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Stack Jump-Starts Jammers In Win

Jamestown’s Collin Stack steals third base as Newark third baseman Jorge Leon awaits a throw during Wednesday’s Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game at Diethrick Park. P-J photo by Cody Crandall

It’s undoubtedly been a hectic stretch for area native Collin Stack on the baseball diamond.

Just this past weekend, the Maple Grove graduate found himself in the middle of the Winston-Salem Regional of the 2017 Division I NCAA Baseball Tournament with the University of Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers.

Fast-forward several days, and Stack, from the leadoff spot in the batting order, spearheaded the Jamestown Jammers’ latest Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League victory.

The right fielder laced a triple and two singles, scored two runs and stole two bases to help lead the Jammers to a 9-5 victory over the Newark Pilots on Wednesday night at Diethrick Park.

He also picked up two hits Tuesday night in his first appearance of the summer for Jamestown (3-2).

“He could be one of the most dynamic players in this league,” Jammers head coach Anthony Barone said of Stack. “He’s got great hands at the plate and in the outfield, he’s got tremendous speed. He’s still learning the position, but he’s going to be a big asset to our team this summer. … It’s pretty neat, you know? And it’s kind of funny because I never got to see him play when he was younger here at Maple Grove. This is the first chance I’ve really got to see him play and I’m very impressed with the tools he has.”

Stack is coming off of a spring in which he hit .318 at the plate for UMBC, collected a total of 48 hits and drove in 21 runs. If his first two games this summer are any indication, he seems to be adjusting to his summer league team back home in Jamestown just fine.

“(This spring at UMBC) I just stayed calm, stayed relaxed (and) didn’t try to do too much,” Stack emphasized. “I mean, I didn’t have a lot of extra base hits so I was more of a contact guy, kind of moving runners over. I was just looking for my pitch and tried not to miss it when I got it. … It’s definitely nice (to get off to a good start this summer with the Jammers), especially coming in late. They already had their core group of guys and it’s nice to go out there and perform and show them what I can do to try and earn my spot that way. … It’s definitely a cool experience to have people come out and watch me play who haven’t seen me play (a lot) because I’ve been away, especially my mom.”

Jamestown made a statement right from the opening frame Wednesday, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after just one inning of play.

Stack began the bottom of the first by lacing a single to right field. Ben Brookover (University of Texas at San Antonio) followed with another single and both runners moved up via stolen bases. Christ Conley (Canisius College) walked to load the bases with nobody out and Skyler Valentine (University of Texas at San Antonio) then drew a walk to force in the game’s first run.

Later in the inning, Chris Estrada (University of Texas at San Antonio) drove in a run on a fielder’s choice, Matt Cross (Niagara County Community College) ripped an RBI double, Alex O’Donnell (Mercyhurst University) came through with a sacrifice fly and Christian Deaton (CSU Bakersfield) delivered a run-scoring single.

The Jammers tacked on two more runs in the second, highlighted by an RBI single from Valentine and one more run in the third, thanks to an RBI single from Conley and the home team held an 8-0 lead heading into just the top of the fourth inning.

Jamestown’s final run came in the sixth when Cross scored Conley on a sacrifice fly.

To complement the production of Stack at the top of the order, Brookover, Conley, Valentine, Cross, Deaton and Nick Bernick (Niagara University) all contributed hits as well in the balanced offensive attack.

“It’s been sort of similar when we’ve scored runs early,” Barone explained. “It’s always the same recipe, quality at-bats and swinging at balls in the zone. You know, we worked some walks and I thought it was just a great team effort early in the game.”

On the mound for the Jammers, Quinn Taylor (Felician College) got the start and worked 4.1 effective innings, giving up only two runs on two hits.

Taylor’s performance continued the early trend of solid starting pitching to kick off the 2017 PGCBL campaign for Jamestown.

“We had a pre-determined plan with Taylor to throw 75 pitches tonight,” Barone stated. “I thought he did pretty good. He’d probably tell you he would’ve liked to command the fastball a little bit better today, but with a big lead, he put up zeroes and I thought it was another good start for us.”

Westfield graduate Nolan Hunt (Canisius College) relieved Taylor with one out in the fifth inning and also pitched extremely well, firing 2.2 scoreless, hitless innings and striking out three.

Isaac Meza (CSU Bakersfield), Trevor Simon (Ball State University) and Connor Ryan (Mercyhurst University) also saw action out of the bullpen in the win.

For Newark (1-3), Jorge Leon was the only player to collect multiple hits and Colton Carney smacked an RBI triple in the top of the ninth.

The Jammers and Pilots will square off again today at 11:05 a.m. back at Diethrick Park.

“That’s very important (to come out and play well this morning),” Barone said. “Especially since it’s a divisional game. If you can get two in a row from Newark, it just gives you a good head start to the season. It’s very important that we won the first game … but we’ll see how we bounce back in about 12 hours.”

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