Falconer tops Cassadaga Valley, 8-1

FALCONER — Bobby Samuelson, the Falconer shortstop, barehanded the slow roller and fired.

First baseman Ben Schrader stretched for the throw and picked it clean.

And when the umpire called Cassadaga Valley’s Adam Goot out by a whisker for the first out in the top of the seventh inning, Golden Falcons’ pitcher Matt Gullotti jumped up and down in celebration near the mound.

The Golden Falcons had plenty to celebrate Tuesday afternoon.

In going the distance, Gullotti tossed a two-hitter, struck out eight and didn’t issue a walk; ninth-place hitter Jedd Jaroszynski ignited three rallies with a double, a single and a free pass; and fourth-seeded Falconer successfully played small ball and made all the defensive plays en route to an 8-1 victory over the 12th-seeded Cougars in a Section VI Class C quarterfinal baseball game at Denny Meszaros Field.

The Golden Falcons will now host No. 8 Chautauqua Lake at 5 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals. The Thunderbirds advanced by knocking off No. 1 Holland, 2-0, yesterday.

Continued strong pitching will help.

Gullotti’s only blemish on the day came in the first inning when he gave up an RBI single to Brandon Rodriguez. After that, the left-hander retired the side in order in five of the final six innings. Cassadaga Valley’s only other hit was Rodriguez’s two-out single in the fourth.

“He had his curveball on today,” Falconer coach Chris Schrader said. “When he has that going and a couple other pitches, he’s hard to hit.”

Goot, meanwhile, held the Golden Falcons in check until the third inning.

With one out, Jaroszynski singled and, after a walk to Nate Abbey, Jacob Payne laid down a bunt that moved Jaroszynski to third. Samuelson and Schrader then followed with RBI singles, and Samuelson later scored on a wild pitch.

Armed with a 3-1 lead, Falconer added three insurance runs in the fifth — aided by successful bunts from Payne, Gullotti and Mark Wilcox — and then tacked on a pair of runs in the sixth following Samuelson’s double to deep left-center.

“We’ve worked on the bunting,” Schrader said. “At the beginning of the year, we couldn’t get a bunt down to save our lives. We went for a couple weeks where we worked on bunting, bunting, bunting. Today, it just seemed like, with a kid like (Goot) throwing, we had to put the ball in play, make them field it. We put down some good bunts.”

Coupled with strong defense, the Golden Falcons left Meszaros Field feeling pretty good about themselves heading into Thursday’s matchup with Chautauqua Lake. Falconer won both regular-season meetings with the Thunderbirds, 7-6 and 1-0. The Cougars, meanwhile, end their season 2-15.

“We’ve been doing the same thing all year,” Cassadaga Valley coach Joe Mistretta said. “We don’t hit the ball. (Goot), for three, four, five innings, pitched good enough to win. … The kids played hard. They’ve done it all year. They never quit.”