Hillbillies win away from return trip to Class B baseball Final Four

When junior Cam Voss toes the rubber for Fredonia (20-3) at Dwyer Stadium today at 5 p.m. for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class B baseball Far West Regional against Section 5’s Livonia (23-1), he will be pitching in yet another big game for the Hillbillies.

“With Cam on the mound, it gives us our best chance to win,” Fredonia head coach Vince Gullo said. “He’s 21-0 (in his high school career) and also, it will allow us to have our best defensive unit behind him. And that’s a plus.”

Despite not pitching since the Hillbillies’ 3-2 win over Olean in the Section 6 Class B-1 title game last Saturday, Gullo isn’t worried that the week off will have any negative effect on Voss’ performance.

“Cam got up a few times in the bullpen on Wednesday,” Gullo noted. “So there’s not going to be any problem with the layoff with him.”

What may cause Voss some trouble will be the Bulldogs’ offense, which has hit a collective .384 on the season.

“You hope that it’s all just inflated stats,” Gullo said. “But a couple of teams, their coaches, I’ve talked to them and they say they’re beatable.

“We haven’t seen them,” Gullo continued, “and that might pose a slight problem. Hopefully if we see them swing once, we can find the holes in their swings.”

Having not seen the Bulldogs himself this season, Gullo has leaned on a CCAA coach that has, Maple Grove head coach Jordan Rambacher, whose Red Dragons lost to the Bulldogs, 13-3, in Myrtle Beach back in April.

“He was very helpful,” Gullo said of Rambacher. “Jordan knows the details and his perspective was right on with what we were looking for. And it sounds like we have quite a challenge ahead of us.”

Part of that challenge will come in the form of Livonia senior standout Zack Kolodziejski.

“They have not one, but two stud pitchers,” Gullo said. “And I’m assuming we’re going to see Zack Kolodziejski.”

Kolodziejski, who will be taking his talents to NCAA Division I Niagara University in the fall, has won 10 games, struck out 87 over 53 innings of work and is pitching to an earned-run average of 1.85. Needless to say, the Hillbillies’ offense will likely have its hands full with Kolodziejski, who was a Sixth Team All-State selection last season as a pitcher and outfielder.

“From all accounts, he throws from 84 to 87 (miles per hour) with a slider and a change,” Gullo said. “Whether he will this game or not, he’s a prospect and he’s a stud. But we’ve faced studs in past years and sometimes we’ve been successful and sometimes we’ve gone down. But I think we have our stud on the mound too.”

Kolodziejski has also done some damage at the plate, as he has hit .466 with 11 doubles, five triples and four home runs while scoring 43 runs and reaching base at a .541 clip.

“We’re hoping to take the outs (Livonia) gives us, make a few sensational plays and if we keep the game close, we think we have a good chance,” Gullo said.

And if Voss doesn’t have his best stuff, Gullo will go to Cam’s first cousin, Noah Voss, who would be a decided change of pace from the lefty and who has been dominant thus far in his high school career.

“We’re hoping Cam can give us five solid innings and keep us in the game until we can catch up to their pitcher,” Gullo said. “But our No. 2 (today) is Noah and Noah might be just what we need in a game like this. He has a sharp curveball and he can spot his fastball.”

Heading into Wednesday’s overall Class B title game against Gowanda, the Hillbillies’ offense had been sputtering in the playoffs. But that all changed as they scored 10 runs on 15 hits in the win.

“We have some guys that are crushing the ball,” Gullo noted. “And (Livonia’s) averages might be deceiving, but I’d take our guys every time.”

Livonia, which is ranked No. 1 by the New York State Sportswriters Association, is the likely favorite in today’s game, despite the fact that the Hillbillies are the defending Class B state champion. And that is perfectly fine with Gullo and the rest of the Hillbillies, who are currently ranked as the No. 5 team by the NYSSWA.

“I’ve always liked to be the underdog,” Gullo said. “And for the last two years, it was hard to pretend we were the underdogs. Going into today, we are the definite underdog.”