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Lefty Wilson leads the way as Lancaster edges Falls

Ted Wilson went almost the entire calendar year of 2011 without touching a baseball.

Thursday afternoon, the lefty held top-seeded Niagara Falls to one run over five innings of work and knocked in the eventual winning run in the top of the seventh to give Lancaster a 2-1, come-from-behind victory over Niagara Falls in the AA baseball championship at Lewiston-Porter High School.

Wilson, a wide receiver for the Redskins football team, fractured two bones in his back on a blocking play in October 2010, his sophomore year. He showed up at every practice and game last spring but could only watch his classmates play ball as he rehabbed from the injury. This past December he finally picked up a baseball again and got back to work.

Wilson was the hero for Lancaster in its 4-1 semifinal win over Clarence on Tuesday, picking up all four RBIs. He stayed hot in the championship, setting up the tying run with a base hit in the sixth and bringing in Ben Haefner for the eventual game-winner in the seventh.

"I keep saying this, the character these kids have," Lancaster coach Mark Dalfonso said. "Somebody like Teddy Wilson, he's got like a 99 average, he plays like three instruments. And to see him excel really makes you feel good."

Niagara Falls ace Andrew Dewitt went the distance for the Wolverines, shutting out Lancaster for five innings before being touched for a run in each of the last two. He finished with nine strikeouts over 107 pitches -- 75 for strikes.

Dewitt also pitched for Niagara Falls when the two schools met earlier in the season, a 5-0 Falls win, exactly seven weeks ago. Coach Joe Contento didn't have any fears about throwing Dewitt against Lancaster for the second time.

"He's one of the best pitchers in our league and maybe one of the best pitchers in Western New York," Contento said.

Niagara Falls opened the scoring in the bottom of the fourth inning. After a leadoff double from Joseph Colosi and a single from Dewitt, Contento called for a squeeze play. Colosi took off from third with the pitch and Kyle O'Shea squared to bunt. He tapped the ball just onto the infield grass and Colosi touched the plate before Wilson could field the ball.

Tyler Hoffhines led off the sixth inning with a single for Lancaster. Wilson couldn't get down a sacrifice bunt but singled to left instead. After a strikeout, Ryan Stekl punched one through the right side to tie the game. James Krolikowski followed with a single to load the bases with one out, but Lancaster couldn't bust it open as Dewitt got a pop-up and a strikeout to end the inning.

In the seventh, the Redskins got a leadoff single from Haefner, who went to second on a passed ball. Dewitt got a strikeout and a groundout on a nice stop by third basemen Joseph D'Angelo, but Wilson came through with an RBI single to right for the go-ahead run.

Stekl relieved Wilson in the sixth and didn't allow a hit in two innings of work while shutting down Niagara Falls to pick up the win, giving Lancaster its first championship since 2000.

Lancaster advances to the Far West Regional game against the Section V winner (Rochester area), to be played at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia.

email: nveronica@buffnews.com