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Weekend Sectionals: GV/Belfast, Fillmore softball, B-R baseball advance, season ends for Andover-Whitesville, C-R baseball

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Sunday Sectionals: No. 9 Byron-Bergen dominates early, wards off No. 8 Rebels, heroic 7th inning to record upset; Barkley, Gaines combine to record no-no for No. 3 B-R over No. 14 Marion  

Photos and stories by CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com

CUBA — It was a brand new season of baseball, one that began in a rare Sunday night showcase for some teams that couldn’t quite open up their Sectional run due to the inclement weather. When the rain subsided in favor of much clearer and brighter conditions, there was no more waiting.

The time was now.

For the eight-seeded Rebels of Cuba-Rushford, they were interlocked in a 9/8 battle with Byron-Bergen that saw them get knocked behind the eight-ball early. As time progressed, the Bees on the opposite side of the field continued to buzz and swarm the field, pushing out their game-long advantage to as much as eight down the stretch.

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But the hosts in gray and blue weren’t going to go down without one last fight. One that nearly turned the complexion of the game upside down.

With a potential complete game shutout bid waiting in the wings for Byron-Bergen’s Tyler Chapman, Cuba-Rushford made sure it was no longer an option on the table, as they produced a five-run rally from behind to trim their deficit back to within reach for the first time since the first three innings of play. But a last-out fan by the Bees halted the potential season-saving rebound by the Rebels in the end, edging their way towards an 8-5 win to end Cuba-Rushford’s campaign.

“Byron-Bergen swung the bats well. They put some pressure on us on the bases and took advantage of a bunch of our mistakes,” Rebels coach Pat Wight said. “Their pitcher really pounded the strike-zone, and their defense made all the plays behind him. It’s frustrating for sure, but we fought back in the seventh and made a game out of it. We just couldn’t find enough runs to complete the comeback. I want to extend my thanks to all six of my seniors for all of their work over the years. They will be missed.”

The Bees were most certainly buzzing around to start the battle against Cuba-Rushford (11-9) through the first three innings, as Marty McConnell helped play a big role behind the team’s early success with his first of two big RBI slugs coming in their opening tenure, as he smacked an RBI single up the middle before advancing to second, trading places with the previous lead runner in the process to break the ice.

After a scoreless second inning, which saw a fanning of the side by Chapman on the mound for the visitors, the momentum remained with the Bees going into the third where McConnell launched his next RBI poke out into left field before coming home himself a short time later on a scorcher past Finn Ricketts at short and into left center field, garnering a 3-0 lead after three complete innings.

Byron-Bergen would break the game open in the middle frames by taking total control of their baserunning, as they scored five more runs — four of which in the top of the sixth off a flurry of steals with the bases loaded, where the end result was the bags being freed up completely to take an 8-0 lead on the Rebels.

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But despite it, Cuba-Rushford would not go down without one final opportunity to climb their way back. In their first three at-bats, they would load the bases behind Chapman on the mound and on the fourth at-bat with no out, Dean Frank cleared them all up with two runs coming in on a single into center. A third run followed behind on advancement after a throw home went wide of the plate.

Jacob Smith would have his turn at adding damage of his own, recording a smack to the left side that cannot be fielded by the Byron-Bergen defense, scoring Frank from third to cut the deficit in half.

The scoring would ultimately work its way towards its conclusion with one final run on special teams to close the gap to three. Before the Rebels would get any closer, the Bees would finally find a way to stop the bleeding and halt the miraculous comeback on a last-out strikeout by McConnell in relief against Preston Bilotta to end the game and the season for the Rebels.

In their final game, the Rebels posted five runs off seven hits, with Wight recording a pair of hits to lead the charge. Ricketts and Frank each chipped in with a hit to further the cause. On the mound, Eli Sleggs went all seven innings, fanning seven and walking five.

Cuba-Rushford’s 2023 campaign has reached its final chapter, as the Rebels wrap up with a record of 11-9 overall. The team will graduate six seniors just over a month from now in Jacob Smith, Jack Frank, Allen Fuller, Sam Grover, Preston Bilotta and Caleb Root.

Byron-Bergen 102 014 0 – 8 8 2

Cuba-Rushford 000 000 5 – 5 7 4

B-B – Tyler Chapman (WP) (7K, 4BB), Martin McConnell (7) (2K) and Frank Hersom.

C-R – Eli Sleggs (LP) (CG, 7K, 5BB) and Dean Frank.

