Sophomore pitches Fredonia to 2013 crown
EDITOR’S NOTE: In another edition of the “Remember When” series, the 2013 state champion Fredonia baseball team is featured. Throughout this week, the OBSERVER will be running the Hillbillies’ final four playoff victories, including its state title contest. Today, we begin with the Class B Section VI title game.
JAMESTOWN — Sophomore southpaw Cameron Voss hasn’t lost a game in two years as a starting pitcher for the Fredonia Hillbillies.
On Friday in the Section VI Class B championship game, Voss continued his dominance as he willed the No. 1 Hillbillies to a 3-1 victory over Tonawanda at Russell E. Diethrick Park for a return trip to the Far West Regionals.
Voss pitched a complete game, allowed just three hits and five walks with nine strikeouts.
“What a super job he did,” Fredonia coach Vince Gullo said. “”What can I say? He picked us up. That last inning, I don’t know how much he had. I can’t say enough about Cam and his composure out there. Coach (Charlie) LaDuca has been working with him all year. For a sophomore to get out there, for a lefty, he is hard to hit. The angle he throws, when he throws strikes, he is unbeatable.”
Throughout the postseason, the Hillbillies have allowed just three runs in four playoff games. And a key reason has been the pitching of Voss, Weston Ley and Trent Thompson, along with stellar defense.
“Championship teams win playoffs with pitching and defense,” Gullo said. “The defense almost let us down (with two errors), but they came through in the end.”
And while the offense has been stumbling of late, a big two-run double by Zach Buckley proved to be all Voss would need.
After loading the bases in the second inning and not getting a run, Fredonia opened the scoring in the third as Nick Hart and Ley drew walks and moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Then, Buckley, who was nominated as the school’s best athlete earlier in the day, came through with his second double in as many games to give Fredonia a 2-0 lead.
“He crushed that,” Gullo said of Buckley’s hit. “We needed that. That’s been a long time coming for the middle of the order. We need him swinging the bat and that was a great clutch hit. He is really on right now. He always makes good contact and very seldom doesn’t make good contact.”
Buckley eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Voss for a 3-0 advantage.
Fredonia had a chance to add on to its lead in the fourth inning as it loaded the bases with one out, but Tonawanda pitcher Jared Zellner got a strikeout and a flyout to end the threat.
“Our bats aren’t there right now,” Gullo said. “We are trying to hit the ball 400 feet. We squandered some opportunities. Eleven runners were left on base, but we hung together. We stuck together and made the plays on defense. That’s a great team effort.”
The Warriors’ lone run came in the fifth inning when Tim Bernard reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a bases-loaded walk. Tonawanda put a runner on second base in the final inning, but Voss worked out of any trouble.
With the win, Fredonia advances to the Far West Regionals for a second straight year. This year’s game will be played at Diethrick Park against a Section V opponent.
“We have had a lot of pressure on us all year, right from the get-go,” Gullo said. “We had so many guys contribute today. The hardest thing to do in sports is when you’re expected to win, you have to win.”
NOTES: Hart also doubled for the Hillbillies while Thompson reached base three times via the walk. Ley reached base as he was walked and hit by a pitch. Jude Gardner had two singles and was hit by a pitch. In all, losing pitcher Zellner walked six and hit four batters.