ELMIRA, NY-Things got off to a quiet start at Historic Dunn Field as the Pioneers took on the first place Victor Railriders. Missed opportunities abounded for both sides on offense. The Pioneers loaded the bases in the third inning before a ground out ended the inning, and also left men on bases on several other occasions.
Action finally picked up in the sixth inning, with Victor shortstop Aaron Endres receiving a walk from Pioneers pitcher Justin Lewis, who had started the game for the Pioneers and had struck out five on the night. Lewis then threw a wild pitch and advanced Endres to second. Evan Fernandez, the second baseman, then hit a single and brought Endres home to give Victor a 1-0 lead.
The Pioneers would again strand a man in scoring position in the sixth, after Taylor Hillson capitalized on a walk to steal second and third bases. Things would finally get going for the Pioneers in the eighth when Victor pitcher Jesse Bogacz hit Christian Santisteban and moved him to first. Sam Clark then stepped up to bat and was able to hit a double off of a fielding error from the Railriders to bring Satntisteban home and tie the game.
Tommy Mirabelli, pinch hitting for designated hitter Tyler Plantier, then bunted a single and allowed Clark to advance to third. Taylor Hillson was then walked to load the bases by Railriders pitcher Dylan Swetman. After an out at home, the Pioneers jammed two runs in from Mirabelli and Hillson off of a single from Dalton Hoiles and a failed double play from the Railriders’ defense. This gave the Pioneers the lead, 3-1.
In the top of the ninth, The Railriders fought back off of unsteady pitching from The Pioneers’ Mike Stephens. Stephens walked both Brock Daniels and Brady Acker. These players then stole second and third simultaneously in an astounding play, and were hit home after an incredible double to deep right field from pinch hitter Dale Wicham. Fortunately for The Pioneers, they were able to exit the inning with the score tied.
In the bottom of the ninth, Justin Hayes hit a double to left field, and was followed by Christian Santisteban, who was intentionally walked. Santisteban and Hayes stole second and third respectively, echoing the play of Victor half an inning earlier. Keegan Maronpot then came in and was intentionally walked as well. Tommy Mirabelli then stepped up and hit an RBI single, allowing Hayes to run home for the Pioneers win. The final score was 4-3. Mike Stephens got the win for Elmira, and Austin Wilson took the loss for Victor.
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