Vanguard University baseball standout Brandon Sandoval helped produce the game-winning run Friday to propel the Hornell Dodgers to the championship series of the New York Collegiate Baseball League.
Sandoval, a freshman center fielder for the Lions last spring and a NYCBL Western Division mid-season all-star, hit a comebacker with a man on first and the score tied, 2-2, in the top of the 10th inning against the host Geneva Twins. The pitcher fielded the ball, but threw wildly toward second base, allowing the runner to come around to score and clinch the Western Division title for the Dodgers.
Hornell, which won the regular-season title with a 38-8 record to set the 36-year-old league's record for regular-season wins, benefited from the play of Sandoval, who has scored 50 runs and driven in 34 while hitting .317 with 27 stolen bases in 30 attempts.
Sandoval represented the West in the league's All-Star game, going two for three with a walk and earning the Big Stick award as the game's Offensive Most Valuable Player after helping the West post a 1-0 victory.
As a freshman in 2014, Sandoval hit .342 for the Lions.
The Hornell roster also includes Roberto Johnson, who was a freshman pitcher for the Lions in 2014.
Johnson is 2-0 with one save and a 2.88 earned-run average for the Dodgers. He has appeared in 13 games, throwing 25 innings.
Hornell is facing the Oneonta Outlaws in the best-of-three championship series. Game 1 on Saturday was suspended due to rain in the third inning with Oneota leading, 2-0. Game 1 will resume on Monday, while Game 2 will be played on Sunday.
— Barry Faulkner