On June 28th, the Pioneers secured a 9-2 victory against the Oneonta Outlaws. This marks their third victory in a row, and brings them to a .500 record (9-9) for the first time this season.

Mike Sokol (Chipola) made his fourth start of the season, and went six innings surrendering just one earned run. He finally got the run support he was lacking and secured the win. Mason Smith (Wells College) came in and pitched the final three innings of relief with a great outing. 

The Pioneers had another great night at the plate, with Max Mandler (Seton Hill) and Frank Wayman (UMass-Lowell) both having two hits and an RBI. 

Sokol mentioned that even though he didn’t have a great outing on the golf course this week, he and the team had a great outing tonight, as he said,

“Throughout the week, golf game wasn’t very good. Max knows that, but Max showed up big today, multi-hit game. Hit it well, just like on the golf course. There was huge run support tonight, just had to go out and battle for my team, and I think I did!”

Mandler then said,

“Mike made up for his terrible performance on the links with a great pitching outing today!”

Sokol overall feels great about finally getting his first win as he said,

“First dub, it’s huge, proud of the guys. 13, 14 hits. Good with run support, so proud of that too.”

Sokol improves to 1-3 with a 3.96 ERA, while Mandler gets his fourth RBI and his average now is at .240.

Another player who had arguably their best night of the season was Gil Merod (Ithaca), who went one for one at the plate with three walks.

Merod said he had to remind himself that baseball takes time for success to build after a shaky first inning, as he said,

“I was struggling to see a little bit today, so I kinda got irritated, I kinda felt like I could refresh myself, take a deep breath and then start to understand there’s small things in baseball that add up to big things…I was able to reset myself and do things at the end of the game, which I was happy about.” 

He also mentioned he’s been focused on his mental game this summer, as he said,

“At the end of my school season, I was struggling with an injury, and then I lost my mental toughness, and being able to be confident 24/7…This year, I’ve been really working on, I think I’ve done a good job is just trying to swing hard, and then seeing a pitch and just hit it hard. And finally, today was the first time I was able to not catch it on the end, or on the inside part of the bat so it wasn’t just a fly out or a soft line out.”

Merod’s hit he mentioned in the interview was a hard line drive that hit off the wall for an RBI double, narrowly missing a home-run.

The 9-9 Pioneers travel to Batavia today to face the Muckdogs. The Muckdogs have a 2-0 lead in the season series.

- Taylor Stolworthy