Jarred Zellner, who here rushes to first for an out, helped lead Tonawanda in a win over rival North Tonawanda. (Photo by Jeff Barnes)
This round goes to the Warriors.
Jared Zellner’s five RBI day led the way as Tonawanda beat the Lumberjacks 22-12 in the T-NT baseball slugfest that was played May 3 at Ramsey Field in North Tonawanda.
The end of a long week for both teams, the Warriors and the Jacks pitching staffs were both running on fumes by the time Friday came.
THS coach John Frank and NT coach Eric Partell both found themselves in a situation of having to patch work their pitching on the fly.
In the end, it was the combination of senior Tyler Hughes and Steven Warthling that got the job done on the bump for THS.
“Both Tyler and Steven, I give them a lot of credit for stepping up and doing the job for us,” said Frank.
The Jacks were able to take advantage of Hughes’ early control issues as Matt Noakes’ two-run double helped stake NT to a 4-1 lead after the first.
But Hughes rebounded with a strong second inning that included back-to-back punch outs to close out the second.
Lefty Curt Swan got the start for NT and opened with two scoreless innings. But Swan ran into command issues, and the Warriors would chip away at the lead, using a three-run third to tie the game.
But it was in the sixth inning that Tonawanda would do the most damage as the Warriors sent 16 batters to the plate and scored all 10 of its runs with two outs.
Tonawanda’s Cody McGregor (three runs) was at-bat when a dropped third strike allowed him to take first base while Patrick Ball raced home from third on a heads-up play that triggered the Warriors big inning to turn the tide in Tonawanda’s favor.
“It was a great heads-up play by Patrick on the base paths knowing he’s got to hustle to home and beat the catcher and pitcher there to score,” Frank noted.
Coming off a 12-11, 11-inning win over Eden on May 1 that took almost four hours to complete, Frank was impressed by his squads ability to remain focused both mentally and physically.
For the Warriors, it was also a bit of redemption after falling to NT in football and boys basketball this year.
“My first NT win,” said Zellner, who had two doubles, two singles, a walk and scored twice.
Warthling, the Warriors starting catcher, was called into duty early in the third inning and turned in a gutsy effort to earn the win.
The Jacks, meanwhile, went back to the drawing board as once again they saw a good effort fall shy of a win.
“Guys went out there and they tried their best,” said Partell, NT’s first-year coach. “They gave it what they had and I guess that’s all you can ask for.”
Josh Brosius, Curt Swan (2-for-4) and Nick Baron all scored twice for NT. Warrior’s lead-off man Ben Stich, who was 2-for-3, drew four walks and scored four times.