Patience At The Plate

Tarp Skunks Dominate Niagara For 10-3 Win In Home Opener

Jamestown Tarp Skunks catcher Evan Fragela tags out Niagara Power's Brett Johnson while Tarp Skunks third baseman Matt Thompson looks on during the third inning of Wednesday's PGCBL game at Diethrick Park in Jamestown, N.Y. P-J photo by Matt Spielman

Patience paid off for the Jamestown Tarp Skunks on Wednesday afternoon.

Five Niagara Power pitchers combined to walk 10 and hit five batters, and six of those free baserunners scored as Jamestown beat Niagara 10-3 in a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game on Kids Day at Diethrick Park.

“The bats were going. We’ve found the last two games we’ve scored some runs early and then sat around for a while,” Jamestown manager Jordan Basile said. “It’d be nice to start putting some more runs on the board, but I can’t complain because three games in a row we’ve scored almost double-digit runs. I’m happy with the at-bats.”

The first-place Tarp Skunks improved to 3-0 in the league’s West Division while the Power fell to 2-2.

Jamestown left fielder Brayden Johnson (Western Kentucky University) walked four times, doubled, stole a base and scored twice, while third baseman Matt Thompson (Youngstown State University) went 2 for 3 with a walk, two runs scored and two stolen bases for Jamestown.

Jameastown shortstop Tommy Googins fields a groundball during the third inning of Wednesday's PGCBL game against the Niagara Power at Diethrick Park in Jamestown, N.Y. P-J photo by Matt Spielman

“Basically, our whole lineup can run. That makes it fun,” Basile said of Johnson, adding about Thompson, “Matt had some great at-bats today and played a good third base.”

Tarp Skunks starter Kasey Gilman (Princeton University) was credited with the win on the mound, throwing the first 2 1/3 innings of two-hit ball. He allowed one run and two walks while striking out one. Hamburg native Evan Chaffee (University of Alabama) threw the middle 2 2/3 innings of no-hit ball while allowing one run and two walks with one strikeout. St. Bonaventure left-hander Andrew Ayers, a Williamsville North product, threw the final three innings of three-hit ball, allowing one run and a walk while striking out two.

“There are a few guys we can stretch out, but for the most part it’s about three innings or 50-60 pitches,” Basile said. “Later in the season, we’ll get them up around 80 pitches to give us a quality start.”

With a couple thousand kids from surrounding school districts in the stadium at first pitch, Jamestown jumped on top with a five-run bottom of the first inning. Grady Mee (Western Michigan University) opened the game with an infield single before back-to-back walks to Zack Kent (Wagner College) and Johnson. Jake Kernodle (Princeton University) and Thompson were both hit by pitches to force in runs.

“It’s good they stayed patient at the plate,” Basile said. “We got off to a good start there.”

Jamestown second baseman Grady Mee catches a pop-up in front of shortstop Tommy Googins during Wednesday's PGCBL game against the Niagara Power at Diethrick Park in Jamestown, N.Y. P-J photo by Matt Spielman

Extra hitter Henry Juan (Williams College) then provided the big blast of the first inning with a two-run double off the wall in left field.

“I thought it was gone. … We play in a lot of big parks. Whether it’s ours or the other parks, it’s tough to get it out of there,” Basile said. “I thought it was going, myself. He put a good swing on it.”

After Tommy Googins (Princeton University) hit a sacrifice fly, Colin Houck (East Stroudsburg University) walked to end the day for Niagara starter Jacob Smith. The right-hander got just one out while surrendering five runs on two hits, three walks and two hit batters.

The Tarp Skunks added a pair of runs off Power reliever Connor Bowman in the second inning. With two outs, Johnson walked and stole second before Kernodle hit an RBI single and went to second on a throw to the plate. Thompson followed with another RBI single for a 7-0 lead.

Niagara made it 7-1 in the fourth inning and 7-2 in the fifth before Jamestown added two more runs in the sixth. Houck led off with a single, Evan Fragela (University of Pittsburgh-Bradford) was hit by a pitch and Matthew Best (University of Maryland-Baltimore County) walked to load the bases with no outs. Kent then hit into a one-out fielder’s choice to score Houck before Fragela scored on a double steal with Kent.

The Tarp Skunks scored their final run in the seventh when Thompson singled, stole second, went to third when Houck was hit by a pitch and scored as Fragela was hit by a pitch for the second time.

Air quality was a concern throughout Wednesday’s game with some players and coaches taking the field with masks on at the start.

“You hear about California wildfires, but not many coming from Canada. We weren’t really sure what the right answer was,” Basile said. “I think it’s a little bit new to everybody. It turned out to be better than anticipated.”

Jamestown will put its undefeated mark on the line tonight when it hosts the Batavia Muckdogs at 6:30 p.m. Right-hander Will Saxenmeyer (Wagner College) will start on the mound for the Tarp Skunks.

“We got a little lucky here in Jamestown,” Basile added about the air quality. “It looked like everything was pushing to the east.”


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