Cam Macdonell is mobbed by teammates after a home run in Fillmore on Wednesday. Chris Brooks photo.
Story and photos by CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, Wellsvillesports.com
FILLMORE — The unbearable and late snow that has held off many returns for teams coming off the Spring Break for the past two days, has finally subsided in favor of a gorgeous and cool Wednesday evening for action. Amongst the returners — Bolivar-Richburg and Fillmore, two foes that in recent seasons, have begun a budding Allegany County rivalry.
Wednesday’s installment was no different.
In their first game of two this season, it was as definitive of a seesaw battle as advertised in Fillmore. From start to finish, both the Wolverines and the Eagles went back and forth on offense and defense. Many lead changes were traded until there was no more to be had.
In the sixth inning, Cam MacDonell delivered a devastating blow.
With the game-tying run aboard in the top half of the frame, the Bolivar-Richburg senior took matters into his own hands in a big way — giving a ride to a pitch sent straight into orbit out in deep center field, hitting the metal shed next to the scoreboard on its way out for a go-ahead, two-run nuke that ultimately planted the dagger on a 5-0 start for the Wolverines in their 8-7 edging of the Eagles.
“Two strong teams coming in, and we expected a dogfight. We got one, and we got ourselves in a few jams that we managed to get out of,” said Wolverines coach Dustin Allen. “Trey (Buchholz) came in a tough spot, settled right down and threw a nice game. Cam with his huge hit, that put us ahead and when it did, we kept our composure the rest of the way. We never hung our heads, and we needed a game like this to continue on with our season. We’ll take it for sure, but there’s also things that we have to improve on.”
Almost immediately, the Wolverines (5-0) were the first to answer the call. In their first at-bats, the ice was broken on a deep drive by MacDonell that nearly exited play in deep center field, but was gathered for the out. After a double steal, Landon Danaher would provide the first run off the sacrifice to kick the offense into gear.
After dishing out a scoreless barb in the bottom half to Fillmore, the Wolverines continued onward with two more runs in the top half of the season, extending their lead behind an RBI single from Trey Buchholz, and after, heads-up baserunning on another double steal on home and third base plating their last in the inning.
But the Eagles (3-1) would navigate their way onto the board with the game’s largest frame, providing cracks of their own in the ice with a big five-run second inning, beginning with a loading of the bags behind Danaher and the Wolverines defense. Luke Colombo recorded a sizeable crack by cutting their deficit down to one, driving a single into the outfield gap far enough to score a pair.
After Bolivar-Richburg went to their bullpen, Fillmore took the lead shortly after.
All it took was a single pitch from Buchholz to provide the first of many lead changes in the game, as Brent Zubikowski rocketed a stand-up, two-run, two-out double off the fence in deep left field. The newly-acquired lead for the Eagles grew to three — their largest of the game off a wild pitch far off from the plate, whilst loading the bags one more time before the Wolverines dug their way out of their biggest jam they would face.
Despite falling behind, it didn’t stop the Wolverines from providing a response of their own. For the next two innings, they would go on to get those runs back with a swing from Matt Mitchell, who drove a shot into center for a two-out single, scoring Caden Allen from third to cut their deficit down to a pair after three innings, and later, two more runs that would put them back ahead.
After a pitch blasted into deep left field by Wyatt Karnuth sees him land at second for a stand-up double, MacDonell delivers another crushing blow with a pair of RBI on an infield single to the left side, dribbling far enough for the Wolverines to use some alert baserunning to plate both runners to take a 6-5 lead in the fourth.
Bolivar-Richburg went on to provide yet another quick stand of defense in the bottom half of the frame to keep Fillmore frozen at the plate before the Eagles traded their first scoreless frame of defense themselves to begin the fifth, after they made a change to Zubikowski on the mound, where he threw just a handful of pitches with one away for the defense to record the remaining two outs behind him, with the bases loaded.
That would allow the Eagles to regain the lead for what would be the final time in the contest, with baserunning powering the game-tying spurt before Nolan Krzeminski gave them the lead on a short spike to the left side, scoring Graham Cahill off his fielder’s choice to conduct their final lead change.
