By CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com
BELFAST — In years past, Genesee Valley, Belfast and Fillmore have come together for some epic clashes. On Monday, the foes met in Belfast to settle their first score of the season, this time with the Jaguars and Bulldogs together as one to take on the Eagles.
Entering the game, the Eagles were looking to build off a 13-3 win over Keshequa to open their season this past weekend, while for Genesee Valley/Belfast, they were looking to shake off an afternoon of baseball in Avoca where they came back home empty-handed.
Through the first portion of the night, it was a back-and-forth trade on defense. But a particular moment during that exchange would wind up serving as x-factor for one team.
That belonged to Mitch Ward, as the Fillmore junior nearly sent a ball into orbit for his first home run of the season. Instead, the ball landed just feet shy from exiting play in deep left field, scoring two runs on a play that ultimately killed all momentum for Genesee Valley/Belfast going forward, with the Eagles scoring the next seven runs in a row to secure the 7-1 road win in Belfast.
After Fillmore’s Brent Zubikowski and Genesee Valley/Belfast’s Carter Stout were acclimated with one another through the first inning of play, the ice would begin to crack with the JagDogs (0-3) reaching the board first with Joe Ward, as he blasted a single straight up the middle and through the Fillmore defense to give them their first and only lead of the game.
As a response, the Eagles (3-0) provided one nearly in home run-fashion from Ward, as he demolished a pitch straight to the left field fence with two runners on, both scoring on the play while arriving to second for a stand-up double — a moment that would turn the tide for the remainder of the game.
In the next inning, they would begin to capitalize on all fronts: offense, special teams, you name it. It would account for a three-run top of the fourth, and later on a two-run sixth to branch their lead insurmountably from the JagDogs.
“It’s a long season,” said JagDogs co-coach Derek Kenyon. “Aiden Wagner’s glove at third base killed us. He took four or five hits away from us. He played a fantastic game on the hot corner, and that slowed our offense down. We couldn’t wake our bats up because of it.”
Zubikowski went on to record the win on the rubber for Fillmore, fanning five and walking two in his five-inning start. Luke Colombo would add three strikeouts of his own, along with one walk. At the plate, Colombo and Alex Ellsworth each added in a hit, and combined to score three runs.
For Genesee Valley/Belfast, Max Wedge and Garrett Miller rounded off the offense with a hit each. On the mound, Stout struck out two and walked three in his three-inning start.
Both teams will hit the field Wednesday night in a pair of 5 p.m. battles, if weather permits, as Fillmore aims for a 3-0 start back home against Friendship/Scio, while Genesee Valley/Belfast continues their search for their first win back in Belmont, hosting Andover/Whitesville for their second home opener of the season.
Fillmore 002 302 0 – 7 5 0
Genesee Valley/Belfast 010 000 0 – 1 3 6
FIL – Brent Zubikowski (WP) (5K, 2BB), Luke Colombo (6) (3K, BB), and Alex Ellsworth.
GV/B – Carter Stout (LP) (2K, 3BB), Trent Scott (4) (2K, 3BB), Matt Cater (7) (K, BB), and Matt Weaver.
Andover/Whitesville 9, Friendship/Scio 5
ANDOVER — The door was open for Friendship/Scio to fight back down the stretch after falling behind by as much as seven to host Andover/Whitesville on Monday. But fortunately for the hosts, a dominant start through the first three innings of play was what the doctor ordered.
Layton Miller provided that tenure for Andover/Whitesville, as the hurler was unleashed across his five-inning start, striking out a dozen Friendship/Scio batters while walking four to keep Friendship/Scio at a standstill. Although he was pulled from the game, the visitors battled back with a hot middle inning stretch, but the hosts were able to hang on until the end to pick up the 9-5 season-opening triumph in Andover.
“I am very proud of the guys preparation and excitement to finally get the season started,” Andover/Whitesville co-coach Jake Bannerman said. “Our whole team was into it, and they were focused. Layton came out and threw a great game, and our offense did a good job of getting on base. The top of our lineup got on base all night, and guys even when they got out, were productive. Credit to Friendship/Scio, we left the door open in the later innings for them, and they fought to keep it interesting.”
The Andover/Whitesville (1-0) offense struck all chords through the first three innings of play, taking a 7-0 lead on Friendship/Scio with the help of Miller’s dominance on the rubber providing a big spark for the bats. Among them, Kaiden Miller, who assisted in powering up a four-run third inning with an RBI double — one of two hits he had in the game, along with two RBI to lead the way.
Layton Miller would also added two hits of his own, driving in a run along the way to add alongside his victory on the hill for the hosts.
