Aidan Riley lays down a bunt single. Riley was 2-for-2 with a run while Gavin Haggerty and Trenton Green pitched solid in the loss. Lindy White photo.
By CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com
BATH — It was a season filled with adversity that the Lions of Wellsville had to overcome since the very beginning. Through everything that had stood in their way, the No. 7 seeds had found themselves one single step away from reaching the Finals. With wins in four of the last five games, they were beginning to warm up.
There was no better time for the heat to rise than on Wednesday in Bath, where the Lions went toe-to-toe and raced stride-for-stride alongside Class B2’s reigning champion Rams. With a trip to the Finals on the line this weekend, something had to give between the two baseball rivals. After their 16-13 affair in Wellsville earlier this season, things would begin to tighten up.
But when a tone was set, it was going to be hard to match. For Bath-Haverling, baserunning made all the difference.
After three scoreless innings, the Rams went to work on some strong base running against the Lions, using it to cash in on their first run of the game before adding two more along the way to branch out their lead. Given one last chance to do some damage in the late stages of the battle, Wellsville would ultimately fall short in the end, as their season came to a close in a 3-1 victory for the Rams to punch their return ticket back to the Class B2 Finals this weekend.
“These kids will be licking their wounds for a little while, but it was a highly competitive nail-biter. It’s frustrating to come out on the tail end of it,” said Lions coach Tom Delahunt. “We had several opportunities with runners on base earlier in the game, and we couldn’t capitalize on those situations. We made some noise later in the seventh to give them everything we had left, but it would prove to be too late.”
Both teams dueled across the first three innings of play, where Wellsville’s Gavin Haggerty and Bath-Haverling’s Zach Musso kept their respective opposing offense on their feet early. Musso would continue his start of dominance against the Lions, while the bats fed off the big boost with some key baserunning to provide them their first lead in the bottom of the fourth, scoring the lone run off a bases-loaded walk.
Both teams would trade left and right jabs through the fourth inning before the Rams assumed control again in the bottom of the fifth with two more key runs that would prove to be just enough of a distance maker in the end. Wellsville would be allowed one final opportunity to get on the scoreboard, as they ended the shutout drought in the game with an RBI single from Derek Coleman to trim the deficit to a pair of runs.
But despite the hit, it would become too little, too late.
Wellsville finishes their 2023 campaign with their single run off five total hits, with Aidan Riley leading the bats with a 2-for-3 outing at the plate, recording a run along the way. Cody Costello and Alex Green each added a hit. On the mound, Gavin Haggerty struck out two and walked four, while Trenton Green had four strikeouts and a walk.
The Lions have wrapped up their 2023 campaign with a record of 10-12 overall. The team will graduate all four of their seniors next month in Costello, Riley, Logan Dunbar and Kavan O’Grady.
Delahunt says that it’s been a season filled with ups and downs, but through it all, he is proud of the contributions his team has made.
”We had to battle injuries all year long to key members of this team,” he said. “We had to change positions a lot, we had a lot of contributions from a lot of young kids. It was a tough season because of that. But we weathered the storm, and you always talk about the next man up. We gained some valuable experience for the future ahead. We return a strong team next year, and our future should be more than bright ahead,
Delahunt added on his seniors, saying that “Logan was a horse all year and he had a great season. He could really do some damage if he keeps playing in college next Spring. Cody has been our lead-off guy, he knows the game well and he sets the table for us. It’ll be fun to see him grow next year. Aidan Riley, if you talk about somebody that can provide a spark, he utilized his speed to the fullest. He brought a lot of energy, and I was pleasantly surprised with how much he contributed. Kavan, I feel for him because of his season-ending surgery, I wish we had him one more year but he constantly came to practice and helped out wherever he could. His presence at practice and on the bench during games was extremely appreciated. I will miss all of my seniors greatly.”
Wellsville 000 000 1 – 1 5 0
Bath-Haverling 000 120 X – 3 3 5
WLSV – Gavin Haggerty (LP) (2K, 4BB), Trenton Green (4) (4K, BB) and Alex Green.
B-H – Zach Musso (WP) (CG, 10K, 2BB) and Dante Nealey.
