Trent Thompson faced just three batters over the minimum as Fredonia (6-1, 2-0) edged Southwestern, 5-1, Wednesday, in CCAA Division 1 high school baseball at Fredonia High School.
The junior right-hander allowed just three hits - all singles - while striking out seven without issuing a walk.
"He was on top of his game," Fredonia coach Vince Gullo said of Thompson. "He had all of his pitches working. He didn't seem to get rattled. Southwestern is a pretty good team and they'll get better as they go, but Trent won us the game. That was a super job."
OBSERVER?Photo by Sean Pecuch
Fredonia’s Trent Thompson swings at a pitch during Wednesday’s?CCAA?Division 1 high school baseball game against Southwestern.
Right from the get-go, Thompson was spot on. He struck out four of the first six batters he faced while recording two straight three-up, three-down innings.
Fredonia was able to manufacture a run in the bottom of the first as Nick Hart led off with a walk and stole second. Weston Ley grounded out to the right side of the infield to move Hart to third before Connor Farnham was hit by a pitch - the first of two hit-by-pitches in the game for the Hillbillies' second baseman. Thompson helped his cause by driving in Hart with a single up the middle to give Fredonia a 1-0 lead.
Southwestern starting pitcher Shane Marucci settled down nicely to retire the next two Fredonia batters and threw just six pitches to record a 1-2-3 second inning.
"Shane does what he does," Southwestern coach Darren Beckerank said of Marucci. "He goes out and pitches, puts the ball over the plate and makes our defense play. We had a couple errors which are things we have to fix up, but we'll get it."
"(Marucci) did a phenomenal job," Gullo raved. "He did a great job changing angles."
Meanwhile, Thompson continued to deal.
Matt Martin notched Southwestern's first hit of the game to lead off the third with a clean single to right field, but he was erased when Fredonia catcher Zack Buckley gunned him down trying to steal second. A strikeout and popout followed to end the inning.
The bottom of the third proved to be the decisive inning for Fredonia, with Hart again in the 'heart' of the action.
The junior right fielder led things off with a sharp single to right before once again stealing second base. Ley struck out swinging and Farnham was plunked again, this time on an 0-2 pitch from Marucci.
Thompson popped out to Weinstein, who made a nice catch behind the plate, to bring Buckley to the plate with two outs.
Gullo rolled the dice by calling for the double steal. The old adage is 'never make the first or third out of an inning at third base,' and Fredonia didn't. Hart slid in safely with his third stolen base of the game while Farnham advanced to second.
"Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't," Gullo commented. "That time it worked and we scored two runs off it. We do that a lot. We're an aggressive team. In the (seventh) inning we tried stealing a base and it didn't work. We'll take our base stealing when we can."
That set the stage for Buckley's two-out, two-run single to right that upped Fredonia's lead to 3-0.
"We have some very hard outs on our team," Gullo noted. "Nick (Hart), Zack (Buckley), Trent (Thompson), Jude (Gardner) - they make pitchers work."
Marucci got Jude Gardner to hit a ground ball to short, but Kyle Radack couldn't play the tricky hop and suddenly there were Hillbillies on the corners.
Brett Lutz came through with an RBI single that pushed the lead to 4-0.
With a more comfortable four-run lead, Thompson didn't ease up. The Fredonia ace gave up a one-out single to Jake Swan, but the base-runner was quickly erased on a double-play.
Pete Trathen reached on an error with two outs in the fifth to spoil Thompson's chances of facing the minimum number of batters. Prior to the error, he had faced 15 batters and recorded 15 outs.
Fredonia pushed across one more run in the bottom of the fourth when Cam Voss touched home as Southwestern turned a slick 4-6-3 double play.
The Trojans finally got on the board in the top of the sixth as Eric Priester got it started with a one-out single. Radack hit a grounder to second that could have been a double-play, but the speedy shortstop beat the throw to first to keep the inning alive.
Radack worked his way around the bases with a passed ball and a stolen base, then scored when Thompson struck out Swan, but the ball got past Buckley and to the backstop.
"We improved as hitters today," Beckerank added. "I think you could see us come around in about the fifth inning.
"I wouldn't say it's a concern right now," he added of Southwestern's battle to score runs. "We've struggled the last two games to put runs on the board. I think the biggest thing for us right now is we have a real young team. We have three or four seniors depending on the day. Other than that, we have freshmen and sophomores."
Fredonia looks to keep its perfect league record intact when it plays Gowanda on Friday.
Gowanda 5, Olean 4, 9 innings
OLEAN - Walker Cygan provided an all-around effort Wednesday, leading Gowanda (4-3, 1-0) at the plate, on the bases and on the mound, as the Panthers dropped Olean (5-1, 0-1) in the CCAA Division 1 baseball opener for both schools.
"He was 3 for 5, scored two runs, picked up the win in relief, scored the tying run in the seventh and the winning run in the ninth," Gowanda head coach Tim Smith noted of Cygan. "He did everything we asked him to do today."
Cygan reached on a one-out single in the top of the ninth, stole second and then stole third. The Olean catcher bounced the throw to third into left field, allowing Cygan to scamper home with the eventual game-winning run.
Nick Jackson worked a scoreless ninth to pick up the save, walking one and striking out one.
"We didn't play a great defensive game," Smith said. "But we're an extremely young team and I know there are going to be mistakes, but these guys are working on it.
"I was just really proud of the way they kept their composure. Olean clearly is a much-improved team and I think they are going to win a lot of games in our league this year. I was happy to see our guys escape with a win."
The Panthers built a 3-1 lead after the top of the third inning after Ryan Boutelle led off with a walk and stole second. Alex Sternisha walked to put two runners on, before a slow roller off the bat of Nick Huffman allowed the runners to move up a base. Jackson followed with a two-RBI double, later scoring on an RBI single off the bat of Nathan Draegert.
The Huskies added a run in the bottom of the third to cut the Panthers' lead to 3-2, before taking a 4-3 advantage after a two-run bottom of the fifth. Zanaid Marra scored a run with an RBI groundout while Ben McGraw scored the go-ahead run on an error.
In the seventh, it was Cygan to the rescue again, as he led off with a single that the left fielder misplayed for a two-base error, leaving him standing on third. After the first out of the inning was made, Huffman scored Cygan with a safety squeeze.
Cygan picked up the win on the hill as well, allowing a run on four hits while striking out one and walking three over four innings of relief work. Alex Sternisha started on the bump for Gowanda, going the first four innings, allowing three runs on four hits while setting down two and walking four.