In the sixth, the tide was completely shifted in Bolivar-Richburg’s favor by MacDonell, as he obliterated a ball to deep center field. With the game-tying run aboard, he would add the final piece of go-ahead insurance himself with a nuke that hit the metal shed in deep center field next to the scoreboard on the way out, sending the Wolverines back ahead once and for all, leaning on their defense to shell out two straight scoreless innings to keep Fillmore at bay to secure the victory.
Buchholz would get the win in relief for the Wolverines, fanning six and walking two while Danaher began the game with five strikeouts and five walks in his start. MacDonell and Wyatt Karnuth would each tally a pair of hits, out of the team’s seven in all to lead the offense.
Fillmore was led by Krzeminski, who had two of the team’s five total hits on the attack. On the mound, Zach Sisson recorded three strikeouts and two walks in his three-inning relief appearance for the Eagles, who hit the road for a rebound battle tonight beginning at 5 p.m. against Arkport/Canaseraga.
Bolivar-Richburg will go for their sixth straight win to open the season on Friday, when they head back home to host Hinsdale in a 5 p.m. battle before hitting the road the next day to visit Wellsville in a 1 p.m. showdown on Saturday.
Bolivar-Richburg 121 202 0 – 8 7 4
Fillmore 050 020 0 – 7 5 4
B-R – Landon Danaher (5K, 5BB), Trey Buchholz (WP, 3) (6K, 2BB), and Aydin Sisson.
FIL – Mitch Ward (K, 3BB), Zach Sisson (2) (3K, 2BB), Brent Zubikowski (LP, 5) (K), and Alex Ellsworth.
Cuba-Rushford 4, Genesee Valley/Belfast 3
BELFAST — Like the back-and-forth battle down the road in Fillmore, it was a pitcher’s duel all the way until the final pitch in neighboring Belfast on Wednesday, as both the Rebels of Cuba-Rushford and host Genesee Valley went toe-to-toe in their returns to the diamond.
Jon White and Carter Stout went back-and-forth throughout the evening, slinging one pitch after another. In the end, behind a fast start in the opening frame, White was able to come away victorious by outdueling Stout, holding Genesee Valley/Belfast to just four hits at the plate along the way to secure a narrow 4-3 edging over the road.
“It was a pitcher’s duel tonight. Carter threw a nice game, and you can’t ask for much more from him,” said GV/Belfast co-coach Derek Kenyon. “Even though we gave them four early, we couldn’t quite find a way to crawl back into it. All in all, it was a great game. We had some rockets at the plate, but they were right at them. We had some liners up the middle, and they were there for those too. Cuba put together a solid defensive game tonight.”
All four runs for the Rebels (2-4) were accounted for in their first at-bats of the game, setting the bar almost immediately for Genesee Valley/Belfast the remainder of the evening. With Stout handing in his best performance of the young season, he kept the hosts in the game on defense with a magnificent 10-strikeout, one-walk effort to remain within striking distance.
The deficit was trimmed to a pair after three innings, with Genesee Valley/Belfast (1-4) scoring a run in both the second, and third innings. After a scoreless fourth passed by, the pressure was turned up a dial in the bottom of the fifth with their final run. But in the end, White was able to stand his ground for the Rebels, handing out two final scoreless frames to put a wrap on his four-hit complete game.
White garnered the victory behind five strikeouts and two walks for Cuba-Rushford. On offense, Benson McCumiskey went 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Logan Lewis added in a hit and scored a run of his own.
On the other side, Garrett Miller had two of Genesee Valley/Belfast’s four hits, including a double and scored two of their three runs. Matt Cater chipped in with a double and run of his own doing to help the cause.
Both teams will have Friendship/Scio up next on their schedule, with Cuba-Rushford getting first crack tonight in a 5 p.m. first pitch at Wellman Field in Friendship. The next day, Genesee Valley/Belfast will have their turn in a 5 p.m. contest of their own in Scio.
Cuba-Rushford 400 000 0 – 4 7 1
Genesee Valley/Belfast 011 010 0 – 3 4 3
C-R – Jon White (WP) (CG, 5K, 2BB), and Logan Lewis.
