Tonawanda News — In a baseball game where both North Tonawanda and Tonawanda had to go deep into their pitching arsenal after a full week of action, both coaches knew it was going to be a marathon to the finish.
Almost three and a half hours after the first pitch, Tonawanda's John Frank and NT's Eric Partell were right.
The Warriors outlasted the Lumberjacks, scoring 10 runs in the top of the sixth inning en route to a blow out, 22-12 victory Friday evening at Ramsay Field in North Tonawanda.
The T-NT rivalry was evident at the diamond even before the first pitch, as "The Tribe" fan section tailgated in anticipation for the game. Frank said his players got fired up for the first T-NT baseball game in several years, especially the seniors.
"We haven't played T-NT in a couple years and it's a rivalry we'll always remember," he said. "For the seniors it's their last T-NT game with any sport or team, so we talked about going out in the right fashion and sure enough we did."
The Jacks (1-7 Niagara Frontier League) led 10-7 headed into the final two innings and had ace Matt Noakes, who entered the game an inning earlier, on the hill. Tonawanda (8-3, 6-1 ECIC IV) loaded the bases in the top of the sixth, but with two outs NT seemed to still be in the driver's seat.
Warriors second baseman Cody McGregor stepped to the plate and Noakes struck him out on an off speed pitch in the dirt, but the ball got by Jacks catcher Jim Burns. Patrick Ball reacted quickly to the play and raced home from third, beating a diving Burns at the plate to keep the inning alive.
Then senior first baseman Jared Zellner stepped into the box with a chance to bring his team all the way back from a 10-5 deficit with one swing, and he delivered, hitting a two-run single to left field. The Warriors tied the game at 10 and then took the lead after senior Steven Warthling singled and third baseman Nick Pullo was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to plate the 11th run.