Port Allegany Reporter Argus
May 14, 2009
The first time Port Allegany and Oswayo Valley met on the baseball field this season, the Green Wave turned a comfortable seventh-inning 13-2 Gators lead into a 13-11 nailbiter, sending the tying run to the plate before Port escaped with the win. Last week, coach Nate Zitnik expressed his displeasure with his team’s letdown in that game and talked about wanting to “make a statement” in last Thursday’s rematch at Moose Park.
Statement delivered, loud and clear. Shortly after jogging around the bases as part of Senior Day ceremonies, starter Mark Larson took the mound and dominated the OV hitters, striking out 10 and allowing just two hits, and the Gators pounded out 12 hits of their own in a 13-3, five-inning game.
“All but one guy in the lineup scored, and a lot of guys multiple times. When you’re doing that through the order, you can’t ask for much more than that,” Zitnik said afterward.
Camrin Stuckey boosted his team-leading .429 batting average by going 3-for-3 with two doubles and added two stolen bases, and Stuckey, Charlie Buchanan, and Lucas Kline each drove in three runs in the win. Kline hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot down the third-base line in the fourth inning, to pull within one of Larson in that category.
The big hits help – but sometimes, small, seemingly unnoticed plays can also make a difference, as the other two senior captains, Bryce Healy and Josh Guerrero, proved against OV. With the score 12-3 and the bases loaded, Guerrero took a pitch to the ribcage to bring in Healy – on third base after also “taking one for the team” earlier in the inning – with the game-ending run.
“We talk about selfless baseball, and the guys have bought into it,” Zitnik said.
That should bode well for their postseason chances, something he and assistant coach Justin Bienkowski are beginning to focus on with the playoffs right around the corner.
“We’d like to get a home game. I can’t remember the last time we had a home game here,” Zitnik said before adding with a grin, “Or a bye. I’d take a bye.”
Coudersport is one of the teams vying with the Gators for a good seed, and the Falcons (13-4) staked their claim on Monday afternoon with a 10-7 win at CARP Field to sweep the season series and earn that tiebreaker against Port (10-3). Coudy pulled ahead 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth inning and added a five-run sixth to secure the win, despite homers from Stuckey, Healy, and Seth Lowery.
The Gators have two more chances to better their winning percentage before the district seeding meeting, with Smethport visiting Moose Park Wednesday afternoon to complete last month’s rain-delayed game and play the rematch. The regular season concludes with a home game against Johnsonburg on Friday.
At Port Allegany, 5/7:
Austin (1 SO, 5 BB), Miller (4)(2 SO, 1 BB) and Jandrew
Larson (10 SO, 7 BB) and Guerrero
HR: Kline (2)
At Coudersport, 5/11:
Larson (3 SO, 10 BB), Stuckey (6)(1 SO) and Guerrero
Mickle (2 SO, 1 BB), Wolfinger (7)(1 BB), Mickle (7) and Buckler
HR: Stuckey (2), Healy (1), Lowery (1)