By JOHN ANDERSON
Hornell’s Cullen Haley out-dueled Livonia’s Conner Benitez in an exciting 2-1 walk-off victory for Hornell on Monday.
In the bottom of the eighth, Dom Nasca hit a shot to third and reached first, taking second on a bad throw. Gennaro Picco then ripped a single to left center and Nasca raced home for the winning run. The Red Raider rushed the field and mobbed Picco at first base.
Haley threw eight innings, striking out 11 and walking just 3 and scattered eight hits.
Benitez struck out 10 in seven innings with no walks and one earned run.
Nick Oyer tripled and scored for Hornell while Jake Ponticello (RBI) and Wyatt Argentieri had hits.
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Hornell coach Jake Kenney said it’s been a great start to the week for Haley who was named WETM’s Athlete of the Week.
“Cullen Haley threw really well once again. He was really efficient with his pitch count for going eight innings. He worked ahead of a lot of hitters and threw his breaking ball better this game,” Kenney said. “He gives us a chance to beat anybody when he’s on the mound and I’m glad we were able to make the most of his outing and get the win for him because he definitely deserved it.”
Hornell is 6-4 and in a fight with Aquinas, Batavia and Geneva for the third spot in sectionals. At the top of B1 is Pal-Mac at 9-0 and North Rose Wolcott/Red Creek at 8-0.
Hornell is at Dansville today and has a rematch with Wellsville on May 10 and another big game with the Bath, the top seed in Class B2 on May 12 in Bath.
“We’ve been grinding offensively and it’s been tough but out of 10 games I think we’ve seen everybody’s 1 or 1A pitcher all 10,” Kenney said. “We know every game we are getting our opponents best. Against Livonia, it was really nice to see Gennaro come up with that big hit because we might still be playing with the way Haley and Benitez were throwing.”