PAHS spring sports roundup: 4/23/09

Baseball:
Gators split pair of NTL games

After holding off a late comeback attempt at Oswayo Valley to win 13-11 and run their season-opening streak to five games, the Port Allegany High School baseball team came back to Moose Park on Thursday for an early-season showdown against Coudersport, another North Tier League contender.

There, they ran into Bret Metzger. The Falcons’ ace stole the spotlight from the home team, coming within a single strike of pitching a no-hitter and crushing two home runs to straightaway center field in Coudy’s 12-0 victory.

“He was just outstanding,” said Coudersport coach Doug McClintic, whose team improved to 6-2 with the win. “He came out and rebounded us from our loss to Bradford. That was a tough loss, and we struggled with pitching. Buddy came out and just pounded the strike zone, and let us get going. And he comes up one hit short of a no-hitter, which is rare to see. I’ve never been that close to one before, playing or coaching. So that was a lot of fun to watch, and he deserves all the credit … He’s the leader of this team.”

Metzger, back for his senior season after missing 2008 with a knee injury, was determined not to let some early struggles at the plate affect his pitching.

“I just kept going and got in a groove, just kept striking people out and getting groundouts, and my defense helped me out,” he said. “Then eventually, to come up with the first home run … And I’m speechless for the second one. I feel like I’m finally in my groove again.”

After a scoreless first frame, Coudersport put two unearned runs on the board before breaking the game open in the fourth with three singles and Metzger’s first blast. Meanwhile, the Falcons righthander was in cruise control on the mound, striking out eight of the first 13 batters he faced and setting the Gators down in order in both the third and fourth innings.

Leading 6-0 heading into the fifth, the visitors took advantage of a pair of walks and a hit batsman to add to their lead before Metzger’s second homer ended the scoring. Coudy took the field for the bottom of the inning with the 10-run rule in effect and recorded the first two outs, including Metzger’s tenth strikeout, before Ryan Bodamer lined a clean single to center on a 2-2 pitch to break up the no-hitter.

“Obviously, you have to tip your hat to the kid,” Port coach Nate Zitnik said. “He’s definitely a very good pitcher for the area. I kept telling the guys, ‘You can’t help him out.’ He wasn’t really throwing his curveball for a strike, but his fastball was legit. We were trying to get the pitch count up, and we were doing all right with it, but then we kind of fell apart. You know, that’s a really good ball team. You have to give them credit.”

But while he was more than willing to compliment the Falcons, Zitnik admitted his own team didn’t play up to their potential.

“I think they kind of lost focus, and didn’t realize exactly what was going on,” he said. “It’s a 0-0 ballgame (after three innings) if we do the little things right. Going back to what we always said, if we do the little things right and execute, we win ballgames. I would have been happy with 0-0 going into the fourth and then see where it goes, but it kind of got away from us a little bit. Plus, we have a lot of young guys, and they were a little outclassed by his fastball. That’s something we’re going to have to work on and get better at.”

“I’m still standing behind my guys and I think we have a pretty solid ballteam,” he continued. “We just have to come back – keep pitching, keep hitting, keep playing defense. I wouldn’t trade them. If anything, this is going to teach them a little about adversity.”

Then, thinking back to the Oswayo Valley game earlier in the week – where the Green Wave sent the tying run to the plate after going into the seventh inning down 13-2 – Zitnik talked about another teaching moment for his young squad, now 5-1 on the season.

“The important thing is, I think, that there are lessons to be learned in every game,” he said. “Going back to that whole title fight thing, I told the guys, ‘Baseball’s timeless. You’re not going to get saved by the clock. You let someone hang around, they can knock you out.’ It’s nice that I can refer back to that, and they have it in their memories as well.”

He concluded, “They’re learning the game, and I’m very happy with their progress. We’ll take something from each of the wins and each of the losses, and we’ll go from there.”

Camrin Stuckey pitched into the sixth inning to earn the win over OV, and helped his own cause with a solo home run. Mark Larson, who led the Gator attack with a grand slam, also took the mound in the seventh to shut down the Green Wave comeback and earn the save.

Port is back in action for three games this week, with a trip to Smethport and a home game with Otto-Eldred preceding Friday’s 4:15 p.m. start against Bradford at Moose Park.

At Shinglehouse, 4/14:
PA 1 0 5 1 1 1 4 – 13 7 4
OV 0 0 0 1 0 1 9 – 11 7 6
Camrin Stuckey (6 SO, 2 BB), Brock Bricker (6) (3 BB), Mark Larson (7) (1 SO, 1 BB) and Josh Guerrero
Ryan Austin (7 SO, 7BB), Chris Krajewski (7) (3 BB) and Jake Jandrew
HR: Stuckey (PA), Larson (PA)

At Port Allegany, 4/16:
C 0 1 1 3 6 – 12 11 0
PA 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 1 2
Bret Metzger (10 SO, 1 BB) and Zach Buckler
Mark Larson (5 SO, 5 BB), Lucas Kline (5) and Josh Guerrero, Zach Sigafoes (5)
HR: Metzger (C) 2

Softball:
Gators fall to Green Wave, Falcons

After winning its first game of the season against Cameron County on Apr. 8, the Gators softball team was unable to make it two in a row against Oswayo Valley last week, with the visiting Green Wave scoring early and often in a 21-4 victory.

