SWINGING FOR THE FENCES: Adam Wolfley is hitting .500 in the leadoff spot for Springville this season. Photo by Dave DeLuca
In a regular season full of postponements and cancellations due to the weather, rain left one more watermark on the Springville baseball team. Fourth seeded Springville hosts Lew-Port in the quarterfinals of the Section VI A2 Playoffs on May 27 at 5 p.m., but soggy spring weather may have cost Springville a chance at the top-seed and an outright division title.
Springville was scheduled to play a doubleheader against Cheektowaga on Tuesday, May 20, however umpires at the game ruled that Springville’s field at Community Park was unplayable. The game was then moved to the following day, Wednesday May 21., at Cheektowaga. With Wednesday being the last day that league games could be played, the game was scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Springville’s players were dismissed from class at 12:45 p.m. and were planning to depart to Cheektowaga at 1 p.m. But, Springville was notified by Cheektowaga that their field was unplayable shortly after being dismissed.
Instead of traveling to Cheektowaga, Springville then planned on hosting the Warriors at the S-GI High School diamond. Cheektowaga notified Springville that they would be unable to travel to Springville, due to not having a bus. The games were then cancelled and could not be made up because of postseason play beginning on Thursday.
“Cheektowaga has a contract with Carrier [Coach] and they require a 24-hour notice for a bus,” Springville coach Ron Tamraz said. “They had one bus scheduled, but since we were going to Cheektowaga, they changed their bus because the softball team had a sectional game, but since their field was not playable, they had to go to Albion. The baseball team couldn’t get a bus.”
The outcome of Springville not playing their final two games of the regular season shook up the entire playoff picture and division title hopes. Springville needed to win just one game against Cheektowaga to win the ECIC III division title and clinch the top-seed in the Section VI A2 playoffs. Not playing the final two games dropped Springville to third-place in ECIC III and the fourth seed in the playoffs.
“We think we got screwed,” senior second baseman Adam Wolfley said. “Even if we split games against Cheektowaga, we would have been okay and would have won the division. I wish we could have worked something out. It’s kind of cold what they did.”
Tamraz hoped that following the cancellation that the Section VI and ECIC III could make a resolution, however Tamraz later found out that Section VI and ECIC III viewed the situation as an “unforeseeable circumstance”.
“It’s not that they refused to play, or refused to come here, they just couldn’t get here and it wasn’t under their control” Tamraz said. “ The section said that [with] unforeseeable weather at this point, there’s nothing they can do.”
Section VI Baseball Chairman Jim Conley noted that Section VI does not tell leagues how to manage their league.
“The section doesn’t tell the leagues how to run their league,” Conley said. “The Section doesn’t determine the [leagues’] finishes, or suspended games, or makeup games, that’s all handled by ECIC, whoever the powers are to be in that...It’s all a league problem. However, the power points that come from their decisions we use to determine who plays who in the sectionals.”
ECIC III representative Robert Parry did not return an email from The Journal seeking comment by press time.
With a 10-2 record, Springville has the winningest percentage in ECIC III in front of divisional foes Pioneer (11-3) and East Aurora (10-4), yet Pioneer owns an extra win and East Aurora owns the tiebreaker because of head-to-head wins.
“We’re all pretty upset, considered we bust our butts all year to get to a 10-2 record and for Cheektowaga to say they couldn’t get a bus up here, it’s kind of like a shot in the foot,” Senior Drew Scharra said. “
The division standings are still up in the air. Tamraz noted that Springville and Pioneer may be co-champions of ECIC III and that is what Pioneer coach Dave Buncy suggested.
Looking forward to Tuesday, Springville will enter the playoffs with one of the strongest offensives in Section VI. The Griffs have seven players hitting .300 or better. Wolfley, Springville’s leadoff hitter, leads ECIC III in hitting with a .500 batting average. Wolfley also leads the league hits (22), runs scored (20), on-base-percentage (.593) and stolen bases (12). Junior catcher Kyle McCarthy is second on the team hitting (.457). Junior pitcher/shortstop Kyle Crotty is hitting .340 with 19 RBIs and is Springville’s number one pitcher.
Scharra missed some time during the regular season because of a knee injury, but he is back healthy. Scharra is a two-time All-ECIC III pick and is hitting .308. Third baseman Wyatt Sibiga is hitting .375 and should see time on the mound during the playoffs as well. Sophomore outfielder Kyle Warner is hitting .408 in his first season on varsity. Warner also adds depth to the Griffs’ pitching rotation.
“It is what it is, we just have to make the best of it,” Scharra said. “I think a lot of us are going to step up and start playing our ball. I definitely think this is going to light something in us that nobody has seen.”