‘The buzz of summer’

Tarp Skunks open season tonight with exhibition game

Times Observer Photo by Scott Kindberg Jamestown Tarp Skunks coach Jordan Basile talks to his team earlier this week in preparation for tonight’s exhibition game against Olean at Diethrick Park in Jamestown, N.Y.

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. — The band, “For the People,” is scheduled to perform tonight at a tailgate party at Diethrick Park prior to Jamestown’s 6:30 p.m. exhibition game against the Olean Oilers.

Tarp Skunks general manager and director of business sales and operations Christian Dolce, who worked as an intern with the team in 2021 and 2022, is excited.

“It’s all coming together,” he said earlier this week. ” … There’s a little stress, but it’s a good stress. … We’re going to have 23 parties this summer. Every game is a party. I’m confident and ready to go.”

Coach Jordan Basile is confident, too, and believes tonight’s pregame festivities won’t be the only time sweet music is made this season at the stadium on the city’s east side.

“I think we’re a little deeper at every position this year,” the Jamestown native and SUNY Fredonia baseball coach said. ” … We have guys who can play multiple positions, we have a lot of athleticism and they’re going to be fun to watch.”

Times Observer File Photo by Scott Kindberg Warren native Ryan Rafalski returns to pitch for the Jamestown Tarp Skunks of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League this season.

Now in his third year at the helm of the Tarp Skunks, Basile is confident about the team’s chances in the Perfect Game Collegiate League.

“The difference between this year and last year is we have some older guys that have been in college and played often in college, and you’ll see more leadership,” he said. “We have a mix of guys who can do multiple things.”

The other teams in the PGCBL include Newark — where Jamestown opens its regular season Saturday — Elmira, Niagara, Batavia, Auburn and Geneva. In 2022, the Tarp Skunks finished in sixth place in the Western Division with a 21-24 record and didn’t earn a postseason berth.

“Obviously, I’m a little anxious to get going, but at the same time I’m just meeting the guys and developing the relationships,” Basile said. “The buzz of summer, the excitement of baseball in the summer is beginning again, so get down to Diethrick Park and watch a good show.”

Two players return from last year — pitcher and Warren, Pennsylvania native Ryan Rafalski from Mercyhurst University and pitcher Patrick DeMarco from Ohio University.

The other pitchers include: Patrick Yoder, East Stroudsburg University; Even Berta, Fairfield University; Frank Villella, Nova Southeastern University; Tony DeLawrence, Patrick Henry CC/Barton College; Kasey Gilman, Princeton University; Richard Ferrer-Westrop, Princeton University; Evan Chafee, University of Alabama; Jason Masick, Wagner College; Will Saxenmeyer, Wagner College; and Ryan Bilka, Wagner College.

The catchers include: Alexander Servilla, Nova Southeastern University; Evan Fragela, University of Pitt-Bradford; Ryan Mittelman, University of Tampa; and Henry Juan, Williams College.

The infielders include: Cooper Munro, Drury University; Colin Houck, East Stroudsburg University; Tommy Googins, Princeton University; Jake Kernodle, Princeton University; Connor Bendeck, Spring Hill College; Mike Sciortino, University of Findlay; Aidan Wallace, University of Tampa; Zack Kent, Wagner College; Grady Mee, Western Michigan University; Aiden Dunlap, Youngstown State University; and Matt Thompson, Youngstown State University.

The outfielders include: Luc Fuller, Drury University; Paul Catalano, Fairfield University; Kieran Gagnon, Gannon University; Matthew Best, Patrick Henry CC/UMBC; Drew Garth, Seton Hill University; Jared Munoz, University of Massachusetts-Amherst; Brayden Johnson, Western Kentucky University; and Christian Rush, Lackawanna CC/William & Mary, who can also pitch.

Joining Basile on the coaching staff are pitching coach Barry Powell, who is back for his third season; Gannon Jackson; and Doug Clark.

After tonight’s game and the PGCBL season opener at Newark on Saturday, the Tarp Skunks will have an off day on Sunday, play at Newark on Monday and at Geneva on Tuesday. Next Wednesday, they kick off their home PGCBL schedule with Kids Day and a special 11 a.m. start.

Ticket prices are $14 for reserved seats; $9 for grandstand; and $6 for bleachers. The regular season runs through July 28.


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