The season ended for the Wellsville baseball team in their first sectional game, but the team had a great comeback in Livonia. There was also a large crowd at the game, and that is expected again tonight.
Wellsville will host Mynderse in softball at 6 p.m. Mynderse is No. 4 seed at 11-6 and agreed to come to Wellsville despite the trip being over the 75-mile radius. During week-day games in sectionals, games more than 75 miles are played at a neutral site. Wellsville is the No, 1 seed at 16-3
By CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com @iambrooskie
Class B2 Quarterfinals
No. 4 Livonia 7, No. 5 Wellsville 6
LIVONIA — The season for the Wellsville Lions on the diamond has been reminiscent of your normal rollercoaster ride at an amusement park. The ups and the downs, the excitement and the thrill. It had it all.
It was no different on Wednesday, when the Lions made a second trip to Livonia in just over a week to do battle with the No. 4 Bulldogs for the third and final time this season, as each team was looking to pick up the winning end of the rubber game in a Class B2 Quarterfinal that mattered the most out of the two games played before.
Right away, Wellsville found themselves in a deep hole to the Bulldogs, as Livonia grabbed the early jump on offense with a massive lead to carry forward. But even after falling into the trenches quickly, the Lions would shine through their resiliency and their energy to give Livonia one last fight down the homestretch.
With Jere Havens doing a magnificent job holding the Bulldogs in relief, the cardiac kids of Wellsville followed behind on offense with an effort that nearly saw them pull off the comeback of the season in one of the more crucial moments this year.
The Lions plugged away, but in the end, the deficit would prove to be too much to overcome in the end, as Livonia held on for dear life after being shutout in the last four innings by Havens, as their 7-6 lead over Wellsville held up in the end to secure their spot in the Semifinals while sending their opposition home packing.
“We ran out of innings. After the game, we talked and I told them to look at the scoreboard. We won every inning except for the second. We outplayed them, and if we had another inning to go, we could have had them,” Lions coach Tom Delahunt said. “We had all the momentum from the second inning, chipping away and chipping away. We’ve done this all season. This team has been very resilient and we’ve never allowed any kind of deficit to get us down, when it was against Canandaigua, Bath or even here at Livonia. Seven runs is a big deficit to overcome in Sectionals, and we almost did it.”
Wellsville (11-10) would find themselves in a deep hole dug by Livonia right from the start against Ty Vogel, as the Bulldogs saw their offense spring to life exuberantly with all seven of their runs coming in the first two innings of play, six of them being scratched across in the second to set the bar for the Lions going forward.
But despite the height of the bar that Livonia had set for the Lions, the No. 5 seeds would accept the highest challenge Livonia had to offer, as they mounted a comeback of epic proportions that would continuously grow over time.
The Lions would go on to score the game’s final six runs, including a pair in both the fifth and sixth innings, before trimming the deficit to a single run during the team’s final at-bats. But in the end, Livonia was able to hang on for dear life to earn the gut-wrenching victory.
A big reason behind Wellsville’s late rally – Jere Havens, who showed an incredible amount of Senior leadership during his time on the mound in relief of Vogel, as he tossed four shutout innings after Livonia initially caused the game-threatening damage themselves. Havens would finish with nine strikeouts to keep the opposition at a standstill.
Havens, along with Alex Green, were the leading hitters for Wellsville, both going 2-for-4 during their time on offense, with Havens blasting a triple and scoring twice, while Green inched Wellsville ever so closer to Livonia with a solo bomb to deep left center field in the top of the sixth to cut their deficit to a pair of runs.
But the host Bulldogs would maintain vigilance on defense, holding Wellsville in complete control to keep their lead in tact for good.
Adding hits for Wellsville were Logan Dunbar and Cooper Brockway, as they both collected a single to finish off the team’s six-hit effort.
The 2022 campaign for the Lions has officially reached its end, as they wrap up their first season under Delahunt with a record of 11-10 overall. Reflecting on the season, Delahunt says the hope now is the young core that now remains will continue to show promising things as time goes on.
“There were a lot of ups and downs. A lot of good moments, good experiences for this young team,” the first-year coach said. “The good thing is that we graduate only three. Most of the kids will be back to do it again next year, which is really promising. There are a lot of guys that got some valuable innings and experience to put forth for next year. We hope to let this fuel the fire so that we win these kinds of games.”
At the same time, the Lions will say goodbye to three pivotal pieces to their puzzle of success this season – Havens, Alex Perkins and Dylan Culver, with the prior receiving tons of praise from his coach for keeping the team in the game on both sides of the plate.
“Tonight was our last game for our Seniors. Ty (Vogel) struggled on the mound to start and that’s a lot for a freshman to start his first Sectional game, but Jere lifted us and shut the door on Livonia, putting up zero after zero,” Delahunt said. “He pitched with so much heart, and he got the bats going with his triple. We’re going to miss his work ethic and his leadership very much. The other Seniors in Alex and Dylan, they played different roles for us this year and they both were extremely coachable and accepting of what we wanted to ask from them. I’m going to miss those two next year along with Jere.”
Wellsville 000 122 1 – 6 6 3
Livonia 160 000 X – 7 6 3
WLSV – Ty Vogel (LP) (2K, 4BB), Jere Havens (2) (9K), and Alex Green.
LIV – Conner Benitez (WP) (CG, 8K, 2BB), and Alex Benitez.