Weekly Feature

2017-05-17 / Sports

Tonawanda baseball clinches division title

by TAYLOR NIGRELLI
Reporter


Tonawanda’s Noah Mouton prepares to drive the ball to the outfield and bring home a pair of runners in the process during the Warriors’ 11-4 victory over Cleveland Hill Friday. 
Photo by Jason NadolinskiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Tonawanda’s Noah Mouton prepares to drive the ball to the outfield and bring home a pair of runners in the process during the Warriors’ 11-4 victory over Cleveland Hill Friday. Photo by Jason NadolinskiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Tonawanda baseball has not let disadvantages deter it from achieving goals. The Warriors have only 11 players on the roster, but rode that squad to the ECIC IV Title. The team is 13-2 overall and 10-1 in league play. There might not be much depth, but there aren’t weak spots either.

“We knew going in that we had a mix of veterans and young guys that were coming up from JV,” Tonawanda Coach John Frank said. “We’re a little bit spread out across the grade levels. We have three seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and a freshman. We only have an 11-man team. That’s a low number, but it can work if you have the right 11 guys. Right now it’s working. We’re doing well so far.”

Pitching has been a major key for the Warriors. The team has not allowed more than four runs in a game during its current 10-game win streak.

“We don’t just look for one or two guys to carry us,” Frank said. “Our pitching has been very good. We have four guys with at least two wins. That’s extremely important with the new rules and the weather. We’ve had to play a lot of back-to-backs. We’re finishing our final six league games in six days.”

Austin Schroeder, Noah Mouton, Anthony Angelo and Jake Witkopf have been the main guys on the mound. They’ve performed well and been helped out by a stellar defense.

“They control the at bat and keep batters on their toes,” Frank said. “They also let their defense help them out if they need it. The defense has been solid over the course of the season so far. The pitchers can feel confident that more often than not, they can receive help from the de- fense.”

The offense has also carried its weight so far this season. Tyler Buczkowski has been stellar from the leadoff position, batting .410.

“He’s been our lead-off batter,” Frank said. “He has nine extra-base hits and he’s been the offensive spark plug. He’s a team captain and a great leader on and off the field.”

Noah Mouton is leading the team with a .529 average. He also has five extra-base hits and 12 RBIs. Angelo has five extra-base hits, 13 RBIs and is batting .390.

“They have been carrying us offensively, of late,” Frank said. “We have an athletic and aggressive team. We steal a lot of bases, we’re a good base-running team. That can keep the opposition on edge. We’ve done well with that this year.”

The team will begin postseason play later this week. The Warriors don’t have any major goals, they’re just focused on winning the first game they have to play.

“The goal for the postseason is always the same,” Frank said. “Everyone starts with a clean slate. It doesn’t matter what your place was in the division. Everything is one game at a time. We have to make sure we’re coming mentally prepared for each game. We have to do the best we can do.”

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