Filed by the Newark Pilots:
It was an elimination, winner takes all, Western Division Championship game as the Newark Pilots squared off with the Elmira Pioneers for the fifteenth time this season. Colburn Park was the venue as Newark sent Cam Scalzo (North Carolina Central) to the mound while Elmira gave the ball to their ace and first team All PGCBL Pitcher, Bryson Hough (Bucknell). After the Pilots weathered the early storm by the Pioneers, they battled back to win by a 5-3 score, an advanced to face Amsterdam tomorrow night championship in the first game of the PGCBL Championship series. Newark verse Amsterdam is a rematch of the inaugural 2011 season championship.
It took only two pitches for the Pioneers to grab the lead when TJ Dixon (Samford) crushed a high fastball over the right field fence for a quick 1-0 score. Elmira wasn’t done in the first when Christian Santisteban (Manhattan) and Nick Walker (Old Dominion) both doubled with two outs and the Pioneers were ahead 2-0.
In the second inning the Pioneers tacked on another run. Tyler Skerpon (Penn St.) doubled to start off the frame, and was bunted over to third base, before scoring on an RBI single by Joey Guaragna (Old Dominion).
Down 3-0 entering the bottom of the second the Pilots started the comeback. Newark scored their first run of the game in the second on an infield single by Zach Wall (Young Harris) which brought in Tim Lewis (Maryland).
Newark added another run in the bottom of the third when Logan Boyher (Columbia) came into score on an RBI groundout by Austin Clock (SUNY Cortland).
The Pilots trailed 3-2 heading into the home half of the fourth when Dorian Hairston (Kentucky) and Wall had a pair of one out singles. Hairston then stole third base and the throw got away from Walker at third base that allowed Hairston scampered home to tie the game at three a piece. With Wall at third base, Tommy Wagner (Cornell) chopped a ball to Walker at third who thought about coming home to get Wall who was heading home but the ball popped out of Walker’s glove allowing everyone to advance on the error.
Scalzo was able to settle in after the first two innings to throw four consecutive scoreless innings at left the game with the Pilots leading 5-3 after six.
Jimmy Wagner (Ithaca) bridged the gap to Travis Laitar (SUNY Cortland) with two innings of shutout baseball, setting the table for Laitar’s seventh save of the season.
It’s the first trip to the Championship Series for the Pilots since, 2011 season they came home with the PGCBL title. They will head to Amsterdam for a 6:35pm start.