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.