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Wellsville baseball downs rivals Olean, A-L in two nights, Brockway, Cowburn, Green tough on mound

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PHOTO GALLERY AND STORY by CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com

WELLSVILLE — Getting back to the grindstone on back-to-back nights can become one of the more difficult tasks for teams to undertake.

It was an assignment that the Lions of Wellsville — winners of five of their first six games, were facing when they carried an 8-4 win over Olean at St. Bonaventure back home to the Den to square off against Allegany-Limestone the next night.

Although the weather forecast provided some uncertainty revolving around Thursday’s battle with the Gators, the tarp was immediately unraveled upon their return home to cover the field throughout the night, and then re-rolled it up in the nick of time right before first pitch over 16 hours later.

In their last meeting at the beginning of the campaign, the Lions worked their way back from behind after an 8-3 deficit to the Gators by cementing an unbelievable rally consisting of 15 unanswered runs to claim an 18-8 victory. This time around though, it was different, with both teams remaining stride-for-stride with one another across the opening sequences.

With a one-run lead in hand and Allegany-Limestone gradually creeping closer, Cooper Brockway was not going to allow the Gators to give way.

The Wellsville senior was at his best.

What momentum was built off his strong tenure on the hill, it would carry over to the offense where they would scratch runs across home plate in any way they could. From laying the lumber down to using their agility and awareness to work their way around the bases, Wellsville did it all to maximize their 3-2 lead of Allegany-Limestone and transform it into an insurmountable advantage off eight straight runs in the middle frames, pulling away and towards a sixth win in their first seven games with an 11-3 victory over the Gators to complete the series sweep.

“We had a hard time capitalizing with some runners that we had on base. Our bats have won us our games through the first part of the season, but now our pitching has started to take over,” said Lions coach Tom Delahunt. “It’s nice to see them making big pitches at times. Cooper has had a couple of really good starts for us, beginning last week in Myrtle. He’s been hitting all his spots and it was nice to see him step up when we couldn’t get those timely hits. We stranded a bunch of runners, most of them in scoring position, which allowed the game to get close at times. But we managed to break it open when we could, all while he was doing his thing on the mound.”

After both teams traded quick twists of defense on a 1-2-3 basis, the scoring would break open for the Lions (6-1) in the bottom of the second. To go with his superb outing on the hill to that distinction of time, Brockway was able to help supply the game’s first run off an RBI single into right field by Trenton Green.

Allegany-Limestone threatened across the first two innings of play, but in the top half of the third, they ultimately found an opening to exploit and take the lead away from the Lions by converting a game-tying and go-ahead sequence in back-to-back at-bats, with a fielder’s choice off the bat of Zane Gleason getting it started before a Caleb Strade double into the right center field gap allowed them to propel ahead with what would be their only lead of the contest.

Wellsville fired back in the bottom half however to force one last lead change, rebounding with the aid of Aiden Cowburn and his base hit up the middle to poke in Brennen Geffers, who originally led off the frame after taking a hit inside the box. After a fielding error was committed by the Gators in the field, the Lions were able to take full advantage of the opportunity to hurdle back ahead with a 3-2 lead.

Then, the offense began to intensify.

In the midst of Brockway’s outstanding sequence in the middle stanzas for the hosts in black and orange, the offense proceeded to strike from all angles of the field, gathering two more runs in the fourth off special teams — the first on a wild pitch to the backstop during Alex Green’s at-bat, followed by a dead ball after a line drive shot hit the field umpire in between shortstop and third base, awarding an extra base for every Lion occupying a base.

It didn’t stop there for Wellsville, as they picked up where they left off with their first three batters of the fifth inning reaching immediately to load the bases behind the Gators defense. More special teams play was capitalized upon by the Lions, courtesy of a four-run frame powered by baserunning on wild pitches to the backstop to make it a 9-2 lead.

At the end of the night, the middle frames paid all the dividends that Wellsville could muster, as they were able to screech past the Gators behind Brockway’s guidance on the mound, going all seven innings while striking out nine and walking just one. At the plate, Geffers led the way with a hit and scored a team-leading three runs.

As a cohesive unit however, the hosts managed to steal 14 bases to move into scoring position.

