Tyler Macio runs down a Depew base-runner stuck between third and home in Lake Shore’s 5-1 win on April 22.
Lake Shore put its undefeated division record on the line Monday (April 22) afternoon against Depew and it was pitching that landed the Eagles a 5-1 win.
The Eagles improved to 3-0 in ECIC III and 4-2 overall behind the starting pitching of Christ Conley, who threw a solid five strong innings, before being relieved by James Barry and Tyler Mascio.
Until the fifth, Conley was pitching a two-hitter. The Canisius-bound Conley, who does plenty of damage with his bat as well, also earned the win in the game prior, a two-hit complete-game performance in Lake Shore’s 5-0 victory over East Aurora.
Barry went one inning, allowing one hit and striking out two Wildcat batters, before giving way to Mascio, who would close out the game striking out two batters in a scoreless inning.
“Pitching has become our strength this year because almost every kid who pitched last year is back,” Lake Shore head coach Bob Kowal said. “Conley strikes out a lot of batters and he holds runners on very well.”
Christ Conley, usually known for his bat, has become a mainstay for Lake Shore on the mound.
Eagles pitchers combined for 10 strikeouts in this game, six of them from Conley, who showed great command of his fastball and a blistering curve ball.
“My arm felt good out there, I just kept throwing strikes and the guys (in the field) were making plays behind me,” Conley said.
After Depew cut the Eagles lead to 2-1, Lake Shore exploded offensively with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Billy Pinter, Dane Cala, Tyler Freeman and Conley did much of the damage. Other highlights in the inning were pinch hitter Ryan Mancini tripling and scoring on a Justin Budniewski RBI double.
Pinter got things going for Lake Shore in the second inning when he clobbered a solo home run 340 feet over the fence in left field to put the Eagles up 1-0.
“I put my head down and when I saw it go over I stopped right around first base,” exclaimed the second baseman, who hit his second varsity homer and finished the game 2 for 3 with a walk. “I didn’t know I had the power to hit it that far, but I guess I did.”
Lake Shore added another run in the third when Mascio singled and later scored. Depew cut the deficit to 2-1 in the fifth when second basemen Justin Crawley singled, knocking in centerfielder Dylan Haak.
Starting pitcher Tyler Wangler had an effective day for Depew, allowing five hits and two runs over five innings. The Fredonia State-bound Wangler, whose grandfather once played for farm clubs in the San Francisco Giants organization, also registered a hit.
Kowal credited a scrappy Depew team that he felt “could have beat us today” because their pitching was better than he anticipated and the Wildcats are not unfamiliar with playing in close, one-run games so far this season.
“We’re getting close but were not getting over the hump — bottom line is we’re not hitting the baseball, we’re leaving opportunities to score runs on the bases. Our pitching and our defense has been great so far, we just need our offense to step up now and get on task,” Depew head coach Rob Parry said.
Parry did applaud the play of third basemen Sean Driscoll, a three-year varsity player, who made a number of flashy defensive plays in the field to foil Eagles’ hitters with his glove and throwing arm.