The Newark Pilots (23-18) saved the drama for the ninth inning in a 7-6 walk-off victory over Saugerties on Monday night at Colburn Park. The win is the Pilots second walk-off of the season and now moves them into a tie with Jamestown for third place in the West division with nine regular season games remaining.
The Pilots fell behind early after starter Sam Harrington (Itawamba C.C.) struggled to keep the ball down in the first inning, allowing three runs on four hits. However, Harrington would settle into a nice groove after that, throwing the next three innings without allowing a hit.
Newark would respond with a sacrifice fly from Sam Fragale (Virginia Tech) in the bottom of the inning to cut into the deficit. Fragale would add another RBI with a single in the third inning, which was followed by a Chris Whelan sacrifice fly to tie the game at 3-3.
Will Gorman (RIT) would hit a solo home run on the first pitch of the fourth inning to give the Pilots a 4-3 lead. The home run was Gorman’s first of the year, but it extended his Pilots team-record as the sixth of his career.
“Well it felt great hitting a home run, obviously it always does,” Gorman said of the home run. “I’ve been feeling good the last couple of games and if figured if I have my timing down I might as well be aggressive. The first pitch was there in and I just put good wood on it.”
The Stallions would get to Harrington again in the fifth with a sacrifice fly, followed by a two-run home run from Michael Pfenninger (Manhattan) to make the score 6-4.
However, the Pilots would storm back to take the lead once again with a bases-clearing three-run triple from Bo-Hao Huang (Fu Jen Catholic) in the seventh inning.
With the Pilots leading 7-6 entering the ninth, closer Brian Dolan gave up an unearned run to blow his first save of the season on a single from Caleb Kerbs (Maine) to tie the game at 7-7.
Darian Herncane (Binghamton) reached base on an infield single with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Herncane would then steal second to put himself into scoring position with Russ Olive (UMass-at the plate. Olive would drive home the winning run on a single hit up the middle with Herncane scoring on a close play at the plate to win the game.
“Dolan is our guy at the end of games,” Pilots head coach Chris Edmondson said. “He pitched well tonight and just had some unfortunate things happen. The guys know that and they were able to rally and get a run to pick him up and get the win.”
The Pilots continue their playoff push with a home against Utica on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at Colburn Park.