By CHRIS BROOKS, wellsvillesports.com sports editor
CANANDAIGUA — A tremendous amount of resilience was put on display by the Lions of Wellsville in their first contest back from the Spring Break, Thursday night in the Finger Lakes region. In Canandaigua, the Lions were challenged by the host Braves right out of the gate, and down the stretch where the activity picked up tremendously.
In a point in time where Wellsville trailed 10-4 heading into the top of the seventh, they would make all of that ground back up during their final at-bats of the night, digging and clawing their way back to tie Canandaigua at 10 to force some late pressure, and perhaps a chance to send the festivities into extra innings.
But the Braves played spoiler, and came up with the immediate response despite Wellsville’s massive rally, as Nate Barone sealed the victory in walk-off fashion by blasting an RBI single to hte outfield, scoring the running run in the process to secure the wild 11-10 home triumph.
“We scored eight runs in the last two innings. You could easily pack it in late with the score tied, but we didn’t,” said Lions coach Tom Delahunt. “We battled, we got on base and we had some huge hits come at the bottom of our order. The kids played with a lot of energy in the end, and it is unfortunate to lose it in the bottom half on the walk-off after coming back from the deficit, but we were resilient all the way to the end against a solid Class A school as well.”
For much of the night, Wellsville (2-3) had to spend time fighting their way back from behind after starting the game with an early 2-0 lead in their first at-bats. The Braves countered with a run in each of the next two innings to tie up the game, before their offense began branching out their lead to three with three unanswered runs.
With a 5-2 lead in hand, the pressure was on as Wellsville cut down the deficit with a pair of sixth inning runs. As soon as the Lions got back to within range, the Braves exploded at perhaps as good of a time as ever, scoring a five-run bottom half as their counter-attack to extend their advantage to the game’s largest — of six, taking a 10-4 lead into the seventh after pushing the visitors straight towards the brink.
But the pressure that the Lions faced, was soon vaporized with one last card of their own that was played — a six-run top of the seventh, led by a double from Ty Vogel and later, a game-tying RBI single off the bat of Alex Green, which saw them get back even with the Braves in a 10-10 ballgame. But the rally was shortlived later on, as Barone came up with the biggest hit of them all to walk it off for Canandaigua, spoiling Wellsville’s massive rally in the process to secure the wild victory.
Wellsville accumulated 10 runs on 13 total hits, with three different Lions recording at least a pair of hits to pave the offense. Among them, Green, who finished 2-for-3 with a run scored. Leading the bats were Cody Costello and Aiden Cowburn, who each had three hits, with Costello driving in three runs and scoring one of his own, while Cowburn added two RBI and one run scored.
On the mound, Jere Havens fanned three and walked five in his four-inning start for the Lions.
The five-game stretch through six nights continues tonight for Wellsville, as they visit Maple City Park for a date with the Hornell Red Raiders, beginning at 5 p.m.
Wellsville 200 002 6 – 10 13 1
Canandaigua 110 125 1 – 11 12 3
WLSV – Jere Havens (3K, 5BB), Cooper Brockway (5) (2K), Cody Costello (6) (2BB), Aiden Cowburn (6) (2K), Ty Vogel (LP, 7) (BB), and Alex Green.
CAN – Kenyon Mahoney (5K, 5BB), Will Smith (5) (2K), AJ Debalso (WP, 7) (K), and Debalso, Sam Bement (7).