B U F F A L O N E W S buffalonews.com
BATAVIA—The holy trinity of baseball — good pitching, timely hitting and solid defense—is the key to winning regional playoff games.
The right mixture of parts failed to blend for Grand Island and North Collins as both teams lost to Section V opponents in the Far West Regional games at Dwyer Stadium on Tuesday night.
A four-run third inning, fueled by two errors, kicked off an offensive showcase for Aquinas in a 12-0 win over Grand Island in the Class A regional.
Meanwhile, North Collins with two errors and just four total hits saw its season end with a 7-2 loss to Arkport in the Class D game.
In the Class A nightcap, Aquinas erupted for four runs in the third, taking a 5-0 lead. It started with three singles, including an RBI single by Charlie Welling.
Then with two outs and two on, Grand Island pitcher Joel Klock overthrew first base on a grounder, allowing two more runs to cross the plate. A double by Eric Knauf plated another.
“What can you say, we obviously didn’t play our best baseball,” Grand Island coach Dean Santorio said. “But we lost to a very good team. . . . That hurt, giving up five early. We knew it would be tough to come back. Not that we don’t believe in ourselves but you can’t give a good team like that a couple of runs. It just wasn’t our day. We didn’t make the few plays we needed to and they came up with a few line-drive hits.”
A three-run fourth inning put Aquinas up 8-0 as Welling added a two-run double. It went to 12-0 in the fifth when reliever Brian Brink issued back-to-back walks with the bases loaded. Knauf then knocked in two more on a single to left.
Grand Island managed just four hits —Marvin Pawlowski singled in the first and sixth innings, Ben Tomkins singled in the fifth and Joel Klock doubled in the sixth.
In the Class D game, North Collins immediately got off to a tough start when starting pitcher Ethan Cerne was injured on the second play of the game. With the Eagles batting first, Cerne led off the game with a single then injured his shoulder while diving back to the base on a pickoff attempt.
The game was delayed as officials called for an ambulance. Coach Paul Kellner said he received reports that Cerne had dislocated his right shoulder — his non-throwing shoulder.
Senior Brandon Judson took over starting duties after being slotted as the starting shortstop. He pitched on two days’ rest and the Eagles had some defensive troubles as two errors in the first inning helped Arkport build a 3-0 lead.
“Unfortunately the first two-three innings we kicked it around out there,” Kellner said. “In my opinion we really hurt ourselves. We dug ourselves too big a hole. They had their ace [Shawn Kerr] going today and he was tough to hit.
“Our morale was sunk a bit [with Cerne out]. He’s one of our leaders and one of our better hitters. It was a tough blow but one that we couldn’t sulk about. We tried to overcome it, but it was tough.”
North Collins scored its two runs in the second inning when Greg Kruppa had a two-run single. Kruppa went 3 for 3 for the Eagles (18-6).