North Collins wins a shocker
North Collins coach Paul Kellner called the ending of his team’s victory over Brocton in a Section VI Class D baseball semifinal Thursday “almost surreal.”
For good reason.
The Eagles battled back after giving up five runs in the top of the eighth inning to score six in the bottom half for an 8-7 victory. What’s more, all those runs came with two outs.
“It’s incredible how it happened,” Keller said.
Here’s how it went down: After the first two hitters of the eighth got on, the Eagles’ next two batters recorded outs. That’s when Brocton’s defense abandoned them. A strikeout by Chris Pulinski with the bases loaded could have ended the game, but the ball bounced past the Brocton catcher, allowing Pulinski to get to first and a run to come in. Austin Winter followed with a bases-loaded walk to tie the game, 7-7, before Brandon Zielinski, who pitched the complete game, ended it with an RBI single.
“Our heads were down,” Kellner said after the top of the eighth inning. “Our first two guys got on and that gave us a little spark. After the two outs, we weren’t real optimistic, but we put the ball in play and put a little pressure on them.”
Elsewhere, Orchard Park scored in every inning of a 16-3 victory over Williamsville North in a class AA semifinal. Junior Jeff Palczewski had four doubles and three RBIs, while Jake Woodrich had three hits and five RBIs, a single-game team high for the season, for Orchard Park (20-1), which had 20 hits overall.
“It was our day,” Quakers coach Jim Gibson said. “If we hit it hard or hit it soft, it found a hole.”
Senior Christian Miller blasted a two-run homer in the top of the sixth inning to give Niagara Falls a 6-5 lead over host Lancaster, and the Wolverines held on to win by that score in a Class AA semifinal. Taylor Huntsman went 2 for 4 with a two-run double, while Matt Grace pitched five innings to earn the win.
Maryvale jumped on host Springville early in a 9-5 win in a Class B-1 semifinal. The Flyers got eight of those nine runs in the first two innings. Junior Mike Benthien earned the win on the mound, striking out seven, and also went 3 for 5 at the plate with a pair of RBIs and runs. His catcher, Zach Nelson, was 3 for 3 with four RBIs as Maryvale, the No. 7 seed, has now beat No. 2 East Aurora and No. 3 Springville to reach Saturday’s sectional final.
Jake Schlegel drove home Sawyer Overhoff with an RBI single in the sixth inning to break a 5-5 tie and give Eden a 6-5 win over Medina in the other B-1 semifinal. Overhoff had singled and stole second, then took third on a ground out. Schlegel finished 3 for 4 with three RBIs, while Mike Seggio threw a three-hitter with six strikeouts for Eden.
Ken East continues to roll
The Kenmore East Bulldogs are peaking at the right time. Seeded sixth in Class A-1, Ken East knocked off No. 7 North Tonawanda, 8-2, Thursday to set up a date Saturday with Hamburg in the sectional final.
“We’ve had an up-and-down season, but our league was good,” Bulldogs coach Les Simon said of the Niagara Frontier League.
Dylan Cresey and Bam Ruggiero had three hits and three runs for Ken East in the win.
Olean wins big
Sophomore Garrett Boldt took a two-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up a pair of singles. All in all, it wasn’t a bad day, though, for Boldt and his Olean Huskies, who defeated Pioneer, 14-2, in a Class A-2 baseball semifinal. Boldt also went 4 for 4 at the plate with a pair of triples for Olean, which improved to 19-2.
“It was a solid all-around performance from him,” Huskies coach Matt Threehouse said.
Westfield coach Dave Luder was greeted with some bad news when he got to the diamond Thursday. His usual third baseman, Darian Switzer, had suffered a concussion and wouldn’t be able to play in a Class D semifinal against Maple Grove.
So Lauder adjusted, putting senior Savannah Rowan at third base and senior Emily Poletto in Switzer’s leadoff spot. The moves paid off in an 8-4 win as Rowan went 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Carson Hauser led Westfield offensively, going 4 for 4 with three RBIs, while Olivia Knapp went 2 for 3 with a double and two runs.
Now Luder has to see what kind of lineup he’ll have for Saturday’s final. Westfield’s prom is scheduled that night.
“Hopefully, this win today will convince them to play,” he said.
Elsewhere, junior Jessica Wilcox got it done in the circle and at the plate in Pine Valley’s 7-0 victory over Panama in a Class D semifinal win. Wilcox struck out 13 batters during a one-hitter and drove in four runs at the plate, falling a home run short of the cycle with a single, double and triple.
“That’s actually the second game in a row she’s done that,” Pine Valley coach Danielle Arnone said. “She hits third in our lineup and is definitely an offensive threat.”
Pine Valley’s defense was also strong behind Wilcox, who Arnone said has made a big jump this season by controlling her placement.
“She throws hard,” she said, “and now she knows where to put the ball.”
In Class AA, Clarence coach Todd Banaszak said it’s easy to tell his team has come together. Just look at the scoreboard.
The eighth-seeded Red Devils advanced to their eighth straight Class AA final Thursday with an 8-4 victory over Williamsville North. Alyssa Andres had a pair of hits and two runs scored, while Ashley Carney had two hits, an RBI and a run scored.
“We’re hitting the ball with runners in scoring position,” Banaszak said. “I’d like to play better defensively, but we’re coming together.” Freshman Ally Haskell threw a three-hitter, striking out 16 with no walks to lead Franklinville over Salamanca, 6-0, in a Class C semifinal.
“She’s our No. 1 and there really isn’t a No. 2,” joked Franklinville coach Nate Cornell.
The Panthers (12-3) had a balanced offensive attack, scoring one run in every inning and getting hits from eight of nine batters In the other Class C semifinal, Olivia Anderson pitched a complete game and added two RBIs at the plate for Chautauqua Lake in a 4-2 victory over Barker. Jade Walsh homered in the win