Gowanda battles in loss to Fredonia

GOWANDA – A four-run second inning gave the Fredonia Hillbillies (5-0, 10-0) exactly what they needed to overcome the Gowanda Panthers (4-3, 7-3), 6-3, in CCAA Division 1 baseball action Friday night under the lights at Gowanda High School.

Fredonia got a big boost when Weston Ley came on in relief in the fourth inning to strike out seven in dominate fashion.

“Weston came on and did a nice job fighting in what was a playoff-like strike zone,” Fredonia coach Vince Gullo said. “Scoring the runs we did early was a big help, because once Walker Cygan came in to pitch for Gowanda he was lights out, but Weston was just as good.”

The Hillbillies struck first when Ley hit a double in the first inning and crossed home on a passed ball to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Fredonia’s first two batters of the second inning both reached on walks. Both of those walks turned into runs with Cameron Voss coming around to score when Nick Hart hit a double.

Later in the inning two more runs would come across the plate when Ley came up with another big hit to rack up two RBI.

When the dust cleared, Fredonia had a strong 5-0 lead, but in the bottom half of the inning the Panthers answered back.

Cole Dailey reached on an error which was followed by a Chase Williams walk and a Justin Grimm walk to load the bases.

Carter Benton earned the RBI with a walk to plate Dailey and Williams crossed the plate on a passed ball to cut Gowanda’s deficit to just three runs.

In the third inning, the Panthers added another run on Ryan Boutelle’s infield single.

Dailey followed with a walk and Boutelle came around to score on a Fredonia throwing error to make it 5-3 in favor of the visitors.

“I want our team to be in games like this,” Gowanda coach Tim Smith said. “I wanted them to battle and being in games like this with good teams will help us out. It will help us right away and in the future. Fredonia is a very experienced team and this will only help us.”

Through the three innings that Fredonia starter Voss pitched, he was able to get six strikeouts, but matched that total with six walks.

Cygan came on in the third in relief for the Panthers and had a good outing as he allowed just two hits and struck out eight.

“Walker did a nice job going in and throwing strikes for us,” Smith said. “He kept us in a position to give us a chance to win. He kept the pressure on Fredonia.”

The Hillbillies added an insurance run in the sixth as Hart hit his second double of the game, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on Zach Buckley’s fielder’s choice.

“Hart had a good night for us with two big hits,” Gullo said. “He also made a very nice throw from centerfield to double up a runner. Overall he had a great game.”

Gowanda added one more hit in the seventh inning, but were unable to get the bats going in time for a comeback.