Frazier Fantastic as Wahconah Edges Hoosac Valley
ADAMS, Mass. -- Caden Frazier was lights out under the lights at Renfrew Park on Friday night.
The Wahconah junior struck out 14 and allowed just one hit, an infield single in the bottom of the sixth, in a 3-0 win over Hoosac Valley.
Frazier sat down the first 15 men he faced before Devin Kogut legged out a single on a ground ball to the left side.
The right-hander said that he did start to think about the possibility of a no-hitter as the outs mounted.
“Sometimes you do [think about it],” he said. “I mean, I had the perfect game going until that groundball to shortstop. So, yeah. But otherwise, I’m just going for strikes and getting out of the game.”
Frazier also helped provide all the offense he needed, delivering an RBI double in the top of the third.
But his bigger impact came on the mound, where his fastball had Hoosac batters chasing all night. Frazier worked in an occasional off-speed pitch just often enough to keep the Hurricanes off balance.
“As long as he starts games, he’s great,” Wahconah coach Ernie Wellington said. “When he comes in in relief, sometimes he’s a little shook up. But when he starts games, he does great.”
Frazier got off to a fast start on Friday, striking out the side to set the tone.
“It gives the team good energy and gets everybody up and going,” Frazier said.
Hoosac Valley also got off to a good start, defensively, in a very different top of the first.
Two walks and a Chad Howes single loaded the bases for Wahconah before the Hurricanes could record an out.
But Henry Sniezek bore down, getting the next man swinging, snaring a comebacker to the mound and firing to first for out No. 2 and getting the final out on a called third strike to avoid any damage.
The damage finally came in the third, when Jake Gai led off with a single and stole second. Two batters later, Frazier ripped a double to right-center to make it a 1-0 game.
It stayed that way through six innings, though Sniezek needed help to get through the sixth.
After retiring the first two men, he walked three straight, and John Krol came in from center to get a strikeout and end the threat.
“Henry may have run out of gas a little, but he hasn’t pitched in, like, 12 days,” Hoosac Valley coach Trevor Swistak said. “But he gave us an absolutely outstanding game. Hats off to him. He pitched extremely well.”
In 5-⅔ innings, Sniezek struck out seven and stranded 10 runners -- not counting the three that Krol left on base in the sixth.
Wahconah broke through for some insurance runs in the top of the seventh with some small ball.
A hit batter, a stolen base and a bunt single put runners at the corners with one out. Hoosac Valley elected to give an intentional pass to Bob Archambault to load the bases and set up the force plays, but Kevin Huban laid down a perfect bunt to the left side for a single that made it 2-0. Zak Bernardo then delivered a sacrifice bunt to score Joe Woronick, who had bunted his way aboard.
It looked like that insurance might come in handy when Hoosac Valley got the tying run to the plate with one out thanks to a pair of errors in the bottom of the seventh.
But Frazier got a swinging third strike and a grounder to Gabe Davis at third to end the game.
Both Wahconah (11-7) and Hoosac Valley (10-8) have a little more work to do in the regular season. The Hurricanes are back at it on Saturday at Taconic before closing against Drury on Monday. Wahconah is at Lenox on Saturday.
But games like Friday’s -- where the only errors were the ones in the bottom of the seventh -- show that both teams are ready for the sectional tournament that gets underway next week.
“I”m happy with the way we’re playing,” Swistak said. “This one, when we hit, we hit, but they made the plays. … It was a like a tournament atmosphere and a tournament game. It’s good for us. We were on the wrong side of it, but to build for it for our tournament, it’s good for them.”
Wellington is happy with his team’s performance down the stretch as Wahconah picked up its third straight win on Friday night.
“We’ve been playing well,” he said. “Kids are on top of it right now. They’re starting to play well and starting to get in their groove. They just want to play baseball right now, which is not common this time of year. This time of year, a lot of kids start drifting off. But these kids are anxious. They want to play baseball.”