“We just did not play well at all. We did very little correct in that game … it was just a very poor game on our part,” said Port High coach Dave Roae, who did note that Cora Bova went 2-for-3 with a triple in the game.

“Cora has some pop in her bat. She gets some really good at-bats for us. She’s getting some RBIs, and in three out of five games, she had an extra-base hit (two doubles and a triple). She’s probably our leading hitter right now, average-wise and in on-base percentage. She’s a full-time starter this year, and she’s done well,” he said.

The score was closer but the result was the same against undefeated Coudersport on Thursday, with the Falcons riding Kori McManus’ one-hitter to a 10-0 decision to improve to 7-0.

Despite the outcome, Roae did see some positive signs from his young team: “We lost 10-0. However, the girls came to play; they were into it. Sarah (Brodhun, who scattered five hits, struck out six, and allowed six walks) pitched a good game. Going into the third inning, it was nothing-nothing. They scored three in the third, and then Sarah started getting tired in the fifth. She pitched very well, we had just a couple of errors, and overall, we played a much better game than Tuesday,” he said.

While the fifth-year coach admits he’s a little perplexed by the team’s slow start, he’s also realistic about the caliber of competition they’ve faced. And the schedule doesn’t get any easier this week, with games against Smethport and Otto-Eldred before a trip to the Bolivar-Richburg tournament on Friday afternoon.

“We have the talent to be better than our (1-4) record,” Roae said. “We’re not playing up to our potential, and I’m not quite sure why that is … At this point, it is a little disappointing looking at our record, but we have faced some tough teams so far. I guess we’ll see how we do going forward.”

Track and field:
Boys beat Smethport; Evens quadruples against Hubs, places at Kane

The Port Allegany track teams finally got to run their first dual meet of the season last Thursday in Smethport. Behind triples from Denzel Middleton (110/300 hurdles,400 relay), Tyler Payne (1600, 3200, 3200 relay), Ben Osani (100, 200, 400 relay), and Josh Fox (400, 800, 1600 relay), the Gator boys dominated the competition, winning 14 of 18 events to cruise to a 118-32 victory.

The girls fell 85-65 to the Hubbers despite a quadruple by sophomore Bryanna Evens, who swept the sprints and ran a leg on the winning 400 relay team. Head coach George Riley also noted that Jessica French and Kelsey Payne each earned a spot at the District 9 meet with their performances.

“Jessica came in second in the 1600 run, behind Smethport’s Tracy Woodring, with a time of 5:57, which is district qualifying. Kelsey qualified in the high jump with a jump of 4’9″; she also finished second, behind April Alfieri of Smethport,” Riley wrote in an e-mail to the Reporter Argus.

On Saturday, the teams’ top athletes faced a different level of competition – including several Class AAA schools – at the Kane Invitational. Evens improved her district-qualifying time in the 400-meter dash, finishing fourth in 1:04.81. French qualified for districts in the 800 run with a time of 2:39.09, winning her heat and finishing 12th overall. While no boys medaled, Riley noted that several personal bests were recorded.

Both teams are slated for two meets this week, visiting Coudersport to face the Falcons and Oswayo Valley on Tuesday, then returning home to host Otto-Eldred at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday. And in a scheduling change, the Sheffield meet has been moved up a day; the Gators will now travel to Warren County on Apr. 29.

boys: Port A 118, Smethport 32
100: Osani (PA) :12.1, 200: Osani (PA) :24.7, 400: Fox (PA) :54.6, 800: Fox (PA) 2:18.9, 1600: Payne (PA) 5:05, 3200: Payne (PA) 11:17.3, 400 relay: Port A (Middleton, Woods, Mitchener, Osani) :47.9, 1600 relay: Port A (Greenman, Gustin, Willis, Fox) 3:56.1, 3200 relay: Port A (Kysor, Coxen, Roush, Payne) 9:19, 110 hurdles: Middleton (PA) :18.6, 300 hurdles: Middleton (PA) :46.3, long jump: Paulik (S) 17-2, triple jump: Nelson (S) 35-11 ½, high jump: Nellis (PA) 5-7, shot put: Isadore (S) 38-11, discus: Isadore (S) 109-4, pole vault: Tanner (PA) 10-0, javelin: Fabish (PA) 133-2.

girls: Smethport 85, Port A 65
100: Evens (PA) :13.5, 200: Evens (PA) :28.98, 400: Evens (PA) 1:06, 800: Woodring (S) 2:37.2, 1600: Woodring (S) 5:55, 3200: Raymond (S) 13:43.9, 400 relay: Port A (Drabert, Foster, Schena, Evens) :56.4, 1600 relay: Smethport (Stratton, Alfieri, Carlson, Woodring) 4:41.7, 3200 relay: Smethport (Stratton, Nannen, Carlson, Woodring) 11:18, 100 hurdles: Alfieri (S) :18.02, 300 hurdles: Alfieri (S) :52.3, long jump: Kelley (PA) 13-2, triple jump: Drabert (PA) 26-2, high jump: Alfieri (S) 4-11, shot put: Anderson (PA) 27 5 ¼, discus: Duffy (S) 82-5, pole vault: Hahn (S) 7-6, javelin: Duffy (S) 95-2.

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