It’s win or go home for the Oneonta Outlaws on Saturday.
Howard Joe made the final out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning of Oneonta’s 6-4 New York Collegiate Baseball League playoff loss to the host Olean Oilers on Friday.
The semifinal series is tied at 1, heading into a decisive third game at 7 p.m. Saturday at Damaschke Field. The winner of Saturday’s game will play the Hornell Dodgers in the best-of-3 NYCBL championship series. Times and dates for the championship series have not been announced.
Hornell won its semifinal series over Wellsville, two games to none, following a 16-5 victory Friday.
If Oneonta wins Saturday, it would host Game 1 of the finals Sunday. If Olean wins, Game 1 will be played at Hornell.
The Outlaws (26-16), who had the best regular-season record in the NYCBL, won the opening game of the series, 9-2, on Thursday. On Friday, they fell behind, 5-3, after Olean scored four times in the fourth inning against losing pitcher Malcolm Purdy.
The inning included four singles, an error and a double-steal that led to a run.
The Oilers’ first three hitters in the fourth — Austin Johnson, Lee Grosscup and Mike Fahrman — singled to load the bases. Purdy then induced Max Beermann to pop out. Joe Chittester followed with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Johnson to cut Olean’s deficit to 3-2.
It looked as if Oneonta was out of the inning when Casey Gibson grounded to Joe at third. But Joe made an error, allowing Grosscup and Fahrman to score as the Oilers took a 4-3 lead.
Gibson moved to second on Julien Plata’s single and stole third. Plata and Gibson then executed a successful double-steal, allowing Gibson to score Olean’s fifth run.
Tim Ravel’s sacrifice fly in the sixth increased Olean’s lead to 6-3.
In the eighth, the Outlaws had the makings of a big inning but scored once.
Evan Harasta and Heath Holder singled with one out off of winning pitcher Joey Gamache. Kyle McLain relieved Gamache and walked Joe to load the bases. Spencer Duffie then hit an RBI single that made it 6-4. But McLain struck out Ryan Tomita and Oneonta High graduate Chris Pindar to end the inning.
Oneonta threatened again in the ninth.
After McLain retired the first two batters, Mitch Hollander reached on an error by first baseman Beermann, Harasta walked and Holder singled to load the bases. Derek Vail relieved McLain and Joe bounced out to first to end it.
Oneonta scored twice in the third to take a 2-1 lead. With one out, Duffie and Tomita singled, and Pindar walked to load the bases. Jake Levine followed with a two-run single. But Brian Kraft struck out and Pindar was picked off to end the inning.
Hollander scored on a wild pitch in the fourth to extend Oneonta’s lead to 3-1.
OHS graduate Mike Calkins retired all six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth innings for the Outlaws. He struck out one.
Harasta had three hits, and Duffie and Holder finished with two hits apiece.
Hawkeyes sweep Eagles
Nate Lotze tripled and doubled in a 3-for-4 effort that produced two runs and two RBIs for the Cooperstown Hawkeyes, who won the front end of a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League doubleheader Thursday at Glens Falls.
The Hawkeyes capped the doubleheader sweep with a 2-1 victory in the second game. Both games went seven innings.
In the opener, Lotze doubled to right field with one out and later scored on a single by Cameron Day to give Cooperstown a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning.
Lotze followed with a two-run triple that highlighted a four-run sixth for the Hawkeyes, who capped the scoring with a single run in the seventh.
Cody Smith struck out six and walked two in a seven-hitter for his first pitching victory this season. He improved to 1-5.
Day and Bryce Anglin each had two hits for Cooperstown, which received two runs apiece from Lotze, Brendan O’Reilly and Ryan Hanahan. Day also drove in two runs.
The second game was scoreless until the last inning.
O’Reilly reached base on a throwing error to lead off, then moved to second on O’Reilly’s sacrifice bunt. A throwing error was charged to reliever and losing pitcher Zach Merciez on the play, which resulted in runners at second and third for the Hawkeyes.
Anglin followed with a two-run double to left field but later ended Cooperstown’s at-bats when he was thrown out at home on a double-steal attempt.
The Golden Eagles rallied in the bottom frame, producing a run on a walk and two singles. But Glens Falls stranded the tying run at third when winning pitcher Jack Stover got Kyle Holder to line out to shortstop for the final out.
Stover (3-2) struck out six and worked around four hits and four walks for the complete-game victory.
The Hawkeyes, who are last in the East Division at 15-24, were off Friday. They’ll visit Adirondack for a doubleheader beginning at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.