The Newark Pilots came into Shuttleworth Park on Thursday night needing to sweep a double header, and they did. The Pilots captured the inaugural Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League championship with a 4-3 win in 11 innings in game one and a 7-4 triumph in game two.
Carson Beauchaine (Saginaw Valley State) started Thursday’s first game for the Pilots who lost game one of the best-of-three series on Wednesday night.
The Mohawks were the first to dent the scoreboard when Zach Shank (Marist) scored on Luke Maile’s (Kentucky) liner into the left-centerfield gap in the first.
In the top of the second inning, though, the Pilots jumped Mohawks starter Brett Houseal (Marist) when Luke Swenson (UC Santa Barbara) cracked a two-run single to produce a couple of unearned runs and supply Newark with their first lead of the night.
Randy Villa (San Joaquin Delta) extended the lead to 3-1 when he unleashed a towering homer over the left field fence to make it 3-1 Pilots.
Desperate to avoid a game three, Maile stepped to the plate to start the bottom of the seventh and reached on an error by the shortstop Kyle Attl (Cal State Northridge). The next batter was Brad Picha (Paris J.C.) who tied the ballgame with one swing of the bat on a round-tripper over the left-centerfield wall.
The late innings were littered with Mohawk opportunities. Amsterdam stranded the potential game-winning run on base in the eighth, ninth, and tenth innings. In the eighth, Jude Vidrine (Lamar) struck out with the go-ahead run on third to end the frame. In the ninth, Matt Mack (Radford) was left on first. Finally, in the tenth, Picha was picked off of first by catcher Greg Schworm (Finger Lakes C.C.).
They would play deep into game two of the PGCBL championship series and Derrick Brewer (Radford) was asked to pitch a season-high four innings. Brewer was nearly flawless through his first three innings of work as he allowed just a single hit. But when the righty took the hill in the top of the 11th, Sean Osterman (St. John Fisher) blasted his first four-bagger of the summer to lead off the inning and push the Pilots in front 4-3.
The Mohawks went down in order against Pilots closer Mark Scott (San Joaquin Delta) in the ninth and Newark forced a game three.
In the second half of the double header Jack Fischer (Wake Forest) returned on short rest after starting game two of the PGCBL semifinals on Sunday, and the freshman was victimized by poor defense all evening. The Hawks committed two first inning errors – including the first of four miscues by Matt Mack – and allowed two unearned runs to allow the Pilots to snatch an early lead, 2-0.
Newark accounted for two runs off of Fischer in the sixth on four hits including R.B.I. connections from Jacob Starnes (UT Dallas) and Greg Schworm (Finger Lakes C.C.) to stretch the lead to 5-2. Will Kendall (Auburn) then came on in relief and stranded runners on second and third while recording the final two outs of the sixth to keep the Mohawks deficit at three.
The Mohawks offense has battled all summer long and it did so again in the bottom of the seventh. Down by three, Josh Alexander (Utah) continued his torrid postseason when he laced yet another extra base hit into the right field corner – it was the Utah products 10th hit in the playoffs. Fischer – who shifted to second base after being relieved on the mound in the sixth – walked to chase Newark starter Andrew Tidwell (Saginaw Valley State).
With two runners on and the Mohawks looking up at a three run deficit, Derrick Brewer (Radford), who suffered the loss on the mound in the first half of the double header, was set to embark on his first at bat of the summer against Jim Glasgow (Lewis). Brewer dropped down a bunt toward the third baseline, Glasgow popped off the mound and fired high and wide of first base allowing two runs to score.
With Brewer on second, leadoff hitter Andrew Green (East Tennessee State) walked and Glasgow was removed from the game. Just D’Amato (St. John Fischer) was thought to be the likeliest Pilot to start a decisive third game, however, before the game began D’Amato was said to have been shut down for the summer.
However, Pilots coach Chris Ebright reopened the door for his left handed pitcher when the tying and go-ahead runs reached in the seventh. Shank dropped down a sacrifice bunt to put both runners in scoring position for Mohawks two best hitters. But Justin D’Amato dug down and struck out both Vidrine and Maile to end the threat.
The Pilots pushed across two more runs in the top of the eighth to make it a 7-4 game and that’s how it ended.
The Newark Pilots, in their first season of existence, secure the inaugural Perfect Game League Championship by sweeping a double header in Amsterdam.