STEPPING INTO GLORY: Drew Scharra attempts to make an out during the May 27 game against Lew-Port. The Griffs came away with a win, sending them to the Section VI semifinals. Photo by Dave DeLuca
SPRINGVILLE—Add together another above average offensive performance by the Griffs’ and another strong outing by ace pitcher Kyle Crotty on the hill and you’ll get another trip to the Section VI semifinals for the Springville varsity baseball team.
The Griffs took down Lew-Port, 6-2, in the quarterfinals of the Section VI playoffs, on May 27 at Community Park in Springville. The trip to the Section VI Final Four will be Springville’s third in four years, including a trip to the A2 championship last season.
“All sectional wins are big,” Springville coach Ron Tamraz said. “The kids played a good game. We didn’t give [Lew-Port] many opportunities to get extra runners. We made two errors early in the game, but we bounced right back. It was a well played game on both sides.”
Crotty earned the win on the mound for Springville, tossing five and a third innings, allowing one earned run on four hits and striking out seven. The junior right-hander exited with one out in the fifth inning after throwing 133 pitches, 82 for strikes. Lew-Port was able to make Crotty labor, fouling a lot of pitches off and getting into some long counts.
“He got squeezed on a couple pitches, but he came back and made the pitches he had to,” Tamraz said. “He kept his composure, which is something we’ve [been] trying for him to do all year long. This is when it counts. These are the games that really matter. He had to throw a lot of pitches, but he beared down and he threw them.”
Sophomore lefty Kyle Warner came on in relief to get the final five outs to close out the game.
Offensively, it was business as usually for the Springville bats. The Griffs scored 6 runs, the 13th time this season that Springville has scored at least five runs in a ballgame. Junior catcher Kyle McCarthy led Springville at the plate, going 4-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. McCarthy raised his batting average to .513 this season.
“He’s been doing this all year long,” Tamraz said. “He makes contact, the kid has only struck out, I think, once the entire season. He knows how to hit the ball to both sides of the field, he’s patient, looks for strikes and he swings at pitches that he wants to hit and it paid off today.”
Springville outhit Lew-Port 11 to 6. Crotty went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Senior Tyler Conklin went 2-for-3 with an RBI, Adam Wolfley reached base four times, stealing three bases and adding two RBIs. Springville opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning. McCarthy and Conklin led off the inning with base hits and Wyatt Sibiga followed with a beautifully placed drag bunt down the third base line for an infield hit. Junior Pat Emmick hit an RBI single to score McCarthy and Wolfley drove in Conklin two batters later.
Lew-Port responded in the top of the third, taking advantage of a Springville error to make it 2-1. Crotty served an RBI double into the right field gap in the next inning to make it 3-1. Lew-Port added a run in the fourth inning to make it a one run game again, but Springville would pull away from there, with a three-run sixth inning
McCarthy and Conklin each had RBI singles in the inning and Wolfley drew a bases loaded walk as Springville cruised to a 6-2 win.
“It’s great, it’s what every senior asks for,” Drew Scharra said. “Personally, going 0-for-3 and you have kids on your team picking you up, that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about one person, it’s about a team.”
Fifth seeded Lew-Port was a rare opponent for Springville. The Lancers compete in the Niagara Frontier League and hadn’t played Springville since 2011. It was a tough draw for the Griffs after falling from the projected top-seed in the playoffs to the fourth seed due to the weather canceling league games. As a member of the NFL, Lew-Port went 8-6 during the regular season, competing against AA schools Niagara Falls, Niagara-Wheatfield, Kenmore West and Lockport. Lew-Port defeated Grand Island (10-4 league record) and Lockport (11-3 league record) during the regular season.
“It was definitely an eye opener,” Scharra said of Lew-Port. “It was someone new, someone we haven’t seen, someone we knew nothing about, which we’re going to have to get used to. It was a good game on both sides.”
Springville traveled to Pioneer for the A2 semifinals on May 29, a win would advance Springville to the championship game on May 31.