Photo by Sue Kane @skane51
By Joe Manganiello
SYRACUSE, NY -- Once the playoffs begin, regular season wins and losses scarcely matter.
No team is more thankful of this than the Olean Oilers, who ended a gruesome seven-game losing streak Wednesday by holding onto an early lead and defeating the Syracuse Junior Chiefs, 5-2 to advance in the New York Collegiate Baseball League playoffs.
“Having the early lead was crucial for us,” manager Bobby Bell Jr. said. “After all of these losses, we just needed to get out in front.”
Starting pitcher Max Beermann (Villanova University) threw 7.1 innings, struck out five and gave up just two runs in the playoff win. Beermann made six starts during the regular season, going 2-1 with a 3.37 ERA.
“As a team, we had been struggling to put runs on the board,” Beermann said. “It was much easier to pitch tonight with the 5-0 lead.”
On an abnormally cold July afternoon, even for Syracuse’s standards, both teams worked quickly through the first inning. The Oilers tallied the first run of the game in the top of the second, when third baseman Casey Gibson (Nova Southeastern U) brought home catcher Mike Fahrman (University of Florida) on a sacrifice fly.