ELMIRA — At a time when the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League postseason is in sight and the West division's playoff spots are up for grabs, the Newark Pilots are not playing well.
The team has not won a game since the All-Star break and find themselves in last place in the West division after losing Saturday's matchup against the slippery Elmira Pioneers by a score of 3-2.
Since the game was the first of a doubleheader, only seven innings were played. The second leg of the doubleheader did not finish until after the Times went to press.
It was a low-scoring affair for a PGCBL game between the Pilots (13-24) and the Pioneers (13-23).
No runs were scored until the fourth inning.
Elmira was the first to bring a runner home when Newark starting pitcher Ryan Mueller allowed back-to-back singles that allowed Trevor Henneman to score. Muller would end with 4.1 innings pitched while giving up five hits, three earned runs and three walks.
Newark managed to answer and take the lead in the next inning thanks to Parker Denny's two-run home run. That one swing of the bat would be the only runs the Pilots could bring around the bases.
Whatever elation Denny's home run had caused, it was squashed by a two-run home run the very next inning by Nathan Peng.
Newark would not be able to recover and stranded a total of five baserunners over the course of seven frames.
Elmira's Connor Takacs would enter the game in the top of the fifth inning after Denny's home run and shut the door, only allowing one hit and a walk while striking out three.
Geneva Red Wings were also scheduled to face off in a key matchup against the division-leading Utica Blue Sox, but the game was postponed.
In Friday's PGCBL action:
Geneva 9, Newark 2
The Red Wings were spinning out of control entering Friday.
They had lost their last four games and given up the division lead to the Utica Blue Sox.
After losing to Adirondack on Thursday night, the Red Wings (21-13) got back into form as they defeated the Pilots (13-24) 9-2 on Friday evening.
Geneva hopped on Newark starting pitcher Kenneth Westbrook from the first inning. All-Star Brandon Cooper launched his sixth home run of the year in the bottom of the first inning to give Geneva a 1-0 lead.
They then scored again in the bottom of the second inning from a single by Dylan Swarmer that allowed Harrison Treble to score one of his three runs of the game. Swarmer would have a stellar night at the plate with three hits and three RBIs.
Swarmer and Treble then themselves in the same situation in the fourth inning.
Treble batted second and hit a single off of Westbrook. Brock Kauffman then followed Treble with a single of his own. Swarmer then did the same thing he did in the second inning and hit an RBI single that allowed Treble to score.
Things continued to spiral downward for Westbrook on the mound as he threw a wild pitch that allowed Kauffman to score, making it a 4-0 game in favor of Geneva.
Despite their four-run deficit, the Pilots fought back to score two runs in the very next inning.
Leadoff hitter Michael Gorman hit a single that allowed Bayley Jamanis to score Newark's first run of the game. All-Star David Bermudez was next up and he singled to score Kameron Reynolds. Newark had cut Geneva's lead down to two runs by the end of the inning.
Unfortunately for the Pilots, that would be all they could muster.
In the bottom of the sicth inning, Swarmer would hit hid third runs batted in of the game with a double that allowed Alex Gow to trot home. Things got worse for Newark in the next inning as the Red Wings added four insurance runs to cement their victory.
Alex Gow hit an RBI double, Nick LaBrasca scored on a wild pitch and Brock Kauffman hit a two-run single to widen the gap to a 9-2 lead for Geneva.
Nolan Merideth pitched the final two innings for Geneva and allowed just one hit and one walk to seal the win for the Red Wings.
Utica Blue Sox won their game against Elmira, so Geneva did not get any closer to retaking the division lead, but a win is certainly a solid start.