,” Dutchmen head coach Nick Davey said. “He earned this award; it wasn’t given to him.
Pierce joins a distinguished group of pitchers that have been named the best in the PGCBL. Of the eight pitchers that have previously earned the honor, five have progressed to a career in professional baseball, and two others are still active in college baseball.
The Albany Dutchmen are enormously proud of Pierce's accomplishment as the best pitcher in the PGCBL.