ENDWELL A controversial balk call opened the gates for a six-run third inning on Saturday as Fredonia went on to defeat the Ogdensburg Free Academy baseball team, 9-2, on in the semifinals of the Class B state tournament.
OFA led 2-0 heading into the bottom half of the fateful third inning when starter Breton LaRose issued a one-out walk to Nick Hart. Larose was then called for a balk after complaints from the Fredonia bench and Hark moved on to second.
Weston Ley followed with an RBI single and Zach Buckley walked before LaRose was lifted for fellow right-handed pitcher Seth Pinkerton. Pinkerton then allowed the next four Hillbillies to reach base.
Fredonia finished the inning with six runs on the scoreboard and OFA never recovered.
The balk call was really, really big. It was not the determining factor in why we lost today, but it was absolutely a factor, said OFA coach Tom Pinkerton, who started LaRose on three days rest after he had hurled nine innings Tuesday. Breton was sore and tired, and we had to pull him at that point.
Fredonia (24-2), which went on Saturday evening to capture the state crown with a 7-0 victory over Clinton, finished its season on a 21-game winning streak.
The Hillbillies were led in the semifinals by senior pitcher Trent Thompson, who threw a complete-game six-hitter and helped his own cause with a two-run single in the third.
OFA had some good hitters and I didnt quite have my cutter going well early on, said Thompson, who will play baseball on scholarship next season at Azusa Pacific in California. But the six runs made things a lot easier for me. We got better as the game wore on.
OFA (13-3) scored single runs in the second and third innings.
In the second, Andrew Cole reached on a one-out error and then consecutive sharp singles to right field by Brendon Arsenault and Dakota Brady loaded the bases. Cole then scored on an infield error before Thompson retired the side.
In the third, Konnor Murdock led off with a walk and Kinnon LaRose followed with a single to left. Murdock then came around to score on a throwing error by Thompson, who then quelled the uprising.
OFA outhit Fredonia 6-5 on the day and made just two errors to three by the Hillbillies.
OFA loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, but a runner was picked off at third and the uprising was halted.
This shows you that there is not a lot of difference between Section 10 and other sections in the state. We were right there with No. 1 in the state today, said Pinkerton, the first-year coach who is the son of former OFA mentor Jim Pinkerton.
The elder Pinkerton took the Blue Devils to the state finals in 1993.
Were obviously disappointed, Tom Pinkerton said. The wheels fell of a little bit today and we had a few unfortunate circumstances go against us. We have a very good baseball team. Well be back next year.
Andrew Cole received OFAs state sportsmanship award before the game. For Fredonia, Hart also tripled and scored. The Hillbillies gave up three total runs in their seven post-season games.