NEWARK, N.Y. – The Newark Pilots took a step in the right direction in their push to reach the playoffs by sweeping the Adirondack Trail Blazers in a doubleheader on Friday at Colburn Park.
The Pilots (18-26) shutout the Trail Blazers (17-26), 5-0, on a complete-game three-hit performance from left-handed pitcher Nick Wegmann (Binghamton). In the nightcap, Charlie Sobieraski (Buffalo) became just the second Newark pitcher in team history to record a one-hitter in the 7-1 win.
The sweep allowed Newark to leapfrog Adirondack in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) West Division standings and move into fourth place with a half-game lead. Combined with Utica’s (18-25) loss to first-place Elmira (29-15) on Friday, the Pilots are only a half-game behind the Brewers for the third and final playoff berth with six games remaining in the regular season.
Game 1 (Box score)
Wegmann (1-3) scattered three hits, three walks and one hit batsman across seven shutout innings to earn his first win of the season. He also fanned a season-high seven batters. He worked around a lead-off base hit and a walk in the top of the first to strand both runners n scoring position before going 1-2-3 through the order in the second and third innings.
The Pilots broke the stalemate in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run triple from Will Gorman (RIT), plating Mark Martin (Le Moyne) and Willy Yahn (Connecticut). After Adirondack starter Tommy Eng (Adrian) hit two straight batters, Gorman scored on a bases-loaded walk to Blake Valley (San Francisco).
In the sixth inning, Newark added two more runs on three base hits. Gorman and James Baer (Delta) each singled and moved into scoring position on a double steal. Kyle Norman (San Francisco) then drove both runners home with a two-out single to left center.
Eng (1-4) took the loss with six complete innings on the mound. He surrendered five runs on nine hits with five strikeouts.
Game 2 (Box score)
Sobieraski followed up Wegmann’s gem with one of his own in Newark’s 7-1 victory. He was perfect in the first three innings before issuing a four-pitch walk to Evan Alderman (Georgia Southwestern State) to lead off the fourth. Nick Fanneron (Northeastern) then broke up the no-hit bid with a lead-off single in the fifth.
The 6-foot-4 righty gave up one unearned run in his final inning. His University at Buffalo teammate Chris Kwitzer reached base safely on an error. Sobieraski then walked Fanneron and hit Tim Burr (Florida Tech) to load the bases before plunking Connor Manderson (SUNY Cortland) to force home Adirondack’s lone run.
The Pilots took the lead with two runs in the second inning. Newark pushed across five more in the sixth to take a 7-0 advantage. Valley plated three runs on a bases-loaded double before scoring on an RBI single from Norman. Norman scored the final run on an RBI groundout from Cody Wiktorski (St. John Fisher).
Sobieraski (3-1) finished with a season-high seven strikeouts to earn his second straight win. Burr fell to 0-2 after giving up five runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks in 5.1 innings.
The Newark Pilots hit the road for the last time in the 2015 regular season with a trip to Elmira on Saturday, July 25 for a 7:05 p.m. contest.