For a young Metea Valley program searching for some consistency and confidence, Friday's game with rival Neuqua Valley should make for a great blueprint going forward.
Score a few runs quickly, follow that with great starting pitching, then throw in some solid defense and nice relief. The Mustangs had all of that going in a 4-2 Upstate Eight Conference triumph over the Wildcats in Aurora, evening the season series at one game apiece.
Jose Gomez (2-2) pitched five-plus strong innings, allowing just a 2-run homer to Wildcats catcher Alex Wolanski in the fifth, and reliever Adam Cielinski got a big double play in the sixth and then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to earn the save.
"We've been up and down all year and struggling a little bit," said Gomez, who had 4 strikeouts and allowed six hits before giving way to Cielinski after a leadoff single in the sixth. "This was just a great team win. We needed a big jump start to get us going and I think this is the perfect game to get us going."
Michael Mooney jump-started the Mustangs offense when he led off the second inning with a home run off of Neuqua Valley starter Cody Coll (1-3). Jack Szott followed with a single, Matt Fitzgerald coaxed a walk and Metea was on its way to a three-run inning and a nice early lead. Ben Doiron and Tamal Kumar had run-scoring singles in the inning.
Gomez took control from there, blanking the Wildcats through four innings while allowing just two singles before the fifth. In the top of the fifth, Coll started with a bunt single and then came home on Wolanski's 2-run blast that made the score 3-2. But the Mustangs (6-8, 2-4) added an insurance run on Sam Hanson's single in the bottom of the fifth and the visitors failed to score from there.
"He threw the ball great," Mustangs coach Craig Tomzak said of Gomez. "The Oswego East game early was his first varsity game and it was a little bit rough. But he's developed a little bit each day and that's on him. He's a very coachable kid and he listens and he does the work. This was a real good opponent and he did a nice job today."
Neuqua Valley coach Robin Renner's squad has struggled at the plate of late and dropped to 11-7 on the year.
"That's what we score, 2-3 runs a game," he said. "Our offense is not real good right now. Cody did a great job. If we score five runs we'd be talking about how he was the hero today."