Buckley Throws First No-Hitter in Panthers Baseball History

Ethan Buckley
Ethan Buckley

A history-making pitching performance by freshman Ethan Buckley (Bath/Haverling H.S.) set the Panthers baseball team up for a doubleheader sweep of Jefferson Community College Wednesday. Playing at Gutchess Park in Cortlandville, Tompkins Cortland won by scores of 14-0 and 9-7 to improve to 4-6 on the year overall and 2-0 against Mid-State Athletic Conference opponents. Jefferson is 2-11 overall and 2-4 against MSAC teams.

Tompkins Cortland 14, Jefferson 0   (5 innings)

The opener provided plenty of highlights, but none shone brighter than the effort on the mound by Buckley. The right-hander was simply dominant, throwing the first no-hitter in the 16-season history of varsity baseball at Tompkins Cortland. He was strong from the start, but got stronger as the game wore on. He finished with 10 strikeouts and allowed only one ball to leave the infield, and that was a lazy fly ball to shallow left field. Four walks and a pair of errors in the field kept the effort from becoming a perfect game, but the no-hitter was more than enough to earn the win and put his name in the Panthers record book.

While Buckley was making history, his teammates made plenty of noise at the plate. The team scored in each of the first four innings, prompting the game to be stopped due to the 10-run rule after Jefferson batted in their half of the fifth inning. Tompkins Cortland pounded out 13 hits, but the wildness of the Jefferson pitchers certainly helped. All nine batters in the Panthers lineup reached base at least once via a base on balls or by being hit by a pitch, with Joseph Tummino (Homer/Homer H.S.) having a "perfect" line of reaching via a walk each of his four times to the plate, making his official batting line a perfect 0-for-0. Eight of the nine batters scored at least once, with Tummino leading the way with three runs scored.

Isaiah Reyes (Tonawanda/Kenmore East H.S.), Brandon Grant (Homer/Homer H.S.), and Jinwoo Baek (Osan-si, South Korea/Yatap H.S.) each had two hits and Baek and Austin Kulas (Moravia/Moravia H.S.) each had three RBI in the win.

Tompkins Cortland 9, Jefferson 7

Playing as the visitors in game two, the Panthers picked up where they left off in the first inning. Starting with two outs and nobody on base, four straight reached base, with Grant driving in Tummino for the game's first run before the Panthers left the bases loaded to end the inning. In the bottom of the first, Jefferson finally got its first hit of the day, and it was impressive. After a pair of walks sandwiched around a fly out, the Cannoneers cleanup hitter drove a long fly ball to left center, clearing the fence for Jefferson's first hit, first runs, and first lead of the day. A pair of errors led to a fourth Jefferson run and the Panthers were in a 4-1 hole after one inning. The Panthers answered quickly in the second, scoring three times to tie the score, but an inning later Jefferson plated two to lead 6-4 after three innings.

Doubles by Shane Cuevas (Montgomery/Valley H.S.), Tummino, and Kulas produced two runs to tie the score at 6-6 in the top of the fourth, but Jefferson again responded, reclaiming the lead with a run in the bottom of the inning. After a scoreless fifth, Reyes led off the sixth with a single, advanced on a single by Tummino, and came in to score on a single by Grant. The Panthers stranded two runner to leave the score even at 6-6 going to the bottom of the sixth. After getting the first hitter to ground out, Panthers hurler Hyeon Ho Cho (Asan-si, South Korea/Sekwang H.S.) gave up back-to-back singles before getting out the jam with a fielder's choice and a strike out, sending the game to the seventh inning tied at 6-6.

The seventh started with Ryan Ballard (Rochester/Greece Athena H.S.) reaching base thanks to a Jefferson error on his infield pop. Ballard moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and then to third on a base hit by Cuevas. With Ballard at third, Cuevas stole second, but the two were still on base when the Jefferson first baseman made a nice play on the next hit ball, recording the second out of the inning. With the game on the line, Tummino delivered, ripping a solid single that scored both Ballard and Cuevas, giving the Panthers a 9-7 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh. When Cho allowed a single to open the inning, the call to the bullpen brought in freshman Joey Kench (West Henrietta/Rush-Henrietta H.S.), who was greeted with a single that put two runners on with no outs. A sacrifice bunt moved the two into scoring position, but Kench induced a popup to short for the second out before getting a strike out to end the game, stranding the tying runs on base.

The offense was again on display in game two. After going 0-for-0 in the opener, Tummino capped his "perfect" by going 4-for-4 with three RBI and two doubles in the nightcap. Grant had three hits and three RBI in game two and Cuevas and Reyes each had two hits.

Cho earned the win, pitching three innings in relief while allowing just one run and striking out three.  Kench earned his first save by closing out the win, facing four batters and not allowing any runs to score in the seventh.

Looking ahead

The Panthers look to open Region III West Division play on Tuesday at Jamestown Community College.