Prime Time: Tarp Skunks Open Playoffs Tonight
The Jamestown Tarp Skunks’ Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League regular-season finale was just about to start Wednesday night, but some of the players had one more item to check off their list before the first pitch.
So to show their appreciation for the community support the last two months — and just after the national anthem was sung — they made their way to the outfield grass and posed for a group photo with the large Diethrick Park crowd in the background.
“They decided they wanted to take their own selfie,” Jamestown manager Jordan Basile said. “They did that on their own. That says a lot about that group.”
As it turned out, the pregame photo op was the highlight of the evening as the Tarp Skunks suffered a 12-1 loss to Batavia, an outcome that didn’t impact the hosts’ playoff position in any way.
Tonight is a different story, though, as the postseason begins for real at 7 p.m. when Jamestown hosts Geneva, which has yet to beat the Tarp Skunks in four meetings this season. Basile, however, doesn’t believe that amounts to anything now that the playoffs are here.
“Nothing matters,” he said Thursday afternoon. “It’s one single-elimination baseball game … and we have to get ready to go tomorrow.”
The Red Wings (23-18), who finished four games behind Jamestown in the West Division, are riding a three-game winning streak. The Tarp Skunks, the No. 3 seed, are 28-15, including 16-6 at home.
PGCBL wins leader Justin Guiliano (7-0, 2.37 earned-run average) will get the start for Jamestown.
Throwing primarily out of the bullpen — he made just one regular-season start — the Canisius College product has built his pitch count to nearly 80, leaving Basile confident heading into tonight.
“I feel he’s at the strong point of his season,” Basile said. “He’s going out there ready to give us a good outing.”
Leading the Tarp Skunks offensively is Mark Tucker. Second in the PGCBL in RBIs with 31, he has belted six doubles, three triples and two home runs, while stealing 13 bases. Justin Bailey tops the team in batting average at .293, followed by Luke Turner (.291, nine doubles) and Danny Hosley (.289). Padraig O’Shaughnessy and Chase Carlson are two-three in RBIs with 15 and 14 respectively.
Geneva’s top four hitters are Ben Griffin (.323), Brady Slinger (.304), Mike Borrelli (.267) and Phillip Bernstein (.261). Borrelli has nine doubles, one triple, two home runs and 25 RBIs; Slinger has 10 doubles, three triples and 20 RBIs; and Bernstein has 20 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.
The Red Wings’ top pitchers include John Gassler (4-0, 1.72 ERA); Jackson DeJohn (2-0, 1.28), Patrick Reilly (2-1, 2.84) and AJ Gartland (2-1, 4.84).
“It will depend where their rotation is (as to who gets the starting assignment),” Basile said.
Should the Tarp Skunks win tonight, they will play on the road Saturday night against Saugerties, the No. 2 seed. Should Jamestown prevail in that game, they will play a best-of-3 Championship Series against Amsterdam, the top seed, or another team to be determined. The championship series will take place Sunday, Monday and if-necessary Tuesday.
First thing’s first, though.
“As much as I hope everyone gets a seat (tonight), I fully anticipate our community is going to be out there,” Basile said. “There might not be a seat, so come down early.
“How cool would that be, you know?”