The jockeying for playoff positioning in the 2023 PGCBL Playoffs continued Thursday night with eight games completed across the league.
Batavia Muckdogs 2, Newark Pilots 0 (GAME 1) – 7 Innings
A run in the first and a run in the last was all that Batavia (26-15) needed to defeat Newark (12-27-1).
The Muckdogs second hitter of the ballgame in Lucas Lopez (St. Thomas University) would reach on a walk, and after moving to third on a Pilots error, would score on Giuseppe Arcuri’s (St. Leo University) groundout.
Batavia’s offense wouldn’t end up registering their first hit of the evening until the fifth inning, but their starting pitcher Rijnaldo Euson (Georgia Southwestern State) would do his job to also keep the Pilots bats in check in return, allowing just five hits and one free pass in his six innings of work, his longest outing of the summer. Euson also picked up eight strikeouts, tied for his season-high (June 15th at Jamestown/June 21st at Jamestown).
Batavia would add an insurance run in the seventh. Cristian Bernardini (St. John’s) led off with a walk and two pitches later stole second, which allowed him to come home on Kyle Hetherington’s (Lipscomb) RBI single to right.
Garrett Beaver (Salisbury) came on in the bottom of the seventh and recorded his second save of the summer in closing out the victory. Collin Schneider (Tompkins Cortland CC) took the hard-fought loss, going the distance in his Pilots debut.
Newark Pilots 4, Batavia Muckdogs 2 (GAME 2) – 7 Innings
Newark (13-27-1) exacted their revenge in game two, using three first inning runs of their own in the back half of the doubleheader to defeat Batavia (26-16).
Three consecutive one-out singles from Michael Flaherty (Grinnell College), Jack Arcamone (Richmond), and Frankie DiMartino (Hofstra) gave Newark a 1-0 lead. After Justin DiMartino (Farmingdale State College) took a hit by pitch two batters later to load the bases, Briggs Loveland (Emerson College) drove a single to right, bringing in Arcamone and Frankie DiMartino, making it 3-0.
Newark would add to their lead in the fourth, taking advantage of a Batavia error with runners on second and third that allowed Loveland to score and push the lead to four.
Batavia would pick up his in innings 1-5, but wouldn’t be able to cash in with runners on until the home half of the seventh, when Hetherington doubled in Levis Aguila Jr. (Florida Memorial University) after he reached on an error to lead off the inning.
Matt DeStefano (Stony Brook) followed with a walk to bring the tying run to the plate, but Ian Goodness (Finger Lakes CC) buckled down to get a strikeout and fielder’s choice to bring the Pilots within one out of the split. Brice Mortillaro (Georgia Southwestern State) had something to say beforehand, singling in Hetherington to bring the Muckdogs within two, but Goodness would get Caleb Rodriguez (Kean University) to pop out to end the ballgame.
Goodness was responsible for the final three outs after Tommy Flaherty (Clark University) also made his debut on the mound for Newark, going six shutout innings with nine strikeouts en route to picking up the victory.
Across the doubleheader, Hetherington went 3-for-5 with two runs batted in, a run, his double, and a walk, while Lopez went 2-for-4 with a run and two walks. Loveland would lead the way offensively for the Pilots, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs, a run, a hit by pitch, and a stolen base.
Utica Blue Sox 12, Oneonta Outlaws 0 (GAME 1) – 7 Innings
Utica (26-13) used 10 runs in the final two innings to run away with the victory in the front half of the doubleheader over the Outlaws (12-30).
After Oneonta left runners on second and third in the bottom of the first, the Blue Sox took the first lead in the top half of the second. Taylor Kaufman (Hamilton) would score the opening run, coming home on Pablo Santos’ (Rutgers) single.
Utica doubled their lead in the top of the fifth, as Santos would lead off with a single, steal second, and take advantage of a pair of groundouts to advance to third and score.
Will Shannon (Hillsdale) would step to the plate with the bases loaded and no one out in the top of the sixth and proceed to clear the bases with a three-RBI double. He would advance to third on a groundout and score on a wild pitch to make it 6-0 Blue Sox.
Utica would again load the bases with no men out in the top half of the seventh, and a pair of wild pitches would allow CJ Wisniewski (NJIT) and Wyatt Jensen (Northwest Shoals CC) to score. The Blue Sox would reload the bases after back-to-back walks, and two more free passes to Norris McClure (Spring Hill) and Shannon pushed the lead to double digits. Kaufman would follow with a sacrifice fly, allowing Peter Adams (Limestone) to score, and McClure would score off an error to make it a dozen.
