HORNELL, NY – What started as an offensive shootout eventually ended as an 8-8 tie when the Olean Oilers lost grip of a four run lead in their ninth game of the summer and their third against the Hornell Dodgers Saturday.
The Oilers started the game fast when they loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning, pushing one run across on a Brandon Dudley sacrifice fly.
The Dodgers answered back quickly in the bottom half of the inning with a Kevin Higgins RBI double. Higgins, a senior middle infielder at St. Bonaventure University, played for the Oilers last summer.
The early shootout continued when Dylan Vincent hit a three-run home run to straightaway center field to give Olean a 4-2 lead in the top of the second. Vincent was 3-6 on the day, with three runs and three RBIs.
In the first scoreless frame of the ball game, Olean’s Nathan Holt stranded two runners at second and third to get out of a jam, setting two Dodgers down on strikes in the process.
With one out in the third inning, Ryan Simmons hit his first home run of the summer deep to left field, a solo shot that gave Olean a 5-2 lead and two dingers in consecutive innings. In the next inning. Jacob Victor boosted the lead to 6-2 with an RBI single to right field.
Holt and the Oilers defense kept the Dodgers scoreless for four consecutive innings until the fifth when Olean surrendered two runs on two errors and a third on an RBI single to left field. Holt left the game with one out and men on second and third for the left handed reliever Alec Teska. Teska, who has pitched well in relief for the Oilers, came through and stranded the bases loaded, striking out Brendan Lowery to end the frame.
The Dodgers came back to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly, and they took the lead in the bottom of the seventh on another Oilers error.
In a clutch spot, Tyler Phillips drove in a run from third base to tie the game at seven in the ninth inning. It was his fifth RBI of the summer. Dominic Cecere followed that up with an RBI single of his own. His ball went to right field and gave the Oilers an 8-7 lead.
The Dodgers tied the game on yet another Olean error in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Oilers committed five errors on the day, four of them leading to scoring plays for the Dodgers.
After tying the game, Hornell loaded the bases with a chance to walk off, but all three of their baserunners were left stranded by Nate Beimel, who retired two Dodgers on strikes for the second and third outs.
Both teams went down in order in the tenth and final inning. Beimel struck out the side, fanning the last five batters he faced in his two innings of work.
The game ended in a tie due to a new New York Collegiate Baseball League rule, which limits extra innings to just one inning.
With the tie, Olean moved to 3-5-1 on the summer, good for fourth in their division.
The Oilers will face the Niagara Power on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Bradner Stadium.
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