GVB – Carter Stout (LP) (CG, 10K, BB), and Matt Weaver.
Cuba-Rushford 3, Genesee Valley/Belfast 2
BELMONT — While Cuba-Rushford and Genesee Valley/Belfast were battling it out in a pitcher’s duel in Belfast, it was the same story in Belmont when both ladies squads met up for their first of two meetings on Wednesday.
Although Genesee Valley/Belfast was able to get the game’s first strike, the response from Cuba-Rushford that came shortly after, was multiplied by three, as they scratched across a three-run fifth inning to springboard ahead of the Lady JagDogs while Sydney Howard kept complete command in the circle to power up a 3-2 Lady Rebels victory over the road.
“Their pitcher pitched good, and Ashley (Burrows) pitched just as good. Hopefully playing a few more games will start to help us out. We were pretty even with them, and it really could have went either way. They put one good inning together, and that was pretty much the game.” said Lady JagDogs coach Mark Sullivan.
Jenna Hill was the main catalyst behind Genesee Valley/Belfast’s (0-3) offense, sparking the effort with three of the team’s six hits beginning in the bottom of the second, when she broke the ice with an RBI single to the outfield, scoring Anna Drozdowski along the way.
From that point, the defenses began to settle in with Howard and Ashley Burrows beginning to take command from within their respective circles. After two scoreless innings pass by, the noise level peaked in the top of the fifth when Cuba-Rushford (1-2) provided a loud response in the shape of a three-run stanza — led by Riley Keller, who drove in the game-tying and go-ahead runs off a double.
That would give the Lady Rebels a 3-1 lead to control, but the pressure was turned up coming down the stretch by Hill and Genesee Valley/Belfast again. In the bottom half, Hill went on to drive another RBI single into the outfield, this time scoring Hannah Southwick-Powers to cut their deficit down to a run coming down the stretch.
But in the end, Howard was able to maintain her composure in the circle, delivering an epic 13-strikeout, four-walk performance for the visitors to keep Genesee Valley/Belfast stuck in neutral at the plate with back-to-back shutout innings to close it out.
The Lady Rebels tallied three runs off seven hits with Keller leading the way with her multi-hit game. On the other side, Hill led a seven-hit effort for Genesee Valley/Belfast with a perfect 3-for-3 outing at the plate, adding a triple along with the way with two RBI. Southwick-Powers added in two hits of her own.
Ashley Burrows countered Howard’s performance with a dynamite game of her own, striking out eight and walking one for the Lady JagDogs.
Both teams are back on the field tonight over the road, as Cuba-Rushford heads for Friendship to take on unbeaten Friendship/Scio in a 5 p.m. first pitch, while Genesee Valley/Belfast continues the search for their first win with a 5:30 p.m. visit planned in Hammondsport.
Cuba-Rushford 000 030 0 – 3 7 3
Genesee Valley/Belfast 010 010 0 – 2 6 3
C-R – Sydney Howard (WP) (CG, 13K, 4BB), and Riley Keller.
GVB – Ashley Burrows (LP) (CG, 8K, BB), and Harley Proctor.
Bolivar-Richburg 17, Fillmore 0 (F-5)
FILLMORE — Jessica Majot was a one-Wolverine wrecking crew in Bolivar-Richburg’s return to the field on Wednesday, as she held host Fillmore to one hit while blasting a mammoth three-run homer to power up the team’s 17-0 shutout of the Lady Eagles in five innings to pick up their third straight win.
“B-R plays the game very well fundamentally,” said Lady Eagles coach Jon Beardsley. “Majot was in control on the mound and at the plate, they were disciplined and confident. They are simply a very good team. We have to keep grinding and improving, and try to find ways to close the gap. The girls are a great group of kids, and I believe that they can do that.”
Bolivar-Richburg (3-0) scored at least three runs in each of the first four innings of play to make their presence felt against Fillmore, starting the game with a 3-0 lead before extending it insurmountably with a massive six-run second frame. The Lady Wolverines saw a trio of hitters record at least a pair of hits to go along with Majot’s three-run jack.
