The Pioneers took home two victories this weekend, defeating the Jamestown Tarp Skunks in a 6-5 duel, and the New York Thunder 14-4 in a father’s day interleague game.

Bradyn Coletta (Niagara CC) had a successful start, going six complete innings, with four earned runs. Kevin Serrano (Corning CC) entered the game in the seventh inning, with runners at the corners, and in a turn of bad luck surrendered the first home run conceded by the Pioneers all season. He would recover well and get out of the inning with no more baserunners.

Joe Olsavsky (John Carroll) would then come in and pitch lights-out in the final two innings. 

Frank Wayman (UMass-Lowell) and Bobby Marsh (Penn State) would score on a wild pitch in the top of the eighth inning, giving the Pioneers a 6-5 lead they wouldn’t lose.

Serrano would ultimately get the win, his first of the season, and although Olsavsky wasn’t technically credited for the save, he deserved it after another solid outing. 

Billy Wilderman, pitching coach, was proud of his players after the game, and for their progress this season, as he said, 

“The pitching staff has come a long way. I think part of that was guys getting in, getting to know each other. The catchers get to know the pitchers, what pitches they like to throw in certain situations…At the end of the day, we’ve just seen guys go out and compete. I love to see that as a pitching coach, there’s nothing better as a guy that comes in, pumps multiple pitches for strikes, and gets through it.”

Wilderman had one word to describe Coletta during his performance, he said,

“One word to describe that kid, ‘gamer’. I mean, we were thinking about making a change going into the later innings. I took one look at him and asked how he felt, he told me he wanted the ball. Wasn’t much of a decision after that. I knew I was giving him back the ball. Yeah, just a gamer.”

Wilderman has continued to be impressed by Olsavsky, and says to expect him more as a key stopper and closer, as he said,

“From the first bullpen I watched, I knew he wasn’t going to be just a position player for us. As good as he is a hitter and a shortstop, the kid can really throw, and we trust him very, very much going into those later innings in close ball games. So that’s definitely not the last you’re gonna see of Olsavsky late in the game.”

The next day, the Pioneers faced off against the New York Thunder in a seven-inning interleague game. It was a battle of the coaches, Eugene Barber’s Thunder facing Drum’s Pioneers. The Pioneers took home a commanding 14-4 victory, but it was a fun day for everyone.

Cooper Smith (Seton Hill) started the game for the Pioneers, afterward Logan Scheider (Washington and Jefferson) pitched four scoreless innings before Erik Charnetski (St. John Fisher) secured the win.

Coach Wilderman defected to the Thunder half-way through the game and pitched four innings on the mound, and got a chance to face a few of the pitchers he was coaching, who were at the plate.

He had a solid outing, shutting down most of the players, but there was one player who has bragging rights over him for the rest of the season, as he said,

“I’m gonna be hearing about it for the rest of the summer, but Nic Ficarro did get a hit off of me. Good piece of hitting, he took an outside fastball to the opposite field. He’s probably not gonna let me forget that one! I’d say he was the best today.”

The now 5-7 Elmira Pioneers head to Auburn to face the Doubledays today, June 20th, before having an off-day to rest and get ready for the second quarter of the season.

- Taylor Stolworthy