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Albany Dutchmen

PGCBL players put skills to the test in competitions and home run derby

Aidan Joly



The PGCBL All-Star festivities at Shuttleworth Park continued late Tuesday afternoon with the Skills Competition and the Home Run Derby.

Catching Accuracy Competition
In this competition, catchers threw a ball from home plate to behind second base into a target with a hole in it. Two points were allotted for hitting the target and four for getting it in the hole, and each thrower got three throws. Newark’s Will Allocca got the win, finishing with 10 of a possible 12 points. Utica’s Mitch Calandra and Glens Falls’ Anthony Vaglica tied for second with eight points each, and Mohawk Valley’s Clay Konecki finished with six points.

Double Play Quickness
For this skill, a shortstop and second baseman were timed for how quickly they could turn a double play. The Amsterdam duo of Will Holland and Jake Mueller got the win, turning in the fastest time of 3.87 seconds, besting a pairing of Elmira Pioneers in Brett Rodriguez and Troy Dixon at 3.97 seconds as well as Glens Falls’ Phoenix Hernandez and Onondaga’s Alex Campy who turned in a time of four seconds flat.


Outfield Strength
For this one, outfielders threw from center field to home. Newark’s Over Torres won this competition with a throw that hit high up the screen behind home plate. Utica’s Devon Garcia came in second.

Infield Throw Speed
Players would throw a ball from shortstop to first base and it would be judged in miles per hour. Elmira’s Brett Rodriguez won the competition with a top speed of 94 MPH, barely beating out Amsterdam’s Will Holland who clocked in at 93 MPH. Utica’s Adam LaRock and Glens Falls’ Jared Morello each hit 89 MPH, and Geneva’s Dominic Toso hit 88 MPH.

Running Speed
Players ran around the bases. Oneonta’s Michael Brown grabbed the win with a time of 14.01 seconds. He beat out Utica’s Taylor Olmstead at 14.18 seconds, Will Holland at 14.32, Albany’s Nick Estrella who clocked at 14.55 as well as Jimmy Standohar at 14.51 seconds and Mohawk Valley’s Austin Pollack who had 15 seconds flat.

Home Run Derby
The first batter of the derby, Adirondack’s Rob Zuwarski, only hit three home runs, but then Elmira’s Conor Grammes came up and put on a show as he hit 11 home runs. Two hitters later, it was Jamestown’s Christ Conley hitting nine to grab the second position, as only the top two advance to the final round. Over Torres and Albany’s Chase Allen finished at eight home runs each, but Amsterdam’s Anthony Gonnella came up huge with 11 home runs of his own to tie Grammes and secure his spot in the finals. No batter after Gonnella would top five home runs and the finals were set for Grammes and Gonnella.

Grammes came up big in the final round and hit 10 home runs and that became the score to beat for Gonnella. However, the Amsterdam slugger could not top that, hitting only seven, and Grammes was crowned the home run derby champion for the 2017 PGCBl All-Star festivities.

Aidan Joly joined Upstate Courier Sports in February 2016 and became managing editor of the sports department in August 2017. He covers Section II athletics, the Siena men's basketball team and the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Aidan attends Saratoga Springs High School and will be attending Canisius College in the fall of 2018. Aidan can be contacted through social media (Twitter is @ByAidanJoly) or by email,