Springville’s Kyle McCarthy gets a hit against Albion. The Griffs fell 8-3 to Albion to close out their season.
LEWISTON—Springville surrendered five unearned runs and Albion’s right-hander Connor Barleben slowed down the Griffs high-powered offense as Albion defeated Springville baseball, 8-3, in the Section VI A2 championship game on May 31 at Lew-Port High School. For the second-straight season, Springville saw their season come to a close in the championship game.
“It is very disappointing,” Springville coach Ron Tamraz said whose team finished the season 14-5 . “It comes down to how kids handle pressure. We tried to get up there, relax and not have the pressure. But still, it’s a big stage for these guys to come out and perform.”
Springville committed five errors in the game, the most they had committed in a game since April. Albion took a 3-0 lead in the first inning. A costly fielding error resulted in Albion scoring three unearned runs. Albion added three more runs in the third inning (two earned), to take a commanding 6-1 lead.
“We didn’t come out flat, I think we came out a little nervous, “ Tamraz said. “For some of the kids, this is their first time playing in the playoffs. If we score in the first inning, that makes a difference. But if you look at their first inning, we get an out, give up a walk, but we make an error on what could have been a double play. Even if we get one out there, the next kid hit a sacrifice fly, that’s three outs and they don’t score a run. That’s what hurt. Instead of being out of it, I started to feel it, and so did the kids: ‘here we go again.’”
Springville pitcher Kyle Crotty was on the hill for the Griffs. Crotty, a strikeout pitcher, was allowing Albion batters to make contact a lot more than Springville is used to seeing from its ace. Crotty was pitching on four days rest after earning the win against Lew-Port on May 25.
“He didn’t have enough in his arm to dominate,” Tamraz said. “He just didn’t have the same pop in his fastball. He got a couple pitches up and when he tries to overthrow, reach back when he doesn’t have it, he leaves the ball flat. He challenged some guys and he just didn’t have the same zip.”
Crotty exited after three innings, he allowed two earned runs (four unearned), on six hits, with three walks. Sophomore Kyle Warner came on in relief and pitched two scoreless innings, with four of his outs coming via strikeout.
“Kyle [Crotty] is a gutsy kid,” Tamraz. “He carried us last year in the playoffs. I was going to give him a chance. Warner comes in and shuts them down for two innings. My crystal ball doesn’t always work... For the people saying ‘oh, Crotty gave up eight runs’, the heck he did. We did. He made the pitches that he needed to make, we didn’t make the plays behind him.”
Senior Jon Weronski pitched the sixth inning and allowed two unearned runs, off a pair of Springville errors. Trailing 8-2 in the seventh inning, Springville couldn’t mount a comeback against Barleben and company.
Barleben tossed a complete game, allowing one earned run on six hits, while striking out six. Crotty was Springville’s lone batter with a multi-hit game, as the junior went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Kyle McCarthy went 1-for-2 and Warner 1-for-4 with two runs scored.
“He was by no-means a dominating pitcher,” Tamraz said of Barleben. “I thought we had more quality hits than they did. Crotty hit the ball hard four times. Warner’s shot was a shot. McCarthy’s shot was a shot.”
Albion moved on to play Starpoint for the Section VI Class A championship. The winner of that game will take on the Class A winner from Rochester, for a shot to move onto the Final Four of the State Championships.