At one point, the Kenmore West baseball team clung to a two-run lead, and worked its way out of a bind in the sixth inning of the Section VI Class A baseball title game.
When it was the Blue Devils’ turn to bat in the top of the seventh, they created plenty of wiggle room for themselves in an 8-3 win against Iroquois on Saturday at the Demske Sports Complex at Canisius College.
Jairo Santos’ two-out triple in the top of the seventh drove in three runs and helped the Blue Devils win the sectional title.
Kenmore West advances to the regionals at 3 p.m. Saturday at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, with its opponent to be determined.
Santos’ shot to centerfield drove in Zac Boyes, Dom Schmidt and Rafael Smith, and opened Kenmore West’s lead from two runs to five.
“It was very valuable, and I was ready,” said Santos, who went 2 for 4 against Iroquois. “I just knew what I had to do for the team, and that’s what I did. I’m happy with it. We were saying before the inning that this is going to be important. We’re ready, we’re focused and we got it.”
An inning prior, the Chiefs put runners in scoring position twice, first with runners on first and second against Smith, Kenmore West's pitcher. Nick Partsch flew out to left field, then Santos, Kenmore West’s shortstop, dove to his left to snag what would have otherwise been a base hit by Evan Yandricha, and the Blue Devils forced out Nick Bowen the out at second base on a fielder’s choice by Santos.
“We’ve been in this spot a lot of times, and we had to overcome adversity the entire year,” Smith said. “When you’re in that spot, you just have to believe in each other and try to get through it, and that’s what we did. We played in many close games, we’ve been down in games, like the Will South game, we were down 3-0 and we came back and won. There’s a lot of times we’ve been down, but we come back and pick it up.”
Boyes went 3 for 4 with a double, and drove in a run for the Blue Devils. Smith went 2 for 3 and drove in a run for Kenmore West, which opened its lead to 5-3 in the top of the fifth.
Birch Jackson-Herring went 2 for 4 for Iroquois.
Medina 14, Roy-Hart 4: Medina broke out its bats early in Section VI Class B final at Canisius. A few miscues by Roy-Hart’s defense didn’t hurt the Mustangs’ cause, either.
Medina sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning, and forced Roy-Hart to turn to its bullpen before the first inning was over. By then, the Mustangs had scored eight runs on six hits and three errors by the Rams.
By the time the first inning ended — almost mercifully for Roy-Hart — the damage had been done. Down 1-0 after the top half of the first inning on Gavyn Boyle’s RBI triple, Medina immediately answered in the bottom half of the inning, and took a 10-1 lead after the first.
The offense didn’t stop, either, for Medina, which advances to the regionals at 3 p.m. Saturday at Lockport High School, with its opponent to be determined.
Brian Fry’s second-inning triple drove in three runs, and helped Medina take a 14-1 lead.
“You never expect to score 14 runs in the first two innings of a game,” said Chris Goyette, Medina’s starting pitcher, whose first-inning double drove in three runs. “The last few games, we started off slow and got everything rolling, then then in our last game against Olean, we got it all together. So, we were all confident our bats would show up today. We didn’t expect 14 runs, but we expected to hit the ball very hard.”
Goyette found it especially gratifying to eliminate a team that not only reached the Class B state semifinals last year, but had also handed Medina two losses this season.
“We only have two losses and those were to Roy-Hart, so this was very sweet to beat them,” Goyette said. “We’ve always been at the top of our league, for the past couple years, and it’s always been between us and them.”