With yesterday’s rainout, I had a chance to talk with coach Andrew Drum and get his thoughts on the start of the season for the Elmira Pioneers.

Drum has been impressed with Mike Sokol’s (Chippola) start to the season, after another strong five inning game against Jamestown. Drum mentioned that Sokol hasn’t gotten all the help he needs, as he said,

“Realistically with a 3.6 (ERA) in a wood bat league, he shouldn’t be 0 and 2 with a no-decision either. He should have at least one win…We just haven’t gotten him run support. He’s done his job, he’s getting strikeouts, he’s getting outs, he’s up to what, 15 innings? He’s doing his job.”

The game ending out at third against Jamestown, and other base running errors are a weakness that Drum and his staff are looking to improve, as Drum said,

“‘Baserunning, down multiple runs, your run means nothing.’ So guys kind of just running us out of innings, you know, trying to be the hero and get that run in. There’s other ways to move those guys over. We could bunt, we could steal…we don’t need one guy to be a hero, we need the team to play together.”

Drum would go on to say how the team is getting a two of the three aspects right each game, but still needs to consistently get everything together, as he said,

“We do two of the three well almost every night. It’s just one aspect of the game that doesn’t come together that night. So, once we get all three clipping, I think we’ll be very tough to beat.”

The team is currently last in the division at 3-7, but the recent improvement in form has given Drum some optimism, as he said,

“Happy the way things are coming together, I know 3-7 doesn’t look great…but we’re not panicking here yet. You know, we have a really good teamA couple other pitchers that are yet to come, too. We get these other pitchers to come in and eat the middle innings, it’ll be tough to beat us.”

There’s still logistical hurdles to get the new pitchers in, but one player Drum expects to see soon will be Alex Luccini (UMass-Lowell), who played with the Pioneers last year. Drum said,

“We have an outfielder from last year that’s more than likely coming back, Alex Luccini…hit really well last year down the back end of the stretch. Really good, young talented outfielder.”

One current Pioneer isn’t ready for a return tonight, however. Drum confirmed that Nick Reiser’s (Suffolk) ankle injury will keep him out until next week, as he said,

“He probably won’t be ready until early next week…looks like he just rolled his ankle pretty bad…He went and got an x-ray yesterday, made sure it wasn’t broken.”

However, the injury didn’t stop Reiser from wanting to go, as Drum said,

“If he had it his way, he’d be ready to throw again tonight. Put a cast on him, and let him throw. That’s just the personality he is.”

Finally, Drum feels the race for the division title is still wide open, as he said,

“Realistically, I think it’s kind of wide open…Utica, Batavia, Jamestown’s not bad, and honestly, I think we’re right in the mix too. I know we’re at the bottom right now, but we also started at the bottom in 2017 and ended up finishing second place in the division. Things can change, real quick.”

The Pioneers will face the Geneva Redwings tonight at Dunn Field, and can get revenge against Jamestown on Saturday on the road. 

- Taylor Stolworthy