Albany Wins Nightcap, Drops Opener in Newark

By: Ryan Murphy

Jon Reid (Azusa Pacific) pitches for the Dutchmen.

The Albany Dutchmen earned a split with the Newark Pilots, dropping the opener 6-3 before taking a 4-2 win in the nightcap.The win moved the Dutchmen to within a game and a half of third place in the PGCBL East.

The Dutchmen took the lead to begin the opening game, plating a pair of runs off Newark starter Charlie Sobieraski (Buffalo). Grayson Lewis (Rice) singled to lead off the contest, and then stole second base with two outs in the inning. Michael Fitzsimmons (Ole Miss) continued the frame by reaching on a Pilot error, moving Lewis to third base. Sean Aspinall (Azusa Pacific) put Albany on the board with a single to center field, and Slayton Vaughan (Oral Roberts) drove in another run with a single of his own.

The lead would not last, as the Pilots answered with three runs to take a 3-2 lead through one inning. A leadoff triple by Blake Valley (San Francisco) started the Newark offense, and the Dutchmen lead was cut down to one run on an RBI single from Kyle Norman (San Francisco). A Cody Wiktorski (St. John Fisher) double continued the surge. Norman would tie the game by scoring on a Mark Martin (LeMoyne) groundout, and the Pilots took the lead on another RBI groundout, this one by Willy Yahn (Connecticut).

After two scoreless innings, the Pilots extended their advantage in the bottom of the fourth inning with two more runs. Singles by Kevin Biondic (Maryland) and Valley put two runners in scoring position after a throwing error, and Norman brought both runners home on a two-out single.

Albany was able to trim the deficit in the top of the fifth via two-out rally. With two gone in the inning, Fitzsimmons drew a walk and scored when Aspinall drove in his second run of the game on a double into the right center field gap.

The Pilots re-extended the lead in the bottom of the sixth, putting another run on the board. Ryan Lynch (Marist) singled, and moved over to second on a single by Valley. Norman drove the sixth run of the game in on a single. Jake Welch (Notre Dame College) entered the game for Albany to record the final out.

Sobieraski earned the win for the Pilots, while Mike Reitcheck (Penn) took the loss for Albany. Vinny Martin (Iona) worked the final inning for Newark, and was credited with a save.

Albany also scored first in the nightcap, as Aspinall scorched a single to center to lead off the game. After stealing second base, an error off the bat of Patrick Hisle (Maryland) put runners on first and third. After two outs were recorded, Hisle intentionally got himself caught in a rundown, allowing Aspinall to score from third before Hisle was tagged for the third out.

For the second game in a row, the Albany lead disappeared in the bottom half of the first, as the Pilots scored a run to even the score. Valley recorded a leadoff single and was sacrificed to second by Norman. Valley stole third, and scored on an RBI single by Wiktorski. Albany starter Jon Reid (Azusa Pacific) navigated the inning with no further damage.

The Dutchmen retook the lead in the top of third inning, which began on a single by Jesse Cooper (Seton Hill). Aspinall then proceeded to drive in his third run of the day on a double into the gap, putting Albany ahead 2-1. Fitzsimmons would single to put runners on first and third, but the Dutchmen did not add to their lead.

Again, Newark had an answer for the Dutchmen, scoring a run in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game. Valley drew a leadoff walk, and moved over the second base on a groundout. With two outs in the inning, Mark Martin singled, bringing in Valley and evening the game at 2.

The biggest hit of the game came in the top of the sixth inning, when the Dutchmen took a 4-2 lead. With one out, Dominic DiCaprio (Rice) singled up the middle, and Hunter Boose (Georgia Regents) drew a walk. Against new pitcher Kevin Berge (St. John Fisher), Adam Gauthier dropped a two-run triple just inside the right field line, scoring both runners easily.

Jon Reid (Azusa Pacific) picked up the win for the Dutchmen, his fourth of the season. He becomes just the sixth pitcher in franchise history to win four games in a single season.

The Dutchmen return to Bellizzi Field Friday with a matchup with the Victor RailRiders. Country Music Star Chelsea Cavanaugh will perform at 6:00PM in conjunction with a major fundraiser in support of Maddie’s Mark, a local organization providing best days ever to children suffering from terminal illnesses. There will be a huge raffle with excellent prizes, including a mounted picture of the New York Yankees Core Four, four UAlbany men’s basketball season tickete, and a 40" HDTV. There will be baseball bingo taking place throughout the game with the winner taking home a $50 Visa gift card.  Red Bull will also be on hand giving  away new Orange Edition Red Bull to every fan 14 years of age and older after the game.

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