JAMESTOWN - In a matchup of two of the top left-handed pitchers in Western New York, it was Fredonia shortstop Jarod Burmaster who ended up stealing the show.
The sophomore's two-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted the Hillbillies past Olean, 3-2, and gave Fredonia its third-straight Section 6 Class B-1 title at Diethrick Park on Saturday afternoon.
"I just didn't want to let my seniors down because I knew it could be their last game," Burmaster said of his game-winning hit. "I was just trying to get him in any way possible... I just had to come through for my team."
OBSERVER?Photo by Lisa Monacelli
No. 2 Fredonia’s Weston Ley, right, and Jarod Burmaster celebrate after Burmaster’s single drove in Ley with the game-winning run on Saturday during the Section 6 Class B-1 baseball title game, at Diethrick Park, in Jamestown. The Hillbillies defeated No. 5 Olean, 3-2, to advance to the overall Class B title game on Wednesday, where they will face Class B-2 champion Gowanda. The game will be played at Diethrick Park.
OBSERVER?Photo by Lisa Monacelli
No. 2 Fredonia’s Weston Ley connects on a game-tying home run against No. 5 Olean during the bottom of the fifth inning of Saturday’s Section 6 Class B-1 baseball title game, at Diethrick Park, in Jamestown.
Burmaster finished with two hits, including a triple, and scored a run to pace the Fredonia offense. Weston Ley added a solo home run and a pair of runs, and Mike Pucci chipped in two singles.
The liner to center ended what had been a pitcher's duel between Fredonia starter Cam Voss and Olean's Luke Hennessy. Voss, who is now 21-0 in his career, hurled a complete game four-hitter, fanning 10 and walking five. Hennessy was nearly as good for the Huskies, scattering five hits, striking out six and walking three.
"He's got it," Fredonia coach Vince Gullo said of his junior pitcher. "He's hard to get a good read on. He could throw three balls then come back with the strikes. He just has a way."
The two teams both squandered opportunities to get on the board in the early going, but it was the Huskies who broke through first in the top of the third.
After working out of trouble in the first, Voss set down six straight before issuing a two-out walk to John Zamites. It would prove costly as Jake Cavana followed with a double to deep left to plate the first run. Hennessy then proceeded to help his own cause with an RBI single through the left side of the infield to make it 2-0.
Fredonia got one of the runs back in the bottom of the frame. Burmaster ripped a one-out triple into the corner in right field before coming in to score on a passed ball on the very next pitch.
Both pitchers worked out of trouble in the fourth inning before Fredonia managed to even things up in the bottom of the fifth.
With one out, Ley drilled a 3-2 fastball well over the 335 foot sign in left field to shift the momentum in Fredonia's favor.
"He's been just absolutely on fire," Gullo added. "I haven't seen a hitter in my 13 years hit the ball like he's hit."
Olean's best chance to reclaim the lead came in the sixth inning. Following a leadoff single and a one-out walk, the Huskies had runners at first and second, but Voss battled back and struck out the next two batters to keep the game tied.
Hennessy also worked out of trouble in the bottom half of the inning. After a dropped fly ball to left allowed Pucci to reach with two outs, a balk moved the go-ahead run over to third with two outs. The senior responded with his fifth strikeout to keep the score knotted, 2-all.
After failing to capitalize in the bottom of the sixth, Fredonia made the most of its chance in the seventh.
The first two batters were quickly retired, but Ley managed to work a two-out walk. Hennessy then nearly picked him off first, but Ley broke for second and slid in just underneath the tag to set the stage for Burmaster's heroics.
"It is nice to play in tight games. Then, when you come out on top, it's a great feeling," Gullo added. "These were two really good teams. Olean probably deserved a better fate... We've been battling for years against each other, and they're a classy team over there."
Jake Cavana had an RBI double and single for the Huskies while Hennessy and Chance Anzivine both singled.
The Hillbillies, who have now claimed 17 Section 6 titles in their history, will now take on B-2 winner Gowanda Wednesday night at Diethrick Park for the right to advance to the Class B Far West Regionals.