Photos courtesy Lindy White:
Class D1 Semifinals
No. 1 Fillmore 10, No. 4 Arkport/Canaseraga 9 (F-8)
FILLMORE — It can be one of the more difficult feats for a team to try and accomplish. Defeating a single opponent three different times in a season can be no slouch, but if it can be done, it can provide a feeling of euphoric satisfaction.
The chance for one team to do just that, arose. That being the top-seeded Eagles of Fillmore.
With two outstanding battles up against the No. 4 Arkport/Canaseraga Wolves already in the wagon, what better way to ring in the third and final clash than with a chance to claim a spot in this weekend’s Class D1 Finals in what was another instant classic at the Town Park, in a season series finale in the Semifinal round that saw a combined 19 runs and 22 hits come to complete fruition on offense.
With a 3-1 lead against the Wolves in hand after the early sequences reached its conclusion, the balance of power swayed in each and every direction all across the middle frames, with each team trading leads left and right until the visitors in black and teal came up with the final response to tie the game at nine, forcing extra innings.
It was a similar predicament that the Eagles avoided earlier this year at the Town Park against the Wolves, as they rallied back to take a 4-3 win behind Aiden Wagner’s walk-off smack in the bottom of the seventh in their first meeting.
But when the bottom of the eighth came around this time, the Eagles would do it again.
Yes, you guessed it. For the second time this season against Arkport/Canaseraga, Aiden Wagner came through in the clutch again for the Eagles. With the game hanging in the balance and a return trip to the Class D1 Finals looming over the horizon, the Fillmore senior ensured that they got another chance to defend their throne, lining a base hit into the outfield to score the game-winning run, sending the home dugout and crowd into hysterics as they clinched a Finals berth in dramatic fashion with a 10-9 win.
“Arkport/Canaseraga is a deep team, and they’re such a great team. We played them three times this year, and every one of those could have gone either way,” said Eagles coach Bill Nolan. “Hats off to Nick (Smith) and his team, they’re amazing ballplayers and they’re a fun group to watch and to go up against. We spread out the ball really good across the lineup, and in a big game like this, you need that. We had our fair share of mistakes, but these guys don’t quit. That’s the spirit of the game these kids have.”
Every single batter in the Fillmore (17-1) lineup recorded at least a hit to power up the offense, which began in the bottom of the second after both squads traded scoreless barbs in the first. The Eagles soared to an early 3-0 lead with Damon Potter’s big bat, as he launched a big ball out of the park for a three-run blast that left in an absolute hurry, breaking the ice in a big way to get the defending Class D1 champions started in the second.
Arkport/Canaseraga was able to catch on however, as a marathon of run exchanging soon began in the top of the third with their opening run, ultimately navigating towards a 3-3 tie with two big runs in the fourth inning.
For the next four halves of offense, both the Wolves and Eagles each traded three-run frames up until the visitors tied the game once and for all in the top of the sixth to force another instant classic into an extra session.
In it, came an absolutely clutch inning of baseball for Fillmore. One that started with a quick 1-2-3 on the field against the Wolves to keep them frozen in their tracks before transitioning the momentum back to the plate for what would be their final stand of attack. With game-winning damage aboard the bases, the remainder of the game lied on the shoulders of Aiden Wagner, who would once again send the Eagles into a walk-off frenzy with his single into the outfield to score the winning run in the bottom of the eighth to capture a spot in this weekend’s Class D1 title game.
All together, Fillmore produced 10 runs off 12 total hits, with every single Eagle in the lineup all recording at least a hit. Among them was Potter, who had two hits including his three-run blast, scoring three times himself on special teams to further his own cause. Nolan Krzeminski had two hits to add in along with an RBI, while James Hillman blasted a two-run triple to help keep the wheels turning during the middle frame bonanza alongside the Wolves.
On the mound, Mitch Ward struck out three and walked one in his three inning start for the Eagles, but the win was awarded to his senior teammate Brent Zubikowski, who came on in relief in the last two innings to keep the Wolves at an absolute standstill by recording a strikeout along the way.
For Arkport/Canaseraga, Micah Marvin and Bryer Drake combined to record five of the team’s 10 hits at the plate, with Marvin scoring three of them. On the mound, Logan Hoyt fanned four and walked two during his start that stretched into the fifth inning for the Wolves.
The stage is now set for a Saturday afternoon rematch at Maple City Park in Hornell, as top-seeded Fillmore now gets set for battle once again with No. 2 Avoca/Prattsburgh, who defeated No. 3 Naples in walk-off fashion themselves, for the Class D1 crown. First pitch has yet to be determined.
