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25th Annual Jackie Robinson Game Ends In Extra Innings

Larry Pacilio, Utica College

Utica, NY (WIBX) – Neither the threats of rain nor hail could keep the Utica College Pioneers and the Hamilton College Continentals from playing the 25th annual Jackie Robinson Game.

Prior to yesterday’s contest, both teams wore Jackie Robinson’s famed number 42 on their batting jerseys. Robinson is hailed as the first player to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, in 1947.

Also in attendance was former Tuskegee Airman Herb Thorpe, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators for the U.S. Armed Forces.

The game started off quickly, as the Continentals (4-19) scored two runs in the first inning. UC (4-17), refused to back down, however, responding in the bottom of the second with two runs of their own. This would be the first of three ties between the local rivals.

The game remained close, leading into the ninth inning. With the Pioneers down 6-5, freshman third baseman Vincent Burillo hit a double to start the rally. Senior catcher Dan Bittel added a single to score Burillo and tie the game. Burillo, who scored three runs during the match-up, would be picked as UC’s MVP.

In the bottom of the tenth inning, the Pioneers were primed to score again. Benjamin Hobaica was walked, then advanced to second base off a Continental balk. Hobaica later took third base, following a sacrifice bunt from Nick Perkins. After intentionally walking the next two batters, Hamilton left the bases loaded for relief pitcher Chris Podlucky.

The three and a half hour game ended with Hobaica scoring after Podlucky was hit by a pitch.

UC’s win gives them a 14-11 edge in the annual series, started back in 1987.

Official Roster Photo, Hamilton College

But, Hamilton College had one thing to celebrate, even without winning the game. Senior outfielder, Sam Choate, went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI’s and 2 scored runs, breaking the college’s all-time record for hits. He has tallied 126 during his four seasons with the Continentals. He is also only one run away from Hamilton’s the all-time runs scored record, with 85.

Both teams will be back in action this weekend. The Pioneers take on Ithaca College at home this Saturday in an Empire 8 doubleheader, while Hamilton plays fellow NESCAC member, Middlebury College on Friday.

 

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