But later on, Friendship/Scio (0-1) would not go down without a fight, as they scored five of the next seven runs. Ethan Davenport played a big role behind their success with a perfect 3-for-3 outing at the plate, recording a double and RBI. Landen Arnold had a lead-off double of his own doing in the sixth inning, to contribute.
On the mound, Davenport struck out five and walked three in his three innings of relief for the visitors.
Both teams will return to action at 5 p.m. Wednesday night, if weather permits, as Andover/Whitesville hits the road for Belmont to visit host Genesee Valley/Belfast, while Friendship/Scio travels to Fillmore.
Friendship/Scio 000 212 0 – 5 4 1
Andover/Whitesville 304 110 X – 9 7 5
F/S – Joey Bednez (LP) (2K, 3BB), Jacob Golden (3) (2K, BB), Ethan Davenport (4) (5K, 3BB), and Landen Arnold.
A/W – Layton Miller (WP) (12K, 4BB), Brody Carlin (6) (K, 4BB), and CJ Estep.
Bolivar-Richburg 10, Cuba-Rushford 1
CUBA — Landon Danaher was simply unstoppable on the hill for the Wolverines of Bolivar-Richburg, Monday night. The senior provided a start of incredible proportions, holding host Cuba-Rushford in check all game long, combining with Wyatt Karnuth on a one-hit performance to lock down a 10-1 road win.
Danaher provided some big help on both sides for Bolivar-Richburg (2-0) to get the team off and rolling, scoring an RBI double during the team’s first at-bats in the opening frame, which saw them take a 3-0 lead on the Rebels right away. On the mound, Danaher would freeze the majority of offense that the hosts would try and string together by handing out 12 chairs to go with three walks.
Wyatt Karnuth would continue the trend later on with five strikeouts and one walk of his own in relief for the Wolverines.
The Rebels (0-3) would find their way onto the board in the bottom of the second with a run from Dylan Bassett. As for offense, Jack Frank provided the lone hit with a single. On the mound, Jon White struck out five and walked three in his five-inning start.
The Wolverines would total 10 runs off 10 hits, with their last six runs coming in the fifth, sixth and seventh frames to close out shop.
If weather permits, both teams are back at it Wednesday night in a pair of 5 p.m. contests, with Bolivar-Richburg returning home to host Coudersport, while Cuba-Rushford hits the road themselves to face Hinsdale.
Bolivar-Richburg 301 031 2 – 10 10 1
Cuba-Rushford 010 000 0 – 1 1 3
B-R – Landon Danaher (WP) (12K, 3BB), Wyatt Karnuth (6) (5K, BB), and Aydin Sisson.
C-R – Jon White (LP) (5K, 3BB), Austin Pinney (6) (K, BB), and Caleb Root, Sam Grover (3).
Fillmore 4, Genesee Valley/Belfast 1
BELFAST — Down below the baseball field, Fillmore and Genesee Valley/Belfast waged a battle that saw a pitcher’s duel begin to develop. In the end, it would come down to who would provide the bigger capitalization on the field. For the Lady Eagles, they made sure it was them.
Out of the four runs they scored, three of them came unearned, as they made sure to scratch across the runs necessary to grab the early jump on the Lady JagDogs, using some key insurance in the sixth inning to solidify their lead permanently to secure a 3-0 start to their season in a 4-1 win on the road, Monday night.
“We did some good things tonight,” said Genesee Valley/Belfast coach Mark Sullivan. “It was a good pitcher’s duel both ways. I was impressed for our first game this season. Fillmore didn’t make mistakes. We hit a lot of ground balls, and they fielded them really well. They only had one earned run, so they made sure to capitalize on our mistakes. That’s expected being our first game. We just need to play some ball.”
The damage was done early by the Lady Eagles (3-0), with Saige Friedl providing a force on both sides of the spectrum, breaking the ice right away in the top half of the first with a two-run single. Fillmore would use some key baserunning to their advantage to extend their lead to a pair in the top of the second, with Emily Krzeminski scoring on a steal home.
From the rubber, Friedl was dominant, as she held Genesee Valley/Belfast (0-1) to just three hits across six shutout innings. Sandwiched in between was their first and lone run of the game from Harley Proctor, who advanced home on a passed ball behind the plate to cut their deficit to two after three complete innings.
Two more scoreless innings of play would be dealt between the two clubs until Fillmore officially put the lock on the game with one final piece of insurance — a deep Skylar Gaddy double to right center field, scoring one run in the top of the sixth inning.
