New Way To Win
Jammers Are Walk-Off Victors Against Elmira
Jamestown’s offense had just six hits in Sunday’s Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game at Diethrick Park.
But the Jammers’ league-leading pitching staff held its team in the game, the offense put together several productive outs and the hosts pulled out a walk-off 4-3 win over Elmira, thanks to some shoddy Pioneers’ defense in the ninth inning.
“That was a really good win. The guys just seem to keep battling and battling,” Jamestown manager Anthony Barone said. ” … The last couple of games we haven’t really swung the bats real well but (Sunday) we found a way to win.”
Westfield graduate Nolan Hunt (Canisius College) picked up his second win of the summer for his quasi-hometown Jammers (15-5) while Maple Grove graduate Collin Stack (University of Maryland-Baltimore County) went 2 for 4, including a triple, and scored two of the Jammers’ runs — including the game-winner.
“Every day is fun with this team,” Hunt said. “It’s nice to get a win against Elmira because they have a lot of big-school guys.”
After tying the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, Jamestown pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Stack led off with a single and moved to second on Alex O’Donnell’s sacrifice bunt. O’Donnell (Mercyhurst University) was also safe on the play as the Pioneers’ first baseman and pitcher collided on the infield, resulting in an error. Still with no outs, Ryan Markey (St. John’s University) was called on to bunt and pushed it toward the left side of the infield. Elmira’s third baseman fielded the ball on a hop, but threw wide, off the first baseman’s glove and down the right-field line, allowing Stack to score from second with the winning run.
“What (Stack) did that last at-bat — he’s been getting himself out a little bit by swinging out of the zone and not working counts — that count he got up 3-1, and that’s what happens when you get a 3-1 count,” Barone said. “That’s what you are supposed to do. If he’s patient enough he’ll see more of that success.”
After not scoring since the second inning, the Jammers tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the eighth. Nick Bernick (Niagara University) opened the inning with a walk before being replaced by pinch-runner Jimmy Standohar (Mercyhurst).
“Nick Bernick’s at-bat late in the game to draw that walk to lead off the inning, then Collin Stack leading off the next inning,” Barone said, “just getting on base and doing what we do. There were so many big plays at the end.”
Standohar moved up to second base on a sacrifice bunt by John Conti (Canisius) before Christ Conley (Canisius) singled to left field to put runners at the corners with one out. Chris Estrada (University of Texas-San Antonio) then fouled out to the first baseman down the right-field line. Standohar bluffed tagging up from third base on the play, prompting a throw to the plate that one-hopped past the Pioneers’ catcher allowing Standohar to score the tying run.
“We preach walk-to-strikeout ratio. Right now we lead the league in that category,” Barone said. “It’s just putting pressure on the other team, putting the ball in play and finding a way.”
The Jammers took a 1-0 lead early as Conley led off the game with a double to deep center field, Estrada singled and Ben Brookover (UTSA) hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Conley.
Skyler Valentine (UTSA) made the likely catch of the year in the top of the second inning as Elmira’s Ayrton Schafer hit a long drive to center field. With the wind blowing from left field to right, Valentine turned his back to the ball, ran to the fence and made a leaping grab before hitting the wall for the second out of the inning.
“That was the best catch I’ve ever seen at this ballpark,” Barone said. “He has come into his own as one of the best center fielders this league has. … The wind was really blowing out to begin the game. The ball got up and it kept going. He kept going back. He made the catch at the metal pole between the batter’s eye and the wall. For him to have the courage to go back on that ball is just tremendous.”
In the bottom of the second, Stack led off with a triple to deep right field before scoring on O’Donnell’s ground out to second base.
Michael Ginther (Canisius), looking to become the league’s first four-game winner, started for the Jammers. The 6-foot-7 left-hander went 5 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits while striking out three, leaving after allowing single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Casey Vincent (St. Bonaventure University) relieved, inducing an inning-ending double play in the sixth before a 1-2-3 seventh inning. Hunt walked the first batter he faced in the eighth before striking out two of the final six Pioneers (7-13) he faced to earn the win.
“I thought Vincent and Hunt were both really, really good. Our pitching staff is the best in the league,” Barone said. “To get innings on this team, it’s just waiting your turn. When you do get your turn, it’s competing. Nolan does a really good job right now of doing that. That was a really great job by Nolan.”
NOTES: The Jammers play their next four games on the road, starting Tuesday at Adirondack with left-hander David Lyskawa (Niagara County CC) on the hill. The road trip includes a double header Thursday at Newark. … Jamestown resident Ben Lindquist, who umpired professionally for six seasons in the minor leagues, worked behind home plate.