OP softball tops No. 1 Lancaster
Orchard Park softball coach Brittany Bonetto said that her team has believed it could beat anyone all season.
The Quakers certainly backed that up Friday afternoon, beating top-ranked large school Lancaster, 3-2, behind the pitching of freshman Kaylee Jentsch, some early offense and some consistent defense.
"The whole season we have had the confidence we could go out and beat any team -- today we just came out and did it," said Bonetto, whose Quakers (8-5, 7-4) are ranked eighth among large schools. "We know anyone in our league can win on any day. We just go out there and play and we don't give up."
Jentsch allowed four hits and had four strikeouts and got out of a first-and-third jam in the top of the seventh by getting a groundout to first. Lancaster's Hannah Turek also had four strikeouts and allowed four hits for the Redskins (10-1, 9-1).
"She pitched a great game," Bonetto said of Jentsch, who alternates in the pitching circle with junior Carly Loffredo. "Both of them are strong -- they just back each other up. This is Jentsch's biggest win -- she also had two great games against Clarence [two two-run losses]."
OP took a 3-1 lead after four innings thanks in part to a Jess Jozwiak RBI single in the first and an RBI single to center in the fourth by Jentsch, who drove in Rachel Johnson. Taylor Jezuit also had a hit, walk and sacrifice for the Quakers.
"It was a defensive game and we played great defense," said Bonetto. "We got a lot of ground balls and that's what we look for when Kaylee pitches. Rachel Johnson made several fantastic plays at second base."
OP has one league game remaining at Williamsville North on Monday.
"We feel great [heading to the postseason]," said Bonetto. "We have the kind of team where we can put anyone in game at any time. We have confidence in all of our players up and down the lineup. Today our centerfielder was sick, and other players stepped up. The girls are getting a lot of confidence, but they've also had it all season coming back after beating [top-seeded] Kenmore West in the sectionals last year."
Zany comeback for OP baseball
Orchard Park clinched at least a tie for the ECIC I baseball championship on Friday -- and the Quakers have got quite the story to tell about how they did it.
The No. 1 large school rallied from a 10-1 deficit to beat Williamsville North, 16-13. OP scored 11 runs in the sixth to take a 16-10 lead.
"Actually I thought we could come back, because the umpire's strike zone was very tight, and if we started taking a strike and take some walks ," said Orchard Park coach Jim Gibson. "We got four in the bottom of the fifth to give us hope [at 10-5].
"It's just one of those times when you shake your head and say 'this can only happen in baseball' because you can't run out the clock."
North came back with three runs in the top of the seventh, and they had the tying run at the plate with two outs. Second baseman David Crowley backhanded a ball headed up the middle and threw to first, where James Fitzgerald scooped the throw on a hop for the final out.
OP (13-3) completed its ECIC I schedule at 11-3. Lancaster and Clarence can tie for the top spot.
North's Tyler Green had three hits, including a double, and was intentionally walked twice, while Zach Thomas had a grand slam in the top of the first.
Another title for Iroquois baseball
Matt Keating threw a one-hitter with six strikeouts while John Karwick had two key hits as Iroquois beat Starpoint, 5-2, to clinch its fifth straight ECIC II championship.
The Chiefs (13-6, 10-2) got three in the first to support Keating as former longtime Kenmore East coach Marv Matteson earned his sixth title in 10 years at Iroquois.
"We've developed the young players and the JV program -- we also take them to Florida -- and when they're ready, we play them," he said. "We start two sophomores and a freshman. The kids have been great and the school has been great."
Amherst baseball clinches ECIC III
Amherst baseball clinched its first outright division title since 1994 as it clinched ECIC III with a 7-2 win at Pioneer.
Four-year varsity player Matt Wilhelm had six strikeouts during a complete game while he also had a big day at the plate with two doubles and three RBIs. Fellow senior and four-year player Matt Smith had an RBI single for Amherst (13-2, 9-2), which also shared a league title in 2008.
"It's been a really special year for these guys," said sixth-year coach Brian Davis. "Matt Wilhelm and Matt Smith have played with me since ninth grade and it's great for them to get to enjoy this. All the guys have played, worked really hard and they deserve it. They've won just about every kind of game, we've won some good nonleague games against Grand Island and Williamsville East, and we start a new season soon."
Today, Amherst hosts its fourth annual Throwback Classic against Sweet Home, in which the teams will wear old uniforms and use wooden bats. During the game, Amherst -- which has held fundraisers all season -- will present Roswell Park Cancer Institute with a check for $750.
Amherst has a chance to earn a No. 1 or No. 2 seed for the sectionals when it finishes its regular season with a home game Monday against Maryvale, which will be a Coaches vs. Cancer fundraiser.
Around the fields
*Kenmore East and Kenmore West split routs in the schools' doubleheader at Sheridan Park. Devon Taggard had a huge night (six RBIs) as Kenmore East beat West, 9-3, in baseball. Dan Giliforte threw a three-hitter with eight strikeouts for East (5-10, 3-7). West is 5-12, 3-8.
Hannah Post had three hits and two RBIs in West's 14-0 win in softball.
*Kirsten Audette went 3 for 4 with three RBIs as Iroquois beat Starpoint, 7-0, and finish 6-6 in ECIC II softball. Coach Pete Tonsoline said it appears there is a three-way tie for third with Williamsville East and Williamsville South.
*Tim Coulter's three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth gave Christian Central a come-from-behind, walk-off, 10-8 victory over Nichols.
State rowing championships begin
Crews from Western New York, based out of the Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association and West Side Rowing Club, will participate in this weekend's New York State Scholastic Rowing Association championships on Fish Creek in Saratoga Springs. Top finishers qualify for nationals. Local crews include Canisius, St. Joe's, Bishop Timon-St. Jude, Holy Angels, Nardin, Buffalo Seminary, Nichols and City Honors.
Class of 2012 list on web
Check out The News' list of college-bound athletes at the high school home page of buffalonews.com. Athletic directors, coaches, college SIDs, parents or the athletes themselves should email email@example.com with the athlete's name, high school, sport and college.