There will be no return to the state final four for Fredonia's baseball team.
The Hillbillies fell short on Saturday afternoon, dropping a 5-3 decision to Livonia in a game played at Niagara Falls High School. The win gave the Bulldogs the Class B Far West Regional title.
Fredonia had lost the title game in the state championship last season, beating Livonia along the way.
This was a good ballgame, with some excellent defensive plays on both sides. The difference might have been the pitching of Reid Vanscoter for the Bulldogs. He went the distance, scattering eight hits. The Livonia standout struck out nine, including five of the last six Fredonia outs.
It's never easy to lose your last game of the season, but Fredonia coach Vince Gullo was proud of the way his team came on at the end of the season.
"We faced four great opponents to win our section," he said. "Wilson had a stud pitcher, Tonawanda was a league champion, Alden was load and Roy-Hart was loaded. We had a tough road ahead of us."
This one looked for a while as if it would be a 12-11 game taking a few hours. Livonia stranded three runner in the top of the first, while Fredonia grabbed the early in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Lucas Voss.
Livonia took the lead for good in the top of the second. Kyle Feldman singled and Matt Hyde walked. John Smith followed with a an opposite-field fly ball down the right-field line. Tyler Winchell made a great effort but couldn't quite get to the ball, which rolled down the line. Two runners scored, and Smith finished with a triple. Smith then scored on a single by Alex Minnehan.
Fredonia got one of the runs right back in the bottom of the second on a single by first baseman Vince Gullo. From there, the game settled down a bit.
Livnona added to its lead in the fourth when Smith came in to score on a single by Minnehan. Ron Loomis homered in the top of the fifth for the Bulldogs.
Voss singled in a run in the bottom of the fifth, but Vanscoter went to work from there. He gave up a couple of leadoff singles in the sixth and seventh innings, but the Hillbillies could do no further damage.
"I didn't throw the ball well, but I had a great defense behind me," Vanscoter said. "My fast ball didn't have as much pop as it usually does. Pitchers have to adjust the whole game. The second time through the lineup, I had to make some key adjustments that really helped me through the game."
"I think we hit him better than anybody over the last two years," coach Gullo said about Vanscoter. "He's only lost one game in his career for a reason."
Livonia advanced to the state semifinals, which will be held in the Binghamton area next weekend.