Knightline, Baird split championship series opener
Gunnar Boehm, Pat Gumpto trade ace pitching performances
By Greg Gulas
Gunnar Boehm struck out 10 and scattered six hits to lead Knightline Embroidery to a 3-2 win over Baird Brothers in the opening game of the Class B League 18U championship series Sunday At Cene Park.
In the nightcap, Baird rapped out 15 hits while Pat Gumto matched Boehm, allowing just six hits and striking out three for a 9-3 win to even the series at a game apiece.
The third game is set for tonight at 8 p.m. at Cene Park.
“Gunnar threw tonight on three days’ rest, pitched his hearty out and gave us a 1-0 series lead. He just takes the ball and competes,” Knightline manager Tom Otto said. “They had 15 hits in the nightcap and they are the two-time defending league champions for a reason.”
In a pitcher’s duel, Boehm was matched inning for inning by Baird’s Spencer Curran, who also struck out 10, allowed eight hits but only three safeties after the second inning.
“My best pitch today was my two-seam. My curve complemented the two-seam, but my slider didn’t move as much as I had hoped so I didn’t throw it that much,” Boehm said. “It’s huge to when you are pitching with a lead and to go up a game right out of the chute, especially against an excellent team like Baird Brothers, is really big.”
A Kole Klassic single in the opening inning plated Coltan Stoneman with the game’s first run as Knightline took the early 1-0 advantage.
Knightline increased their lead to 2-0 in the second frame after Kevin Pollock’s single sent Aidan Wargi home, the run coming after Curran had retired the first two batters on just eight pitches.
Baird Brothers cut the Knightline lead in half in the third inning as Dayln Brickner led off with a single, stole second, advanced to third base on a single by Josh Hoffman and then raced home on an infield error.
Knightline added an insurance run in the sixth inning, again after Curran recorded the first two outs of the inning on back-to-back infield errors, the first of which put Warga on second base with Warga scoring after Stoneman followed on the second misfire of the inning.
Baird added a run in the seventh inning when Connor Rakow scored on Steve D’Eusanio ground out that cut the deficit to 3-2.
In the nightcap, the second inning set the tone of the game for Baird Brothers as they sent 11 batters to the plate, registered the first two extra base hits of the night and took their first lead of the series.
Despite a loss in the opening game, Gumto felt as if his team had the momentum entering the nightcap.
“We just needed to keep the ‘mojo’ going,” he noted. “My goal was to throw strikes and trust my defense. Dylan Swarmer is an excellent catcher and he really called a great game tonight. He has a great arm, knows the game and I hardly shook him off tonight.”
Travis Perry led off the second with a double, Andrew Russell and Swarmer followed with singles and all three scored for a 3-0 advantage.
A two-run double by Josh Hoffman made it 5-0 and when Hoffman scored on a throwing error, Baird held a 6-0 lead.
Hoffman finished with two hits and two runs batted in.
A run-scoring single by Jake McCaskey and an r.b.i. double by Ty Smith in the fifth inning increased the Baird led to 8-1, making it a 9-1 game in the sixth inning when Rowen Fletcher’s single plated Hoffman.
In their half of the sixth inning,