Weekly Feature

2017-05-17 / Sports

East baseball repeats as ECIC II champs

Williamsville East is once again the top baseball team in ECIC Division II.

The Flames clinched their second consecutive league title after winning a doubleheader Saturday over Iroquois, 11-0, and West Seneca East, 9-0. The Iroquois game was played at Iroquois and the West Seneca East game was played at Williamsville North.

East is 10-1 in ECIC II and 11-2 overall with one conference game remaining. South is in second place with an 8-4 record.

Against Iroquois, Ben Geiger picked up the win, firing a two-hitter in five innings pitched. Sam Schatmeyer threw 12/3 innings and

Moran tossed a third of inning, limiting the Chiefs to four hits. The win moved Geiger to 4-0 on the year. Opponents are only batting .169 against him.

The Flames unleased a 13-hit attack. Joe Mack led the way with a single, double and a solo home run for three RBIs. He also added a walk and scored three times. Nick Kieffer added a single and triple for two RBIs and Brian Comerford hit a pair of singles for two RBIs. Mike Steffan, Jack Rubins, Drew Elliott, Drew Kleinmann, Andrew Collura and Ben Zhao also had hits for the Flames.

In the nightcap against West Seneca East, Nick Falkides threw a three-hitter with eight strikeouts, and got plenty of run support as he picked up his fourth win.

East batters had 11 hits. Collura had a perfect game going 3-for-3 with a pair of singles and a triple. He scored three times. Steffan had a single and triple and Kieffer added a pair of singles for three RBIs.

Other East players contributing hits were Joe Mack, Dillon Lobdell, Comerford, and Charlie Mack, who also gave East stellar defense in the field.

“Not having a home field this year and having limited practice outside, I had concerns it was hurting our progress, but if this doubleheader is any indication, we are ready to defend our Section VI Class A title,” East coach Jerry Gasz said.

The only blip in league play for East was a 5-4 eight inning loss against Sweet Home May 9 at Williamsville South. The loss snapped East’s eight-game win streak.

“Give Sweet Home credit,” Gasz said. “They hung tough the whole game and found a way to beat us.”

East actually had a chance to win in the bottom of the seventh inning when Elliott hit a single with one out.

Elliott was removed for pinch runner Zhao, who moved to third on Collura’s double to right center field. That forced the Panthers to move their infield in to cut the winning run at the plate.

Sweet Home reliever Josh Bystrak then recorded a strikeout and a groundout to force extra innings.

In the top of the eighth, Kevin Liska singled and was forced out at second on Luke Dory fielder’s choice. Kyle Neudorf singled, putting runners on first and second.

East made a pitching change and removed starter Falkides in favor of closer Charlie Mack. Both runners moved up to second and third on a pitch that Elliott at catcher had trouble handling.

Tyler Edholm then launched a fly ball deep enough to right to score Dory for the Panthers’ go-ahead run. In the bottom of the eighth, Bystrak, in relief, retired the Flames with a scoreless inning to pick up the win.

East out-hit Sweet Home, 12-8. Charlie and Joe Mack had two hits apiece and Steffan added three.

Dory added two hits for Sweet Home.

East was coming off a 6-1 road win over crosstown rival Williamsville South, May 8. The Flames entered the game 7-0 in ECIC II while the Billies were 6-2.

“This was a crucial game for us to get some breathing room and a must win for them,” Gasz said. “This is always a tough game to win. The boys know one another, so there is always extra incentive to win.”

East never trailed and drew first blood in the top of the first when Steffan was hit by a pitch and moved to second when Rubins walked, Elliott then singled in Steffan, giving the Flames a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the first, South returned the favor and tied the score when John Genau drew a two-out walk and scored on consecutive singles from Ryan Hann and Matt Chrzanowski before Geiger got the third out.

Steffan’s two-run double in the second made it 3-1 and the Flames never looked back. East added to its lead scoring two runs in the fifth.

Rubins, Elliott and Collura all had key hits in the inning.

East added another run in the sixth when Charlie Mack was hit by a pitch for the second time and eventually scored on hits by Steffan and Rubins, making it 6-1.

“Geiger was over powering when he beat South earlier in the year, recording nine strikeouts,” Gasz said. “He had only one strikeout in the rematch but settled in, found his rhythm and pitched a smart game.”

The Flames out-hit the Billies 10-7. Leading East were Steffan, Rubins, Elliott and Comerford with two hits apiece. Joe Mack and Collura had East’s other hits.

Hann and Mitchell Binda paced South with two hits apiece.

East improved to 8-1 in ECIC II and 9-1 overall with a 4-3 home win over Amherst May 10 at the Northtown Center. It was the Flames’ seventh one-run game of the year.

“We have not been stringing together key hits an are underachieving at the plate,” Gasz said. “We have a strong hitting team and need to get back on track before the playoffs. Our pitching and defense for the most part have been solid.”

Junior right hander Jett Terwilliger and sophomore right hander Gunnar Weppner held the Tigers to two hits. Terwilliger was nicked for three runs, none earned and Weppner threw two scoreless innings. Weppner got credit for the win.

The Flames pulled this out in the bottom of the seventh when Rubins drew a two-out walk. Elliott then hit a sharply hit ground ball to short.

Amherst opted to get the third out at second rather than throw across the diamond. The throw errantly was thrown into right field and Rubins raced all the way home with the winning run.

Charlie Mack led the Flames’ six-hit attack with a single and double.

Comerford, Steffan, Joe Mack and Collura had the other East hits. Brian Fulford and Will Grisko had the only hits for Amherst.

East hosted Kenmore West Monday and West Seneca East Tuesday at the Northtown Center, but information about the games was unavailable before press time. East plays Kenmore West at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Sheridan Park.

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