After building a big boost of energy through a quick stand of defense in the seventh, the Lady JagDogs looked to provide one final response for the Lady Eagles. But Fillmore made sure that their tenure on the field was one of the quickest stands of the night, as they performed a 1-2-3 service to end the game.
Friedl would close out with the win in the circle, striking out eight and walking seven in her tossed three-hitter. On the other side, Ashley Burrows struck out five and walked two in her four-hit start for the Lady JagDogs. As for the offense, she along with Proctor and Anna Drozdowski would all record singles.
Both teams are back on the field Wednesday night, weather permitting, in a pair of 5 p.m. first pitches with Fillmore going for four straight wins back home with powerhouse Friendship/Scio in for a visit, while Genesee Valley/Belfast heads to Belmont to play in their second home opener against incoming Andover/Whitesville.
Fillmore 210 001 0 – 4 7 2
Genesee Valley/Belfast 001 000 0 – 1 3 2
FIL – Saige Friedl (WP) (CG, 8K, 7BB), and Lizzy Nugent.
GV/B – Ashley Burrows (LP) (5K, 2BB), Hannah Southwick-Powers (5) (3K, BB), and Harley Proctor.
Wellsville 13, Gowanda 1
GOWANDA — The Lady Lions of Wellsville provided yet a dominant display of offense and defense on the field. While the bats continued to pound away at the plate, Makenzie Cowburn shelled out another overpowering performance from within the circle, holding Gowanda to just one hit across a 13-strikeout night to help fuel the team’s 13-1 road win on Monday.
“Makenzie was dominant tonight, and our hitters strung together quite a few good at-bats. It’s quite a luxury to have a freshman hitting eighth in the lineup, and going 4-for-4 like Natalie (Adams) did tonight.” said Lady Lions coach Matt Burke.
Cowburn led the Lady Lions (3-0) towards another great deal of success in their first road trip of the season, as she held Gowanda in check all game long behind an epic 13-strikeout, three-walk performance in the midst of a one-hitter. The shutout bid would be lost in the bottom of the fourth, when the hosts scratched across their lone run to trim their deficit down to 5-1.
But the bats would come alive soon after, as Wellsville took advantage of everything they saw, especially in the seventh inning when they put a cap on the double-digit victory with a six-run frame. Through it all, Natalie Adams and Sawyer Burke — two of the team’s hitters at the bottom of the lineup, had the biggest bats, with Adams going 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI, while Burke recorded a double and three RBI.
In addition, Marley Adams and Makenna Dunbar each recorded a pair of hits, with Dunbar belting a double and driving in two, while Marissa Ordway had an RBI double of her own.
The Lady Lions continue their road swing Wednesday night, weather permitting, as they renew their rivalry with the Bolivar-Richburg Lady Wolverines in a 5 p.m. first pitch.
Wellsville 122 011 6 – 13 11 0
Gowanda 000 100 0 – 1 1 1
WLSV – Makenzie Cowburn (WP) (CG, 13K, 3BB), and Lindsay Stuck, Brazen Beckwith (6).
GOW – Cam Nagel (LP) (2K, 3BB), Addy Kota (4) (K, 5BB), and Ella Luther.
Friendship/Scio 9, Andover/Whitesville 0
ANDOVER — Some noise was made straight out of the gate by Friendship/Scio on Monday. In their road trip to Andover/Whitesville, they struck while the iron was hot with a fast lead, building on it in the inning after with a massive offensive explosion that allowed them to run away towards a 9-0 shutout to move to a 2-0 start on the young season.
“Our girls came out of the gates a little jittery, but that’s to be expected with it being our first game,” said Andover/Whitesville co-coach Al Barber. “Five errors in the first two innings, and we gave up eight runs. But despite that, we settled down nicely the rest of the way. Unfortunately, it’s hard to dig out of a hole that deep against a pitcher of (Nevaeh) Ross’ quality.”
The offense broke open for Friendship/Scio (2-0) right from the start, as they scored eight of their nine runs in the first two innings of play, building a 3-0 lead in their first at-bats on the night. Later on, the advantage grew exponentially with a five-run second frame with Claire Calhoun leading the charge with a massive two-run double to the deep outfield.
Later on, Kendra Gleason chipped in with a double of her own, driving a run in the process to extend Friendship/Scio’s lead even further. The momentum built on offense carried over on defense for Nevaeh Ross in the circle, as she went on to retire nine straight batters, including a fanning of the side in the bottom half of the first after breaking the ice.
Ross would go on to record the three-hit shutout of Andover/Whitesville (0-1), fanning 16 batters in all while allowing just one extra baserunner via walk. Morghyn Ross would lead the bats with two of the team’s six in all, including a double.
