GENEVA — It’s hard to believe it is already July.
It seems like that is said every time July comes around, but it rings true year-to-year.
Major League Baseball and Triple-A International League are in the midst of their All-Star breaks and the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League is just about to have theirs.
The 2019 PGCBL All-Star game will be played Tuesday, July 16 at Cantine Field in Saugerties
Two weeks after the All-Star game will mark the end of the regular season for teams like the Geneva Red Wings and Newark Pilots, so it is fitting to take a look at where each team has positioned themselves with the postseason just weeks away.
GENEVA RED WINGS (18-9)
Before the season began, head coach Dan Shwam told The Times, his goal for the team was, “to make the people of Geneva proud,” and thus far, the Geneva Red Wings have delivered.
27 games into the season, they sit in first place in the West division and second in the entire league with a winning percentage of .667.
Their offense functions on a balanced lineup that features five batters hitting over .300 that have all played in over 15 games. While their lineup has ebbs and flows of power and consistency, two players have risen to lead the team.
Brandon Cooper and Trevor Rogers have been Geneva’s leaders on offense. Because of their play, they have both been named to the PGCBL All-Star game.
Through 21 games Cooper is batting .375 with 27 hits, 26 runs scored, 19 runs batted in and five home runs. The outfielder is third in the entire league in batting average, third in runs scored is tied for third in home runs.
As for Rogers, he is batting .313 in 25 games with 32 hits, 22 runs, 27 RBIs and five home runs. He is tied with Cooper for third in the league in home runs and is a close second in the league for most runs batted in.
On the mound, Geneva is not nearly as potent as they are in the batter’s box.
They have a team earned run average of 6.26, which is second to last in the entire PGCBL despite having the fewest games pitched.
Five pitchers have been on the mound for more than 20 innings over the season and they have a combined average of 6.04, which may spell trouble come playoff time.
On the bright side, Nolan Merideth and Kobie Punchard have been better in their last few appearances. They have both thrown five innings in the past week and have each allowed two runs, good for a 3.60 ERA.
If Merideth, Punchard and a few others can heat up on the mound and the offense keeps up their hitting ways — the Red Wings could be headed for a deep postseason run.
NEWARK PILOTS (10-19)
One of the more intriguing teams this year has been the Newark Pilots. They have the power and pitching to seem like they should be a top team, but have trouble closing out games in which they lead.
Their offensive lineup is full of pop. The Pilots are sending three players to the All-Star game.
The first All-Star is outfielder Over Torres, who is one of the best players in the league and is hitting .368 in 95 at-bats with 35 hits, 26 runs batted in and one home run.
On the top half, Allen Murphy and Dylan Duplechain have been consistently excellent as well and have been named West All-Stars as well as Torres.
Murphy, who doubles as a pitcher and an outfielder, is hitting .342 in 79 at-bats with 27 hits and 15 RBIs.
Duplechain is hitting .305 through 82 at-bats and has 25 hits with just six runs batted in. He will start at third base in the All-Star game.
David Bermudez has also been named to the All-Star game and will be a reserve. He is batting .283 and is second on the team with 16 RBIs.
If Newark’s offense can lessen the amount of runners left on base, they could seriously turn their season around.
The Pilots’ starting pitching is quite strong.
All-Star Ryan Mueller has been excellent on the mound as well, In 22.2 innings pitched, he has a 1.58 ERA with just five earned runs.
What is most intriguing about Mueller is that he seems to pitch better with runners on. He has given up almost a hit per inning, 21 to be exact, yet he has only given up four earned runs.
Ron Loomis has appeared in the most games and has pitched in the most innings with 38. His average is a very respectable 2.79, giving up just 12 earned runs.
Murphy has been a Swiss-army knife for the Pilots, playing in the field and on the mound and excelling at both. He has a 3.27 average on the mound through 22 innings.
With his ERA and batting prowess, it is no wonder he was named a starter in the All-Star game. The Pilots will lean on him perhaps the most when it comes to crunch time.
Unfortunately, the majority of the pitching staff has struggled. Apart from Loomis, Mueller, and Murphy — every pitcher who has pitched more than 10 innings has an ERA over 4.00.
As it stands, the Pilots are 1.5 games outside of a playoff spot.
If their top end of the rotation can continue to pitch well and they can get more consistent offense with runners in scoring position, they might be a dark horse team in the West.