More stories after photos:

No. 3 Bolivar-Richburg 9, No. 14 Marion 0

BOLIVAR — Landon Barkley and Reiss Gaines each took a turn conducting a magnificent symphony for the third-seeded Wolverines of Bolivar-Richburg on the hill to begin their four-peat Sectional title defense in a Sunday afternoon matinee, where No. 14 Marion could not touch the two hurlers, as they went on to floor it towards the Quarterfinal round after the weekend with a 9-0 no-hit victory over the Black Knights.

While the pitching masterclass by Barkley and Gaines was being orchestrated on the hill, the Bolivar-Richburg (17-4) offense was able to syphon a fair amount of energy off of the momentum, starting the game out of the gate with the first run during their first at-bats in the bottom of the first. Both teams would freeze at the plate for the next two scoreless innings before an explosion was detonated down the stretch.

The Wolverines dug in and found a way to connect with their bats in the middle frames to essentially lock up the victory, as they accounted for a pair of runs in each inning to pull away from Marion’s grasp, including a pair of three-spots in the fourth and fifth innings. In all, the hosts in red and black recorded nine runs off eight hits at the plate.

Pacing the attack was a big day from David Baldwin, going 2-for-3 with three RBI. Trey Buchholz added two hits of his own and drove in two more runs, while Barkley and Caden Allen each recorded a double.

On the mound, the win belonged to Barkley and his powerful start for the Wolverines, handing out 13 chairs and walking two before Gaines delivered a relief appearance of the same stature with six more strikeouts to keep the Black Knights off the board.

Bolivar-Richburg now cruises into the Class C2 Quarterfinal round, which will begin tonight at the Rymer Complex at Keshequa, as they now gear up for a battle with No. 6 Red Jacket in a 4 p.m. first pitch.

Marion 000 000 0 – 0 0 2

Bolivar-Richburg 100 332 X – 9 8 0

MAR – Liam McKay (LP) (CG, 6K, 5BB) and Reegan Fenn.

B-R – Landon Barkley (WP) (13K, 2BB), Reiss Gaines (6) (6K) and Aydin Sisson.

SOFTBALL

Class D1 Play-In

No. 7 Genesee Valley/Belfast 5, No. 10 Arkport/Canaseraga 2

BELFAST — With Hannah Southwick-Powers taking complete command of the circle, and a key hit from Jenna Hill coming late in their opening round battle against No. 10 Arkport/Canaseraga, seventh-seeded Genesee Valley/Belfast was able to mix to the two ingredients together to cook up a Sectional debut in the win column, as they completed a 5-2 win in Belfast on Sunday.

“We left a lot of baserunners on base and we’ve left the bases loaded a couple times, but we hit the ball really well. Their pitcher did well mixing up her pitches, and Hannah came out with just as good of an effort as she did,” said GV/Belfast coach Mark Sullivan. “We just have to find a way to get better timely hitting, especially at this stage of the game. If we can’t do that, we’re doomed. But I was pleased, a win is a win and we’ll take it anyway it comes. We’re 1-0.”

Genesee Valley/Belfast (9-10) struck first and took over possession of the lead for the foreseeable future ahead right away, as they scored their first two runs in the first and second frames to break the ice. After both teams traded a scoreless third frame, the hosts went back to work building onto their lead with their third run in the fourth.

The floodgates were then broken open in the fifth inning to push out Genesee Valley/Belfast’s lead permanently. With the assistance of a humongous two-run double to the outfield by Jenna Hill, they were able to ward off Arkport/Canaseraga’s late seventh inning push after ending Hannah Southwick-Powers’ shutout bid from within the circle.

Despite it, Southwick-Powers was able to complete another elite performance, holding the Lady Wolves to just three hits across 15 strikeouts and two walks to tally the win. At the plate, she along with Hill each recorded three hits, with Southwick-Powers recording a triple in the midst of her outing. Cassidy Hand chipped in with two hits of her own to help round out an 11-hit team effort.

For Arkport/Canaseraga, Grace Groves fanned seven and walked one in her complete game on the mound. At the plate, Madelynn Kellogg recorded a double.

Up next is the Class D1 Quarterfinal round on Tuesday, as Genesee Valley/Belfast now takes on No. 2 Lyndonville on the grounds of Oakfield-Alabama, in a 5 p.m. first pitch.

Arkport/Canaseraga 000 000 2 – 2 3

Genesee Valley/Belfast 110 102 X – 5 11

A/C – Grace Groves (LP) (CG, 7K, BB) and Nicole Merry.

