Newark’s first season of baseball a success on and off the field
The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) regular season drew to an end with the last games on Wednesday. In only their first season as a team, the playoff-bound Newark Pilots are prepared to take off on the “Road to the PGCBL Championship Series.”
The Pilots finished second in the West Division behind the Cooperstown Hawkeyes with a 26-22 record. They led the division with wins, but the Hawkeyes (25-20) won the West by just a half game.
The Divisional Series begins on Friday at 5:05 p.m. in Cooperstown. Game 2 will be played in Newark at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday. The National Anthem will be performed by national recording artist and Rochester native Rickey Lee Watson and a postgame celebration will be held at Parker’s Grille and Taphouse, located on South Main Street in Newark. If necessary, Game 3 will be in Cooperstown at 5:05 p.m. on Sunday.
Newark ended the regular season strong, winning four of its last five games. The Pilots won their final game of the season 8-4 over the Watertown Wizards. The month of July began with a season-high seven-game win streak.
The first season of Pilots baseball has been a very successful one. They finished second in the league in team fielding with a .960 average, third in batting with a .267 average, and fourth in pitching with a 4.47 team ERA.
Dominick Ruscitti (Kutztown) led the league with six wins and a 1.82 ERA. He was named the PGCBL Pitcher of the Week for Week 4. Carson Beauchaine (Saginaw Valley State) was also honored by the league, winning Pitcher of the Week for Week 5. Beauchaine was second in the league with 60 strikeouts and third with a 2.00 ERA. Canandaigua native Justin D’Amato (St. John Fisher) finished the season 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA. In only 42.2 innings pitched, he collected 52 strikeouts, enough for fourth in the league.
Out of the bullpen, Mark Scott (San Joaquin Delta) became the league’s best closer. He topped the league with 11 saves. Scott had a 2.01 ERA and opponents batted a mere .110 against him.
Other statistical leaders included Michael Bolling (Lewis). The speedy centerfielder had a league-high 22 stolen bases and was only caught stealing once. He was third in the league with 57 hits and sixth with a .343 batting average. Randy Villa (San Joaquin Delta) started all 48 games and was second in the PGCBL with 58 hits and fifth in total bases with 87. Jacob Starnes (UT Dallas) hit a league-leading five triples.
Eight players were selected to represent the Pilots in the PGCBL All-Star Game on July 18. Beauchaine, Bolling, D’Amato, Scott, Ruscitti and Villa joined Kyle Attl (Cal State Northridge) and Matt Vera (San Joaquin Delta) on the West Division team, which was led by Newark manager Chris Ebright and assistant coach Damon Arnold.
The United States Military All-Star, the Heroes of the Diamond, made a stop in Newark on July 25 as part of their “Road to Ground Zero Flag Tour” to honor all active servicemen and women, veterans and first responders.
Nearly 22,000 fans have stepped inside the renovated Colburn Park to see the Pilots play this summer, averaging nearly 1,000 fans per game.
The Newark Pilots look to continue their success throughout the playoffs. Tickets for Saturday’s matchup against Cooperstown at Colburn Park can be purchased in advance at the Newark Wegmans or at the Pilots’ office at Colburn Park. All PGCBL playoff games can be heard live online at Teamline.cc. For more information on the PGCBL playoffs, visit www.pgcbl.com.