Rick DeKay picked up the 400th win of his baseball coaching career on Thursday. He would have preferred it a little less than a year ago.
The Springville skipper reached the milestone when the Griffins beat Fredonia, 5-2.
“We got into the B1 finals last year, but we got stopped when I was at 399,” DeKay said. “Last year’s team wanted to win it for me, but it didn’t happen.”
It took him a mere 39 years to hit 400. He started as a teacher in 1975 at West Valley, and soon was handed the keys to the baseball team. DeKay retired from that job in 2010, but the call of the game drew him back to work at Panama for a couple of years. Then he landed in Springville in 2016, so this is his second season there.
Patience is obviously a key when it comes to a round number like 400 wins.
“In baseball, that’s winning 10 games a year for around 40 years,” DeKay said. “At West Valley we only had 100 kids in the school, so we were always going to have low numbers.”
The longtime coach played in high school and college, and always liked the game. He said the Olean Times-Herald used to keep track of career wins by coaches, and then he kept it himself. DeKay’s teams have been to the state finals a couple of times, but he still had the itch to make a comeback – and that put 400 within reach.
Ian Baker helped Springville earn its first win of the season with a 2 for 3 performance with a couple of doubles. With the celebration over, DeKay says it’s time to change the focus.
“I told the kids, ‘Now we put my goal in the past, and think about your goal,’ ” he said.
Bednarski blanks Depew
Elsewhere in baseball, Tom Bednarski was sharp for Alden in a 3-0 win over Depew. He struck out 11, while Bryan Cybulski and Tim Pellittieri had the RBIs.
Noah Mouton went two for two with a double and drove in two runs as Tonawanda downed Kenmore East, 5-3. Austin Schroeder struck out seven in picking up the win for the Warriors.
Albion’s Bryce Pritchard was more or less untouchable as the Purple Eagles beat Kenmore East, 9-6. Pritchard went five innings and only allowed one hit in earning the win. Austin Dugan had two hits, scored two runs, and stole a base.
Lewiston-Porter’s 8-1 win over Wilson sounds as if it were a blowout, but that was hardly the case. The teams were tied at 1-1 going into the sixth inning. Then the Lancers loaded the bases. Drew James came through with a clutch two-run hit for Lew-Port. From there the Lancers scored five more times in the seventh to break the game open. Ian Evans picked up the win on the mound.
Aaron Siska had two hits and stole three bases as Akron outscored CSAT, 14-9.
St. Joe’s is off on a long road trip. The Marauders earned a win over Monroe in Ohio, 5-3. Ryan Sutherland had two hits, including a double, and drove in two runs.
Pokoj does it all
It was a light day in softball, but Monica Pokoj made it a good one for Dunkirk. She was the winning pitcher and struck out nine for the Marauders. In addition Pokoj drove home the go-ahead run with a single in the bottom of the third inning.