On June 20th, the Elmira Pioneers traveled to Falcon Park in Auburn and defeated the Auburn Doubledays 7-5.

The Pioneers had a strong first inning, scoring two runs with good discipline on walks and hit-by-pitches. In the bottom of the second, a throwing error from Gil Merod (Ithaca) turned a 2 RBI single into a de-facto grand slam, as all four runners scored. Apart from the one error, Merod had a solid day behind the plate, throwing out multiple runners attempting to steal.

The Pioneers closed the 4-2 deficit after scoring in the third and fourth innings, and Tristan Ciampa (Northern Essex CC) continued his strong start and went seven complete innings. The Pioneers gave enough run support in the top of the 8th to give Ciampa an opportunity to secure his second win of the season.

Some of that run support came from the always consistent Bobby Marsh (Penn State), who went 3 for 4 with 3 RBI. Marsh is now hitting .275 for the season, with 7 RBI.

Mason Smith (Wells College) relieved Ciampa in the eighth, surrendering just one inherited runner, and finalizing the save.

Ciampa surrendered just three runs, and six hits alongside four strikeouts in his incredible start, and now rests at 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA.

Even though the second inning wasn’t great for Ciampa, letting four runs come home, two earned, he said it was important for him, as he said,

“I think that second inning was huge actually, believe it or not. I kinda needed that, because it, you know, woke me up a little bit.”

Ciampa thanked the entire defense, but also credited Jonny Wall (Roanoke), who played well at third base, as he said,

“Give credit to my defense, because they were making plays left and right. Especially Jonny Wall, you know, coming up huge, making plays left and right and just being a dog out there.”

Wall and the Doubleday’s Assaf Lowengart, who plays for Israel’s National Team, both had great defensive nights, making big plays from third base.

Ciampa’s success also is reflected in the league’s strikeout king race, as he currently ranks fifth in the league, and leads the Pioneers with 22. However, the strikeout crown doesn’t matter to Ciampa, as he said,

“Just being here, being a better baseball player, winning games. That’s really what I’m about…the big thing for me is just going out there, executing my pitches, watching my defense work, and just winning ball games.”

Coach Andrew Drum was pleased with the team’s progress as they start to contend for the division title. He said,

 “I think they’re finally starting to believe in themselves now, our starters have been great…we’re doing great.”

Drum has mentioned that Ciampa has been working hard to impress his coach at Northern Essex, as he said,

“He’s been great. Kid works his butt off every single day. I know he’s trying to prove to Jeff Mejia Sr. out there at Northern Essex that he can be a starter, so. I think he proved that tonight that he can pitch at a high level as a starter as well.”

Drum quoted fellow coach Eugene Barber for the teams goal this season, as he said,

“We’re here to grind.”

Tonight’s scheduled doubleheader against the Albany Dutchmen has been postponed. Tomorrow, June 23rd, the Pioneers travel to Geneva to face the Red Wings for a second time this season.

-Taylor Stolworthy