Weekly Feature

2017-05-18 / Sports

Baseball team goes 5-3 in busy week

Sports Reporter

Jordan Lewis of Orchard Park throws a runner out at first off his back foot in a win over Hamburg Friday. The Quakers won five of eight games in a busy week. 
Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Jordan Lewis of Orchard Park throws a runner out at first off his back foot in a win over Hamburg Friday. The Quakers won five of eight games in a busy week. Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com There wasn’t much time to breathe last week for Orchard Park baseball.

The Quakers played eight games over six days, finishing up the league schedule with an impressive showing.

The team started things off with a 3-1 win over West Seneca West Monday. Sophomore Adam Riter got the start for Orchard Park, throwing six innings, striking out five and allowing zero runs. Cole Hollins had two RBIs at the plate to help lift the Quakers to victory.

Tuesday, they got a 5-3 win over Williamsville North. Sophomore Josh McTigue went six innings, allowing six hits and three runs. They scored all three in the same inning, but Orchard Park stormed back to take the lead, scoring three runs in the fourth and two in the sixth. Hunter Filsinger had a hit and two RBIs while seven Quakers had two hits each.

“They scored three in the top of the third to go up 3-0,” Orchard Park coach Jim Gibson said. “But he settled down from there and pitched great. Adam and Josh are both sophomores and they’re both pitching very well for us. The future is bright for the pitching staff. Will North is having a good season, so that’s a pretty big win for us.”

They followed that up with a 13-1 win over Frontier. Ryan Dietz threw a two-hitter, Filsinger had three RBIs and Hollins drove in four. The team drew six total walks in the win.

“We really had the bats going that day,” Gibson said. “Ryan just throws strikes and doesn’t walk anybody. He always gives us a chance to win. We had an eight-run second inning and that made things a little easier for us. Anytime you can draw walks and get big hits, that’s a good combo for us.”

Thursday was a bit of a letdown as Clarence came back to defeat Orchard Park. The Quakers led 8-3 going into the top of the sixth inning, but the Red Devils scored seven runs to take the lead. Freshman Josh Higgins pitched the first four innings for the Quakers, but the team wasn’t able to hold his lead. Troy Banks, Patrick Milton, Patrick Gavigan and Ben Shoop each had two hits in the loss.

“We were ahead 8-3 going into the top of the sixth inning,” Gibson said. “They scored seven runs in that inning and took the lead. That inning was a nightmare. We had walks, hit batters and it seemed like all their hits found holes. We hit the ball well, though. We had 10 hits. We scored enough, but we just couldn’t do enough.”

Friday saw Orchard Park split a double-header against Hamburg. The first game was a 15-5 win. Dave Morris got the start and allowed three runs in the first inning. He allowed none for the next five innings. Hollins had three hits and three RBIs. Filsinger and Jordan Lewis both had two hits. Dietz had three RBIs.

The next game was cut off after five innings due to darkness. Hamburg won 8-6. Orchard Park tied things up at six just before the Bulldogs pulled away with an 8-6 win. Gavigan and Hollins had two hits each in the loss.

“The first game took a long time, so the second game started pretty late,” Gibson said. “I knew we weren’t going to be able to get the whole thing in. We scored to tie the game at 6-6, but they scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. They called the game after that due to darkness.

The pitching staff was a little stressed at that point. They were starting to feel the effects of a tough week. I thought we could have come back if we had those extra innings, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

The Quakers played a split doubleheader of non-league games Saturday, starting off with an 11-7 loss to St. Francis. The Red Raiders jumped out to an 8-0 lead early on. The Quakers fought back but were unable to catch up. Hollins had two hits (including a home run) and three RBIs. Filsinger had two hits and an RBI.

“We played very well after those first two innings and got the game to 11-7, but fell into too big of a hole,” Gibson said. “It was our seventh game in six days, so we were pretty tired. We swung the bats well. We would have liked to have the first two innings back.”

They then traveled to St. Joe’s for the second game of the day and walked away with a 6-2 victory. McTigue got the win for the mound while Ryan Dietz closed things out. But Hollins was the star of the day. He finished with five RBIs in the second game, including two home runs. That brought him to a total of three home runs on the day. He now has 36 RBIs in 18 games, tying him for fifth in a single season in school history. However, everyone ahead of him has played at least 24 games in their respective season. Hollins had a solid shot at getting to the top spot of 45.

The team will play its final regular-season game Saturday against St. Francis. They’ll then begin the playoffs Monday. The key to winning in the postseason will likely be the pitching staff. The Quakers have been stellar on offense all season, but the pitching has been more inconsistent. The pitching staff is young, but it has improved steadily over the course of the season. It will be hugely important for the team to avoid injuries to their starters going forward.

“The big thing is we’ve scored more runs than Lancaster or anyone else,” Gibson said. “But we lost Tyler Reagan in Florida. He was going to be our number one. But the pitching is starting to come around. We’ve had to rely on some juniors, sophomores and a freshman. We took our lumps early, but we’re starting to come along. To be able to beat Williamsville North, play well against Clarence and beat St. Joe’s is a big thing. We might also get Tyler back at some point. His collarbone is coming along really well. He might be available at some point, which would be a big boost.

“Adam Riter sprained his ankle Wednesday after his great start Monday. It’s been one thing after another this year. We’ve never had so many injuries. We lost Jake Johnson in March when he broke his wrist. He probably would have started in the infield for us. Dietz came out of nowhere and has been phenomenal. We’ve spent the season trying to figure out the pitching, but it’s getting better.”

email: tnigrelli@beenews.com

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