HAMBURG—The three Springville-Griffith Institute baseball players who competed for Upper Deck this summer took the title game of the County of Erie Baseball Association’s Scholastic South Division last week in a multi-day affair.
Austin Lux, Jarrett Wolf and Evan Elkins all contributed to the team’s finish down the stretch to take first overall in the regular season standings before capturing the playoff title Aug. 6 at Howe Field in Hamburg.
The championship game actually took two days to complete after the first attempt was halted at 6-6 after seven regulation innings Aug. 3. The teams picked up in extra innings with Evans holding a 7-6 lead after the top of the ninth inning and needing just three outs to end Upper Deck’s season.
In the bottom of the ninth, Upper Deck responded with a pair of runs to take the playoff championship game 8-7. Lux had a decisive bunt sacrifice in the bottom of the ninth to advance the eventual tying run.
The trio accounted for four hits during the title game, led by Elkins, who went 2-for-4 with a double and a single. Lux had a single and RBI, while Wolf had a double that helped his team to a four-run first inning. Wolf also had three solid innings of pitching that resulted in Evans scoring just one run – unearned. All three Springville players crossed the plate in accounting for three of their team’s eight runs.
After losing to Elma 12-6 at the end of June, the team went undefeated in July to capture the regular season south title that included five wins in the season’s last five days that began by avenging the loss to Elma with a 2-1 win July 25. In that game, Wolf had the walk-off hit to end the game in the bottom of the seventh inning.
According to Upper Deck coach Mark Messina, the late-season success was helped by a few out-of-the-area tournaments. Messina believes that his team really came together after getting a chance to develop some team cohesiveness during the multi-day travel tournaments; and also playing against bigger, older and stronger tournament competition allowed his team to build more confidence in their abilities to compete, especially locally.
Upper deck took its semifinal playoff game against Lakeview 8-1 Aug. 1 before capturing the Scholastic South Division title Aug. 3-6. Upper Deck now faces the Cheektowaga Spartans for the overall Scholastic title as the Spartans captured the Scholastic North Division title with a 7-5 win over previously-unbeaten New Era. The Scholastic Division title was played at Howe Field in Hamburg Aug. 9.