Among them, Maddy Thornton, who went 2-for-3 with a triple and drove in four runs to lead the way. Braelin Bentley drove in two runs on two more hits, while McKinlee Harris had two hits, driving in one additionally.
While Majot provided a bat at the plate, her force was felt even more from within the circle, keeping the Lady Eagles (3-2) at a standstill with a one-hit performance, fanning 10 hitters and walking just one to collect the triumphant decision.
Emily Krzeminski had the team’s lone hit — an infield single in the bottom of the third inning. In the circle, Saige Friedl fanned four and walked nine in her four-inning start for the Lady Eagles, who will look to rebound tonight on the road at Arkport/Canaseraga in a 5 p.m. contest.
Bolivar-Richburg will go for four straight wins back home Saturday morning, as they host an 11 a.m. pitch against Andover/Whitesville.
Bolivar-Richburg 363 50 – 17 12 0
Fillmore 000 00 – 0 1 0
B-R – Jessica Majot (WP) (CG, 10K, BB), and Madigan Harris.
FIL – Saige Friedl (LP) (4K, 9BB), Emily Krzeminski (5) (K, 2BB), and Lizzy Nugent.
Wellsville 20.5, Genesee Valley/Belfast 34.5
WELLSVILLE — Although the snow put a damper on the Lions home opener on the links this past Monday, the sun was shining for their debut on Wednesday against Genesee Valley/Belfast.
It would prove to be a successful debut led by the medaling round of the day shot by Briar Dye, as “visiting” Wellsville went past the JagDogs with a 20.5-34.5 triumph on Wednesday at the Wellsville Country Club.
The Lions (1-0) were led by Dye and his medalist round, as he fired a match-low round of 51. Mason Parks chipped in with a 53, while Jack Jordan and Dylan Day each provided rounds of 54, and 55 respectively. Serena Boussa rounded off the card for Wellsville with a 71.
Leading the scorecard for the JagDogs (0-1) was Chris Weaver, who led all drivers with a team-low round of 54. Dylan Hemphill, Deric Grantier and Zach Davis all chipped in with round of 65 each, while Will Guilford rounded off with a round of 68.
Wellsville sits neutral until Tuesday for a 4 p.m. tee-time against Salamanca over the road, while the JagDogs are back at the Wellsville Country Club today with a 4 p.m. tee-time of their own against Bolivar-Richburg.
Fillmore 39, Cuba-Rushford 16
RUSHFORD — Anderson Wiltsey, Haley Hall and Reid Cockle all hand in Fillmore’s successful debut to their 2021 campaign on the links, as they all fired the medalist round to propel the Eagles toward a 39-16 “road” win over host Cuba-Rushford at Allegany Hills on Wednesday.
Wiltsey, Hall and Cockle took charge at the front of the pack for the Eagles (1-0) with the medalist round of 58. Helping further the cause was Will Roeske and Emma Cole, as they both recorded rounds of 60 and 71 respectively to round off.
Cuba-Rushford (0-1) saw Sebastian Saulter led the scorecard with a team-low round of 61. Ethan Fries added in a 72. Haven Kellogg shot a round of 73, while Clifford Karn and Allen Fuller wrapped up shop with rounds of 79, and 94 each. The Rebels are back on the links over the road today in Frankinville, meeting Hinsdale in a 4 p.m. contest.
Fillmore will hit the road once more Monday night, as they head out to visit the Bolivar Golf Club to take on the host Wolverines in a 4 p.m. tee-time.
Wellsville 4, Avoca/Prattsburgh 1
PRATTSBURGH — After falling to the hands of Allegany County perennial, and Section V power Fillmore on a snowy Monday evening indoors at Houghton College, the Lions of Wellsville were on the rebound back over the road two days later with a stop in Avoca/Prattsburgh, where they would go on to do just that.
With the help from Matt Bittel, Ryan Carlton and Hua Qui Zhang, Wellsville powered their way towards victory over host Avoca/Prattsburgh with a sweep of the singles matches, as they sprung back into the win column with a 4-1 overall victory.
Bittel led the way for the Lions (2-2) with a distance-running first singles matchup against Avoca/Prattsburgh’s Ryan Stanford, edging his way through to the end with a 6-4, 6-4 straight set win.
