Fredonia downs Falconer 7-1, improves to 4-0 in CCAA Division 1 West

Hillbillies bolster league lead

OBSERVER Photo by Ron Szot Fredonia Hillbillies infielder Gabe Schrader throws to first base during Wednesday’s CCAA Division 1 West baseball game in Fredonia.

On a day that was projected for rain, all the Fredonia Hillbillies saw was sun as they cruised to a Section VI CCAA Division 1 West baseball win over Falconer, 7-1, at the Chestnut Street field in Fredonia, on Wednesday. The game was originally supposed to be in Falconer, but a gameday decision was made that switched locations to Fredonia.

Trey Swartz took to the mound for the Hillbillies (4-0, 4-2) and it took him a couple of innings to settle in. Once he did settle in, he was unhittable. In the first inning, Swartz was able to get the Golden Falcons (3-2, 4-2) to pop out and line out for the first two outs, with a walk in between. Falconer’s Ben Schrader was able to get the first hit of the game, a screaming groundball between the shortstop and third baseman — putting a runner in scoring position for the Golden Falcons. Swartz was able to get himself out of the first unscathed as he got Matt Gullotti swinging to end the inning.

Falconer found themselves in similar trouble in the bottom half of the inning, but they would not be as lucky, as Fredonia was able to cash in. Anthony Gullo reached on a walk and Swartz sent a hard grounder that Falconer’s shortstop could not handle, leaving everybody safe with one out. Troy Lanski cashed in for the Hillbillies, as he hit a deep line drive to right field that would score Anthony Gullo, making it 1-0 Fredonia.

Fredonia kept it going in the first, eventually loading the bases, but Falconer was able to minimize the damage.

“It was nice to see we didn’t have too many bad outs,” said Fredonia head coach Vince Gullo. “Everybody was a tough out. Everbody is pretty confident. The effort is fantastic.”

OBSERVER Photo by Ron Szot Fredonia starting pitcher Trey Swartz delivers a pitch during Wednesday’s 7-1 Fredonia victory over Falconer at the Chestnut Street field in Fredonia.

Swartz became more efficient as the game went on, setting down the Golden Falcons in order in his second inning of work. Gullotti was on the hill for Falconer and matched Swartz’ strong frame with a four-batter, scoreless second inning.

The third inning was not as easy for both pitchers. Swartz made just two mistakes in his inning of work — he walked Nate Abbey and then saw Bobby Samuelson send a ball past all of the outfield for a monstorous RBI triple, evening the score at 1-1. The Samuelson hit was the second and final hit that Swartz would give up, he added six strikeouts in the complete game effort.

“Trey pitched to contact today, this is his lowest complete game that he’s had for us in his three years,” said Coach Gullo. “But he relies on the defense, which is nice to see. His offspeed wasn’t as dominant as it was against Silver Creek, but his fastball he located it well. Coach Presto is doing a great job with our pitching staff.”

Gullotti’s inning would not be as long. After just one four-pitch at bat, the Golden Falcons switched pitchers and put Ben Schrader on the mound.

“Our pitching was a little off today,” said Falconer head coach Chris Schrader. “Some of us had trouble finding the strike zone. They were patient, they got guys on — got some key hits.”

Similar to the first inning, Falconer gave up a tough error in the middle infield that put runners on first and second. After a sac bunt by Dalton Gardner, the ‘Billies were poised to regain the lead. Dominic Gullo capitalized on a big double to the right-center gap — scoring both Swartz and Troy Lanski for a 3-1 Fredonia lead.

“We had two big errors early on that really cost us, that led to some unearned runs,” said Coach Schrader. “If we cleaned up our defense a little bit, it’s obviously a much tighter game. When pitchers are struggling, throw a double-play groundball, that’s what you’re hoping for and then our defense kind of falters.”

The Hillbillies weren’t done yet, adding two more runs off a triple and a single from William Schmitt and Gabe Schrader, respectively. Through three innings of play, Fredonia had a 5-1 lead with five hits.

“It was nice to hit the ball,” said Coach Gullo. “Will Schmitt and Troy Lanski added a lot to our lineup today, it was nice to see them drive the ball.”

After the two tough at bats in the third inning, Swartz and the defense was firing on all cylinders, only allowing one more Golden Falcon to reach base — the final Falconer baserunner reached on an error in the top of the sixth inning.

“Trey did a great job on the mound,” said Coach Gullo. “And our defense, now one error in four league games. We’re very young and we still have a very long way to go, but it was nice to sneak out a win.”

Fredonia’s last really strong inning offensively came in the bottom of the fourth. Fredonia had six plate appearances in the inning and added an extra run. Alec Schrader reached by single, but was advanced by another Falconer error and was eventually knocked in by a Lanski single to give Fredonia a 6-1 lead. Fredonia reached their final score of seven in the fifth, when a Shmitt triple saw a bad throw to third that allowed him to score.

“They capitalized,” said Coach Schrader. “It’s Fredonia, they’re a good team. They are going to take advantage of mistakes and they did.”

In Fredonia’s final few innings they were able to see their bench players get some action, including a single from A.J. St. George.

“It was nice to put the ball in play and run the bases,” said Coach Gullo. “It was good to see new people add to the win and that’s what makes it a team game.”

The Hillbillies will enter the break perfect in league play, but plan to load up on non-league games next week — including hosting Eden on Monday.

Falconer is back on the field on Friday when they travel to Clymer/Sherman for a non-league game.