Livonia coach Scott Gillman was ready to take his starting pitcher out of the game Saturday.
Sophomore Reid Vanscoter had already helped the Bulldogs secure a 10-run lead in the Class B Far West Regionals with eight strikeouts and more than 100 pitches thrown. But Vanscoter wanted to be the one to get the final out needed to send Livonia to its second straight Class B state semifinal.
“I told him, ‘I think I’m going to go a different direction.’ He said, ‘I just want this last one,’ ” Gillman said.
Vanscoter stayed in the game, got the final Maryvale batter swinging for his ninth strikeout and sent Livonia (24-1) to the state final four next weekend.
“I knew he would get that final out,” said senior shortstop Josh Henderson. “He had it in him.”
Livonia defeated Maryvale (15-8), 11-1, Saturday at Orchard Park High School for a date against Westhill of Syracuse in the semifinals next Saturday. The winner of that game will play for the state championship later in the day. The Bulldogs built an 11-0 lead through five and a half innings, and rode Vanscoter’s pitching until the finish.
Vanscoter escaped serious trouble in both the sixth and seventh innings when the Flyers loaded the bases in each innings. Only one run crossed, however, in the sixth after the Flyers had filled the bases with no outs.
Gillman said his starting pitcher’s success was due to getting ahead of Maryvale batters in the count.
“He pounds the zone most of the time with his pitches,” Gillman said. “He’s been big for us.”
Most of Livonia’s runs came off Maryvale errors. Livonia’s first run came when senior first baseman Jack Horan hit the ball off of the Flyers’ shortstop’s glove that allowed Henderson to score from second base.
Despite the big lead, Henderson said Livonia’s motto is “win the innings.”
“You got all the pressure but we took it one inning at a time,” Henderson said. “And we tried to win every inning.”
Maryvale’s season-ending 10-game winning streak was snapped with the loss. The Flyers had had defeated Fredonia, 3-2, for the overall Section VI Class B championship on Tuesday. Coach Kurt Hansen’s Flyers came on in the sectionals after finishing in third place in the ECIC III, defeating the two teams that had finished ahead of them in the regular season.