Fredonia sees season end in quarterfinal loss to Depew, 6-0

End of the road

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen Fredonia senior pitcher Trey Swartz delivers a pitch during the first inning of Friday’s Section VI, Class B1 quarterfinal baseball game, against Depew, at Fredonia High School.

Last year in the sectional semifinals, Depew pitcher Josh Goss and then-senior Fredonia pitcher Derrick Walters dueled in a thrilling 9-inning affair. Fredonia came away with the win, 3-1, last season to earn a spot in an eighth straight sectional final appearance.

This year, it was Goss that came out on top against Fredonia. Goss threw a complete game, two-hit shutout on Friday night in Fredonia to defeat the Fredonia Hillbillies, 6-0, in a Section VI, Class B1 quarterfinal baseball game at Fredonia High School. The loss snapped a streak of eight straight years Fredonia has played for a sectional title.

“He still has it. He’s real good,” said Fredonia head coach Vince Gullo of Goss on Friday. “I thought our guys were pretty prepared and we had some great at-bats. I think our at-bats this year might have been better than last year’s at-bats. We were a little unlucky and they capitalized early.”

Goss finished with seven innings pitched in the win, with just two hits, four walks and one hit batter. He struck out three in the victory — meaning Fredonia put the ball in play for 18 outs on the day.

“I thought we played an outstanding game for such a young team,” said Coach Gullo after Friday’s loss. “They’re a really good team. They’re a little better than us, and today they were much better than us, because we couldn’t push a run across, but they made some nice defensive plays. I liked our at-bats, defensively we were fine, we got outs on the bases. … We did everything we had to do except push runs across — and that’s what baseball is about.”

In what ended up as senior Trey Swartz’s final start for Fredonia, Depew scored two runs in the second inning and another in the third, before the Fredonia (14-6, 4-seed Class B1) senior leader was removed in favor of Nick Whitfield. Depew (13-7, 5-seed Class B1) scored its first run of the game on a baserunning play with runners on first and third, where the runner on first base started a rundown on the basepaths that led the runner on third base to come in to score. The runner who advanced to second base eventually scored on a groundout later in the frame. Depew’s run in the third inning was scored on a safety squeeze bunt after back-to-back singles started the inning. Swartz was handed the loss after three runs in three innings.

Through three innings, Fredonia trailed 3-0 and had just one hit and three total baserunners to their credit. In the top of the fourth inning, the Hillbillies hung around after a squeeze bunt resulted in an out at the plate. In the top of the fifth, Fredonia had two more plays at the plate go in its favor, after a Depew runner tried to score from first on a double, then the next at-bat was another failed squeeze bunt.

Although Fredonia hung around, the Hillbillies were unable to get going offensively. Walks to Anthony Gullo in the fourth inning and Gabe Schrader in the fifth frame were the only offensive results for Fredonia in those innings. Then in the top of the sixth inning, Depew doubled its lead.

After Whitfield walked a pair and hit a batter in the inning, a pair of two-out hits from the top of the Depew order resulted in three runs in the frame. Depew led 6-0 in the sixth inning, all but putting any hope of a Fredonia rally to rest in the final two frames.

Swartz finished his Fredonia career with a double to deep right field in his final at-bat, in the sixth inning. It was the only extra bat hit on the day for the Hillbillies. Anthony Gullo pitched a scoreless inning to finish out the contest for Fredonia, while Goss set Fredonia down in order in the seventh inning to conclude the contest.

“The future is bright,” said Coach Gullo. “We bounced back after yesterday’s game and we played real baseball. The kids showed a lot of pride and hustle and I couldn’t be more proud.”

Fredonia loses five seniors from the 2019 team moving forward — Swartz, Donovan Apthorp, William Schmitt, Mike Mackowiak and Jake Davis. Despite the early playoff exit, those five seniors still will be remembered as part of the top team in CCAA Division 1 West in 2019.

“We’re proud of being league champions,” said Coach Gullo.

Twitter: @bradencarmen