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Young guns get it done for Lewiston-Porter

Wed, Apr 5th 2017 11:55 pm

Lancers pitch a sophomore and junior to hold Niagara Falls to 1 run

By David Yarger

Coming into the 2017 baseball season, the Lewiston-Porter Lancers put together one of the youngest varsity rosters in the area.

On Wednesday, they used a couple of young players to their advantage.

The Lancers defeated the Niagara Falls Wolverines, 5-1, behind 6 shutout innings from sophomore Ian Evans.

Evans had batters on their heels all game, as he struck out 6 and induced three double-plays - two being rather unusual.

On the other side, Falls ace Matt Grace started and wasn't as sharp as he was versus North Tonawanda.

The action picked up in the top of the second inning. Niagara Falls was threatening with the bases loaded and one out. Evans got a strike out and the ball hit the dirt, sending the runners into a frenzy, thinking it was a dropped third strike. Due to first base being occupied with less than two outs, the runners did not have to go. The runner from third broke for home and was tagged out.

Odd double-play No. 1.

The Lancers took advantage of the missed opportunity.

In the bottom of the inning, Cooper Krawczyk was on third base after he singled, stole second, and then advanced on a passed ball. Anthony Dragone hit a ball that didn't even leave the dirt of the home plate cutout, but Falls catcher Anthony Coty lost sight of it, forcing Grace to make the play. As Grace threw it to first, Krawczyk came in to score to make it 1-0 Lancers.

In the top of the third, the Wolverines got their first two guys on base. Ross Pochatko hit a ball back to the pitcher, who threw to second for the force-out. Then Krawczyk, at second base, saw the runner heading to third round the base too far and nailed him at third for a double-play.

Odd double-play No. 2.

The Wolverines didn't score.

Grace struck out the side to sail through the third inning, and keep it to a 1-0 deficit.

Evans followed that by striking out two batters in the fourth, sitting the Falls down 1-2-3.

He came through at the plate, as well, singling to start the bottom of the fourth. After a stolen base, Dragone drove him in with a base hit, notching his second RBI of the game and making the score 2-0.

The injury bug bit the Wolverines, as Grace exited due to injury after Dragone's at-bat. Dustin Newman came in to relieve Grace. He was dealing with a hamstring issue the entire game and it limited him. Newman is the leadoff hitter for NF, while Grace is the No. 2 hitter.

Lew-Port added two more runs in the fifth, highlighted by Shane Kowalski's RBI ground-rule double over the right field fence. The score was 4-1.

Evans sailed in the sixth, inducing his third double-play and ending his outing with a strikeout.

Dawson Bailey drove in the Lancers' final run with a single scoring Max Maio to make it 5-1. Bailey went 2-3 with 3 stolen bases and 1 RBI and 1 run scored. In four plate appearances, Bailey reached each time.

Coach Waple had high praise for his leadoff hitter.

"He's a threat every time," Waple said. "He's tough to pitch to, and you got to give credit to the guys around him because, when he gets on, they're hitting the ball. So you can't really pitch around it. It's certainly a pleasure to have him on our team instead of the other."

Evans gave way to Matt Carden for the final outs. Carden gave up an RBI single to Patrick Sisler, but struck out three batters to seal the win for the Lancers, 5-1.

Waple praised the maturity of his young pitchers.

"They've got plenty of baseball experience behind them," he said. "In baseball age, they're much more older and much more mature."

The Lancers (1-1) were coming of a loss to Kenmore East. Waple called the win "a bounce-back game."

"They'll enjoy this for a day and then go back to work again tomorrow; we got Lockport tomorrow," he said.

For the Wolverines (2-1), it's their first loss of the season. With injuries adding up, coach Rob Augustino said his players will get some time to heal.

"We have roughly two weeks before out next league game, so were going to shut them down and re-evaluate them after the weekend when we come in for practice next week," Augustino said.

He said the Wolverines have a game on Thursday, but the team's goal is to be there at the end, and the players' health is key.

Augustino also noted the mental errors made on the base paths during the game, but didn't take anything away from the game the Lancers played.

"We are a senior-laden team and were making the small mistakes," he said. "We kind of shot ourselves in the foot, and I don't want to say it was because of us, because Lew-Port played very well defensively. They made the small things happen; they got guys on base. They didn't really have a ton of hits against us, but they scored 5 runs, so, they did what they needed to win."

Grace finished the day with 7 strikeouts on the mound and went 2-2 at the plate.

The Falls' next game is at 4:45 p.m., back on their home turf, vs. Grand Island.

For the Lancers, their next game is at 4:45 p.m. Thursday, on the road, vs. Lockport.

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