Thursday May 23, 2013 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports
Jim Gleason tossed four solid innings to help Frontier hold off Williamsville North 12-10 in a Class AA playoff opening win. (Photo courtesy of Ron Larson)
Frontier went through the highs of jumping out to a lengthy early-game-lead and the lows of giving it all back, but the toughness his team showed after that all of that is what counts to head coach Mike Morlock.
The Falcons got two in the sixth to break a tie game and then held on from there for a 12-10 first round Class AA playoff win at Williamsville North on Monday (May 20). Tenth-seeded Frontier moved on to the quarterfinals May 22 at No. 2 Lockport.
After Frontier got out to a 9-0 lead in the first inning, seventh-seeded Williamsville North chipped away to tie the game at 10 apiece after five innings. But the Falcons, who Morlock said underachieved during a 4-8 ECIC I division season, remained undaunted.
Junior shortstop Tom Stoklosa and senior Brandon Jewett came through with a pair of two-out RBI hits in the sixth and Jim Gleason threw four solid innings in relief to help Frontier pull out the win.
“Our guys showed a lot — they came back and made it tough on us,” Morlock said. “A lot of teams would have been down in the same situation, but we just considered it a new game in the fifth inning. Even when it was 10-8, we told the guys, ‘they may be jumping up and down and excited, but we’re still ahead, so play that way.’”
Frontier and Williamsville North had split the season series but North had just come off an 8-1 win at the Falcons’ home field on May 13.
“We needed to win at least one in the playoffs because we did underachieve,” Morlock noted. “We needed to pull through and get these guys to feel good about themselves.”
The sixth inning was sparked by Kevin Marcinkowski reaching base and then stealing second. Stoklosa’s run-scoring hit accounted for the game-winner and then he scored on Jewett’s base knock. NCCC-bound Evan Johnston, a senior centerfielder, added three hits as he continued a late-season tear, while Gleason was also a contributor at the plate.
The top five in the order — Marcinkowski, Johnston, Gleason, Stoklosa and Jewett, respectively — have not disappointed in the later part of the season, according to Morlock.
Gleason got some help from his defense in the seventh, as well. Stoklosa threw out a runner at third base to account for the final out in the seventh. North would have had runners on second and third.
The left-hander, who came on in relief of starter Christian Young after North’s five-run third inning, had been the starter when Frontier beat North 5-2 earlier in the season.