CRACK GOES THE BAT — Kyle Warner hit an RBI against Fredonia, last year’s state champions, in a recent game. Photos by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — By struggling to manufacture hits at the plate and committing costly errors in the field, Springville-Griffith Institute varsity baseball fell to reigning state champion Fredonia 3-2, in eight innings at Community Park on April 14.
With the game tied at 2-2 in the top of the eighth inning, Springville appeared to have Fredonia’s Jared Burmaster picked off after Springville catcher Kyle McCarthy snapped a throw down to Kyle Crotty at third base. Burmaster reacted to the pick-off attempt and dashed toward home plate, but McCarthy couldn’t handle the exchange and that proved to be the game-winner for Fredonia.
“It’s pretty frustrating,” Springville coach Ron Tamraz said.
“We knew coming in, we could compete with them if we didn’t make those mistakes. Fredonia won a state championship. They know what it takes to win. They know what they have to do to win and they executed the plays that they needed to. That’s the difference.”
McCarthy hit an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, to tie the game at 2. However, with Springville threatening to take the lead, Fredonia executed a strike-him-out-throw-him-out double play – striking out Kyle Warner looking and throwing out McCarthy trying to steal second base. The game would go to extra innings after a scoreless seventh. Down by 1 run in the eight, Crotty ripped a double down the right field line, to put the tying run in scoring position with one out, but Springville couldn’t get Crotty home, as Tyler Conklin struck out and McCarthy grounded out to second base to end the game.
Springville committed four errors in the field that led to all 3 Fredonia runs.
“We actually made some really good plays, we just didn’t make the routine plays when they counted,” Tamraz said.
“We couldn’t catch a ball at first base. We had a chance to turn two and we let a ball go through our legs. That’s the kind of stuff we can’t do. I’m not expecting the kids to make great plays, every time. Yeah, I know we haven’t been outside and this is the first time fielding ground balls on the grass. We can make the excuse if we want, but if we want to really compete this year, we can’t make those excuses.”
WHAT A DRIVE — S-GI’s Pat Emmick drives one down the center, against a team the S-GI Griffs had hoped to contend with.
The team’s defensive woes overshadowed quality pitching for Springville. Drew Scharra, Wyatt Sibiga and Jon Weronski each saw time on the mound and allowed a combined five hits. Scharra started the game and pitched three innings, giving up three hits and not allowing an earned run. Fredonia had runners on first and third base with one out in the first inning, but Scharra struck out Fredonia’s Cam Voss to end the inning. Scharra worked out of another jam the following inning, when Fredonia loaded the bases with one out. The senior right-hander got a ground ball and right fielder Noah George ran down a deep fly ball to end the threat.
“All of the pitchers did what they were asked to do,” Tamraz said. “They only gave up five hits and four walks – not too bad. They responded well after a play, a missed play, booted ball, even after a walk. They responded well and threw strikes. The pitchers did a good job.”
Sibiga allowed two hits and surrendered one walk, without allowing a run in three innings of work. Sibiga came on in relief of Scharra and made a big impression, striking out the side in a 1-2-3 fourth inning. Weronski pitched the eighth inning – striking out two and surrendering an unearned run.
While Springville’s pitching was on target, the team’s hitting was not. Fredonia’s Weston Ley and Tyler DiRusso pitched a combined three-hitter. Ley took a no-hitter into the fourth inning before Warner broke it up with a single. Ley allowed 1 run on two hits, while striking out five over five innings of action. DiRusso earned the win – allowing 1 hit in three scoreless innings.
“We did swing at a lot of bad pitches,” Tamraz said. “We were expecting to do too much. [Ley] is a good pitcher. He was a big part of their state championship team. He kept us off-balance and hit his locations pretty well, most of the time. How many guys struck out, swinging at a high fastball? That’s just being over-aggressive.”
With the loss, Springville fell to 1-1 on the year, while Fredonia improved to 4-0.
“This was our first real test,” Tamraz said. “We didn’t pass it, but we didn’t fail it either. We didn’t get blown out. Again, it’s a game that, if we don’t make big mistakes, we win. I’m getting sick and tired of saying that. We said it last year, way too often. We have to change that.”
Crotty went 1-for-3, Warner went 1-for-3 with an RBI and McCarthy went 1-for-4 with an RBI. Conklin scored both of Springville’s runs. The Griffs continued their slate of spring break games, when they hosted Tonawanda on Thursday and traveled to Fredonia on Friday. The outcomes of those games were not available, press time.