As for Andover/Whitesville, Ava Grice, Zoey Lee and Olivia Waters all had a single to power the offense. In the circle, Makaila Brewster struck out five and walked four in her four-inning tenure.
Both teams will return to action at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, weather permitting, as Friendship/Scio goes for a 3-0 start with a road trip to Fillmore, while Andover/Whitesville heads for Belmont to take on host Genesee Valley/Belfast.
Friendship/Scio 350 100 0 – 9 6 0
Andover/Whitesville 000 000 0 – 0 3 5
F/S – Nevaeh Ross (WP) (CG, 16K, BB), and Morghyn Ross.
A/W – Makaila Brewster (LP) (5K, 4BB), Zoey Lee (5) (4K, BB), and Gabbi Hall.
Bolivar-Richburg 10, Cuba-Rushford 0
CUBA — It was a bit of a slow start at first for the Lady Wolverines of Bolivar-Richbrug to begin their season, Monday night at Cuba-Rushford. But as time passed on, the Lady Wolverines and their bats would flare up, especially from within a four-run sixth inning that pushed their lead out to double digits, en route towards securing the 10-0 shutout win over the Lady Rebels.
The Lady Wolverines (1-0) started their Class C2 Title defense on the right foot behind some key baserunning in the first three innings of play to grab a 3-0 lead on the Lady Rebels. The offense began to click in the next set of frames, starting in a two-run fourth which was led by a massive RBI triple from Haley Mascho.
After collecting one more run in the fifth, Malayna Ayers and Jessica Majot went back-to-back at the plate with a pair of RBI doubles to the outfield, trading places at second base to continue building onto Bolivar-Richburg’s lead, which would eclipse 10 runs when the inning reached its completion.
In all, the visitors in gray and red recorded 10 runs across 14 total hits, while McKinlee Harris held down the fort on offense with a four-strikeout, four-walk shutout performance to pick up the win.
Leading the bats for the Lady Rebels (0-2), Taylor Searle paced the attack with two of the team’s six total hits. Meghan O’Keefe recorded a double, while Ella Jaffe, Aubrey Williams and Sydney Howard all had a single to round off. On the mound, Jordyn Radomski struck out five in her three innings of relief. Cuba-Rushford is now off until April 19 after the Spring Break, as they visit Friendship/Scio in a 5 p.m. first pitch in Friendship.
As for the Lady Wolverines, they head back home to open up their home slate with the Wellsville Lady Lions in town for a 5 p.m. visit, if the weather permits.
Bolivar-Richburg 1 1 1 214 0 – 10 14 2
Cuba-Rushford 000 000 0 – 0 6 5
B-R – McKinlee Harris (WP) (CG, 4K, 4BB), and Madigan Harris.
C-R – Sydney Howard (LP) (4K, BB), Jordyn Radomski (4) (5K), and Aubrey Williams.
Olean 4, Wellsville 1
WELLSVILLE — The title defense from last Spring is now on for the Wellsville Lions on the tennis court, as the team made their debut on their home grounds on a chilly Monday night.
Their first opponent of the season was no slouch however, as they were tested by Section VI power Olean right from the gate. The Lions were able to garner a victory, but then the visiting Huskies started to take over, picking up the remaining two victories in the singles department, as well as sweeping the doubles to take the 4-1 match victory to spoil Wellsville’s season opener.
Matt Bittel was the only one to card a win for the Lions (0-1), as he outlasted Olean’s Alex Blehar through three competitive sets of action, taking the narrow 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 decision at first singles. The rest of the match was on the Huskies, as they garnered a pair of victories in the singles, defeating Wellsville’s Ryan Carlton and Hua Qi Zhang respectively at second and third singles.
Olean would also lay claim to both doubles decisions to lock up the match victory, including a narrow second doubles win over the team of Keaton Sharpe and Mohamed Ahmed, taking the 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-1 decision.
Wellsville will look to try for their first win on Wednesday in a 5 p.m. first serve against Addison, if the weather permits.
1. Matt Bittel (WLSV) def. Alex Blehar (OLE), 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.
2. Issac Moses (OLE) def. Ryan Carlton (WLSV), 6-0, 6-1.
3. Alex Linderman (OLE) def. Hua Qi Zhang (WLSV), 6-3, 6-3.
1. Byron Ring/Ethan Pence (OLE) def. Ryan Haggerty/Adam Iantorno (WLSV), 6-4, 6-3.
2. Maxwell Bee/Josh Dalton (OLE) def. Keaton Sharpe/Mohamed Ahmed (WLSV), 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-1.
Chris Brooks photo gallery: