Pilots outlast rain and Hawkeyes in Doubleday thriller

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – The Newark Pilots scored five times in the top of the seventh inning and then held off a rain-soaked rally by the Cooperstown Hawkeyes in the bottom of the seventh to come away with a 9-6 victory on Tuesday evening at Doubleday Field. The game was called after the seventh inning due to steady rain and lightning. The Pilots (16-23) used the victory to pull into a third-place tie with idle Adirondack in the PGCBL West.

Newark and Cooperstown (13-24) entered the seventh inning tied, 4-4. Steve Laurino (Marist) of the Pilots reached on an error to start the seventh and quickly moved to second on an errant pick-off throw with Samm Wiggins (Houston Baptist) at the plate. Wiggins chased home Laurino with a double into center field, his second of the game, to propel the Pilots into a 5-4 lead. The next batter, David Vandercook (Columbia) launched a two-run home run over the right-field fence to increase Newark’s advantage to 7-4. Two-straight hit batters and two wild pitches put Pilots on the corners with no still no outs. Anthony Naso (Slippery Rock) replaced Cody Smith (Black Hawk) on the mound but Scott Matthews (Washington, Md.) was able to continue the Pilots' push with an RBI fielders’ choice that scored Jacob Russell (Kentucky) from third. Matthews advanced to second on a Sam Fox (Pomona-Pitzer) two-out single and raced home on a wild pitch to cap off Newark’s five-run outburst. The Pilots ended the inning with five runs on three hits and two Cooperstown errors.

The home-standing Hawkeyes fought back in the midst of rain drops in the bottom of the seventh inning. Ryan Hanahan (Marietta) and Nate Lotze (Kenyon) connected on back-to-back one-out singles and Hanahan moved up to third on a Cameron Day (Norfolk State) fielders’ choice. With two outs, Austin March (UC Davis) recorded Cooperstown’s third hit of the inning, a single into right field that plated Ryan Hanahan to trim Newark’s lead to 9-5. A walk to Brendan O’Reilly (New Haven) filled the bases full of Hawkeyes with two outs. Rocky DeSantis (Garden City C.C.) kept the Cooperstown rally alive with a swinging bunt single that scored Cameron Day and put the potential tying run on first base. As the rain continued to fall, Newark closer Donald Frew (Young Harris) replaced Joe Pokrentowski (Siena) on the mound with two outs and the bases loaded. Frew slammed the door on Cooperstown's rally as he forced Nolan Ray (Kentucky Wesleyan) to pop out to first base to end the inning. The rain proved too much for the umpires and both teams and the game was called prior to the start of the eighth inning at 7:26 p.m.

Sam Fox, Samm Wiggins and David Vandercook combined to drive in six of Newark’s nine runs. Sam Fox went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Samm Wiggins and David Vandercook each were 2-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored; Wiggins doubled twice. Scott Matthews scored three times for the Pilots. Matthews has totaled five runs in his last two games at Doubleday Field. Steve Laurino drove in one run for the Pilots and tallied two more.

Newark starter James Mills (Young Harris) earned the victory. He pitched six innings for the Pilots and allowed four runs, three earned on 11 hits. Mills walked one and struck out two. He held the Hawkeyes scoreless in four of his six innings of work. Donald Frew needed just one out to record his seventh save.

Cooperstown’s Nate Lotze led all hitters with a 4-for-4 performance. For Lotze, it was his second four-hit game in three days. Lotze went 4-for-5 at Watertown on Saturday night. Austin March recorded three hits for the Hawkeyes and Joshua Wyant (LeMoyne-Owen) had two hits and scored one run. Ben Hall (Central Alabama) topped the Hawkeyes with three RBI which came on a bases-clearing double in the second inning. Cooperstown out-hit Newark, 15-10.

Cooperstown starter Jonathan Chudy (Pace) struck out seven batters over five innings and yielded four runs on seven hits.

Both the Pilots and the Hawkeyes are off on Tuesday and Wednesday for the 2013 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game. The All-Star Game will be played on Wednesday, July 24, at Newark’s Colburn Park. The Hawkeyes return to action on Thursday with a road doubleheader in Glens Falls against the Glens Falls Golden Eagles. The Pilots are also back on the field on Thursday with a home game at Colburn Park against the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs.

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