Fitzsimmons, Cioffi Power Dutchmen to the Playoffs

By: Jeremy Meyer

Dutchmen celebrate a postseason birth, defeating Glens Falls 7-1 (Photo by: Jason Brinkman)

ALBANY, NY—In a winner-take-all matchup in front of over 2200 fans at East Field, the Albany Dutchmen (23-26) got four RBIs from their cleanup hitter Michael Fitzsimmons (Ole Miss), and seven shutout innings from Nick Cioffi (Towson), propelling the Dutchmen past the Glens Falls Dragons (22-28) and into the postseason with a 7-1 win.

The Dutchmen will head to Mohawk Valley to take on the Diamond Dawgs in the first round of the PGCBL Playoffs Friday, with the winner beginning the PGCBL East Finals Saturday in Amsterdam against the 3-time defending champion Mohawks. It is the third straight year these two teams have gone head-to-head on this stage.

Tonight, the Dutchmen superstars lifted the visiting team past four defensive errors to never trail in the contest.

Michael Fitzsimmons began the scoring to begin the top of the 2nd. Working against Dragons starter, Alex Yarem (Campbell University), Fitzsimmons powered a 1-0 fastball to straightaway centerfield for his third homerun of the season.

The lead then ballooned to 4-0 in the 3rd inning, with the bottom of the order setting the table. After Hunter Boose (Georgia Regents) reached second after an infield single and a passed ball, he came around to score on a RBI single to right by Jack Weiller (Virginia). Grayson Lewis (Rice) then shot a topspin groundball down the first base line, switching places with Weiller at second.

Fitzsimmons completed the inning’s scoring by hooking a curveball to left, plating the 4th Dutchmen run.

That was more than enough for Nick Cioffi to work with. The Dutchmen ace utilized his fastball to climb ahead in counts all evening long. Despite dancing out of the first after a pair of defensive errors, Cioffi maintained his trust in his fielders to make plays, with just three strikeouts on the night.

With two runners aboard in the 4th, a Bryce Aldridge (Indianapolis) weak groundball to first ended the inning. Then in the 7th inning, Cioffi induced a pop out and ground ball with two runners aboard to complete his outing unscathed.

Fitzsimmons put the icing on his career night with a 2-run double in the top of the 5th inning, which gave him four RBIs. Fitzsimmons then came around to score his second run when Michael Boller (Louisville) reached on a dropped third strike, pushing the lead to 7-0.

A fielder’s choice in the 9th inning against Albany’s Andrew Giddens (Ave Maria) was the lone run that crossed the plate for the Dragons.

Gavin Wallace (Fairfield) will look to send the Dutchmen to the PGCBL Finals Friday. Wallace has tossed three straight quality starts, including earning a victory in Little Falls last time out. In that outing he went seven inning, giving up three earned runs in a 9-5 victory over the Diamond Dawgs.

If the Dutchmen win Friday, game 2 of the series with the Amsterdam Mohawks will be at Bellizzi Field on Sunday, with game-time tentatively scheduled for a 5:05PM start.

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