On To Finals

No. 5 Wilson Upsets No. 1 Frewsburg 3-2

Wilson’s Tyler Durow shares a moment with Frewsburg’s Chase Haglund after the final out of a Section VI Class C semifinal Thursday at the Robert H. Jackson Sports Complex in Frewsburg. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

FREWSBURG — As his Wilson teammates celebrated around him, Tyler Durow sought out Frewsburg’s Chase Haglund, who had just made the final out in Thursday’s Section VI Class C semifinal at Robert H. Jackson Sports Complex.

The Lakemen third baseman patted Haglund on the back and offered the latter what appeared to be some consoling words before joining the Wilson scrum.

With a different bounce of the baseball, their roles might have been reversed. But, in the end, the Lakemen’s Tyler Johnston proved to be the difference.

The junior scattered seven hits, struck out 10 and didn’t issue a walk, and Durow belted a two-run, third-inning triple to send No. 5 Wilson to a 3-2 upset win over top-seeded Frewsburg.

“He’s a full-year pitcher,” Lakemen coach Bill Atlas said. “He is his own man. … He has a really good fastball and he’s always around the plate.”

The Bears’ Vincent Sanfilippo fields a ball in center field. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

The win vaults the Lakemen (13-7) into the sectional title game at 2 p.m. Saturday against No. 2 Gowanda (16-5), which knocked off No. 3 Clymer/Sherman/Panama (12-6) 4-2 in the other semifinal. The championship game will be played at Russell E. Diethrick Jr. Park in Jamestown.

Frewsburg, meanwhile, ends its season 21-1.

“You never want anything to end when you’re having a fantastic time, especially when you’re winning ballgames,” Bears coach Eric Haglund said. “Sometimes that’s life and that’s baseball. We had some opportunities. (Wilson) is a good ball team. Johnston threw well. It was a good game.”

It’s hard to argue that point.

After Chase Haglund, the starting pitcher, wiggled his way out of a first-inning jam — left-fielder Daniel Peterson threw out a Wilson runner at the plate for the third out — the Bears tallied a run in the bottom half of the inning, courtesy of Garrett Brink’s double to right-center field that plated Haglund, who had reached on an error.

Frewsburg’s Garrett Brink steals third base ahead of a tag from Wilson’s Tyler Durow during Thursday’s Section VI Class C semifinal at the Robert H. Jackson Sports Complex in Frewsburg. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

As it turned out, that was the last time Frewsburg would lead.

The Lakemen tallied all their runs in the top of the third.

Leadoff hitter Ryan Hough reached on an error, Haglund struck out Blake Simpson and Johnston was retired when the Bears’ Vincent Sanfilippo made a fine running catch in deep right-center field for the second out. But Conner Ernest singled and Durow followed with a shot in the right-center field gap for a two-run triple.

“Finally something clicked,” Atlas said of Durow’s three-bagger. “He’s been hitting the ball the last few games.”

Tyler Woolson then plated the third run of the rally with an infield single.

Armed with a 3-1 lead, Wilson rode Johnston’s right arm to victory.

It wasn’t without some drama.

Frewsburg appeared to be set up for a big inning when Mason Eckman and Peterson opened the bottom of the fourth with back-to-back singles. With runners at second and third with no outs, Sanfilippo and Cole Mazzurco both laid down bunts, but Sanfilippo was thrown out at first without the baserunners advancing and then Eckman was tagged out at the plate on Mazzurco’s bunt for the second out. Johnston ended the rally with a strikeout.

“We tried a little small ball to get them off their rhythm,” Coach Haglund said. “It almost came through, but it just didn’t work out that time.”

The Bears did close to within a run in the fifth when Chase Haglund singled with one out, went to third on Brink’s single and scored on Maddox Sheesley’s fielder’s choice.

But that proved to be the final run of the evening.

Aidan Gruber relieved Chase Haglund in the sixth and struck out five of the six batters he faced in an impressive performance.

But Johnston, seeming to get stronger as the game went along, fanned four of the final six batters he faced to send the Lakemen into the sectional championship game Saturday afternoon.

“I’m just so happy for them,” Atlas said. “It’s such a gritty bunch and (Johnston) is one of the best ever. We’re riding his coattails.”

All the way to Diethrick Park.

NOTES: Chase Haglund took the loss, but didn’t allow an earned run. He struck out six and issued zero free passes. … Chase Haglund and Brink both had two hits. … In a rarity, Wilson batted out of order in the fifth inning.


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