N I A G A R A     G A Z E T T E   - Wednesday, April 23, 2008


HS BASEBALL: Grand Island ‘Klocks’ NFHS in NFL opener

By Nate Beutel

GRAND ISLAND — Joel Klock could get used to this kind of run support.

Amazingly, the Grand Island sophomore’s stellar pitching performance was overshadowed by his team’s hit parade en route to a 15-2 blowout victory over visiting Niagara Falls in Niagara Frontier League opening-day action Tuesday afternoon.

“We’ve hit the ball late in the games this season, but I felt we were still a better hitting team than we’ve shown,” GI coach Dean Santorio said. “(Tuesday), it was great to see everybody, one through nine, hit the ball hard and hit it with men in scoring position.”

Both teams were silent until the third, when the Vikings (5-0 overall, 1-0 NFL) responded to the Wolverines’ run in the top half of the inning with five of their own off NFHS starter Mike Bright. Joe Oliverio, who finished with four RBIs on the day, ripped a two-run double to right-center to highlight the inning.

“I felt a lot more comfortable out there after that,” Klock said. “I knew I didn’t have to make the perfect pitch. I could just let the defense do their work.”

Klock continued to roll and his offense did the same, scoring four runs in the fourth and six more in the fifth. Klock’s brother, Matt, helped his younger sibling out in a big way as he ripped a three-run home run over the left-field fence to blow the game wide open in the fifth. Klock finished with four RBIs, while Neal DeMartin and Shaun Winter each had two RBIs. Greg Stephan was 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and an RBI in the win.

“They have a very tough lineup,” NFHS coach Joe Contento said. “It’s hard to get a lot of outs with their lineup.”

Joel Klock went 5 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and only one earned run for GI. He also struck out 11 batters to raise his season total to 26 in just two starts.

“He’s been outstanding since the middle of last year,” Santorio said. “He hasn’t had a bad outing since then.”

For the Falls (6-2, 0-1), Jimmy Hood and Matthew Green each had an RBI.