Voss pitches Fredonia into semifinals
Sophomore Cameron Voss allowed a run in the first inning Tuesday, but nothing the rest of the way as No. 2 Fredonia (19-2) held off No. 10 Falconer (4-15), 3-1, during Section 6 Class B-2 quarterfinal baseball action.
“He had a nice breaking ball (Tuesday),” Falconer head coach Chris Schrader said of Voss. “He had a nice command of the strike zone. I know he had some problems with walks throughout the year, but he seemed to settle down nice, throw strikes and keep us off-balance with that breaking ball.”
Voss allowed a leadoff double to Kyle Petersen in the top of the first, before retiring 21 of the final 24 batters he faced.
“We really needed that from Cam,” Gullo said. “He was lights out. He’s been effective this year, but he’s also been effectively wild and he limited his walks. He had great control and we played flawless defense. Zach Buckley did a phenomenal job behind the plate.”
Voss allowed just three baserunners after Petersen’s double to start the game – a leadoff single by Jimmy Schwab in the second, a two-out single by Jake Youngberg in the third and a one-out walk to Brandon Fish in the top of the fifth – while striking out seven.
“Both pitchers threw a real nice game,” Schrader said. “I think we gave (Fredonia) a couple unearned runs and that was the difference in the game.”
For his part, Golden Falcons’ starting pitcher Danny Williamson allowed three runs on six hits, struck out three and walked two.
“We haven’t seen Williamson since his sophomore year,” Gullo said. “And he gave us fits back then. We knew he was a good pitcher and he had three pitches working for him. He made us work hard and we made him work and giving up just three runs (Tuesday), that’s a heck of an effort by him.”
“He’s been our guy for three years,” Schrader added of Williamson. “We said, ‘you’re going to get the game ball (Tuesday) and go pitch a heck of a game.’ And I think he did.
“He had good command of the strike zone,” Schrader continued. “Only gave up one walk on the night I think and he gave us a chance to win.”
Down 1-0, Fredonia tied the game in the second inning after Jude Gardner beat out a ground ball for a single and scored on a double by Voss.
“Cam crushed that double and that got us back in the game,” Gullo said. “We all took a deep breath and bore down.”
The Hillbillies took the lead in their half of the third as they plated two runs. Cody Smith led off the frame with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Nick Hart. A ground ball moved Smith to third before he scored on a wild pitch to give the Hillbillies all the run support Voss would need. However, for good measure, Fredonia tacked on a run after Buckley worked a two-out walk and scored on a double by Gardner.
“Jude’s been hitting the heck out of the ball this year,” Gullo said. “He hasn’t been getting any of the headlines, but he’s one of our top three hitters.”
For Gullo, it was nice to see his seniors get the job done when their team needed it most.
“These guys are winners in everything they do, in every sport they play” Gullo said. “They’ve been through this and they don’t get rattled. We’ve got a lot of young guys up and (the seniors) are setting a great example for us.”
Tuesday’s game marked the third time the Hillbillies and Golden Falcons played this season, with Fredonia taking the first two, 16-7 and 8-2.
“Running into a league opponent stinks in the playoffs,” Gullo said. “I wish we could play anyone else but a league opponent, because they know us and we know them. And anything goes in the playoffs. It’s happened before where you beat a team twice and they turn around and get you. (Falconer) played a heck of a game.”
“We knew that if took care of the ball and didn’t throw it around, and made some plays, it’d be a much closer game,” Schrader added. “That’s what it ended up (Tuesday).”
Gardner and Voss finished with a double, single and RBI each while Thompson chipped in a one-out double in the fifth and Matt Sheridan had a single in the sixth, but the Hillbillies were unable to push any more runs across.
“We really tried hard,” Gullo said of his team’s attempts to tack on runs. “We couldn’t really get the (stolen bases) going. It was always just the wrong count and the wrong batter up. We tried to manufacture a few runs, but some of our bunts didn’t work out, but we didn’t press. We just kept playing the game.”
Up next for the Hillbillies will be a meeting with the No. 3 JFK Bears, who upended No. 6 Gowanda, 4-3, Tuesday.
“We’ve got Trent (Thompson) and Weston (Ley) ready to go,” Gullo said of his team’s semifinal matchup with JFK. “Cody Smith and Jude Gardner will be ready to go too. We’re just taking it one inning at a time.”
The game will be played on Friday at 5 p.m., at Fredonia.