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Springville falls to Tonawanda in championship

SPRINGVILLE — Heading into the Section 6 Class B1 championship at Orchard Park High School on May 30, Springville-Griffith Institute’s varsity baseball team was ranked No. 9, after winning three straight games, in the playoffs.

Springville sent sophomore Kyle Crotty to the mound, against opponent Tonawanda. Crotty was coming off of a complete game against Olean.

Crotty got the best of Tonawanda’s hitters, through five innings, striking out five and yielding 1 run. Springville entered the bottom of the sixth, with a 2 – 1 lead.

Crotty, with four strikeouts, lasted through the sixth batter of the sixth inning, before he was removed.

During the sixth, Tonawanda sent 10 runners to the plate and scored 4 runs, off of three hits, a walk and two hit batsmen. Springville made errors that allowed Tonawanda to take a 5 – 2 lead.

Springville entered the seventh inning, with one final attempt to tie the game. After scoring 1 run, to make the score 5 – 3, Springville had the table set, with runners on second and third, with two outs.

With Tonawanda’s holding the lead, Crotty hit a ball up the middle that Warrior Nick Pullo snared, for the game-clinching out.

“It was a great feeling. Luckily, I’m a pretty good fielder at the pitcher’s mound,” Pullo said, after the game. “It was a shot off the bat. I give them credit, for battling back, in the last inning.”

With that catch, the Tonawanda pitcher ended the game and Springville’s season.

Springville had scored its first run of the game off an RBI single, by Drew Scharra, which plated Jake Smith. Scharra went 3 – 4 on the day and had 3 RBIs.

Springville out-hit Tonawanda, during the loss. S-GI recorded 11 hits, while the Warriors had 7.

Adam Wolfley went 3 – 3 and scored a run. Kyle McCarthy went 2 – 3 from the ninth spot.

The championship game marked the last game for Springville seniors, including four-year starters Billy Dickinson and Will Lawton.

“All three of my senior starters have meant an awful lot,” Tamraz said. “They have done a heck of job being there. They’ve just done everything that I’ve asked of them. They pick up stuff, talk to the underclassman and have just been total team leaders. Having guys around, like them, makes my job a lot easier and a lot more fun.”

The Griffins will return six starters, next year, and will again look to contend for a sectional crown.

Springville will also return its four top-ranking pitchers, Crotty, Scharra, Jon Weronski and Tyler Conklin.

“We can actually expect a heck of a lot more from our underclassman,” Tamraz added. “McCarthy, a sophomore, led off two innings with hits and came around to score, in those innings.

“Crotty, another sophomore, struggled, throwing just two pitches, in the entire game. He has a bright future ahead of him.”

Tamraz said that he could not have asked for a better effort from his team, but he added that ending up on the wrong end of the final score hurt.

“They played real well,” the coach said. “If we could have gotten a couple of timely hits, it might have made the difference. That’s high school baseball. We make a couple plays, in the sixth inning, and it’s a different ball game. With two outs, we kept hitting it hard. You can’t hit it any harder than that last, out of the game.”

The coach added that Crotty “hit the ball as hard as anyone could possibly hit, [but it] just found the pitcher’s glove.”

“Hats off to Springville, for playing a great game,” said Tonawanda Coach John Frank. “Ron Tamraz and his players are always a class act, to play against.”

Tamraz said, “I’m so proud of the guys and what they did, this year. I’m going to miss those seniors a lot.”

The win marks the Tonawanda program’s 11th sectional title and first, since the 2010 season, in which the Warriors made it to the state tournament.

Springville’s all-star selections will be highlighted, in a future edition of the Springville Journal.

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