HAMBURG—After capturing the Scholastic South Division title the previous week, team Upper Deck took on the North Division in the overall County of Erie Baseball Association’s Scholastic title game.
Although things didn’t look promising from the start, three Springville-Griffith varsity baseball players made significant contributions to erase a 2-0 deficit in claiming the CEBA Scholastic title with a 3-2 come-from-behind win against the Cheektowaga Spartans Aug. 9 at Howe Field in Hamburg.
Neither team had an opportunity to scout the other through regular season play, as all 12 regular season league games were played within each team’s respective divisions, making the comeback even more impressive.
While it was no surprise to see Upper Deck representing the South – it had already claimed the regular-season South title – the representative from the North did surprise many. The Spartans advanced to the title game by knocking off a 13-0 New Era team.
In the overall scholastic title game against Upper Deck, the Spartans plated runs in both the first and third innings to build an early lead. Not shortly thereafter did the Springville trio rise again to do its part for a team that can best be described as a demographic juggernaut with players from all over Erie and Niagara counties.
Jarrett Wolf started things off with a RBI single in the fourth inning to cut his team’s deficit to a single run. The game remained 2-1 after five innings and with just two innings left.
Wolf found the bags again in the sixth inning and helped advance a runner that tied the game later in that inning at 2-2. Feeling the need to respond, the Cheektowaga team loaded the bases in their final at-bat in the seventh to put the nail in the coffin and restore its lead.
That’s when Austin Lux stepped up for his team on the defensive end. Not only did the centerfielder make a key catch on the run, but his spot-on throw to home plate kept the Spartan runners at bay, which consequently led to Upper Deck surviving the inning without giving up any runs.
With two of the three Springville players already adding key contributions, it was time for Evan Elkins to make one as well. With his team at bat for the final time in regulation, the soon-to-be S-GI junior got on the bags with a walk. Upper Deck’s next batter sacrificed himself to advance Evans and shortly thereafter he became the team’s hero by crossing the plate for the championship-winning run.
Whether it was all the competitive play Upper Deck encountered during a summer that saw the team travel to various venues (both locally and out-of-state) to play top competition outside of CEBA competition, the team really came together at the end by putting together a 12-0 run in CEBA play to run the table with a regular season title and two playoff titles.
Of that dozen-win streak, nine came to end the regular season combined with three playoff wins. The team’s semifinal South playoff win was the last time the team dominated an opponent with an 8-1 score over Lakeview, with both title games in the Scholastic Division (South and overall titles) being decided by just a single run.
Look for Wolf, Lux and Evans to be key contributors for S-GI varsity baseball coach Rick DeKay next spring as the trio continues to improve as summer baseball came to a close.