Carlton and Zhang would provide bounce backs of their own to further the cause, with Carlton overcoming a second set defeat to snag his second singles win over Elias Putnam by a 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 count, while Zhang powered past a first-set tie break to take the next two sets in his favor to complete a 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 decision of his own over Connor Stewart at third singles.
Wellsville would put a wrap on the match victory from their second doubles team of Mohamed Ahmed and Keaton Sharpe, as they fought their way through a second-set tiebreak against Avoca/Prattsburgh’s team of Gavin Mills and Tyler Nichols to record the 6-1, 7-6 triumph.
The Lions will look to continue their winning ways Friday evening with a 5 p.m. first serve at Alfred-Almond.
1. Matt Bittel (WLSV) def. Ryan Stanford (A/P), 6-4, 6-4.
2. Ryan Carlton (WLSV) def. Elias Putnam (A/P), 6-1, 2-6, 6-3.
3. Hua Qui Zhang (WLSV) def. Connor Stewart (A/P), 5-7, 6-1, 6-3.
1. Jackson Oliver/Bryce Schuck (A/P) def. Ryan Haggerty/Adam Iantorno (WLSV), 6-2, 6-1.
2. Mohamed Ahmed/Keaton Sharpe (WLSV) def. Gavin Mills/Tyler Nichols (A/P), 6-1, 7-6.
Fillmore defeats Wellsville
HOUGHTON — With every contest on the slate held off for a second straight day due to some late snow from Mother Nature, it didn’t stop one tennis match from marching forward. From the courts inside Houghton College, the Eagles of Fillmore did battle with defending Sectional champion Wellsville in their first of two meetings this season.
As the back-and-forth play raged on, the host Eagles found their edge from within the singles division. As a result, they managed to collect a sweep of all three matches to set up shop for what was their victory in their return from Spring Break, rolling past the Lions with a 4-1 home victory — a win that snaps a four-match slide that spans across two seasons entering Tuesday night.
“We’ve lost four straight over the last two years to Wellsville, so it was nice to flip the script,” said Eagles coach Randy Crouch. “All three singles players played really well, but it was especially nice to see Isaiah Sisson get his first Varsity win tonight. Noah (Strickland) and Layton (Sanasith) are really settling in as a doubles team themselves, and they played very well.”
Carter Sisson, Eben Schilke and Isaiah Sisson all led the singles matches for the Eagles (2-0) with a victory each, with Isaiah Sisson recording his first Varsity win in near-sweeping fashion with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Wellsville’s Joel Janssen at third singles. Schilke added in a dominant second singles win of his own by a 6-1, 6-1 count over Hua Qui Zhang, while Carter Sisson defeated Matt Bittel (6-2, 6-3) at first singles.
The victory was wrapped up by the second doubles team of Layton Sanasith and Noah Strickland, as they scored a 6-1, 6-2 triumph over Wellsville’s Keaton Sharpe and Mohamed Ahmed.
The Lions (1-2) captured just one win from their first doubles team of Adam Iantorno and Ryan Haggerty, as they nearly took Fillmore’s Henry Decker and Joe Derck the distance in both sets, scoring the lengthy 6-4, 6-4 win. Wellsville returns to the court back on the road today, if weather permits, with a 5 p.m. first serve at Avoca/Prattsburgh.
Fillmore will look for their third straight victory to start the season on Thursday, as they hit the road themselves to visit Genesee Valley/Belfast in a 5 p.m. contest of their own.
1. Carter Sisson (FIL) def. Matt Bittel (WLSV), 6-2, 6-3.
2. Eben Schilke (FIL) def. Hua Qui Zhang (WLSV), 6-1, 6-1.
3. Isaiah Sisson (FIL) def. Joel Janssen (WLSV), 6-0, 6-1.
1. Adam Iantorno/Ryan Haggerty (WLSV) def. Henry Decker/Joe Derck (FIL), 6-4, 6-4.
2. Layton Sanasith/Noah Strickland (FIL) def. Keaton Sharpe/Mohamed Ahmed (WLSV), 6-1, 6-2.
Baseball photo gallery by Chris Brooks: