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July 30, 2013

Outlaws win second NYCBL title

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The Daily Star

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Once again, the Oneonta Outlaws are New York Collegiate Baseball League champions.

Oneonta polished off a two-game sweep of the Hornell Dodgers with a 6-1 victory Monday night that clinched the best-of-3 NYCBL championship series at Hornell.

The Outlaws won the NYCBL in 2011 but couldn’t defend it last season as they switched to the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

When local businessman Gary Laing bought the Outlaws’ brand from former owners Keith Rogers and Dan Scaring in December, he moved the team back into the NYCBL.

The 2013 edition of the Outlaws had a heavy local flavor. Oneonta High graduates Chris Pindar, Sean Getman and Mike Calkins – all members of the Oneonta High squad that won a Class B state championship in 2012 – were on the roster. The team was managed by OHS baseball coach and athletic director Joe Hughes and had former OHS standout Lance Ratchford as an assistant coach.

“I think it does,” Hughes said by cell phone Monday night when asked if the local touch to this year’s team made it more special. “Anytime you win a championship, it’s special, but when you have a local owner, local coaches and local players, it had an Oneonta flavor and that made it more special.

“The Oneonta community was awesome, the attendance was awesome and the fan-base was awesome,” he continued. “Even tonight, we had a lot of fans here. When they were introducing the starting lineups, there were more cheers for our guys than the Hornell side.”

Including the playoffs, Oneonta finished with a 29-16 record.

On Monday, winning pitcher Brandon Agar, and relievers Zach Moreau and Brandon Stephens combined to scatter eight hits, and were backed by an Outlaws defense that played error-free baseball. Offensively, Pindar, Jake Levine and Stephens had two hits apiece, and Oneonta benefited from three Dodgers errors.

Agar, normally a reliever who had a team-best six saves this season, started and threw 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball. He struck out five, walked two and allowed five hits.

“Agar is one of our best arms and even though he’s normally a reliever, we gave him the start tonight and he got us into the sixth inning,” Hughes said. “Agar gave us more inning than we expected.”

Moreau went the next 2 2/3 innings. He allowed one run on three hits, striking out three and walking two.

Stephens worked around a walk in a scoreless ninth inning.

Oneonta, which earned the top seed for playoffs by having an NYCBL-best 25-15 record during the regular season, scored twice in the fourth inning to take a 2-0 lead.

Mitch Hollander led off the inning with a single off of losing pitcher Chris Jansen. Following a popout by Brian Kraft, Hollander stole second and third during Heath Holder’s at-bat. Holder then walked. Stephens’ single scored Hollander and sent Holder to third. Holder then scored on Josh Treff’s groundout to make it 2-0.

“We always talk about situational hitting and three times tonight we got guys home from third with less than two outs,” Hughes said. “It doesn’t always mean you need a base hit.”

Kraft homered off of Hornell reliever Eric Schell in the sixth inning to give Oneonta a 3-0 lead.

The Outlaws extended their lead to 5-1 with two runs in the seventh. Howard Joe began the inning by reaching on an error by third baseman Sean McCracken. Pindar followed a single that sent to Joe to third.

After Pindar advanced to second, Ryan Tomita then hit a sacrifice fly that scored Joe. On the same play, left fielder Dominic Olszta opted to throw behind Pindar at second. Pindar then took off for third and continued home on Olszta’s errant throw.

Hornell scored in the eighth inning when Chris Roeder doubled and scored on Anthony Renz’s single. Renz finished with three of the Dodgers’ eight hits.

Oneonta capped the scoring in the ninth. Pindar reached on an infield single to short with one out. Pindar stole second and scored on Levine’s two-out single.

Calkins, who earned the victory in Oneonta’s 10-5 win over Hornell on Sunday at Damaschke Field, continued his run of being on championship teams.

He helped OHS to the Class B state title in the spring of 2012, then contributed to Oneonta’s Legion team winning the District Six title last summer. This past spring, he pitched for a University of Tampa squad that won the NCAA Division II championship and followed it up by helping the Outlaws to the NYCBL championship.

During that run, Calkins’ teams have gone 125-42.

PGCBL

Cooperstown 5, Albany 1

The Cooperstown Hawkeyes defeated the host Albany Dutchmen in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

No other information was available.

The Hawkeyes (18-24) will travel to Glens Falls at 7:05 tonight.