Portville Eliminates ‘C’ Bears | News, Sports, Jobs
FREWSBURG — As Eric Haglund raked the pitcher’s mound at the Frewsburg Sports Complex at the end of the Division VI Class C baseball semifinal on Thursday night, most of his players were seated in the dugout .
They didn’t want to leave.
But Portville, the No. 3 seed and defending sectional champions, used a pair of three-run innings – one up, one down – and a solid throw from Mario Pascucci to defeat the second-seeded Bears. series, 7-4 and set up a showdown. with No 1 Gowanda in Saturday’s sectional final at Diethrick Park in Jamestown. The first pitch is set at noon.
“(Gowanda coach) Tim Smith and I are very good friends,” Portville coach Mike Matz said. “We spoke today, I texted him during the game and I’m sure we’ll talk tonight and talk tomorrow. I’m sure we’ll be friendly on Saturday morning and by the time of Saturday’s game we want to tear each other apart, but on Saturday afternoon we’ll be friends again.
At first, the friendly reunion didn’t look so promising as Frewsburg’s Maddox Sheesley two-run single gave Frewsburg (17-3) a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
But the Panthers (18-2) scored three times in the second inning against losing pitcher Garrett Brink, helped by a pair of errors and an RBI single from Cole Keesler.
Ultimately, on-field errors and free passes caused the Bears’ loss.
Frewsburg tied the game in fifth in spectacular fashion as senior Payton Dustin hit a one-out home run to leave Pascucci. It was the first of two wins for Dustin on the day.
“He hasn’t hit a ball like this all year,” Haglund said. “It’s his last home game and he’s doing something like that. I couldn’t ask for anything else. »
But the Bears’ lead was short-lived.
Nik Manroe reached on an error to start the sixth inning, Drew Langdon scored a single and Pascucci walked to charge the bases, ending Brink’s time on the mound. Aidan Gruber came on as relief, but the sophomore walked the next two batters to force a pair of runs. Chase Haglund, the third inning pitcher, retired the next three batters, but one – Pascucci – scored on a fielder’s choice to push Portville’s lead to 6-3.
The Panthers veered on an insurance run in the top of the seventh, thanks to an RBI single from Langdon. Armed with a four-run lead, Pascucci gave up a one-out single to Dustin, who was pushed back to second, stole third and scored on a pitching error. But the Portville southpaw never lost his temper and struck out the final two batters to send the Panthers into the final against Gowanda.
“(Pascucci) was part of our regional team in the Wild West last year and he won a sectional title in our football team, so he was in great positions,” said Matz, who saw his team exclude Gowanda in the section final in 2022 and lose in 2021. “He doesn’t get angry. … He’s an easy kid to put down roots.
Coach Haglund had reason to be happy despite the loss.
“I’m super proud of the kids,” he said. “We were the ‘sleeping giant’ and we blew expectations. No one thought we were the team we were going to be. The kids worked hard in the offseason and they proved it. We went to Myrtle Beach, gained respect in SC, and came back here (and did fine).
“The season is over right now, but for most of these kids it never ends. … We are mainly made up of 10th graders. We’re young and I’m looking for fireworks in the future, you know what I mean?
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