Pioneers Earn 5-4 Win with Dramatic Ninth Inning Comeback
ELMIRA, NY- The Elmira Pioneers faced a familiar opponent Tuesday night, when they took on the Victor Railriders. Victor was able to capitalize early on a walk which put Chris Lehane (Jacksonville) on base. Lehane would steal second before Mark Cardinalli (UC Davis) singled to bring him home, giving Victor the early lead.
Victor would extend its lead in the third, beginning with a Matt Fallon (Black Hawk) single. Fallon was moved over on a single from Dale Wickham (Cornell) which flew over second base. Mark Cardinalli stepped up again for his second RBI single of the night, bringing Fallon home.
Victor continued scoring one run in every odd inning, bringing in another run in the fifth. Cardinalli, who proved to have an excellent day even by the fifth innings, doubled to deep centerfield to reach base. He would come home on an Evan Fernandez single (Jacksonville), making the score 3-0 in Victor’s favor with only one hit for the Pioneers through four innings.
One run came home in the eighth inning for the Pioneers after Taylor Hillson (Mansfield) hit a single and was moved to third by a single to right centerfield from Will Larue (Xavier). Justin Hayes (Old Dominion) would hit a single to bring Hillson home, and bring the Victor lead within two.
Victor answered immediately, largely thanks to Matt Fallon. Fallon singled, stole second, and was moved to third on a sacrifice fly. Two intentional walks later, the bases were loaded with Railriders. One would come home after Mike Stephens (Bucknell) walked Chris Introcaso, making the score 4-1.
The bottom of the ninth is where the Pioneers won the last game, and it proved to be a successful time Tuesday as well. The inning started with Christian Santisteban (Manhattan) working a walk to reach. Tommy Mirabelli (Kansas) would walk as well, and Brian Barefoot (Louisiana-Monroe) would single to load the bases.
Santisteban came home on a single from Sam Clark (Bucknell), and after Hillson reached on a fielder’s choice, Mirabelli scored as well. This brought Will Larue up to the plate, and with two strikes and no balls, Larue managed a single to bring Clark, and the tying run, home. The play wasn’t over, though, as Hillson overran third and got caught in a pickle. He would capitalize on a poorly thrown ball from catcher Drew Kissel (St. Catherine) to run home, giving the Pioneers their fourth run in the ninth and the win.
Taking the win for Elmira would be Mike Stephens, who pitched two innings of relief. Working the loss would be Dylan Swetman (Le Moyne), who gave up those key four runs in the bottom of the ninth.
Your first place Elmira Pioneers return home Friday, July 24th against the Utica Brewers, and Saturday, July 25th against the Newark Pilots. Friday’s game is free water bottles and Frisbee night, and will feature amazing post-game fireworks. Join us Saturday for Pink in the Park and a multimedia trading card giveaway. For tickets, visit the Pioneers front office at 546 Luce Street or call at 607-734-2690. For more information about the Pioneers, visit theelmirapioneers.com.