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Notice to Fans

AS OWNERS OF THE NEWARK PILOTS WE WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THAT CURRENTLY WE PLAN TO OPERATE OUR BASEBALL SEASON AS SCHEDULED WITHIN THE PARAMETERS OF THE CDC AND LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT GUIDELINES.

SPORTS HAS ALWAYS BROUGHT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TOGETHER IN TIMES OF ADVERSITY.

WHILE WE ARE HEAVILY IMPACTED FINANCIALLY, LIKE MANY SMALL BUSINESSES, WE ARE COMMITTED TO BRINGING YOU A MUCH NEEDED FORM OF PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT THIS SUMMER.

GO PILOTS 2020!
STAY HEALTHY AND STAY SAFE

CAROL AND STEVE SZATKO

Carpenter’s First-Pitch Grand Slam Helps Diamond Dawgs Slam Newark

LITTLE FALLS, NY – Hundreds of people packed Veteran’s Memorial Park for the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs’ home opener expecting to see the post-game fireworks. They didn’t expect to get some mid-game fireworks as well.

Joseph Carpenter’s grand slam capped off a 7-run fifth, while Hunter Sibley threw nothing but fireballs, striking out six in Mohawk Valley’s 9-1 home opener victory over the Newark Pilots.

The Diamond Dawgs got on the board in a most unusual way in the bottom of the third. A balk by Newark starter Kenneth Westbrook (Binghamton, NY/St. John Fisher) was able to bring home Owen Wosleger (East Hampton, CT/Mount St. Mary’s) for Mohawk Valley’s first run of the 2019 campaign.

After two strikeouts, Joseph Carpenter (Cornwall, PA/Delaware) put the first pitch he saw from reliever Michael Sollitto (North Providence, RI/UMass Dartmouth) over the left field fence for a grand slam in the fifth inning. Dylan Klock (St. Johnsville, NY/St. Thomas Aquinas) and Owen Wosleger would add RBIs as well. Klock brought home Ryan Hernandez (Tampa, FL/Houston) and Nick Cimillo (Airmont, NY/Manhattan) on a sharp single to left field, while Wosleger brought home Kyle Maurice (Exeter, NH/UMass Lowell) on a fielder’s choice. In all, 12 Diamond Dawgs made it to the plate in the fifth, accounting for seven runs on six hits to make it an 8-0 game.

On the mound, starter Hunter Sibley (Millville, NJ/Iona) had as good a debut as you could possibly have. Sibley threw six strong innings for Mohawk Valley, only allowing two hits while striking out six.

In his best imitation of Carpenter, Newark’s (0-1) Shaun Hillis (Derby, CT/Iona) parked a ball in the same spot as Carpenter’s in left-center field in the top of the eighth. Unfortunately for Hillis, the only run he brought home was himself to cut the lead to 8-1.

Jimmy Joyce (Wantagh, NY/Hofstra) would extend the Mohawk Valley lead back to eight on an RBI single to left field that would score Kyle Johnson.

From there, Drew Helmstetter (Franklin, NJ/Iona) and Connor Stapleton (Staten Island, NY/Concordia) would keep the game in the win column for Sibley, throwing four combined strikeouts to keep the Pilots off the basepaths and secure the win for the Diamond Dawgs (1-0).

Sibley picked up a win in his debut for Mohawk Valley, while Westbrook picked up the loss for Newark.

The Diamond Dawgs will continue their four-game tour of the new Western Division on Saturday as they head to Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds to face the Watertown Rapids. The Pilots will continue their road trip on Saturday when they head to McDonough Park to face the Geneva Red Wings.

Big Dan the Diamond Guy

When someone outside the county hears the name Dan Wilkinson, they may think of a man once called “Big Daddy,” a 6’4’’ defensive tackle drafted first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1994.

But around these parts, particularly in Newark, you’re likely not thinking about the big man from “The” Ohio State University, but rather, “Big Dan,” who also spent time in the NFL, and playing minor league baseball. He, too, has heard the accolades, but has come to prefer the quiet time on the diamond, instead.

He’s had it both ways, whether it was impersonating NFL running backs like Freeman McNeil on a Buffalo Bills practice squad, or playing pro baseball in the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros organizations. But, baseball is what led him to his life’s work of 37 years, as one of the best-known and well-respected groundskeepers in the country.

“It kept me active,” Wilkinson recalls. “It’s hard for people to let go after their playing careers are over, so this was a way to stay connected.”

Dan got his start grooming fields in Plant City, Fla. under the tutelage of the famous George Toma. Toma, among other things, is known for preparing EVERY Super Bowl field.

Spring Training is the perfect place for someone with the desire to remain part of the game to get their start. Each MLB team has over a dozen fields to work on, so manpower is imperative. Dan learned quickly under Toma, and word got around that the Lyons native may be among the best in (or on) the field.

