HORNELL — In recent seasons, the Bolivar-Richburg/Hornell battle has become a tight battle that has been worth the price of admission. It has also become an early season matchup that has been used as fuel for the journey forward into Sectionals.
Friday night’s newest entry into the saga was no different in the Maple City. With both Landon Barkley and Gates Miller going toe-to-toe off the mound for their respective teams, the defenses behind them energized the competition on the field with dominant outings. But there were times where the offense found a way to crack through, with Bolivar-Richburg striking first almost immediately in their first at-bats.
The lead was held up until the homestretch when lightning struck. The Red Raiders took advantage of a big opportunity.
After finding a way to tie the game at one in the fourth, the energy carried over into the fifth where Hornell broke open the contest with a three-run frame, including a deep drive into the outfield that brought in two enormous runs to cushion what was their first lead of the game. In the end, they would use a quick 1-2-3 in the seventh to close down the victory by a 4-1 count over the Wolverines.
“It was a well-played game,” said Wolverines coach Dustin Allen. “They got the key hits when they needed them, and their pitcher did an outstanding job keeping us off balance while we were being aggressive at the plate. Landon came out strong and got into a couple of jams, but he was able to get us out of them, which was nice to see. They were just able to grab those timely hits, and we couldn’t. That determined the game.”
Bolivar-Richburg (2-3) was on top of it with their first two at-bats of the game, as Trey Buchholz began with an absolute rocket into deep right field, taking one bounce off the bottom of the fence to allow himself to reach third easily on a lead-off triple. On the very next play, he came home to score on a fielder’s choice to the right side of the infield from Reiss Gaines, giving the Wolverines the early edge.
The defenses would begin to solidify through the next two innings of play, as both squads came up with nifty plays on the field behind their pitchers, who continued to wheel and deal to the plate each step of the way to keep the opposing attack off balance. Hornell would ultimately creep their way onto the board however, as they grab a clutch two-out hit from Jacob Ponticello on a base hit into left.
The next at-bat, Andrew Davis would begin to turn the tide by tying up the game with another hit squeezing past third and back into left field, going far enough to bring Ponticello around to score.
Following the momentous play for the hosts in red, they would then proceed to reload the bags behind Barkley on the mound on the next three terms at the plate. With their biggest threat of the game looming with two outs still on the board, a pop out was secured on the run by Evan Pinney in left to leave them all loaded after four innings.
With a strong outing of defense to come back off the field in the fifth, the momentum then shifted fully towards Hornell, as they pulled ahead of Bolivar-Richburg with a game-changing, three-run spurt powered up by a two-run ground rule double by Ponticello. Davis would then follow with his second RBI of the game on the next at-bat, recording another RBI single to add a piece of insurance onto the team’s 4-1 lead.
The newly-founded lead for the Red Raiders would wind up holding in the end, as Bolivar-Richburg went down in order to close out the night in their final stand.
In total, Bolivar-Richburg gathered their first inning run off four total hits, with Aydin Sisson, Caden Allen and Evan Pinney all recording a single each. Barkley would finish with two strikeouts and two walks on the mound in a start that progressed into the fifth inning.
For Hornell, the Red Raiders scored four runs off six hits, with Ponticello and Wyatt Argentieri paving the way with two each. On the hill, Gates Miller was credited with the big win, handing out nine chairs to the Wolverines while walking just one.
Bolivar-Richburg is back on the road Monday night, as they take aim at a potential bounce back chance with a 4:30 p.m. visit to Coudersport.
Bolivar-Richburg 100 000 0 – 1 4 1
Hornell 000 130 X – 4 6 1
B-R – Landon Barkley (LP) (2K, 2BB), Trey Buchholz (5) (3K) and Aydin Sisson.
HHS – Gates Miller (WP) (CG, 9K, BB) and Jacob Ponticello.
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