READY TO DELIVER — Josh Mitchell is locked and loaded prior to delivering a two-run single in Gowanda\'s 12-9 victory over Orchard Park. Gowanda returns home to play Hamburg on July 21 beginning at 6 p.m. (Photo by Mark Benton)
FOLLOWING THROUGH — Gowanda pitcher Carter Benton follows through with a pitch against Orchard Park in CEBA baseball action at Panther Park on June 27. Gowanda won their third game in four starts. (Photo by Mark Benton)
A pre-game shower didn't dampen the spirits of the Gowanda CEBA baseball team as they jumped out to a 12-1 lead after six innings, and withstood a furious comeback by the visiting team from Orchard Park to secure a 12-9 victory. The game was played at Panther Field on Thursday, June 27.
Gowanda took an early lead with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Matt Kruszka led off with a triple. He and Josh Balzer, who reached base on a walk, would both cross the plate courtesy of a Walker Cygan RBI and a passed ball.
The hometown team scored three more times in the third as Josh Mitchell's two-out single plated two Gowanda baserunners. Cole Dailey also as had an RBI in the inning.
Orchard Park broke the shutout with an unearned run in the top of the fifth inning. However, Kruszka's second triple of the contest came with the bases loaded, pushing the Gowanda lead to 8-1 after five full innings of play.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Cygan's long blast to right centerfield knocked in two runs. Coach Tim Smith's team then added two more runs that all but secured the team their third victory in four games to start the summer season.
However, the Orchard Park bats came to life in their last inning and produced eight runs on six hits, two walks and two Gowanda errors. When the final out was recorded at first base, Gowanda had hung on for a 12-9 win.
Gowanda received another quality start from pitcher Carter Benton. The right-hander raised his summer record to 4-1 on the mound by throwing the first five innings of the game. He gave up just one hit that was a leadoff single, struck out seven and only allowed one unearned run before Kruszka took over in the sixth.
The CEBA team will now hit the road for five consecutive games. Their next home game is scheduled for Sunday, July 21, at Panther Field beginning at 6 p.m.