Putney Pitches Fredonia Into Class B Semis

Fredonia’s Ashton Putney delivers to the plate during Monday’s Section VI Class B quarterfinal baseball game against Newfane. P-J photo by Christian Storms

FREDONIA — All year long Fredonia ace Ashton Putney has needed very little run support when he pitches and it was the same in Monday’s Section VI Class B quarterfinal baseball game.

However, Putney’s Fredonia teammates decided to bring plenty of run support as the Hillbillies walked off in six innings against No. 7 Newfane 10-0.

“He set the tone early,” Fredonia head coach Tim Cowan said. “With his velocity and, more importantly, his location. He challenged hitters, had few balls put in play, a lot of the balls put in play were hit weakly or up in the air. When he can do that and we can play pretty comfortable defense behind him, that’s excellent.”

The game started with Putney on the mound and it ended with him too, but with a swing of the bat. With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, Putney stepped up and labeled a ball for left-center to easily score AJ Kinney, and then Andrew Cowan just beat the throw home to win the game.

The second-seeded ‘Billies (16-5) won both close plays at the plate, once to win the game and then another time to preserve the shutout.

Fredonia’s Andrew Cowan slides home to score the winning run in the sixth inning against Newfane in the Section VI Class B quarterfinals on Monday. P-J photo by Christian Storms

Putney gave Fredonia 5 1/3 innings of nearly perfect, no-hit baseball on the mound, but after a walk to CJ Nagel and a strikeout to start the sixth inning he reached the predetermined pitch limit of 70.

“We pulled Ashton at 70 pitches,” Cowan said about the game plan with his pitchers. “If he needs to close on Wednesday, that’s a possibility. We did not want to look past this game, but we have other goals and that was a calculated risk on our part, but we were 100% behind it.”

Owen Rush came in for relief and finished off Putney’s last batter with a strikeout, but then came Newfane’s only hit of the game. Ben Dickinson hammered a double to deep left that was chased down by Luca Gullo who made the perfect relay to Nathan Sercu at shortstop and then Sercu gunned it home just in time for Cowan to tag out Nagel.

“We were comfortable ahead 7-0, but no lead is safe in the playoffs,” Cowan said. “You tip your cap, Dickinson hit it well, obviously, and we made a great relay. Luca not only has to track that ball down, but he hits Nate on the fly and Nate hits Andrew on the fly and we get a good tag.”

The relay throw preserved Putney’s shutout and his pitching line ended with no hits, one walk and 10 strikeouts in the win.

Dickinson led off the game by reaching first on an error, but was thrown out stealing for the first time this year, by Cowan behind the plate. Then Nagel reached on his walk and Dickinson’s double gave him the Panthers’ only hit.

Cameron Perry got the nod for Newfane on the mound and the Fredonia lineup needed to see him just once before doing real damage.

Leading 1-0, Fredonia broke things open in the bottom of the third and the bottom of the fourth inning with three runs apiece. Colin Crowell highlighted the third with a two-RBI single to right field that scored Matt Cowan and Colin Luce. Then, in the fourth, Luce hit a two-run single that scored both Putney and Rush, and he scored when Sercu hit his second RBI of the game.

Perry was relieved by Brayden Seitz in the fourth, but Crowell welcomed him with the first of his two doubles on his way to finishing 3 for 4 with three RBIs.

“His first at bat was not what he’s capable of,” Cowan said about Crowell. “Instead of moping about it and getting down, he just doubled down on his plan and his execution was exceptional through the rest of the game. He went single, double, double in his next three at-bats and that’s what it takes. We don’t expect anybody to be perfect, but if you do make a mistake, we adjust and move forward and he was a perfect example of that today.”

Fredonia’s victory sets up a home semifinal matchup with No. 3 Portville (17-1) on Wednesday at 5 p.m. The Panthers advanced to the semifinals with a 5-3 victory over No. 6 East Aurora on Monday.

“We’ll have our hands full … ,” Cowan said about Fredonia’s next opponent. “Honestly, I know it’s a cliche, but it doesn’t matter who it is, it’s really going to come down to how we execute. If we do the things we’re capable of, we’ll be in good shape on Wednesday and we’ll take the outcome.”

Newfane finishes 10-6.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today