After getting summoned to Auburn to fix a mound issue, word went through the Astros organization on the job Wilkinson did. Houston then retained his services to fix any hill west of the Mississippi for Hall-of-Famer, Nolan Ryan. If the “Express” was coming through, Dan was there to make sure the tracks were smooth enough for a speedy ride, to many hitters’ dismay. But, Wilkinson isn’t one to brag.

He makes it sound simple:

“If there was something about the mound they liked, word traveled and got out and I’d get a call.”

Yeah, a call. Calls from the ‘Stros, the Cubs, the O’s, the Blue Jays, the University of Texas, Florida, Florida State, and even the Rochester Red Wings and Rhinos when the teams shared Frontier Field and needed to flip dirt into grass, and back to dirt like trying to shave and re-grow hair over a weekend, or less.

He’d get it done.

It’s a simple lesson in just showing-up and doing a job well. But, Wilkinson, a rather stoic man, doesn’t talk about his success, or the players he’s come across unless someone pries it from him. He loves what he does as much for the solitude, peace and quiet—other than the music of mowers humming in the background—as he enjoys staying connected to the game, at Colburn Park with the Newark Pilots.

The once professional park, which is built to host about 60 games a season (the Pilots play an average of 25 each summer, now gets used 125 times from April through September for various leagues. While the field isn’t built for that (high school and youth leagues try to get wet or damp April games in at any cost other than puddles, and continue long after the Pilots are finished), Dan has done his best to make sure every player using that field enjoys a big league experience.

But soon, the Pilots, who are the Park’s longest tenants, will have to call on someone else to create that environmen–for the rest of the summer, that is.
Wilkinson had his colon removed in 2011 for cancer and, after several years of living free of the disease, an annual body scan has found a recurrence in one of his kidneys.

“It’s on the inside of the kidney, so they have to go right in,” he says nonchalantly as if he’s going to get a haircut. “There is a possibility I could lose it, but they hope they can just remove half of it.

“They scan me every year inside and out. That’s why it’s treatable. They catch it early. No chemo or radiation after. Recovery time is about 10-to-12 weeks.”

Odds are, without Dan manning the grounds at Colburn Park during his recovery, he’ll return in better shape than the field.

But, as those who know Wilkinson will attest, he won’t complain, but will calmly enjoy the challenge of returning the park back into the field where hundreds of people live out their dreams.

PGCBL Shapes Bright Future With Organizational, Structural Changes

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) announced today that it has completed its corporate transition to a limited liability company to provide the league with strong organizational governance for the future.

All the existing PGCBL teams have become members of the corporation and the league’s newest franchise in Watertown, which is set to debut in the upcoming 2018 season, was admitted as the 14th team.

In addition to the corporate re-structuring, the PGCBL unanimously decided to divide the league’s 14 teams in a new three-division structure. In addition to the traditional East and West Divisions, a Central Division will be added to the mix in 2018. The breakdown of the three divisions is as follows:

East

Central

West

Albany

Adirondack

Elmira

Amsterdam

Mohawk Valley

Geneva

Glens Falls

Utica

Jamestown

Oneonta

Watertown*

Newark

 Saugerties

Onondaga**

*Will play its inaugural season in 2018.
**Elected voluntary suspension for 2018 season.

Each division nominated a member to sit on the newly-organized Executive Committee. Robbie Nichols (Elmira) will represent the West, Travis Heiser (Mohawk Valley) will represent the Central and Jason Brinkman (Albany) will represent the East. Alyce Lee (Onondaga) was elected treasurer.

In addition to its ongoing duties, the Executive Committee has been given the additional responsibility of managing the company until a new independent Operating Manager is hired. A national search is being conducted to find a strong leader with experience in collegiate and/or minor league baseball to fill the newly recreated office.

Jason Brinkman, vice president and general manager of the Albany Dutchmen, said, “With the corporate transition and the addition of Watertown’s experienced ownership group, we have strengthened the foundation of the league.  It will be an exciting challenge to identify an Operating Manager that will help guide us towards continued future success.”

The PGCBL also elected a scheduling committee in the same divisional representational manner, with the task of preparing the 2018 schedule.

Robbie Nichols, owner of the Elmira Pioneers, commented, “In the six seasons since owning the Elmira Pioneers, this was by far the best and most productive meeting yet. We are united and adding a strong Watertown franchise with a quality ownership group makes our league even better.”

Bob Ohmann, together with his wife, Leslie, owners of the Newark Pilots and Geneva Red Wings added, “Saturday’s meeting was a wonderful coming together to take the PGCBL to a new level. The continuous unanimous votes on all pertinent issues showed that we were all on the same page. We came away from the meeting completely satisfied with our direction for the future.”

Echoing those sentiments was, Travis Heiser, owner of the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs, who said, “It was very evident that we are all deeply committed to being the very best summer collegiate baseball league in the country.”

