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Bouncing Back

Skunks String Together Wins After Losing Streak

Jamestown’s DJ Stoianovich celebrates a two-run double against Elmira during Wednesday’s Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League Game at Diethrick Park. P-J photo by Matt Spielman

The Jamestown Tarp Skunks have been through a lot over the first part of this week.

Most importantly, on the field, they have ended a six-game losing streak with back-to-back wins.

Sam Hough threw five innings of two-run ball, Bobby Stang went 3 for 4 and DJ Stoianovich hit a key two-run double as Jamestown beat the Elmira Pioneers 6-4 in Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League action Wednesday evening at Diethrick Park.

“I wasn’t even really expecting to be here,” said 23-year-old manager Ryan Hill, who is just over a month removed from graduation at Mercyhurst University. “… It kind of all fell into my lap perfectly.”

Coupled with Tuesday’s come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Niagara Falls Americans, the Tarp Skunks have now won the first two games of Hill’s young coaching career.

Jamestown shortstop Nigel Sebastianelli steps on second base for a force out in front of second baseman Connor Kiefer during Wednesday’s Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game against Elmira at Diethrick Park. P-J photo by Matt Spielman

“Having that big win (Tuesday) really set the tone. If we came out flat (Tuesday) with a loss, you never know how this season could turn. We weren’t sure what to expect and how the guys would respond to this adversity,” Hill said. ” … Now it feels like the momentum is on our side. We’re just ready to get this thing rolling.”

Hill, who was the team’s assistant coach for the first 11 games of the season, took over the head job Monday evening after Ben Julian resigned due to personal reasons.

“It’s been a crazy 72 hours. The guys have really made my job easy. They’ve helped me along the way,” Hill said. “They’ve got my back and I’ve got theirs. It’s been an amazing experience.”

Jamestown led 1-0 after the first inning Wednesday on Stang’s two-out dropped fly ball to center field, but the Pioneers tied the game in the third off Hough, who got out of the inning without further damage with a double play.

The Tarp Skunks took the lead for good in the bottom of the frame. With two outs, Nigel Sebastianelli (Niagara County Community College) and Connor Kiefer (Alfred State College) reached on back-to-back singles to set the table for Stoianovich. The Mansfield University product then roped a two-run double.

Jamestown Tarp Skunks third baseman Eli Harpalani steps into a throw to first base. P-J photo by Matt Spielman

“He’s been huge for us all year. It seems like every time he’s up in a big spot he comes through for us,” Hill said. “He’s one of the hardest workers on this team. He comes in early every day. Sometimes I think he works a little too hard … just go home. But I’m proud of him.”

Stang (University of Dayton) followed with an RBI single to give Jamestown a 4-1 lead.

“I think he had a 3-0 count, of course I had to give him the green light because I’m not going to take the bat out of his hands,” Hill said of Stang’s first-inning at-bat. “I know every time he comes up he has a chance to do something really special.”

Elmira made it 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Hough’s night ended after a clean top of the fifth. All told, the Bates College right-hander gave up six hits and walked four while striking out just one.

“It was great to see him fight today. It was super hot in the sun and he was struggling with gripping the ball. It wasn’t an easy day to be out there,” Hill said. “The way he fought through it, I’m super proud of him. It was great to just see him get into trouble and find a way out of it.”

The Tarp Skunks tacked on single runs in the fifth and seventh innings. Stang singled and later scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-2, and Stoianovich was hit by a pitch and scored on a Leo Doyle (Wagner College) grounder in the seventh.

The insurance runs helped relievers Gabe Wheeler and Griffin Snyder.

Wheeler, out of the University of Tampa, threw a clean sixth inning before allowing a run and stranding the bases loaded in the seventh inning.

“That’s baseball. Sometimes you can execute the pitches and they find holes,” Hill said. ” … He was in trouble and our defense found a way to get out of it.”

Snyder, a Clarion University right-hander, gave up a run in the eighth before stranding the bases loaded, and then retired the side in order in the ninth to pick up the save.

“It was his game to finish,” Hill said of Snyder.

It made for a nervous ending for Hill, who picked up his first managerial victory in front of the home crowd after spending six years playing college baseball at Monroe CC and Mercyhurst.

“I’ve always been super interested in coaching, and in college, baseball was everything,” Hill said. “When I had the opportunity to coach a little bit, I couldn’t say no. I love baseball so much that I want to stay in it any way I can.”

NOTES: Larry and Cameron Savage attended the game from northern Kentucky. Larry’s father — Cameron’s grandfather — Al Savage pitched for the 1943 Jamestown Falcons after being signed by the St. Louis Cardinals’ Frankie Frisch. … Tarp Skunks third baseman Tommy Schroeder’s parents, Tom and Kim, attended the game. Hailing from outside Chicago in St. Charles, Illinois, Tom was nearly hit by his son’s foul ball in the press box during the seventh inning. Chicago Cubs fans, Tommy has a younger brother named Wrigley.

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