“You can’t get much better than that,” said Delahunt. “The kids are playing with confidence and we can’t wait for the next game ahead. It’s nice to have this many games done at this stage, because you’re not rushing to play at the end of the season. Getting those early games in will be nice down the stretch.”

On Saturday, the Lions will hit the road for a big visit to Arkport-Canaseraga, where they will take on the host Wolves in a 1 p.m. first pitch.

Allegany-Limestone 002 000 1 – 3 9 4

Wellsville 012 242 X – 11 7 0

A-L – Collin Forrest (LP) (2K, 3BB), Evan Johnson (4) (K, 4BB), AJ Riordan (5) (2K, BB) and Zane Gleason.

WLSV – Cooper Brockway (WP) (CG, 9K, BB) and Alex Green, Matt Ritter (6)

Wellsville 8, Olean 4

ALLEGANY — Wellsville’s cardiac kids were at it once again, Tuesday night, this time on the grounds of St. Bonaventure University.

Pinned up against Section VI rival Olean, they would search for a fast start to get their wheels turning in motion. Right in their opening at-bats, the Lions did just that by providing the game’s icebreaker with a lead they continued to hold through every passing minute leading up to the fifth inning, where the Huskies managed to fight back and tie the game at three.

For the Lions, just like their common theme this season so far, they would commence the digging and clawing their way back once again. Immediately following Olean’s game-tying stanza in the fifth, the team in black and orange got down to business and provided the perfect response — a four-run top of the sixth inning to catapult them ahead.

While the offense was clicking, the pitching staff of Aiden Cowburn and Trenton Green both delivered the goods during their respective outings on the hill, with Cowburn holding Olean scoreless across four of the first five innings of his start, while Green entered and shut the door tight on Olean with six big strikeouts in relief to aid Wellsville’s fifth win in their first six games by an 8-4 count at Fred Handler Park.

“Aiden was huge for us today,” Lions coach Tom Delahunt said. “He really did a nice job of mixing his pitches, throwing strikes and getting ahead in the count. He gave us a strong effort, but unfortunately when he left, Olean managed to tie the game. But he had a huge hit for us to get us going late. That, along with Trenton pounding the strike-zone. He hasn’t pitched a lot, but he came in and gave us a great outing to slam the door shut.”

The floodgates for Wellsville (5-1) opened right in their first at-bats of the game, as they dug deep and delivered a fast three-run punch against Olean to claim the first lead, using a pair of stolen bases by Cowburn, as well as a big RBI from Trenton Green to power up the offensive engine.

“It was huge to have,” Delahunt said of the first inning spark. “This was Olean’s first game of the season, and to get the first three runs right off the bat against them, it started to make us feel good. Their pitcher was able to settle down shortly after that and pitched really well alongside Aiden. They tied it up to make it a brand new game, but we came right back with four big runs to change the game.”

From that point on, both teams would wheel and deal across the next four innings of scoreless baseball, with Cowburn fanning two of his first three Olean batters faced in the bottom of the first to aid in setting up shop. Fast forward to the bottom of the fifth, the Huskies would manage to break through while being down to their final out of the inning, as they posted three game-tying runs to create an entire new landscape for the remainder of the night.

But it was a landscape that the Lions were not afraid to make their presence known in, as they fired right back a four-run punch, led by a clamorous go-ahead, two-out RBI double to the fence for Cowburn to lead the pack with a 7-3 lead of the Huskies. Each team would trade one final run across the seventh of play before Trenton Green finished off another spectacular outing of relief with the victory in his glove.

In his five-inning tenure, Cowburn fanned five and walked two for the Lions in his no-decision.

At the plate, three different hitters all scored at least a pair of hits, with Green leading the way with his pair and two runs scored. Ty Vogel also chipped in two hits of his own, scoring two more times. Cowburn would help round off the Wellsville bats with two more runs across the plate himself.

If weather cooperates tonight, the Lions are back home to the Den to host Allegany-Limestone in a 5 p.m. first pitch.

Wellsville 300 004 1 – 8 9 1

Olean 000 030 1 – 4 7 2

WLSV – Aiden Cowburn (5K, 2BB), Trenton Green (WP, 6) (6K) and Alex Green.

OLE – Austin Miles (8K, 5BB), Ryan Isenberg (LP, 6) (K), Cal Vogtli (7) (K) and Caine Degolier.

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