About the PGCBL
The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League is a 14-team summer collegiate baseball league in Upstate New York. Since its inaugural season in 2011, the PGCBL – which annually draws talent from some of the best NCAA, NAIA, and junior college programs – has quickly evolved into the premier wood bat league in the state of New York, while becoming one of the most widely respected summer leagues in the country. The PGCBL is affiliated with Perfect Game, the nation’s largest independent amateur scouting bureau. Last year, there were more than 1,500 players in the pros who either wore the uniform of a PGCBL team or participated in a Perfect Game event. For more information, please visit www.pgcbl.com.

2017 PGCBL All-League Team Announced

The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) unveiled today the All-League Team for the 2017 season, as determined by a polling of the league’s head coaches. Nine of the 13 teams in the PGCBL were represented with at least one selection on the First or Second Team, led by the Amsterdam Mohawks and Elmira Pioneers with six honorees apiece.

PGGCBL logoHighlighting this year’s postseason all-star squad are Jamestown catcher Christ Conley (Canisius), the 2017 PGCBL Player of the Year, and Albany righty Matt Pierce (Siena), the 2017 Pitcher of the Year award winner. Conley broke the single-season records for walks (51) and on-base percentage (.582), while leading the circuit with a .610 slugging percentage and ranking second with a .382 batting average. Pierce had a record-breaking summer of his own, as reliever-turned-ace registered a league-best 1.71 ERA and established a new high for wins in a season with eight.

Conley, who garnered Second-Team All-League honors with the Jammers last season, is one of two players that was recognized for the second time this year. Mohawk Valley reliever Zach Vennaro (Mount Olive) completed his third go-around with the DiamondDawgs in 2017 and added an All-League First Team selection to his Second Team award from a year ago.

Several of the league’s statistical leaders were rightfully award this season. Batting champion and Amsterdam Mohawk standout, John Valente (St. John’s), who led all batsmen with a .422 clip, was included on the First Team at third base, and across the diamond, Mohawk Valley’s Russ Olive (UMass Lowell) was named the top first baseman in the PGCBL this season after leading the league in both home runs (8) and RBIs (42). Albany’s Justin Bureau (Ave Maria) tied Vennaro for first place with eight saves this summer and both were elected to the First Team. Alex Bellardini (Youngstown State) racked up a league-high 61.0 innings of work in nine starts for Geneva and was rewarded with a spot on the Second Team.

Two of the three award winners from the 2017 All-Star Game festivities earned additional hardware with an All-League selection. Prospect Game MVP Eric Rivera (Florida Atlantic) and Home Run Derby champ Conor Grammes (Xavier) were both recognized on the First Team.

Below are the complete 2017 PGCBL All-League First and Second Teams:

2017 PGCBL All-League First Team
C – Christ Conley (Canisius) – Jamestown
1B – Russ Olive (UMass Lowell) – Mohawk Valley
2B – Nick Estrella (Azusa Pacific) – Albany
SS – Nick Gallo (Oklahoma State) – Albany
3B – John Valente (St. John’s) – Amsterdam
OF – John Conti (Canisius) – Jamestown
OF – Brian Uliana (Rider) – Glens Falls
OF – Eric Rivera (Florida Atlantic) – Amsterdam
DH/UTL – Conor Grammes (Xavier) – Elmira

SP – Matt Pierce (Siena) – Albany
SP – David Lyskawa (Niagara County C.C.) – Jamestown
SP – Andrew Saalfrank (Indiana) – Amsterdam
SP – Houston Roth (Ole Miss) – Elmira
RP – Zach Vennaro (Mount Olive) – Mohawk Valley
RP – Justin Bureau (Ave Maria) – Albany

2017 PGCBL All-League Second Team
C – Marshall Gilbert (John A. Logan) – Elmira
1B – Liam Wilson (Canisius) – Amsterdam
2B – Jimmy Standohar (Mercyhurst) – Jamestown
SS – Will Holland (Auburn) – Amsterdam
3B – Hunter Wells (Tyler J.C.) – Newark
OF – Mikey Arman (Kenyon) – Geneva
OF – Matt Chamberlain (New Haven) – Geneva
OF – Ayrton Schafer (Samford) – Elmira
DH/UTL – Allbry Major (Xavier) – Elmira

SP – Alex Bellardini (Youngstown State) – Geneva
SP – Henry Martinez (Cypress) – Newark
SP – Grant Donahue (Virginia) – Elmira
SP – Thomas Lane (Boston College) – Amsterdam
RP – Matt Bowman (SUNY Broome C.C.) – Onondaga
RP – Allbry Major (Xavier) – Elmira

About the PGCBL
The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League is a 13-team summer collegiate baseball league in Upstate New York. Since its inaugural season in 2011, the PGCBL – which annually draws talent from some of the best NCAA, NAIA, and junior college programs – has quickly evolved into the premier wood bat league in the state of New York, while becoming one of the most widely respected summer leagues in the country. The PGCBL is affiliated with Perfect Game, the nation’s largest independent amateur scouting bureau. Last year, there were more than 1,500 players in the pros who either wore the uniform of a PGCBL team or participated in a Perfect Game event. For more information, please visit www.pgcbl.com.