The Chautauqua County Senior All-Star Classic will likely be part of the local baseball landscape for years to come.
It's fun and it's a chance for the 12th-graders from Jamestown to Forestville and points in between to get together to show their talents one final time before graduation. But anyone who attended Wednesday night's friendly rivalry at Diethrick Park - the South won, 11-4 - will likely never forget the catch made by North first baseman Dakota Griewisch (Forestville).
With two outs and a runner at second in the top of the fourth inning, Maple Grove's Drew Bentham lofted a high pop in foul territory near the first-base bleachers. Griewisch took off toward the chain-link fence that surrounds the field.
Above, Sherman’s David Kelly of the South jumps back to first base as the North’s Pat LaMattina (Dunkirk) awaits the throw during Wednesday’s Chautauqua County Senior All-Star Classic at Diethrick Park. Below, South first baseman Nick Mitchell (Frewsburg) fields a grounder. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Scott Kindberg
Never taking his eye off the ball, Griewisch sprinted to the spot he thought the ball might land. As he did so, he ran smack into the tarp, fell forward and hit - chest first - into the top of the fence. He suffered a scratch on his left arm and a self-described "clothes-lined feeling" on his chest, but he was smiling after the game.
"That hurt,'' Griewisch admitted. "I was supposed to look for the fence and I didn't do it. I was too pumped.''
Pumped might be the operative word for the evening, which featured a little bit of everything.
"There was dominant pitching and clutch hits,'' South coach Tim Cowan said. "Every facet was on display, which was nice to see."
For the record, the South used an eight-run seventh inning - the game was nine innings long - to overcome an early 4-0 deficit.
Highlighting the rally were a two-run double by Dan Gleason (Chautauqua Lake), an RBI double by South most valuable player Jake Swan (Southwestern), and RBI singles by Jed Walsh (Chautauqua Lake) and Cole Gleason (Chautauqua Lake).
Swan reached base in all four plate appearances, drove in two runs and stole four bases.
"It was like a night with the guys and all about having fun,'' Swan said.
The North had fun early, plating four runs in the third. Highlighting that rally were a two-run triple by Lyle Howard (Pine Valley), and RBI singles by North MVP Connor Farnham (Fredonia) and Griewisch.
"It was a fun game,'' North coach Doug Kaltenbach said. "They're a good group of seniors."
Originally scheduled for Tuesday, the game was postponed because of heavy rain early in the day.
"I'd like to thank (Jamestown Jammers general manager) Matt Drayer for making the field available,'' Cowan said. "It turned out to be a fantastic night."