Niagara Gazette — NIAGARA FALLS — The Cayuga Youth Athletic Association's Jocoy Collision Dodgers have earned bragging rights as the city's baseball champions.
They won the Mayor's Cup thanks to a pitching performance that would be hailed as a gem at any level of the game.
Justin Stickney surrendered just one hit, which finally came with only out out remaining in the final inning, as his Dodgers blanked the Hyde Park Tops Markets Tigers, 4-0, in the City Championship title game Friday at the Niagara Falls High School Varsity Softball Field.
"Justin Stickney has done it for us all year and the way he pitched tonight was must amazing," said Dodgers coach Richard Wright. "The kid's done it all year long. I'm just really proud of him, and proud of every one of these boys."
Those other boys provided the offense needed to win, including two runs scored in the first inning on a two-run homer by Peter Lysiak, who had a total three RBIs. He also had two of only three hits the Dodgers could muster, as Tigers pitchers John Blevins and Micai Marble were also delivering impressive performances on the mound.
The only other RBI came from Dodger center fielder Joey Lozina.
Even more impressive than the near no-hitter was that heading into the fifth inning, Stickney was actually throwing a perfect game. The first 13 batters he faced all struck out, nine of them caught looking on the third strike pitch. After forcing a hitter to ground out to second, Stickney then finally surrendered a base on balls, his only walk of the game.
When dealing with youth players, coaches must consider not overworking their still-developing arms. So as Stickney kept his perfect game intact heading into the late stages of the game, his coach had to decide whether to be careful of his arm and put in a new pitcher, or let his young hurler keep a good thing going.