By Matt Parrino
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — After two innings on Monday afternoon at Ramsay Field, North Tonawanda and Kenmore East had already combined for 15 runs.
The Bulldogs, looking for their first Niagara Frontier League win of the season, scored six runs over the next three innings to take a 14-7 lead to the seventh. The Lumberjacks’ bats came alive in the bottom of the seventh and senior Josh Brosius came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs after his team put up six runs in the frame and a chance to be the hero.
But Ken East reliever Zach Glaspy regained his composure after the NT offensive explosion, and struck Brosius out on four pitches to end the game, giving the Bulldogs a 14-13 victory.
“We nearly gave it away in the final inning,” said Ken East coach Leslie Simon. “I’m happy to win but somewhat disappointed. NT hung in there and didn’t quit and they played it out right to the end, so you have to give them credit. It was a wild game and we somehow managed to hang on and beat them.”
NT’s No. 1 arm Matt Noakes got the start for the Jacks. He lasted only three innings, allowing seven runs before Brosius took over.
Jacks coach Eric Partell said it was just a tough outing for Noakes, who combined with Brosius and junior Trevor Young to walk 14 Bulldog batter. Noakes got behind in a lot of counts and had to throw the fastball and Ken East hit it, Partell said.
At the dish, however, Noakes was in the zone. He went 3 for 5 with four RBI and Partell said he’s really starting to find his swing again after a little slump.
“He was swinging it well the first few games and then he started to slump a little bit,” he said. “We’ve been working him and now he’s coming back around. When he gets a ball down he hits it hard. He’s a good ball player.”
Preston Smith and Rob McNamara each had a pair of hits in the game for Ken East. Simon was happy with his hitters’ approach at the plate throughout the game, forcing NT pitchers to throw strikes with their patience.
Sophomore shortstop Luke Simmons made several big plays in the field but booted a routine ground ball in the seventh that allowed the Jacks to continue their rally.
Simon said he is thrilled with the way Simmons has played this season and thinks he’ll use good and bad experiences to keep improving his game.
“He made some great plays and even though he struggled during certain parts of the game he stayed with it very well,” he said. “He’s a sophomore and he’ll grow from experiences like this.”
Partell was happy with the way his team kept fighting even after going down by so many runs. He said it’s hard to come all the way back when the team spots its opponent 14 runs.
“The defense has to catch up to the offense,” he said. “But it’s early and we’ve showed signs. Hitting has been good and the pitchers have showed signs, but it has to all come together. Hopefully we’ll get some outside practices and we’ll be able to work on some things and correct a few things. We’re almost there.”
Contact sports editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @tonanewssports.Contact sports editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @tonanewssports.