Margaretville bests Stamford 8-4; Awaits possible Legion playoff nod
By John Bernhardt
Margaretville 8 - Stamford 4
There was much uncertainty for the Margaretville American Legion baseball team as they headed to Stamford to play a Delaware League contest Monday night.
Backlogged games and the news that the Roxbury team had folded kept the Margaretville nine guessing about their playoff chances. With Margaretville locked in a three-team playoff chase with Delhi and Stamford, the visitors knew their only chance to continue their season in the playoffs was to earn a victory over their Stamford hosts. Margaretville did just that scoring early and often to top the junior Indians, 8-4.
Things got off to a shaky start for Margaretville. After going down one-two-three in the top of the opening innings, Margaretville surrendered two runs in the bottom of the first frame. A walk and an infield error set the table for the home team. Back-to-back singles by Luke Brockway and Jacob Pasa gave Stamford an early 2-0 lead.
Patience at the plate and good pitch selection turned the tables in Margaretville’s favor in the second. With two outs in the inning, the visitors scored three times, the first two runs via walks with the bases loaded. The Stamford pitcher walked five batters in the inning, yielding only one hit, a RBI single by Ian Williams.
Margaretville stretched the lead to 6-2 plating three more runs in the third. Patrick O’Connell worked a walk to start the inning. With one out Jon Fairbairn singled. Marshall Bouton reached base on an error to load the bases. A base-on-balls to Jake Brophy added one run to the visitors’ lead before Mitchell Hull’s single drove home the final two runs of the inning.
A diving, circus-like outfield catch by Ian Williams strangled a Stamford rally in the bottom of the third. A lead-off walk and outfield single had the hosts positioned for a big inning. That big inning seemed assured when Pasa lined a gapper between left and center field. But, Ian Williams made a spectacular diving grab to suffocate the rally, limiting Stamford to only one run, as an Indian runner tagged up and scored. “That was the best catch I’ve seen this summer,” praised Margaretville coach Rick Funck.
Strong hitting added an exclamation point in the Margaretville fourth. After a Margaretville batter reached base on an infield error, Patrick O’Connell doubled. Grant Cure’s single plated both runners extending the Blue Devils’ lead to 8-3.
The rest of the night belonged to Margaretville pitcher Cody Fronckowiak. Moving to the mound to relieve Jon Fairbairn in the bottom of the fourth, Fronckowiak used only 53 pitches over four innings to close the door on Stamford. The young hurler struck out three and walked only one, yielding three hits and only one run to seal the deal.
The win improves Margaretville’s record to 5-3, but it is not the wins and losses that pleased Funck.
“One thing that has most encouraged me is the number of Margaretville players on our roster this season,” noted Funck. “Our roster reached the maximum of 18 players and 15 of them are from Margaretville. I think we averaged 14 guys at our games this year. That’s a lot of kids playing ball,” Funck explained.
“It’s been great to give kids an opportunity to play some different positions this summer,” continued Funck. As an example, Funck cited the work of Grant Cure in the outfield and Jon Fairbairn and Fronckowiak on the mound. “That should really be a big plus for Margaretville next year,” concluded the Margaretville coach.