UNION SPRINGS | In the Cayuga County Baseball Tournament, there had been lopsided game after lopsided game. The first three contests were filled with hitting, pitching changes and riddled with errors.
On Friday, Weedsport beat Cato-Meridian 16-6 and Union Springs/Port Byron defeated Moravia 15-2. Saturday began with more of the same, with Cato-Meridian beating Moravia 12-5 to win the consolation game of the tournament.
And then there was the championship game.
Union Springs/Port Byron's Alex Thornton and Weedsport's Shaun Ferguson combined for a thrilling pitcher's duel that ended with the Warriors taking home the county tournament trophy after a 3-2 win.
"They can keep it for this year," said Wolves' coach Dan Zdanowski.
Port Byron had been the five-time defending champions - with seven students from the school now playing for the merged squad. Warriors head coach Ron Ferguson was glad to bring the trophy back to Weedsport.
"It's been a long time," said the second-year head coach. "It was a good game, it felt good."
Ferguson's son, Shaun, a sophomore, earned his second win on the mound this season, throwing the complete game in 113 pitches.
"It was really cool. My arm really didn't hurt that much," Shaun said.
"He throws a lot," Ron said of Shaun. "He's a horse, he can throw a lot. He was still throwing hard, he was still throwing strikes until the end."
Shaun fanned his sixth and final batter of the game in a high-pressure situation -- two Wolves runners in scoring position and one of their team's best hitters, Nick Slobodiak, at the plate.
"It was a very well-played game on both sides," said Ron Ferguson. "That's how baseball is supposed to be - a great game down to the last pitch."
With no errors committed by either team, Thornton gave up two runs in the second inning on a Ryan Quigley two-run single to score Jim Sterling and Mike Gray. Thornton finished the game well, picking up nine strikeouts.
"Last night, he was 4-for-5 with four RBI," Ron Ferguson said of Shaun. "Tonight he did it on the mound."
Slobodiak got the Wolves on the board in the fourth. After being hit by a pitch, he stole two bases and scored on a passed ball.
Warriors' left fielder Hunter Bowden scored the eventual game-winner on a Travis Skellington RBI single. Union Springs/Port Byron scored its final run on a Skyler Jennings sacrifice fly to center field.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Wolves nearly tied the score on what appeared to be a Garrett Cunningham solo home run over the netted fence in left field.
Bowden had different plans. Chasing after the well-hit ball, the Weedsport junior made the grab just before the fence, in nothing short of highlight-reel fashion.
"I didn't initially see the fence," Bowden said. "I was running, I hit and tripped on something - I was getting mad because I thought there was something in my way - but I saw it was the fence, and I thought, 'Oh, that's convenient.' I just tried to stay focused on the ball and watched it fall in my glove."
"That was the best catch I've ever seen on a high school baseball field," said Zdanowski, who was just one of many to congratulate Bowden after the catch.
With two wins in as many days, the Warriors are officially on a roll after losing five of their first six games.
"It's good, it's nice to get a streak going," Bowden said. "Our ultimate goal is sectionals. We're really turning it around as of late."
Weedsport (3-5) heads to Pulaski on Tuesday, while Union Springs/Port Byron is at Jordan-Elbridge on Monday.
"I hate to lose, I really do," Zdanowski said. "I never want to lose, but if we have to lose one, this was a really good game."
Earlier in the day, Cato-Meridian and Moravia each scored four runs in the first inning, but it was a big fifth inning that propelled Cato-Meridian to a 12-5 win and a 5-2 overall record.
Colin Weller had a three-run home run in the fifth inning to help give his Blue Devils the win.
Cole Johnson started the game, but lasted just 2/3 of the first inning. Austin Kulas came in relief, but allowed three walks and four hits in the loss.
Matt Bolton got the win for Cato-Meridian, throwing 4 1/3 innings and striking out eight. He also scored three runs after being walked four times.