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Senior strikes out 13 Lions to head into playoffs
By David Yarger
The baseball game between the Niagara-Wheatfield Falcons and Lockport Lions actually took four days to play … sort of.
After heavy rains suspended the contest in the first inning last Wednesday, the two teams continued the battle on Saturday, with N-W coming out as the victors, 9-0.
Despite a stellar offensive showing from the Falcons, it was all about Tommy Peltier on the mound. The senior hurled a no hitter while striking out 13 Lions.
Through the first three innings, Peltier struck out eight of nine batters, with the lone ball in play being a groundout back to himself.
The Falcons scored its first run on Wednesday via two fielding errors. Wet conditions caused two overthrows at first base, which later scored leadoff hitter Andrew Stillinger.
Lockport came close to its first hit in the fourth inning, as Sean McKinney hit a low line drive that looked like it would get down. The ball stayed up just long enough for centerfielder Chris Cacciatore to make a shoelace grab.
The bottom of the fourth inning is where the Falcons erupted. Cacciatore hit a single to leadoff, then stole second. The next batter, Peyton Siegmann, followed with an RBI single. Siegmann then stole second base and advanced to third on an errant throw.
With Siegmann on third, Tyler Walton drove him in with a single.
No. 9 hitter Ben Shapiro followed Walton with a single, while Stillinger walked.
With the bases loaded, Ben Salomon walked to drive in Walton and bring up No. 3 hitter Ethan Guthrie. Guthrie sent a line shot over the left fielder’s head to clear the bases for three RBIs. Guthrie’s double made the score 7-0, Falcons.
After a Matt Lysiak single and Cacciatore walk, the bases were loaded, once again. This time, Siegmann nailed his second single of the inning to drive in two more runs. Siegmann’s third RBIs of the inning made it 9-0, N-W.
Lockport’s first baserunner reached after an error in the infield, to end Peltier’s perfect game with one out in the fifth. After a fielders choice and a walk, runners on first and second was the most the Lions would get on the day.
Peltier fanned two batters in the sixth inning and one in the seventh inning, while a flyout to Salomon recorded the final out of the ballgame.
Peltier called the win a little revenge after the first time the teams faced off. The Canisius baseball commit was on the losing end of a 3-2 battle.
“It feels like that should have happened the first time we played them,” Peltier said. “The first time I had them I didn’t have my best stuff, so it was a little bit of a redemption game coming back and showing them how I can really pitch.”
The senior lefty added that his first no hitter of his felt pretty good.
Of Peltier’s outing, Falcons coach Jim Hagerty said, “(It was) all business. It was fantastic. It’s even weirder, because he started Wednesday, struck out the side to start the game and then the rain came. He had a relief appearance in between – not a lot of pitches. But the fact that he came back all business; I think he carried a little grudge from the first time when we played over at Lockport. … He wanted to make a statement today and did.”
Peltier said he feels his stuff is getting better as the season is moving along, which is welcoming for the Falcons as the team heads in the Class A1 Section VI playoffs. Hagerty and Peltier agreed that the win over Lockport (who finished the season with three league losses) was a confidence booster.
“It’s huge,” Peltier said. “They’re about (one of) the best teams in Western New York right now and we just no hit them, 9-0, so that’s a big booster going into sectionals.”
“It’s great. We played a tough game yesterday (Friday) against a good team; played another good team today. 1-0 game yesterday and today, I said to the guys, I’m not sure what the question in people’s minds might be after yesterday, but I think we answered it today,” Hagerty said.
The 9-0 victory over Lockport was also Hagerty’s 200th career victory with the Falcons.
Offensively, for N-W, Guthrie and Siegmann notched three RBIs. Stillinger scored two runs, while Salomon, Guthrie, Lysiak, Cacciatore, Siegmann, Walton and Shapiro all crossed the plate once.
The win gave the Falcons a final Niagara Frontier League record of 12-4.
The Falcons first sectional playoff test will be versus a team to be determined, at 4:45 p.m. Friday.
Tommy Peltier throws a pitch versus Lockport.