WATERTOWN, N.Y. – Tim Sylvester (St. John Fisher) allowed one run and struck out 12 in a complete game effort and the Watertown Wizards scored three times in the fifth inning to defeat the Elmira Pioneers, 3-1, on Sunday night at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds. The Wizards (17-26) and the Pioneers (21-23) will meet at Elmira’s Dunn Field on Monday night to conclude their regular season series.
Sylvester, a relief pitcher during the collegiate season, turned in his best outing of the summer in just his second start. He scattered seven hits, walked two and fanned a Wizards’ season-high 12 batters in a 157-pitch performance. After allowing an RBI double from Elmira’s Ryan Normoyle (Wash., Md.) in the third inning, Sylvester retired the next nine Pioneers. The Watertown starter fanned at least one batter in eight of his nine innings and struck out at least two batters in an inning four times.
The Wizards’ offense was stymied by Elmira starter Jordan Carter (Saint Joseph’s, Pa.) through the first four frames. Watertown’s best chance came in the second however Elmira’s David Bishop (Miss. State) threw out Patrick Puentes (Holy Cross) attempting to score from second on a base hit to right field by A.J. Capone (Saint Rose).
In the fifth, Alex Maldonado (Holy Cross) socked a one-out single to center field and stole second. Erick Gaylord (Campbell) drove in Maldonado with a single into center field. The next batter, Larry Balkwill (Siena) doubled off the bottom of the left-field fence to give the Wizards two runners in scoring position. Following a Chris Gruarin (Canisius) ground out, Angel Rosa (Alcorn State) looped a single down the right-field line that plated Gaylord and Balkwill with the game’s decisive runs.
Elmira had at least one base runner in each of the final four innings but none of the runners were able to safely advance past second base.
For Watertown, Larry Balkwill doubled twice and finished with a game-high three hits. Erick Gaylord went 1-for-4 with one RBI. Gaylord, in pursuit of the PGCBL Triple Crown, has a .358 batting average after Sunday night’s contest with a league-leading 10 home runs and 41 RBI. Patrick Puentes also had two singles for the Wizards in an 11-hit attack.
Elmira starter Jordan Carter took the loss. He allowed three runs on 11 hits over seven innings. Reliever Jay Ferri (Rhode Island) was impressive from the bullpen. Ferri threw nine straight-strikes in the bottom of the eighth and struck out the side in order. Ryan Normoyle went 2-for-4 with one RBI and Patrick Hyde (Northern Kentucky) singled twice for the Pioneers. Normoyle improved his team-best batting average to .360, good for second in the league.
The lone run for the Pioneers was recorded in the third inning. B.J. Willis (Wabash Valley) singled to left field with one out. Two batters later, Willis scored from first on a double to left-center field by Ryan Normoyle. Logan Uxa (Akransas State) nearly added a second Elmira run in the fourth inning but his long fly ball to right was snared by Watertown’s Chris Gruarin on the warning track.
he Wizards return home on Tues., Aug. 2 to face the Cooperstown Hawkeyes in a doubleheader. The twin bill begins at 5:00 p.m.