By CRAIG HARVEY
OBSERVER Sports Editor
The Fredonia Hillbillies scored six runs in the seventh inning to rally past Harbor Creek, 8-5, on Saturday in the season-opening game of the high school baseball season.
Trailing, 5-2, heading into the seventh inning, Fredonia sent 12 batters to the plate. The Hillbillies had seven hits and two walks to aid the six-run rally. Trent Thompson (RBI single), Jude Gardner (RBI single), Cam Voss (RBI double) helped spur the rally.
After falling behind 1-0 in the third inning, Fredonia took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth.
Voss had an RBI single to score Gardner and Cody Smith hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Chris Saden.
” We came here with a couple goals,” Fredonia coach Vince Gullo said. “We used some pitchers and wanted them to throw strikes. We wanted to see the fielders hustle and make some plays. We wanted to have good at-bats. We didn’t look too good early. We were swinging hard though. When they got to their third pitcher, we were pretty good on him. That first guy just overpowered us.”
That “first guy” Gullo was referring to was Harbor Creek starting pitcher Sean Putkosky who went four strong innings as he allowed five hits and struck out six.
Fredonia used six different pitchers – Trent Thompson, Cam Voss, Weston Ley, Saden, Smith and Jude Gardner.
“Everyone was on a pitch count,” Gullo said, noting the pitch count was 30-35 pitches. “Everyone hit it except Cody. He did enough to keep us in the game. He did a great job pitching. Jude can be a weapon too and he got the save so we are happy.”
The play of the game came in the bottom of the seventh inning as freshman third baseman Jarod Burmaster made a key out to save a run.
With a runner on first base, Harbor Creek’s Tony Concilla ripped a shot down the third-base line. Burmaster dove towards the line, knocked the ball down and made the throw to first base for the out.
“He made the play of the game defensively,” Gullo said. “If he missed that, they could have tied it up. He saved it for us in the seventh. That was nice for a young freshman to do that.”
Fredonia’s Nick Hart finished with a double while Smith and Ley each had two hits.
“I told the guys, win or lose, I’m not going to be happy we won and I wasn’t going to be sad if we lost,” Gullo said. “It’s game one of the year and it was nice we played a good seven innings. We had a couple mental mistakes. But we also were aggressive on the basepaths. There were some positives out there. It was just fun to see the kids reacting. Now we have a lot to improve on.”