In front of a record 2017 crowd, and in the last game of the regular season, Geneva Red Wings outfielder and Japan import Yohei Ishiyama raced home in the bottom of the tenth inning to walk off on the Elmira Pioneers and secure hosting rights for the first round of the PGCBL playoffs.
The Pioneers (27-23) jumped out on top early, scoring two on an RBI double from Andrew Orzel (Wofford) in the top of the third. Orzel finished with three RBI on the night. Geneva responded with single runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings. Collecting RBIs in that offensive stretch was Dominic Toso (Bucknell), Justice Bigbie (Western Carolina), and Matt Chamberlain (New Haven). Chamberlain hit the first pitch of the bottom of the fifth inning over the right center wall to tie the ballgame at three runs.
Elmira tacked on five in the top of the seventh. Going into the seventh inning stretch, the odds of the first round being hosted in Geneva seemed slim. However, they chipped away with two runs in the seventh and eighth, and a solo run to tie it in the ninth. Mikey Arman (Kenyon) and Will Simoneit (Cornell) had the big hits in the seventh inning with two outs. Toso had the knock to score two in the seventh. TJ Byrd (Rend Lake) raced home on a wild pitch to score the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Enter extra innings. Colby Mullins (Andrew College) pitched a scoreless frame in the top half, allowing Geneva the opportunity to just score one to win in the bottom of the inning. Yohei Ishiyama (Nihon University, Japan) started things off for the Wings with a double off the right field wall. The next play was a wild one: Dominic Toso laid down a bunt in an attempt to sacrifice Ishiyama to third. The first baseman for Elmira attacked the bunt quickly, and threw the ball to third to try to get the advancing Ishiyama. The throw sailed over the third baseman’s head, and Ishiyama came home to a crowd of Red Wings who mobbed him at home plate.
Elmira sent six pitchers to the mound in a Johnny All-Staff sort of night. Geneva’s starter Trevor Lloyd tossed 6.2 innings, allowing five runs and striking out three. Brent Holcombe (Bossier Parish CC) and Garrett Swanson (Kalamazoo) combined for 2.1 innings of scoreless relief, and Mullins earned the victory.
When all the dust settled, the Red Wings had clinched hosting rights to a playoff game for the first time since 2014. They will play host to one game tomorrow against the Elmira Pioneers with the winner advancing and the loser being eliminated. The highlight for that game will definitely be the pitching matchup. Ole Miss’ stellar freshman Houston Roth will toe the rubber for Elmira. He set the PGCBL record for strikeouts in a single game with 20 at Newark earlier in the season. Geneva will send Brian Reed (RIT) to battle for them. Reed started and dominated for the Wings earlier in the season, but recently traveled to Spain to compete internationally.
The playoff contest will start at 7:05 at McDonough Park in Geneva.