ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The Pioneers returned at Dunn Field Friday night in front of a crowd to remember.
Elmira welcomed Batavia in the season opener for both teams and the Muckdogs prevailed, 8-2. The capacity for Dunn Field is roughly 4,000 but attendance was beyond that mark with fans waiting to cross the gates for entry well after the first pitch was thrown.
Traffic was backed up on Luce Street coming into the stadium for what could be one of the highest attended games in Dunn Field history. The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) webpage listed the official attendance mark at 4,639 total fans.
Friday’s game was also the first full-game after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Chemung County. Above all, baseball fans were simply glad to be back at one of the region’s most legendary ballparks. With fireworks after the game, there was plenty of firepower on the diamond during it.
Jerry Reihnart started the scoring off for Batavia (1-0) with an RBI single in the fourth inning. Elmira quickly responded in the bottom half after an RBI triple by Bobby Marsh. After a scoreless fifth inning, Batavia opened up the attack in the sixth and seventh.
The Muckdogs scored twice in the sixth and earned four runs in the seventh breaking the game open for good. Dan Burroway paced the attack for Batavia with two hits on a triple and three RBI. Alec Maag added a double and two RBI for the Muckdogs.
Batavia pitcher Nolan Sparks was stellar on the mound for the Muckdogs. Sparks secured the win by pitching five innings and surrendering just two hits on no runs with five strikeouts.
Mike Sokol got the loss for Elmira (0-1) after throwing five innings giving up one run on four hits. Sokol had five strikeouts on the hill for the Pioneers. Edison grad Xander Burch saw his first outing in relief tossing one inning of work surrendering two runs on one hit with one strikeout.
Corning’s Mason Smith pitched two innings and gave up three walks on one earned one but did not allow a hit. Bath’s Ethan Buckley tossed one inning and was hit hard giving up four runs on four hits. Buckley did earn two strikeouts on the mound.
Both teams will once again square off on the diamond Saturday in Batavia at 7 pm. The Pioneers will return to Dunn Field Sunday at 4 pm against Jamestown.