All Arms On Deck
Young, Four Relievers Combine On Jammers’ Shutout
Last summer, four straight losses to open the season grew into a 2-6 start before the Jamestown Jammers turned their season around en route to a 29-20 record in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.
This year, the Jammers are having no such trouble.
Christian Young and four relievers combined on a three-hit shutout and the Jamestown offense put up five runs in the third inning on the way to an 8-0 win over the Oneonta Outlaws at Diethrick Park.
The victory was the seventh straight for the Jammers and improved their record to 9-2 on the young season.
“We can go into the weekend with Elmira and if we can win a couple, then you can start spreading yourself from the pack,” Jamestown manager Anthony Barone said. “Even though it’s early in the season, every game counts just the same. It’s a really nice start, but we’ve got to continue to play well as a team.”
Young, the Niagara County Community College ace drafted in the 21st round by the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, threw the opening three innings, allowing just one hit while striking out three.
Kyle Backofen (University of Louisiana-Monroe), making his final appearance of an abbreviated stint with the Jammers this summer, threw the middle three innings, allowing one hit while striking out five.
“Our pitchers get ahead of batters and get ahead in the count so their batters are swinging at pitches they don’t really want to swing at,” Jamestown second baseman Jimmy Standohar said. “They are doing all the work, we are just making routine plays behind them.”
Quinn Taylor (Felician College), Jake Gilhaus (Kalamazoo College) and Cory Blessing (Ohio University) finished up, pitching an inning apiece, combining for one hit, one walk and one strikeout.
“The other guys stepped up into their roles,” Barone said. “It was really a great team effort with the pitching staff. I’m really proud of the guys.”
After Standohar (Mercyhurst University) singled, stole second and scored on a Casey Vincent (St. Bonaventure University) RBI single in the second inning, the Jammers broke the game open with a five-run third.
“Bonaventure is looking at him as a two-way guy next year so we are going to get him his at-bats. He’s playing really well when he gets his opportunity,” Barone said of Vincent. “That’s what’s pretty cool about this team, it’s different guys every night.”
Ben Bookover (University of Texas-San Antonio) singled to open the third before back-to-back walks to Christ Conley (Canisius College) and Skyler Valentine (UTSA). Chris Estrada (UTSA) was then hit by a pitch to force home a run. On the play, the ball ricocheted off Oneonta catcher Marcus White’s hand, forcing him to leave the game. On the first pitch backup catcher Chris Tracz called, Standohar hit a two-run double to center field giving Jamestown a 4-0 lead.
“I signed him late, but everything I heard about him is true. He’s a grinder and plays the game really hard,” Barone said of Standohar. “He adds a different dimension to our team with his speed and scrappiness. He’s working his way into that lineup and when he gets his opportunities he’s producing big time.”
Alex O’Donnell (Mercyhurst University) then scored Estrada with a ground out to the shortstop before Standohar scored on a sacrifice fly from Christian Deaton (CSU Bakersfield).
“The more pitches I see, the more confident I get. I’m feeling a little bit better every game that goes by,” Standohar said. “Playing at a good program like Mercyhurst always benefits us because we are always playing up until we get to summer ball. Instead of being down for two or three weeks and not seeing pitches … we don’t take any time off.”
Backofen faced just one batter over the minimum in his three innings of work, allowing a two-out single to Chandler Engel in the top of the sixth inning.
After a quiet four innings in the middle of the game, the Jamestown offense pushed across two more runs in its half of the eighth. Vincent led off with his third single of the game, but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. With two outs, Collin Stack (University of Maryland-Baltimore County) singled to left field and Brookover followed with an infield single before Conley hit an RBI single to right field. Brookover closed out the scoring when he scored on a wild pitch.
“To chip across two runs there at the end gives you more breathing room,” Barone said. “When you can add extra runs at the end and give Blessing more leeway, he can just go out there and throw his fastball … get comfortable on the mound.”
The Jammers now play three straight games against Elmira over the next two days. Tonight the teams will match up at Diethrick Park at 7:05 p.m. before a doubleheader at the Pioneers’ Dunn Field on Father’s Day.
NOTES: Brookover and Vincent each had three hits while Standohar had two for the Jammers. … Standohar and Vincent each stole a base in the win. … Bradley Griggs (UTSA) will start on the mound tonight against Elmira. … Jamestown played its third error-free game of the summer.