The Newfield baseball team finished in second place in the Spencer-Van Etten Wooden Bats Tournament on May 11. The squad defeated Candor 10–1 to advance to the championship game against Newark Valley, which it lost 8–0.
Candor scored its first and only run of the ballgame in the bottom first to take an early lead over Newfield. Left fielder Nick Thomas hit a one-out single and eventually swiped second base. After a fly out from first baseman Bryce Mills, starting pitcher Brandon Hoyt came up to bat and drove in Thomas with a base hit as Candor would lead 1–0 after an inning of play.
The Trojans responded in the top half of the second with a run of their own. Center fielder Kyle Labarge led off the inning with a walk, stole second and reached third on a wild pitch. Third baseman Connor Gehring drove a pitch out to center field that was caught, but was not deep enough for Labarge to score. Second baseman Daejahd Leckey was able to drive in Labarge when he grounded out to third, tying the contest at one apiece.
Anthony Pawlewicz started the game for Newfield and stifled Candor’s bats. Pawlewicz went the distance, giving up just one run over seven innings of work. He only surrendered three hits and walked one batter while striking out a dozen.
“Anthony is a senior,” head coach Jeff Augustine said. “He’s been with us at the varsity level for three years. He’s played some summer ball in the past. He has the experience. … He got ahead of hitters. He controlled innings. … He kept the game moving along. He was a dominant force for us.”
Newfield broke the game open in the top of the third. Right fielder Jillian Esposito was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Esposito eventually stole second and advanced to third on a base hit by shortstop Zachary Donley. Next up was left fielder Travis Chrisman, who drove in Esposito and Donley on a base knock to put the Trojans up 3–1. Later in the inning, with two runners on, Gehring belted a double to drive in both runners, increasing the lead to 5–1. Gehring came around to score shortly thereafter on a single by Leckey to bring the score to 6–1.
The Trojans scored two more runs in the top of the fourth as well. Donley reached on an error by Candor third baseman Philip Rhoades and would eventually reach third base and score on a wild pitch. Newfield catcher Bryan Meeker drove in the second run of the inning with a base hit to put the team up 8–1.
Newfield scored again in the top of the fifth with a sacrifice fly off the bat of designated hitter Kyler McIlroy, and in the top of the sixth on another error by Rhoades. Pawlewicz set down Candor in order in the bottom of the seventh to secure the victory for the club.
Both Chrisman and Labarge went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in in the game. Chrisman scored two runs and stole two bases. Labarge scored once and hit two doubles. Leckey went 1-for-3 with a run scored, a hit by pitch, a stolen base and two RBI. Meeker went 1-for-4 with a run scored, a stolen base and an RBI. Esposito scored once and stole a base. Donley went 1-for-4 with a run scored. Both McIlroy and Mason Weaver drove in one run.
“What we did really well in the first game was we grinded things out,” Augustine said. “We got on base. We got running right away, so we were always in scoring position. We did a really good job of not worrying about hitting the ball far or hitting the ball deep, but just making contact. Put the ball in play and let good things happen.”
The Trojans’ offense was stymied in the second game of the day when they faced the Cardinals. Newark Valley took an early 3–0 lead through the first three innings of the ballgame.
Leckey started the game for Newfield and only lasted three innings. He gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits while walking five and striking out seven.
Newfield had a chance to score in the top of the fourth after Meeker reached base on an infield single and stole second with one out. However, Labarge would strike out and Gehring would ground out to the pitcher to end the inning.
Donley came in to relieve Leckey in the bottom of the fourth and served up a trio of runs to the Cardinals in the inning. Donley went three innings and gave up five runs (two earned) on one hit while walking four and striking out three.
The Trojans’ next best scoring opportunity came in the top of the seventh when Gehring drew a two-out walk and reached second on a passed ball. However, Leckey would eventually strike out looking to end the game.
Newfield only tallied three hits in the game, and Chrisman had two of those three hits. Meeker recorded the other hit along with a stolen base. Augustine said the offense was trying to swing for the fences instead of trying to manufacture runs.
“We were down a couple of runs and we wanted to hit some big balls to get us back in it,” he said. “But we’re not structured that way. We do best when we get to first, steal second, go to work, bring the run in, put a run on the board.”
Despite not winning the division – the team finished just a game out of first place – the Trojans qualified for the Section IV tournament, which Augustine said he is looking forward to.
“The more we can practice, the more we can play, the better we’ll be,” he said. “I just love the fact that I get to spend an extra week with these guys and girls.”