Tonawanda News — CITY OF TONAWANDA — Before mother nature shortened the game, the North Tonawanda Senior League team made short work of River Rock, winning 3-0 Thursday in the final game of round robin play.
Both River Rock and North Tonawanda came into Thursday’s matchup at Veterans Park undefeated, both clinching berths into the championship game.
Getting the start on the mound for North Tonawanda was Jason Richau. Richau struck out five over four innings, only allowing two baserunners during his time on the mound.
With a decent fastball for the Senior League level and off-speed pitches that drop off significantly in speed, Richau had the boys of River Rock Little League fooled all game.
Although Richau threw well, the NT team played strong as a whole.
“It was important that we got every kid ready,” said NT head coach Dan Shantler. “They stayed focus and they made great plays out there. It was seamless.”
The game was a precursor for Monday night’s District 1 title match at Charles Klaes Field in North Tonawanda.
Richau struck out two in the first inning, framing his pitches and working the final batter of the inning into a ground ball right to shortstop Lou Medina.
North Tonawanda scored early when Jeff Kish hit a fly ball to center field, allowing Kyle Painter to score from third.
Speed was the theme in this game as both pitchers made quick work of their opponents. Owen Laureano struck out three over five innings for River Rock, allowing only four hits and three runs.
In the third inning, Laureano only needed five pitches to get three outs and his team back up to the plate.
North Tonawanda struck again in the fourth. Devin Starr led off the inning with a single. Hudson Earl reached base on an error. Nate Wilkinson blasted a line drive to the right-center, scoring both Earl and Starr to take a 3-0 lead.
North Tonawanda put all of their subs in the game to make sure very player got a chance to play and warm up against River Rock.
Each team had a scoreless fifth inning right before it started to rain. The rain already started to puddle on the field and the umpires called the game after five.
The teams will play the championship round at 6 p.m. Monday.