By Zach Dooley
With an 8-5 victory over the Oneonta Outlaws Wednesday night, the Glens Falls Golden Eagles clinched the second seed in the PGCBL playoffs, giving them home field advantage in their upcoming first round series. Their opponents will be the Newark Pilots, who clinched put the pressure on Glens Falls by winning their own game in walk-off fashion, but had to settle for the third seed with the Golden Eagles victory.
The Golden Eagles and Pilots will meet in a best of three series beginning Friday August 3rd in Glens Falls. The series shifts to Newark on Saturday August 5th and, if necessary, returns to Glens Falls on Sunday August 6th. All three games will begin at 7PM.
Despite all of the turnover with the Golden Eagles roster this season, the starting lineup has played its way out heading into the post season. One strength that Glens Falls has had is the ability to use several lineups throughout the season and be successful, and versatility is essential in the postseason. Here’s a look at how the Golden Eagles breakdown heading into the playoffs.
Catcher: All season long the Golden Eagles have gone with a platoon of Chase Griffin and JP Rousseau behind the plate. Both catchers have their strengths as players, with Griffin being one of the top hitters in the Glens Falls order, and Rousseau providing top notch defense behind the plate, along with some pop at the bottom of the lineup. Griffin will most likely be starting behind the plate, but Coach John Mayotte has also shown that he will use Griffin as a designated hitter from time to time with Rousseau behind the plate. Both will be important assets in the postseason.
First Base: Mike Vigliarolo has been the main stay at first base this season. Vigliarolo is not only one of the top hitters in the Golden Eagles lineup, but is also a top defensive first baseman in the entire league as evidenced by his second place ranking in putouts. Vigliarolo leads the Golden Eagles in runs batted in and is fifth in the entire league, and his presence in the middle of the order has been essential for the Golden Eagles this season.
Middle Infield: The three man group of Casey Rodrigue, Anthony Pisani and Kevin Meyers will man the shortstop and second base positions for the Golden Eagles. Rodrigue seems to have taken over full time as the starting second baseman following the departure of Golden Eagles player of the year, Ross Kivett, who is currently attending the Olympic Games in London. Rodrigue has proven to be more than adequate as a replacement, hitting .347, second only to Kivett. As for shortstop, ever since Pisani returned to Glens Falls, he and Meyers have both seen extensive looks at the position. The two form a formidable tandem, with Meyers’ hot bat and Pisani’s quick glove. Whoever doesn’t get the start at shortstop will be in contention to play outfield or designated hitter, as neither player is one the team wants out of the lineup.
Third Base: Alberto Morales has taken a stranglehold on the hot corner for the Golden Eagles. Morales is hitting .321, good for second amongst active Golden Eagles. After an up and down start to the season, Morales has taken off in the second half of the season and was rewarded with an all-star selection for his efforts. Morales spot is as secure as anyone’s and his bat in the heart of the order will be crucial for Golden Eagles success in the playoffs.
Outfield: Danny Brennan has a lock on the centerfield position for Glens Falls, but the corner outfield spots are up for debate. Between Buddy Putnam, Kevin Meyers, Connor Hoagland and Brandon Matthews, there are plenty of candidates for the right and left field positions. Putnam is the most experience of the group, having seen a lot of playing time in right field this season. Putnam has been a solid defender for the Golden Eagles, and should expect to see time in the playoffs as well. Meyers was the shortstop for much of the season, but got the start in left field in the season’s final game against Oneonta, and responded with two hits and a beautiful catch in left field. Matthews saw the start in that game as well in the designated hitters spot, but he provides a big arm out of the bullpen. Hoagland is a new addition to the team, but is a natural outfielder, unlike the other corner outfielder candidates.
Starting Pitcher: The starting five to end the season for Glens Falls was Taylor Saucedo, Wes Judish, Ryan Petersen, Cory Folk and Neil Fryer. With Folk and Fryer having both thrown against Oneonta, expect the first three to see the starts in the first round, with one of Folk or Fryer being saved for a potential championship series, and the other becoming a part of the bullpen. Saucedo was recently named pitcher of the year, and has had several stellar starts at East Field, where he could get the ball for Game One. Petersen has been a starter all season and provides stability to the rotation, while Judish was a top bullpen option before being converted to starter out of need, as both Folk and Fryer were as well. With the losses of Brandon Magallones, Tony Urban and Nick Pivetta amongst others, the Golden Eagles were short on starting pitching and the three aforementioned pitchers answered the call.
Relief Pitcher: With the loss of Jared Cheek, Ryan Skoubo has taken over in the closer’s role, where he has performed admirably, with three saves, and a team leading 2.76 ERA amongst active pitchers. His set up man will presumably be Jake Dollar, who has been one of Coach Mayotte’s top options out of the bullpen all season. Jordan Keysor and Matthews are the left handed options out of the bullpen in middle relief and Joey Moore is the lone remaining right hander. All three could get their opportunity depending on the length that the starting rotation gives. Either Folk or Fryer will presumably be used in relief.
Projected Playoff Lineup
2B: Casey Rodrigue
CF: Danny Brennan
3B: Alberto Morales
DH: Chase Griffin
1B: Mike Vigliarolo
LF: Kevin Meyers
RF: Buddy Putnam
C: JP Rousseau
SS: Anthony Pisani
SP: Game 1: Taylor Saucedo
SP: Game 2: Wes Judish
SP: Game 3: Ryan Petersen