Arkport/Canaseraga 001 233 00 – 9 10 4
Fillmore 030 330 01 – 10 12 5
A/C – Logan Hoyt (4K, 2BB), Titus Marvin (5) (5K, BB), Micah Marvin (LP, 7) (3K, 3BB) and Bryer Drake.
FIL – Mitch Ward (3K, BB), Damon Potter (4) (2K, 3BB), Luke Colombo (6) (K, BB), Brent Zubikowski (WP, 7) (K) and Nolan Krzeminski.
Photos by Chris Brooks of the Bolivar-Richburg victory, story on the baseball and tennis wins after photos:
Bolivar-Richburg 8, York 1
BOLIVAR — It’s a feeling that never gets old. A feeling that seems just as sweet as winning it all — the opportunity to contend for the championship brick. A pretty good feeling, right?
For the last four years, and even many more times before that, the Wolverines of Bolivar-Richburg have made it their mission to get back to that holy trinity of games in Section V.
Four years running, four championships.
No. 3 Bolivar-Richburg was back into a very similar position to try and do it all over again on Wednesday against one of those teams they defeated during their championship reign of glory — No. 7 York. The Golden Knights put the Wolverines on edge in the early stages of the fight, garnering the game’s first lead along the way in the midst of a defensive battle.
But despite an early hole, it’s something that wouldn’t faze the Wolverines. In fact, it was something that allowed them to set their wheels in motion. Once they started spinning, there was no slowing down.
The four-peat champions took complete control in the bottom of the third against the Golden Knights, posting a four-run sequence that allowed them to set a tone that York could not match for the remainder of the game, while Trey Buchholz took complete command of the team’s destiny on the mound and held the fort down to re-punch their tickets back to the Class C2 Finals in an 8-1 win in front of their home crowd for the final time this season.
“It’s another new group that will get a chance to experience this, and the feeling never gets old going back to do it again,” said Wolverines coach Dustin Allen. “Trey threw a nice game, and the defense was excellent behind him. David Baldwin made some incredible plays at third, and it’s called the hot corner for a reason. Because of plays like he made. The outfielders made plays, hit their cuts. Everything that we worked on, it has all translated on the field.”
Both teams would have their fair share of chances across the two shutout innings posted by their defenses, with the Wolverines (19-4) getting their first shot with a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the first, led by a Reiss Gaines double down the right field line. In return, York posted a stand with two runners on base in the second, where both would be left on after a quick sequence of their own in the field.
But the Golden Knights would become the first team to strike first in the third, capitalizing on an RBI single from Joe Bauer into the left center field gap, trading places with the lead runner on base at second before he gets tagged out on a steal to third a short time later.
The response that the Wolverines provided in return was even stronger, as they went on to begin their scoreless strand of runs in the bottom half of the third with four runs — two off clutch fielder’s choices from Caden Allen and Cayden Gaines, pairing them with RBI singles by both Evan Pinney and David Baldwin that allowed them to jump out on top.
Bolivar-Richburg would add onto their lead in the last two innings of offense with their last four runs, with Gaines scoring a run off a deep ball all the way to the right field fence for an RBI triple before being tagged out at home on a strong throw to the plate by Carl Szczech to catch him off guard on his potential inside-the-park home run bid.
In the bottom of the sixth, the scoring reached its conclusion with the last three runs of the game all off outstanding RBI swings by Trey Buchholz, Aydin Sisson and Caden Allen. It would ultimately prove that it was all the room that the Wolverines needed to take care of business, as Reiss Gaines came on in relief of Buchholz and helped toss a four-hit win of immense stature to clinch a spot in this weekend’s Class C2 Finals.
The Wolverines accounted for eight runs off seven hits — all accounted for by seven different batters at the plate.
“We did a great job being patient at the plate,” said Allen. “A lot of different guys got some hits, and that is always great to see. We were a lot more focused and dialed in than on Monday. Trey settled right in and shut York down. We had a limit on our mind to shut him off so he could be ready for Saturday. York is a very athletic team, and they weren’t going to give up. They hung around, and David Abdo made a phenomenal catch in the outfield to get us off and leave all the bags loaded.”
