By Rob Centorani Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — ONEONTA — Change happens quickly in baseball.
The Oneonta Outlaws proved that Wednesday night, putting up 13 hits in an 8-0 New York Collegiate Baseball League victory over the Geneva Red Wings before 1,412 fans at Damaschke Field.
The same Outlaws squad that failed to score in being swept in a doubleheader against the host Syracuse Junior Chiefs on Tuesday looked very comfortable at the plate Wednesday.
That included Oneonta High senior Chris Pindar, who went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI, and Pindar’s former OHS teammate Sean Getman, who contributed a pinch-hit single in the eighth.
It was only three weeks ago when Pindar hit three home runs in his final high school game, a 6-4 Oneonta High loss to Waverly in the Section Four Class B final at Union-Endicott.
Pindar said much has changed since then.
“If you went 0-for-4 in a high school, you were as mad as can be, but if you go 0-for-4 here, it’s almost expected,” said Pindar, whose hitting .250 for the Outlaws over the team’s first 11 games. “You’re going to have those nights.”
Still, Pindar looked anything but overwhelmed Tuesday.
He reached on an infield single to second and scored during the Outlaws’ six-run second inning and legged out another infield single that resulted in an RBI during Oneonta’s two-run fifth inning. He also was hit by a pitch in his final at-bat.
“It’s a big adjustment from aluminum to wood and a big adjustment from high school to college,” said Outlaws coach Joe Hughes, who doubled as Pindar’s coach as OHS as well. “But he still has the skills and bat speed to compete and play well.”
Pindar, who hit a school-record seven homers this spring for the Yellowjackets, said this level of baseball has increased his baseball IQ enormously.
He said conversations with teammates from Division I schools such as Georgia, Albany, Binghamton, Northeastern and Brown center on whether opposing pitchers are tipping off their off-speed stuff, picking up the spin on pitches or the quality of a pitcher’s move to first have been beneficial.
“I’m just trying to soak in all of the information,” said Pindar, who’ll play for Oneonta State this coming spring.
Oneonta’s hitters figured out Geneva starting pitcher Robert Grippo in the second inning. They sent 10 men to the plate in a nightmarish 47-pitch inning for Grippo.
Geneva’s right-hander repeatedly fell behind in the count and when he had to come in with fastballs, the Outlaws rarely missed.
Georgia product Heath Holder led off the inning by lining a 2-1 pitch from Grippo into the gap in left-center. Howard Joe followed with a sacrifice fly to right that gave Oneonta a 1-0 lead.
Pindar stepped in and after hitting a ball over the left-field fence but about 15 feet foul, he beat out an infield single. Geneva second baseman Ken Rabin made a diving stop to his left on a hard one-hopper, but his throw was errant as Pindar took second.
Following a flyout by Josh Treff, No. 9 hitter Ryan Tomito was hit by a pitch. Jake Levine then singled to right to score Pindar. After Derek Hirsh walked, Brian Kraft hit a towering shot to deep center that resulted in a three-run double.
Brandon Stephens’ RBI single capped the six-run inning.
That was more than enough support for winning pitcher Luke Crumley, another Georgia product. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound right-hander dominated Geneva’s lineup, allowing two soft singles over six innings.
Unlike Grippo, Crumley pitched ahead in the count for most of the night.
“The first pitch was key,” said Crumley, who struck out four and walked two during a 90-pitch outing that included 58 strikes. “I was spotting my fastball, and getting my curveball and change-up over for strikes. That was the key to my success.”
Corey Kafka, Zach Moreau and Brandon Agar followed with one inning of scoreless relief apiece for the Outlaws, who improved to 6-5.
“Luke threw extremely well and he was pitching on three days’ rest,” Hughes said. “He pitched ahead in the count and had command of all of his pitches, and our relievers pitched well.”
The Outlaws will travel to Rochester today before returning home to play the Junior Chiefs at 7 p.m. Friday.
Outlaws 8, Red Wings 0
Geneva000 000 000 – 0 3 1
Oneonta060 020 00x – 8 13 0
Robert Grippo (L), James Colgan (3), George Martin (6), Justin Thigpen (7), Robert Winemiller (8) and Justin Arnold, Joe Muratore (7). Luke Crumley (W), Corey Kafka (7), Zach Moreau (8), Brandon Agar (9) and Josh Treff. 2B: Brian Kraft (O), Howard Joe (O), Brent Viola (G). 3B: Heath Holder (O).
Rob Centorani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-432-1000, ext. 209.