Cadets sweep: Layton pitches, hits to lead Fort Frye over Frontier

NEW MATAMORAS – A lot of baseball games end up coming down to one timely hit, a big pitch or a key defensive play.

There are, however, certain days where one team is just flat out better than another.

Thursday, Fort Frye took advantage of eight Frontier errors, tallied 11 base hits and received a complete game effort from starting pitcher Derek Layton to cruise past the Cougars 12-2.

The Cadets were dominant in nearly every phase of the game.

“The bats started coming alive there in the middle-part of the game,” said Fort Frye skipper Sonny Bidwell. “We had some good base-running. Defensively, we played well.”

Layton struck out eight Cougars and walked two while going the distance on the mound for the Cadets. He allowed just four hits and two runs to earn the victory.

“Derek got in a groove there and pitched well down the stretch,” Bidwell said.

Frontier was stung by suspect fielding and an inability to get hits with runners in scoring position. The Cougars got a base-runner to third base in each of the first three innings but could only salvage one run. Fort Frye, meanwhile, produced six runs in the first three frames despite collecting only three hits. Six errors by Frontier’s defense in those innings made the score much more lopsided than it should have been and put the Cougars in a hole too deep to climb out of.

With two outs and Chandler Lang on third base in the top of the first inning, Colten Shuster bounced a single down the left field line to plate the game’s first run. Shuster came around to score when Terren Huck’s grounder in front of the plate was fielded by the catcher and thrown into right field to make the score 2-0.

Drew Schneider led off the bottom of the first with a walk, went to second on a wild pickoff attempt and then to third on a wild pitch. Layton, though, recorded two strikeouts and forced a groundout to Shuster at second to get out of the inning unscathed.

Fort Frye did not record a hit in the second inning but still tallied two runs courtesy of three Frontier fielding miscues. With Brad Martin, who reached base on an error, standing at second base with two outs, Lang and Issac Klinger grounded to third on back-to-back at-bats, both resulting in errors. Martin and Lang both scored on the second error to go up by four.

The Cougars got on the board in the second inning when Hunter Smitley punched a 1-out RBI-single to left to bring in Wyatt Smitley from third, cutting it to 4-1.

Fort Frye answered right back in the third with two more runs. Tanner Rice plated Shuster on an RBI-groundout and Huck later scored on a Drew Layton suicide squeeze bunt, giving the Cadets a 6-1 advantage.

Fort Frye added six more runs in the sixth and seventh innings combined. Frontier notched its second run in the bottom of the seventh but Bidwell left Derek Layton on the mound and the right-hander responded by punching out the final batter to end the game.

Layton’s mound opponent was righty Grant Valentine. Valentine was strong for the majority of his 5.1 innings pitched but had to get extra outs in almost every inning because of all the errors. He allowed eight runs but only three were earned.

Shuster went 3-for-4 with four runs scored and two runs batted in to lead Fort Frye’s lineup. Derek Layton and Carter Lang each had two hits apiece while Layton and Chandler Lang each had one double.

Frontier could muster only four hits off of Layton in the game. Lane Curtis had the only extra-base hit for the Cougars, a double in the bottom of the third.

Fort Frye (5-1 overall, 3-1 PVC) travels to New Martinsville today to play Magnolia at 5 p.m. in a non-league game, while Frontier stays at home and hosts River at 4:30 p.m.