While the offense was dominant, so was Avery Cook (Georgia Southern). The Utica native went the distance for his hometown squad, allowing just four hits and three walks while striking out 12, giving him the team lead. He also dropped his ERA back below 1 (0.90) and registered his first win of the campaign.
Utica Blue Sox 4, Oneonta Outlaws 3 (GAME 2) – 7 Innings
The back end of the doubleheader was much more tightly contested, as the Blue Sox (27-13) needed a late run to squeak by the Outlaws (12-31).
Ben Partridge (Rockland CC) picked up where the Blue Sox offense left off in game one with a leadoff single in their first at-bats of game two, and after being given second off a passed ball and third on a wild pitch, scored on Andre Demetral’s (NIU) sacrifice fly.
With bases loaded and one-out in their second at-bats, Todd Abraham (Binghamton) took a hit by pitch to score Kyuss Gargett (Kentucky), and Partridge followed with a walk to bring in Josh Skowronski (Kentucky).
Oneonta swung back in the fourth. Connor Roche (Wagner) led off with a single, and after advancing to both second and third on wild pitches, scored on Erik Smith’s (Durham College) single. Later in the inning, Oneonta put runners on second and third, and Chase Regan (Herkimer CCC) drove them both in to tie the ballgame at three.
Gargett would lead off the sixth with a single for the Blue Sox before taking matters into his own hands, stealing second, third, and home, giving the Blue Sox the lead back.
Greg Levin (Colby) would retire the Outlaws in order in the seventh- after doing so in the sixth as well- to complete the doubleheader sweep and lock up the #2 seed in the East Division.
Shannon went 2-for-2 with four runs batted in, a run scored himself, two walks, and a double in game one of the doubleheader before going 1-for-3 in game two. After not playing in game one, Gargett posted a 3-for-3 statline with two runs and three stolen bases in the second game.
Niagara Power 9, Jamestown Tarp Skunks 5
In the thrilling race for the final two playoff spots in the West Division, two of three teams in that race matched up for what could turn out to be a season-defining contest, with the Power (22-17-2) defeating the Tarp Skunks (22-18-1) Thursday.
Cal Brazier (Tiffin) got things started in the biggest of ways for the Power in the bottom of the first, blasting a grand slam to give the hosts an early four run lead.
After Cooper Munro (Drury University) doubled in Zack Kent (Wagner) to get one back for the visitors in the top half of the third, Niagara responded with two runs. Andrew Stillinger (Niagara CCC) led off the fourth with his first home run of the summer, and Vincent Mauro (Niagara University) brought in Jackson Strong (Canisius) on his single in the fifth.
Jamestown however would put up three in the top of the seventh to claw back within two. Jake Kernodle (Princeton) would score on a Niagara error, before Drew Garth (Washington & Jefferson) and Munro picked up back-to-back RBI doubles.
But Niagara would get those runs right back after the seventh inning stretch.
Strong would pick up an RBI double, bringing in Myles Pallister (Kentucky Wesleyan College), before Mauro registered a sacrifice fly and Strong scored on a wild pitch.
Jamestown would be in prime position to make it a game again in the top of the eighth with the bases loaded and no one out, but back-to-back strikeouts from Vinny Cenname (East Stroudsburg) quickly dampened the Tarp Skunks’ hopes. Kieran Gagnon (Gannon University) would draw a full count walk to bring the tying run to the plate, but Alex Dzimian (D’Youville) would come out of the bullpen to strikeout Kent and strand the bases loaded.
Niagara starter Bryan Aduddle (Canisius) went 6.2 innings, allowing five hits and four runs to go with three walks and five strikeouts. His fifth win of the summer moves him into a tie for third with three others for second-most in the league, and his innings total now standing at 43.2- in large part thanks to his fifth consecutive outing of five innings or longer- is good for eighth.
Brazier’s first inning grand slam would give him a game-high four runs batted in, while Mauro went 3-for-3 with two runs batted in, a run scored, a stolen base, and a sacrifice fly. Strong added a 1-for-2 line with a game-high three runs scored, an RBI, a double, a walk, a hit by pitch, and a stolen base.
Gagnon and Munro each led the way for Jamestown with two hits apiece, with Munro driving in two runs with his two RBI doubles and Gagnon one while scoring one himself.
Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs 7, Boonville Lumberjacks 4
Boonville (14-30) put up four runs in the top of the first before Mohawk Valley (26-17) put up seven unanswered later to come away with the win.
The Lumberjacks loaded up the bases with one-out in the first, and Nicholas Vega (NJIT) singled in Matthew Layton (Spartanburg Methodist College) to get things started. Marcus Smith (McLennan CC) followed with a two-RBI single, and Vega scored later on a wild pitch after moving to third on Smith’s single.
After a quiet first two innings, Mohawk Valley loaded the bases with two outs thanks to a trio of walks. Justin Hackett (Bryant) scored first on a passed ball, and Sebastian Mueller (Quinnipiac) drove in the two runners behind him with a single to make it 4-3.
Two innings later, the DiamondDawgs would take the lead, and for good. Mitch Balint (Carson-Newman) would drive an RBI double to center to knot the game at 4 before Sam Miller’s (Columbia) two-RBI single would prove to be the game-winning hit. Miller would steal second before a pair of Boonville errors would allow him to score and provide what would be the final tally of 7-4.
After Boonville got to Mohawk Valley starter Hayden Duke (UMass-Lowell) in the first, the DiamondDawgs bullpen was lights out. Bo Buckley (Fairfield), Ethan Patch (Carson-Newman), and Aidan Colagrande (Fairfield) would combine to go 8.2 innings, allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out 11. The Fairfield duo of Buckley and Colagrande really delivered, as Buckley went 4.2 with one walk and three Ks for his second win of the summer, and Colagrande racked up 8 Ks in his three innings en route to his sixth save, tying Michael Sills of Auburn for the league lead.
Auburn Doubledays 5, Elmira Pioneers 1
With Jamestown and Niagara facing off elsewhere in the West Thursday night, Auburn (22-18) had their work cut out for them in their race for the playoffs facing first place Elmira (26-16-1), but came through with a big victory to remain in the fourth and final playoff spot in the Division.
It was an all-around team effort for the Doubledays, as the offense pounded out 14 hits while the pitching staff combined on a three-hitter.
A trio of singles in the bottom of the second opened the scoring, as Emil Sander (Oswego) scored Michael Whooley (Villanova) to give Auburn a 1-0 lead, before Kevin Dolan (Brockport) picked up a two-RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to extend the lead to three.
Nick Bisaccia (Seton Hall) scored the Pioneers lone run off a wild pitch in the top of the eighth, but RBI singles from Garrett Prosper (University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown) and Dolan in the home half of the inning put Elmira away.
Dolan would go 2-for-4 with three runs brought in, and eight of the ten in the Doubledays order registered at least one hit, with five of the bottom six bats picking up two or more. On the mound, Huxley Holcombe (Cornell) delivered one of his best starts of the year in the biggest moment, allowing just three hits and one walk to pair with his eight strikeouts in his six innings of shutout ball.
Amsterdam Mohawks 15, Watertown Rapids 0 – 7 Innings
Two big innings and a one-combined one-hit shutout showed the Mohawks (35-5-1) were hungry to get back to their winning ways after a loss on Tuesday and day off on Wednesday before they went to Watertown on Thursday (15-29).
After Jaxson West (Florida State) singled home Cam Gurney (Utah) in the second, Amsterdam put up a massive seven run third. Bryce Hubbard (Mississippi State) registered a two-RBI double, while Luke Longo (NJIT) and Luke Zeisloft (Maryland) picked up RBI doubles and Gurney and West tallied RBI singles. Watertown errors would account for the seventh run and Amsterdam’s run in the fourth that made it 9-0, and a six-run sixth blew it open.
Longo got the scoring started with a two-RBI double before Maximus Martin (Rutgers) drove in Alex Irizarry (Maryland) with a sacrifice fly. Jalen DeBose (Florida Atlantic) picked up a run-scoring single before scoring on a wild pitch, and another Watertown error accounted for the final run.
Amsterdam would send up 14 different hitters during the ballgame, and 12 of them would reach with Martin’s lone at-bat being his sacrifice fly. Longo would go 2-for-4 with three runs and three more batted in with his pair of doubles, while West finished his evening 2-for-3 with two runs batted in and one scored. DeBose added a 2-for-3 with two runs and one more batted in line himself.
Maximillian Ramirez (Niagara) was great in his third start of the summer, allowing just one hit and two walks while striking out six in his 5.1 innings, his longest outing of the summer, that turned into his third win.
Albany Dutchmen @ Saugerties Stallions