Tonawanda News — With the game in the balance and time running out, Frank knew he needed somebody to step up. When the lineup card read Zellner, Steven Warthling and Pullo in the sixth — three seniors — he said he couldn't have asked for a better spot in the lineup down a run.
Pullo said the win was extra special because there is no next year for the seniors. He welcomed the opportunity to help his team win and his game-tying double was exactly what the doctor ordered.
"I had previously struck out my last few at bats, but I talked to my sister and my mom — I go to them when I'm getting frustrated — and they just told me to calm down," Pullo said. "I went up there and forgot the last two at bats and got that double."
Lost in the number of late-game clutch plays by the Warriors was a big time play by junior Ben Stich in the first inning. East Aurora took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first and Stich walked to lead off the bottom.
With two outs and Stich on third, he tested the Blue Devils catcher as he raced toward home and beat him after a botched pitch to score the first run. Zellner had a double in the first, but the Warriors went hitless in innings two through five, making Stich's heads up base running key in the win. Freshman Bret Kelly, who had a single in the game, also made a huge play in the game: a magnificent diving catch to end the top of the sixth inning with a runner on base.
Tonawanda lost in the semifinals last season and now moves on to play No. 9 seed Springville at Sal Maglie next week. Zellner said the team talked before the game and agreed that nobody was ready to go home quite yet.
"I didn't want to go out the way we did last year again," he said. "We talked about not having a repeat performance from last year. Just go out and get the win."Contact Sports Editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @TonaNewsSports.