GVB – Hannah Southwick-Powers (WP) (CG, 15K, 2BB) and Jenna Hill. —

Saturday Sectionals: Miller’s brilliant 10-strikeout complete game, 8-run 5th inning propels No. 8 Fillmore over No. 9 Naples; No. 8 And/Whi baseball downed in upset by No. 9 Hammondsport  

FILLMORE — The Lady Eagles of Fillmore had all phases of their way work in their favor despite some less-than-ideal conditions outdoors on a Saturday afternoon that pushed all of the rest of the Sectional slate back one extra day.

With the bats working and a tremendous day from Mylee Miller coming into fruition from within the circle, the Lady Eagles would not be denied victory against No. 9 Naples on their home field to open their second season journey on a massive note with a 13-4 victory to send the Lady Big Green home packing.

The Lady Eagles (7-12) struck the game’s first chords after two complete innings, breaking the ice during their first at-bats before adding onto the early advantage just a single inning later with a pair of runs, branching out the lead to three over Naples to remain in control. The Lady Big Green would respond with their first run in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit down, but that would be as close as they would get to the hosts in black and green.

After a scoreless Fillmore frame to end the fourth, and then a fourth shutout inning tossed by Miller in the circle, the Lady Eagles would navigate their way towards the finish line with a brilliant fifth inning of dominance, scoring eight dynamic runs to eclipse the 10-run mark, never looking back from that point forward, as they ensured their trip to the Quarterfinal round.

The Lady Eagles totaled 13 runs off nine hits at the plate, with Mattie McCumiskey and Annika Wiltsey leading the bats with two hits each. Five different Lady Eagles — Oakley Frazier, Julia Beardsley, Skylar Gaddy, Grace Russell and Jenna Austin, all rounded off the attack with a hit each.

While the bats were coming alive, Miller held down the fort in the circle with one of her best performances of the season, as she handed out 10 chairs and walked just one in her complete game gem, holding Naples to just five hits.

Up next, Fillmore will get set to hit the road for the Quarterfinal round in the Class D1 playoffs, as they get set to face top-seeded Keshequa on Tuesday at a time to be determined at the Rymer Complex.

Naples 000 103 0 – 4 5 4

Fillmore 120 082 X – 13 9 2

NAP – Emily Lester (LP) (CG, 2K, 10BB) and Grayce Hebding.

FIL – Mylee Miller (WP) (CG, 10K, BB) and Oakley Frazier.

BASEBALL

Class D2 Play-In

No. 9 Hammondsport 13, No. 8 Andover/Whitesville 6

ANDOVER — Although the rain put a damper on much of the first day of Sectional play, eight-seeded Andover/Whitesville would not allow the precipitation to deter their opportunity to start their journey on the right foot, Saturday morning.

Their opposition was No. 9 Hammondsport, who looked to play spoiler themselves. And through the first three innings of play, the visiting Lakers were able to garner enough of a strong start against the hosts to build a lead they would not relieve from start to finish, holding a lead by as much as eight down the stretch to pull off the upset in Class D2 Play-In action with a 13-6 win in Andover.

Hammondsport grabbed a jump right off the hop in their opening at-bats to keep the Andover/Whitesville defense on their feet early, plating four big runs to take the opening advantage. The frame, paced by a clutch two-run single off the bat of Cayden Casselbury with two out on the board.

While the Lakers were able to continue building on, Andover/Whitesville would work their way onto the board themselves along the way with a run scoring on error in the second, and a sacrifice fly from Colton Calladine in the next inning to trim the deficit to 7-2.

The scoring ways continued for the visitors in purple and black, as they went on to score their last six runs in the next three innings to eclipse the 10-run mark, including another big four-run frame in the top of the sixth which was conducted off multiple special teams plays around the bases, which would ultimately give them all the room they needed to secure the upset bid at the end of the game.

Andover/Whitesville was allowed just four hits across the contest, with CJ Estep leading the bats with two of them. Oliver Smith and Skylar Orpet each had the remaining pair, with the latter driving in a run in the bottom of the sixth. On the mound, Brody Vance struck out 10 and walked eight in his relief appearance.

The 2023 campaign for Andover/Whitesville is now over, as they wrap up with a record of 4-13 overall. The team will graduate just three seniors next month in Estep, Layton Miller and Landon Cook.

Hammondsport 421 114 0 – 13 6 2

Andover/Whitesville 011 021 1 – 6 4 8

HAM – Ben Dluzak (WP) (11K, 4BB), Ethan Buckley (7) (3K, BB) and Silas Scofield.

A/W – CJ Estep (LP) (K, 2BB), Brody Vance (1) (10K, 8BB) and Colton Calladine.

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