The ECIC IV championship was largely on the line when Depew junior Ethan Krakowski stepped on the mound on Thursday afternoon but the Wildcats’ pitcher wasn’t thinking about that. He wasn’t even worried about facing perennial small-school power Tonawanda, a team that rocked him just a week earlier.
Krakowski was just focused on the task at hand – doing what he could to get the Wildcats their biggest win of the season. The right-hander threw six brilliant innings and led Depew to a huge 2-1 win over the Warriors at Dawson Field.
“I was just focusing on this game; that’s all that was on my mind,” he said. “I wasn’t worried about last time. Nothing was going through my head other than winning this game.”
The game was tied at 1-1 entering the bottom of the fourth in a pitcher’s duel between Krakowski and Tonawanda sophomore Austin Schroeder. Wildcats catcher Jake Wentland led off the decisive inning with a base hit to center and came around to score the go-ahead run with the help of a pair of Tonawanda errors. Krakowski held the lead through six and then Joey Pagano pitched a perfect seventh for his fifth save of the season.
“Huge win,” Depew coach Dennis Crawley said. “After they took it to us earlier in the year, this is a game we wanted to have. We can win the division now if we keep going the rest of the way.”
The win improved Depew’s record to 11-3 overall and 10-1 in ECIC IV action. It also put the Wildcats in the driver’s seat for the league title over the Warriors (10-3, 10-2 ECIC IV), thanks in large part to Tonawanda’s league loss to Lackawanna on Monday. The Wildcats can claim the outright league crown with wins over Eden today (weather permitting) and John F. Kennedy on Monday.
“The goal right now is to win the division,” Crawley said. “Let’s not let this win go to waste, let’s finish strong.”
In his first start this season against Tonawanda, Krakowski gave up six earned runs in two innings and the Warriors won the game by a decisive 8-0 count. On Wednesday, it was a different story. He allowed just one hit and one run over his six innings, striking out nine in the process.
“Ethan was just outstanding,” Crawley said. “He pitched his butt off.”
Depew took the lead in the bottom of the first after Joe Pagano led off with a walk and scored on an RBI single by Wentland. Caden Herman walked to lead off the top of the second for the Warriors and came around to score the tying run.