Buchholz finished with eight strikeouts and a walk across just over six innings of work, to pace the Wolverines defense.
Bolivar-Richburg is back on the field Saturday afternoon, where they will now take aim at a chance to win their fifth straight Section V title, as they prepare to square off against top-seeded Notre Dame-Batavia for all the marbles at a site and time, to be determined.
York 001 000 0 – 1 4 3
Bolivar-Richburg 004 013 X – 8 7 1
YORK – Joe Bauer (LP) (3K, 7BB), Ryan Brady (6) and Brody Hatfield.
B-R – Trey Buchholz (WP) (8K, BB), Reiss Gaines (7) (2K, 2BB) and Aydin Sisson.
Class B4 Semifinals
No. 1 Fillmore 3, No. 5 Honeoye 2
HOUGHTON — Fillmore head coach Randy Crouch noted that the challenges that lay ahead were only going to become tougher. On Wednesday, one more hurdle separated them between a return to the Finals. That being No. 5 Honeoye, who traveled to Houghton University to wage war for a spot in Thursday’s championship match.
Through it all, a hot start for the Eagles was used to push the Bulldogs towards the brink. To do it, it would come down to Marcus Wolfer. In his third singles match yesterday, he went the extra mile alongside Alfred-Almond’s Patrick Power, who ultimately navigated his way towards victory through two different seven-point tie-breaks in their three high competitive sets of action.
It was something that Wolfer flipped upside down himself the very next night, using it to his fullest of advantages.
After falling in a first-set tiebreak to the hands of Honeoye’s Tre Nguyen, Wolfer rebounded in the biggest of ways for the top-seeded Eagles, syphoning all the momentum with a strong second set to put towards another seven-point tiebreak in what would be the game-deciding set. With it, Wolfer warded off a late rally from Nguyen with the last three points of his third singles match, giving Fillmore the third and final win they would need to clinch victory and a spot in the Class B4 Finals with a 3-2 win.
“I was pretty nervous about tonight’s match,” said Eagles coach Randy Crouch. “Honeoye is a strong team with six seniors. Eben (Schilke), Joe (Derck) and Jack (Boon) played awesome right out of the gate and got us up 2-0, but the story of the game was Marcus. He lost his first set, but really found his groove and won in the second. In the third, he kept the momentum to jump out, but his opponent responded to go ahead. It seemed like he started to fade, but somehow he found another head and closed it out. I’m really proud of him, because he got us to the Finals.”
Wolfer’s victory over Nguyen would end in a 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 decision at the end of the day to help Fillmore capture match victory. Before that though, the Eagles (17-0) used a fast start from Eben Schilke at first singles, as well as a dominant first doubles performance from Joe Derck and Jack Boon to set the pace, as each came away victorious with a 6-1, 6-2 win to record a 2-0 lead over Honeoye.
The Bulldogs were able to fight their way towards a 2-2 tie as time went on, with Ethan Le adding the first win at second singles over Isaiah Sisson, as he worked his way through a first set tiebreak and towards a dominant finish in a 7-5, 6-0 decision. Ben Battle and Ted Cooney gave the Bulldogs their game-tying victory through a hard-fought, first-set tiebreak defeat to the hands of Fillmore’s Ezra Knapp and Henry Decker, but overcame it with another lengthy back-and-forth battle to secure the 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-4 victory.
To close out the night, the rest was up to Wolfer, who found his groove in the late stages of his third singles battle to break through in triumphant fashion, tallying the three-set win in a thriller to send Fillmore to tonight’s Class B4 Finals at Alfred-Almond, where they will face No. 2 Naples in a 4 p.m. first serve.
“We get Naples, they’re the number two seed, but we will have our hands full. They lost no one off a team that made the regional round last season. We will have to find a way to reach another level, but I believe in our guys.” said Crouch.
1. Eben Schilke (FIL) def. Ajay Merrick (HON), 6-1, 6-2.
2. Ethan Le (HON) def. Isaiah Sisson (FIL), 7-5, 6-0.
3. Marcus Wolfer (FIL) def. Tre Nguyen (HON), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.
1. Jack Boon/Joe Derck (FIL) def. Cody Vandewark/Owen Baader (HON), 6-1, 6-2.
2. Ben Battle/Ted Cooney (HON) def. Ezra Knapp/Henry Decker (FIL), 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-4.