By David Yarger
Special to the news
JAMESTOWN – The North Collins Eagles and the Maple Grove Red Dragons came to Diethrick Park on Saturday for one reason. To win a sectional title. That is what both teams did.
North Collins (13-5) defeated Brocton (14-6), 7-4, in the Class D Section VI championship, while Maple Grove defeated Allegany-Limestone, 5-4 in the Class C championship. It was the first sectional championship for the Red Dragons since 2000.
North Collins got off to a fast start, scoring all seven runs in the first two innings.
Tanner Loretto got it started for the Eagles with a single to left, bringing in the first two runs of the game. Harley Mehnert capped the inning with another two-run single, making it 4-0 after one.
In the second, Brandon Zielinski laced a two-run triple to make it 6-0. Loretto followed Zielinski with a RBI single to left, which he advanced to third on, via error.
Brocton didn’t go down easy. Derrick Burns drove in the first Bulldogs run, then Nate San George followed with a bases-loaded walk. After four innings, it was 7-2, Eagles.
With momentum turning toward Brocton, North Collins got a huge play from center fielder Nathan Turnbull in the fifth.
Ronald Brown hit a ball to right-center that would’ve scored two runs if it landed. On a dead sprint, he caught the ball and turned it into a double play, nailing the runner trying to tag from second.
Burns tripled in the sixth for Brocton and later scored, but that was it for the Bulldogs.
It’s North Collins’ first sectional title since 2014. Coach Paul Kellner was happy to finally win one after back-to-back losses in the finals.
"To go 0-3 would’ve been a major disappointment," he said. "As it was, it worked out. Our two pitchers held their own and we’re very happy for our seniors."
North Collins will play the winner of Section V Class D winner at Frontier Field at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
In the second game of the day, Maple Grove and Allegany-Limestone met for the third time in 2017, with the Red Dragons winning the rubber match Saturday.
Maple Grove set the tone early by scoring two quick runs in the first inning. It was a different type of game, as there were 10 hits and nine errors combined.
Allegany-Limestone got their first run in the first inning off one of those errors, as an errant throw from first scored Zack Hemphill, making it 2-1.
Easton Tanner drove in the next run for the Red Dragons in the third, after Trevor Micek got to second off an error by the center fielder.
Allegany-Limestone answered back in that inning, scoring on a play that had two errant throws, making it 3-2, Maple Grove.
Red Dragons lead-off hitter Brandon Reagle stole the final two runs for his team. In the fifth, Reagle stole second, then scored off another error two batters later. In the seventh, he stole second, then third and the throw to third went into the outfield, allowing him to score and putting Maple Grove up, 5-2.
Allegany-Limestone didn’t quit though. They scored two runs to tighten it to 5-4, before reliever Dalton Dubois shut the door with a strikeout.
With the win, Maple Grove advances to the Far West Regionals against the Section V winner June 3 at Diethrick Park.
Coach Ryan Lucas said he couldn’t be prouder of his team.
"These boys deserve it. They’ve worked hard all year and it’s well deserved. We’re very happy to be where we are," Lucas said.