Cowboys a Super threat

Rich Fyle column

From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:

Mike Kogut invented the perfect formula — though hardly original at any level — to create a winning club en route to capturing a crown.

Beaver River’s first-year head coach, who won back-to-back sectional titles as a player for Bishop Ludden in 2006-07, realized the talents of his well-balanced team from Beaver Falls. It climaxed with Saturday’s sectional crown, the program’s first since 2013.

That composition is two excellent starting pitchers that are backed with a push-the-envelope offense punctuated by aggressive baserunning. Another important element is a solid, up-the-middle defense that includes the catcher, pitcher, middle infielders and center fielder.

Second-seeded Beaver River (21-2) won the Section 3 Class C-2 title after Saturday’s 8-2 win over No. 1 West Canada Valley.

Pitcher Jonah Shearer, after tender moments in the opening frames, settled down and was the beneficiary of the Beavers’ man-(or men)-in-motion-on-the-bases game that forced WCV into bad throws.

The stolen bases and the suicide squeeze bunts are a recipe for manufacturing runs, something that makes starting pitchers relax and throw strikes.

Shearer scattered five hits, retired 10 Indians in a row at one point after settling down, and struck out 12 en route to setting the program’s single-season record with 122.

In Tuesday’s quarterfinal, Shearer whiffed 14 and added an RBI double in Beaver River’s 4-2 win over No. 7 Fabius-Pompey.

Shearer’s pitching performances book-ended a one-hitter by starter Brayden Campeau, who struck out eight in Beaver River’s 10-0 blanking of No. 3 Weedsport in Thursday’s semifinals. While not on the mound, Shearer went 4-for-4 with a double.

Senior leaders Sam Bush and Noah Zehr were also key components for the Beavers during their sectional run at the plate and at catcher and in center field, respectively. Brandon Atwood, Zaccheaus LaComb and others also made their contributions known in the Beavers’ title march.

Though Beaver River was the only program among Frontier League schools over the four major team sports (baseball, softball, boys and girls lacrosse) in the spring to capture glory, a sense of normalcy returned to high school athletics for the first time in 15 months after COVID-19 struck.

Because of condensed sectionals, Class C was divided into two brackets. Top-seed Cooperstown edged No. 3 Port Byron, 4-3, in eight innings to take the Class C-1 crown.

It’s too bad we can’t see a Beaver River-Cooperstown overall final this week.

Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at rfyle@wdt.net

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