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BASEBALL

Doubledays clinch playoff appearance in first season in PGCBL

Auburn's first venture into the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League is a playoff-bound success. 

The Doubledays dispatched of the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs 8-3 Wednesday at Falcon Park. The win improves Auburn's record to 26-18, a .591 winning percentage. 

Auburn and Mohawk Valley are meeting in a two-game series to end the PGCBL's regular season, which decides which of the two teams will claim the final playoff position afforded to the Central Division. Utica, by virtue of a 20-3 win earlier on Wednesday, clinched the Central's other playoff spot. 

Mohawk Valley (23-19) needed to win both games to overtake Auburn in the Central. 

The Doubledays opened the scoring in the first inning when Griffin O'Ferrall, the PGCBL's batting leader, singled, stole a pair of bases and then scored on an error by the Diamond Dawgs' catcher. Mohawk Valley later tied the score in the second. 

In the third, Auburn again took the lead on Brian Norsen's sacrifice fly. But again, in the fourth, Mohawk Valley answered with a run of its own. 

There would be no matching of Auburn's fifth inning. The Doubledays plated five runs, with Matt Livingston and Norsen both dropping in run-scoring doubles, to take a 7-2 lead. 

While Mohawk Valley managed one run in return, it wasn't enough. The Diamond Dawgs put one runner on in their final at-bats, but Adam Hoechstetter recorded the final three outs to save the game. 

Another win for Auburn on Thursday, at Mohawk Valley, can secure a home game for the first round, which takes place on Friday. 

Six teams in total qualify for the PGCBL postseason, which the top two teams from each division earning a berth. The two teams with the highest winning percentage earn a first-round bye in the tournament. 

The remaining four teams are seeded based on winning percentage, and play Friday in a single-elimination format. The two winners play again on Saturday in the second-round, another single-elimination game. 

The final two teams will meet in a best-of-three championship round that begins on Sunday, Aug. 1 and will conclude Tuesday, Aug. 3. 

All tiebreakers for seeding will be decided by head-to-head record, then win percentage within each teams' division, then win percentage against common opponents. 

As of Wednesday morning, three teams had already clinched playoff spots. Amsterdam (31-9) owns the No. 1 overall seed, while Saugerties (27-12) and Jamestown (28-14) battle for the second bye. 

Auburn's win on Wednesday vaults the Doubledays past Utica for the Central Division lead. Another win guarantees Auburn the No. 4 seed in the bracket and a return to Falcon Park on Friday. 

Sports reporter Justin Ritzel can be reached at 282-2257 or at justin.ritzel@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenRitz.

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Sports Reporter

Justin Ritzel is a sports reporter for The Citizen. Justin has been covering high school sports and minor league baseball in Cayuga County since 2015.

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