Jon Schafer’s Walk-Off Hit Propels Newark Pilots Past Geneva

The Newark Pilots (13-9) have a knack for playing close games and Friday was no exception with the Pilots beating Geneva in walk-off fashion, 3-2. The win moves the Pilots to 3-1 in the season series against the Red Wings with five more contests to come.

With a 2-1 lead entering the ninth, Newark called on Loukas Bechakas to close out the game. Bechakas would let an unearned run score on a single off the bat of pinch-hitter Daniel Blake (O.K. Panhandle St.) to tie the score 2-2.

However, the Pilots would answer in the bottom of the ninth with Russ Olive(UMass-Lowell) and Bo-Hao Huang (Fu Jen Catholic) getting on base to start the inning. Olive was replaced by pinch-runner Julian Gallup who scored the winning run on a single from Jon Schafer (Santa Clara).

“There’s no better feeling than that,” Schafer said off his walk-off hit. “Pretty much just had to get my job done, the two guys in front of me did theirs so I just had to put a good piece on the ball.”

Gallup was forced to freeze as the ball was hit on a line up the middle, once the ball dropped center fielder Drake Sykes (Knox College) attempted to throw Gallup out at third, but an overthrow allowed the winning run to score. The error was one of four made by Geneva in the game, allowing two unearned runs to score.

The Pilots got solid pitching performances from Olive and Max Ludka (Saginaw Valley State) who combined to throw seven innings of one-run ball. Olive remained in the game as the designated hitter after being pulled on the mound and went 2-for-4 with a triple for his third consecutive multi-hit game.

“He’s being seeing the ball well and taking really good swings,” Edmondson said of Olive’s recent hitting. “When someone’s hot you keep them in the lineup it doesn’t matter whether they are pitching or not.”

The Pilots travel to Adirondack on Saturday for a 7:05 p.m. contest against the Trail Blazers before returning home to face Jamestown on Sunday.