Tonawanda News — With one swing of Chris Pauline’s bat, North Tonawanda’s Senior Leaguers knew the title was in their hands.
The ball flew over the centerfield fence, scoring three and giving NT a 7-4 lead over River Rock in the District 1 Senior League championship game Wednesday at Charles Klaes Field in North Tonawanda.
A Jason Richau RBI single capped off the scoring as NT defeated River Rock for the title, 8-4.
“We definitely started out rough, going down 4-1 and trying to keep everyone focused is key,” said NT head coach Dan Shantler. “It was important that we come back, get runs and get back into the game. We got the momentum going, played better defense and got a very timely hit by Chris (Pauline) and a close out from (Richau).”
Lou Medina got the start for NT. Medina struck out six over five and two-thirds innings, allowing only four runs which all came in the bottom of the third.
Paul Christopher started on the mound for River Rock, striking out two over four and two-third innings.
The game started as a defensive struggle. Both sides couldn’t get baserunners as only five of the first 17 batters reached first, all reaching by walk.
River Rock started off the scoring in the third. Medina hit one batter and walked the second. Shantler called time to wind down the young right-hander. Medina found his bearings, striking out the next two batters with ease.
“(Medina) throws so hard and gets very emotional,” said Shantler on his starting pitcher. “After I talked to him, he seemed to settle down nicely, throwing strikes, getting ahead of the batters and shutting them down.”
After the back-to-back strikeouts, Medina gave up three straight hits, allowing four runs. Despite the rough inning, Medina settled down and whirled a gem for the rest of his outing, only being pulled due to Senior League pitch count rules.