090423 LP/GI baseball2

090423 LP/GI baseball2/sports DAN CAPPELLAZZO/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Lewiston - Grand Island pitcher Joel Klock throws in second inning action against Lewport at Washuta Field.

Lewiston-Porter baseball coach Mark Waple told his players before Thursday’s Niagara Frontier League matchup with Grand Island that they were about to see one of Western New York’s best pitchers in the Vikings’ Joel Klock.

Waple wasn’t being prophetic — he was playing the percentages.

As he’s done consistently throughout his three years as a varsity member, the left-handed Klock got his stuff working early and that meant the Lancers didn’t have a chance, dropping a 9-1 decision in a rare away game at their home field of Washuta Park.

The contest was moved because of Grand Island’s field problems, bumping the scheduled Niagara Catholic-St. Joe’s tilt to a night game.

Klock finished with 13 strikeouts in a dominating performance, giving the reigning NFL champs an impressive opening to the 2009 league campaign.

“He is one of the best. When you run into a pitcher like that, you’ve got to find a way to get on and find ways to move guys around. We didn’t do that,” Waple said after watching Klock allow just five hits in the complete game win. “And he pitched a great game. He’s everything they say he is.”

“He was outstanding today, and he’s been great for three years running now,” Vikings coach Dean Santorio added. “He had great command of his curve ball, too, and that makes him that much tougher to hit.”

While most expected Grand Island to have the pitching, even Santorio was impressed with the power of his young offensive lineup.

Nick Kellner smashed his first varsity home run — a shot over the left-field fence — and the Vikings tagged a number of balls off Lew-Port starter Matt Cattarin that nearly left Washuta.

Kellner finished with three hits at the top of the order for GI (4-2 overall, 1-0 NFL) while Kloch added a pair of hits.

“We’re a fairly young team so I figured we’d have to manufacture runs and just push guys around, but we’ve been hitting the ball OK,” Santorio said. “And finally today, when we had opportunities to score runs, with no outs or one out, we did that.”

As for Kellner, it wasn’t his first big offensive showing of the season. The sophomore had seven combined hits in games against Starpoint and JFK, and continues to add pop

“I saw it coming and just got it up,” Kellner said of his homer. “I think it jump started the team a little bit.”

The Lancers finally produced a run in the seventh when Alex Nowocien’s single to right brought home Mike Cuddahee.

But the wheels had long fallen off for Lew-Port (2-1, 1-1), which fell behind 1-0 in the first, but dug itself a real hole in the second. With the bases loaded and two outs, Cattarin threw an off-speed pitch to Klock that appeared to be strike three.

After failing to get the called strike, Cattarin’s next pitch got lined up the middle scoring two runs. The Lancers never really recovered.

“We were out of it,” Waple said. “But we’ve got to overcome. Sometimes you don’t get the call. If you made a great pitch, you’ve got to make a better pitch. If you make a bad play in the field, just leave it. That’s what we’re teaching these kids.”

Contact sports editor Tim Schmitt at 282-2311, ext. 2266.

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