Onondaga Flames Win NYCBL Championship In Convincing Fashion

Onondaga, NY July 29, 2018: The Onondaga Flames mauled a good Olean Oilers team with 17 hits on their way to an 11-4 win and a series sweep to capture the NYCBL Championship Playoffs last night at Onondaga Community College Baseball Complex. The Flames swept through the playoffs 4-0 beating the Cortland Crush for the Eastern Division Title and the Western Division Champion Oilers 7-3 and 11-4 to claim their first league championship. This was the last NYCBL game for the Flames, who announced they are returning to the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League next season.

Riley Glenn Chapman University

The Flames starter Riley Glenn (Chapman University) held the hard-hitting Oilers (3rd in NYCBL team batting) to just 2 hits in 6 1/3 innings. The Oilers did not fare any better with the Flames league-leading bullpen as they managed only one hit and no runs off of NYCBL All-Stars Jimmy Flahive (American International College), Nick Garcia (Chapman University) and closer Keon Taylor (Cal State LA).

Olean opened the scoring in the second inning with an unearned run on an error by the second baseman to take what would be their only lead of the night.

Onondaga stormed back in the bottom of the third with four runs. Jack Chernow (Columbia University) hit a lead off double down the left field line and was followed by a single by McClain O’Connor (UC Santa Barbara) setting the stage for a two-run single by Collin Mathews (Kent State University). After Mike Steffan

(Canisius College) reached base on an error by the Oilers second baseman, Mike Netzel (Occidental College) blasted a double scoring Mathews and advancing Steffan to third. Adam Gordon then lofted a sacrifice fly to score Steffan giving Onondaga a 4-1 lead.

Back-to-back doubles by O’Connor and A.J. DiFillipo (Columbia University) in the fourth inning increased the Flames lead to 5-1.

Colin Mathews
Kent State 2 for 4 3 RBIs

Olean rallied for three runs in the top of the fifth on two walks, two doubles (Nail Doherty, George Washington University and Brian Tagoe, La Salle University) and a sacrifice fly by Cole Hollins (Canisius College) to make it a one-run ball game.

The Flames wasted no time in answering back. Steffan, the MVP of the Championship Series, lead off the bottom of the fifth with a single. Adam Gordon hit a single to right and both Steffan and Gordon advanced on a throwing error by the right fielder. Steffan then scored from third on a wild pitch. With Gordon on third, Trace Peterson (Lake Erie College) walked and Bryan Hart (Bryant College) was hit by Olean pitcher Matt Grace (Niagara University) to load the bases for Chernow, who singled home Gordon. With only one out, O’Connor hit a grounder near the third base bag and, inexplicably, third basemen Doherty, rather than throwing home for an easy force out, stepped on the bag and fired to first, missing the fleet-footed O’Connor and allowing Peterson to score with the Flames eighth run.

Bryan Hart
Bryant University
Courtesy of Roger Hagen

Onondaga was not done as they added two runs in the sixth. Mathews singled for his second hit of the game, Steffan reached base on a fielder’s choice and Netzel was hit by reliever Matthew Grace (Niagara University). Bryan Hart then smacked a sharp single up the middle to score both Steffan and Netzel, to give the Flames a 10-1 lead.

The final run of the game was scored by McClain O’Connor who sped all the way to third when an errant throw to first went past the first basemen into right field foul territory. He then scored on a sacrifice fly by Collin Mathews.

In total, the Flames had 17 hits, including four doubles, as well as two sacrifice flies.

Flames Dominating Play
Jack Chernow
Columbia University
4 for 6

The Flames were dominating, leading the league in pitching, batting and fielding. The Flames finished the season 32-14 (.696), winning 15 of their last 16 games. In the month of July they were 19-4 for an incredible .826 winning percentage. Starting the season with six players arriving late due to play in the College World Series and late exams, the flames were 3-6 after the first 9 games. Since reaching full strength, they have posted a 29-8 (.784) record. In divisional play the Flames won every series, besting the Syracuse Spartans 4-3, Sherrill Silversmith 6-1, Rome Generals 5-2, Syracuse Salt Cats 4-3 and the Cortland Crush 5-2. Counting the playoffs, the Flames beat the Crush seven times in-a-row, including a 24-6 win where they had a league record 35 hits.

The Flames pitching staff led the league with a team ERA of 3.22, 44 basis points better than second place Olean. Over the regular season, they allowed the fewest earned runs (128), fewest hits (303), had the fewest wild pitches (35) and gave up the fewest home runs (9).  Starters and relievers were the best in the league.

Flames hitters tore apart league pitching in the month of July, scoring 189 runs, an average of 8.2 runs per game. They finished with a regular season best slash line of .295/.414./.415 and an OPS of .829. The team batted .340 in the playoffs, better by 110 basis points than Cortland and 86 bp than Olean.

