Division 3 baseball: Big innings sink Frontier against Wahconah in semifinals

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  • Matt Hildreth, of Frontier Regional, pitches to Wahconah during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Connor Waitkus, of Frontier Regional, hits a single against Wahconah during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kiernan Freeman, of Frontier, watches his two-run single in the second inning against Wahconah. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Bryan Baumann, of Frontier Regional, earns a walk after being struck by a Wahconah pitch during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kyle Barnes, left, of Frontier Regional, prepares to tag out Joe Woronick, of Wahconah, at second on a steal during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Corbin Blight, of Frontier Regional, hits a RBI double in the second inning against Wahconah during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Bryan Baumann, of Frontier Regional, catches a hit by Bob Archambault, of Wahconah, during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Bryan Baumann, of Frontier Regional, throws to first base after fielding a hit by Gabe Verdi, of Wahconah, during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. Verdi was out. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Garrett DeForest, right, of Frontier Regional, gets tagged out a third base by Kyle Lee, of Wahconah, on a steal during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kiernan Freeman, second from left, of Frontier Regional, is greeted at home by Corbin Blight, left, Christian Tillona, center, and Connor Waitkus after scoring on a double by Matt Hildreth in the first inning against Wahconah during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jacob Bryant, of Frontier Regional, looks to his dugout as he celebrates stealing third base in the second inning against Wahconah during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Connor Waitkus, left, of Frontier Regional, earns a single as Chad Howes, of Wahconah, waits for the throw during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kalen Evans, of Frontier Regional, hits a double against Wahconah, Wednesday at Lorden Field in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Frontier Regional catcher Garrett DeForest fields the throw to home as Bob Archambault, of Wahconah, scores on a double by Tanner Hill in the second inning during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kiernan Freeman, right, of Frontier Regional, catches at first as Caden Frazier, of Wahconah, steps back to the base on a pick attempt by the pitcher during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. Frazier was safe. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kyle Barnes, right, of Frontier Regional, gets tagged out at home by Wahconah catcher Joe Woronick in the third inning during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday at Lorden Field in Amherst. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Frontier Regional coach Chris Williams watches from third base in the fourth inning against Wahconah during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Corbin Blight, of Frontier Regional, hits a single against Wahconah in the sixth inning during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kalen Evans, of Frontier Regional, pitches to Wahconah during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Dylan Apanell, of Frontier Regional, pitches to Wahconah during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Xavier Santiago, of Frontier Regional, pitches to Wahconah during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Bryan Baumann, of Frontier Regional, heads to first to earn a single in the seventh inning against Wahconah during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Corbin Blight, of Frontier Regional, laments in the dugout after his team’s 9-8 loss to Wahconah in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Dylan Apanell, right, of Frontier Regional, rests his hand on the shoulder of Kiernan Freeman as they endure their team's loss to Wahconah in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Lorden Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 6/12/2019 10:12:14 PM

AMHERST — There was never a doubt in the Frontier Regional dugout that the game wasn’t going to go in its favor.

When Wahconah scored five runs in the second inning, the Red Hawks didn’t panic and answered with four in the bottom half of the frame to re-take the lead. When the Warriors scored four times in the sixth to take a one-run lead, the same confidence emerged from the first-base side of Earl Lorden Field.

This time, though, the magic never materialized to prolong Frontier’s season another game. The Red Hawks left the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth and then mustered just a two-out walk in the seventh, falling 9-8 to Wahconah in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinals, Wednesday at UMass.

“We’ve dealt with adversity all year, it’s nothing new to us,” senior Matt Hildreth said. “I guess today was the day we just couldn’t come out on top.”

It was only those two disastrous innings when Wahconah was able to do any damage against Frontier’s pitching. The Warriors (14-8) mashed 11 of their 12 hits in the second and sixth innings and had just three base runners in the other five frames, none of whom ever advanced off first base.

In the second inning, Wahconah was able to exploit the same mechanical issues that Hildreth said was the root of most of his issues during a game. The first nine batters were able to reach base against Hildreth on six hits and three walks before the senior ended the threat to kick off a stretch in which he retied 11 of 13 batters. He said once he committed himself to fix his delivery between innings, he started to throw a cleaner game and control his spots better.

“I found my arm slot was too high, early in the game I was overthrowing,” Hildreth said. “I couldn’t really hit my spots the way I liked to, then before the third inning, I was in the dugout and four or five of the boys said ‘Alright, change your arm slot.’ It’s the same problem I have every time I start throwing high, throwing outside, that started working. I kind of wish I started the game that way.”

Hildreth was cruising until the start of the sixth inning when he missed on several close pitches early in the count to the leadoff batter and eventually walked him. The Warriors followed with an infield single before Hildreth was pulled from the game and minor miscues started to build up for the Red Hawks (19-4).

On a bunt later in the inning, catcher Garrett DeForest hesitated for a split second when deciding whether to charge the runner coming home from third or throwing to first for a sure out. That moment of indecision allowed the runner to score and the batter to reach safely with no outs.

There was also a bit of controversy when the first base umpire ruled a Warriors runner safe on a grounder to the right side when the umpire ruled Dylan Apanell’s foot didn’t hit the bag, negating what would have been the second out. The next Wahconah batter hit an RBI groundout that scored the winning run.

Yet once again the Red Hawks were ready to mount a response. After going silent in the fourth and fifth innings against starter Tanner Hill, Frontier adjusted and quickly put Wahconah reliever Caden Frazier in trouble. The Red Hawks worked two walks after an infield single to load the bases with two outs in the sixth. Yet DeForest struck out on a hard cut to end the threat.

“Hill did a good job throwing that curveball for a first-pitch strike,” Frontier coach Chris Williams said. “That kind of kept us off balance, but at the same time in the sixth inning, we had guys in scoring position but weren’t able to capitalize when we had to.”

Frontier got out to a quick start after locking in on Hill and squaring up his offerings. The Red Hawks did all of their scoring in the first three innings, spraying seven hits into the gaps in the defense before Hill finally ended the threat in the third.

However, Hill didn’t get much help from his defense, which prolonged his torment on the mound. In the bottom of the second, Wahconah made back-to-back errors while fielding ground balls that helped Frontier load the bases with no outs. Both of those runners ended up scoring on a single from Kiernan Freeman, which was followed by an RBI double from Corbin Blight to allow the Red Hawks to capture the lead.

The help continued in the third inning when Kyle Lee sailed a throw to second base on a routine double-play ball that put runners on the corners with no outs instead of eliminating the leadoff threats.

“It’s all about energy for us,” said Freeman, who had three RBIs in the loss. “When we get the energy on the bench, it prevails to the field. When one of us gets going, we all just follow behind because we really just play as a team. Once one guy gets going, we’re all behind him.”

Wahconah will play Taconic for the title at 1:15, Saturday at UMass.

Wahconah 9, Frontier Regional 8

Wahconah       050 004 0 — 9 12 4

Frontier            242 000 0 — 8 10 0

WP—Hill LP—Santiago S—Frazier

Records: Frontier Regional (19-4) Wahconah (14-8)




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