The Newark Pilots got a victory in a critical divisional matchup with the Geneva Red Wings on Saturday night at Colburn Park, 10-1. With the win the Pilots finished off the season series with Geneva, winning eight of the nine contests.
Newark fell behind early after starter Skyler Defer (Northeast Miss. C.C.) allowed the Red Wings to score four runs in the top of third to make it 5-1. Defer pitched 3 2/3 innings and allowed five runs (four earned before being lifted from the game.
The Pilots would get two runs back in the third when Chris Whelan (Iowa) drove a single to left field to score a run and then an error from the left fielder allowed another to score to cut the lead to 5-3. Max Ludka would take over for Defer and he would strand two runners in scoring position as Sam Fragale (Virginia Tech) made a leaping catch at first to prevent the runs from scoring.
Ludka would go on to throw 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to bridge the gap after a short outing from the starter.
“We asked him to come out of the bullpen and throw as long as he could,” Pilots head coach Chris Edmondson of Ludka’s performance. “He left the score where it was and gave a chance to comeback. You can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Newark would get its comeback in the fifth inning, highlighted by an RBI single from Will Allocca (Virginia) and safety-squeeze bunt from John Schafer to bring a run across. After the four-run inning the Pilots led 7-5 and Fragale would add a sac fly in the sixth to stretch the lead to 8-5.
Geneva would threaten with two runs in the top of the 8th to cut the lead to one, but a triple from Darian Herncane (Binghamton) would score a run and then Mark Tumosa would bring him home on an RBI single. Tumosa went 3-for-5 on the day with an RBI and two runs scored in the victory.
“I was locked in from the beginning,” Tumosa said of his big day at the plate. “I saw the ball well out the pitchers hand, felt good in batting practice earlier today. Overall, I just felt good out there.”
With six games remaining in the regular season the Pilots find themselves in playoff position, tied with the Jamestown Jammers for third place.
“If you don’t put away the teams you should, the teams from behind you start creeping up,” Tumosa said of the win. “You really need those wins to make a statement in the division and get yourselves to the playoffs because every win counts.”
Newark returns to PGCBL action with a trip to Mohawk Valley to take on the DiamondDawgs on Sunday before returning to Colburn Park on Tuesday for a divisional matchup with Adirondack at 7:05 p.m.