Pilots miss playoffs for first time in five years

For the first time in their five seasons in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL), the Newark Pilots – the reigning West Division Champions – will not qualify for postseason play.The Pilots (20-29) were eliminated from playoff contention with their 6-4 loss to the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs (31-18) at Colburn Park on Wednesday night and with an 8-0 Utica (21-28) victory over Adirondack.Although Newark and Utica could finish the regular season with identical 21-29 records, the Brewers hold the tiebreaker with a 4-3 advantage in the season series against the Pilots.The Pilots appeared to be well on their way to a win through the first five innings. Starting pitcher Patrick Ryan (Iona) faced the minimum through four and had allowed only two singles through five scoreless innings. In the bottom of the fifth, the Pilots broke the stalemate with RBI triples from Will Gorman (RIT) and Kyle Bartelman (Columbia). Blake Valley (San Francisco) added a sacrifice fly to score Bartelman, giving the home team a 3-0 lead.The DiamondDawgs began their comeback with one run in the sixth after Matt Pagano (Marist) tripled and scored. They would take the lead for good with four runs in the seventh. Back-to-back bases-loaded singles tied the game at 3-3. Pagano hit an RBI fielder’s choice to take the lead, 4-3, and Thomas Walraven (New Haven) added another run-scoring base hit to extend the cushion to two runs.Newark responded with one run in the bottom half of the seventh on a Kyle Norman (San Francisco) base hit that bounced off of third base and rolled down the left-field line. Cody Wiktorski (St. John Fisher) drew a walk in the next at-bat to load the bases, but Mark Martin (Le Moyne) popped out against reliever Anthony Herrera (Louisiana-Monroe), who moved to the mound from second base, to end the threat.The DiamondDawgs tacked on an unearned run in the eighth to reach the final score. Zachary Vennaro (Monroe C.C.) pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save of the season. Lucas Godlewski (Herkimer C.C.) earned the win in his first start after allowing four runs on nine hits in 6.2 innings. Godlewski fanned a season-high seven batters.Ryan (2-5) took the loss after giving up five runs (four earned) on 10 hits in 6.1 innings. He struck out four without issuing a walk.Gorman and Willy Yahn (Connecticut) each finished 2-for-4 to lead the Newark offense. Walraven and Herrera each collected two hits and two RBIs for Mohawk Valley.The Newark Pilots will finish the 2015 PGCBL season at home on Thursday, July 30 at 7:05 p.m. against the Victor RailRiders (26-23). There will be a fireworks show, sponsored by Lifetime Care, following the conclusion of the regular-season finale. The DiamondDawgs host Adirondack (17-32) at 6:35 p.m. on Thursday.

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