Mike Netzel
Occidental College
Courtesy of Roger Hagen @blazer67

In the field, the Flames committed the fewest errors in the league and posted a league best .959 fielding percentage. They made spectacular play after spectacular play. Flames infielders turned five double plays in one game and made several game-saving plays. The talented outfield tracked down potential extra base hits and gunned down runners trying to score or take an extra base so often that it became almost commonplace.

A Season to Remember

“These were really great young men who can really play baseball,” commented Alyce Lee, co-owner of the Flames, “this was truly a season to remember and we will do so fondly for a long, long time. They will always be Onondaga Flames.”

Box Score
Game Date: 07/28/2018
Olean Oilers  4 AT Onondaga Flames  11
Olean    0 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 - 4   3 3 
Onondaga 0 0 4 1 3 2 1 0 x - 11 17 1

                                 YTD                                   YTD
Olean              AB  R  H BI   AVG  Onondaga           AB  R  H BI   AVG
Tagoe, B LF         5  0  1  2  .105  Chernow, J CF       6  1  4  1  .400
Webb, J 1B          4  0  0  0  .238  OConnor, M SS       5  3  2  1  .333
Hollins, C RF       4  0  1  1  .381  DiFillipo, A 3B     3  0  1  1  .231
Higgins, K SS       4  0  0  0  .300  Mathews, C RF       4  1  2  3  .471
Cecere, D 2B        3  1  0  0  .188  Steffan, M 1B       5  3  1  0  .294
Harris, S DH        3  0  0  0  .000  Netzel, M DH        3  1  2  1  .364
Beimel, M C         2  1  0  0  .294   Paxton, C DH,PH    1  0  0  0  .000
Doherty, N 3B       4  1  1  0  .333  Gordon, A LF        4  1  3  1  .462
Lane, K CF          2  1  0  0  .333  Peterson, T C       4  1  1  0  .222
                                      Hart, B 2B          3  0  1  2  .294
                                       Ruggerio, M 2B,PH  0  0  0  0  .000
                   31  4  3  3                           38 11 17 10


2B--Tagoe, B LF (1), Doherty, N 3B (2), Chernow, J CF (2), OConnor, M SS
(1), DiFillipo, A 3B (1), Netzel, M DH (2). 3B--Hollins, C RF (1).
RBI--Tagoe, B LF  2 (3), Hollins, C RF (5), TOTALS  3 (0), Chernow, J CF
(4), OConnor, M SS (2), DiFillipo, A 3B (2), Mathews, C RF  3 (7), Netzel,
M DH (3), Gordon, A LF (1), Hart, B 2B  2 (3), TOTALS 10 (0). HP--Lane, K
CF (1), Netzel, M DH (1), Hart, B 2B (1), Ruggerio, M 2B,PH (1).
SF--Mathews, C RF (1), Gordon, A LF (1). SB--DiFillipo, A 3B (1).
CS--Chernow, J CF (1). E--Cecere, D 2B (1), Doherty, N 3B 2 (2), Hart, B 2B
(1). 
LOB--Olean 6, Onondaga 11. 
                                                                YTD
                                 IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR     ERA
 Olean
Pulli, B (L,1-1)                4.1  12   7   6   1   3   0    7.94
Grace, M                        1.2   4   3   1   1   1   0    5.40
OBrien, M                       2.0   1   1   0   1   1   0    0.00
                                8    17  11   7   3   5   0
 Onondaga
Glenn, R (W,1-0)                6.1   2   4   3   5   5   0    4.26
Flahive, J                      0.2   1   0   0   0   0   0    0.00
Garcia, N                       1.0   0   0   0   0   2   0    0.00
Taylor, K                       1.0   0   0   0   0   2   0    0.00
                                9     3   4   3   5   9   0
WP--Grace, M 2 (2). HB--Grace, M 2 (2), OBrien, M (1), Taylor, K (1).
SO--Tagoe, B 2, Hollins, C, Higgins, K, Cecere, D 2, Harris, S, Beimel, M,
Doherty, N, Mathews, C 2, Steffan, M, Peterson, T, Hart, B. BB--Cecere, D,
Harris, S, Beimel, M 2, Lane, K, DiFillipo, A 2, Peterson, T. BF--Pulli, B
25 (57), Grace, M 12 (12), OBrien, M 9 (12), Glenn, R 27 (27), Flahive, J 3
(8), Garcia, N 3 (8), Taylor, K 4 (9). P-S--Pulli, B 71-54, Grace, M 50-28,
OBrien, M 33-19, Glenn, R 108-62, Flahive, J 10-7, Garcia, N 16-11, Taylor,
K 16-9. 
T--2:38.