Story by CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com (photos by Chris Brooks and Ashley VanHusen Photography LLC)
HORNELL — Whenever Avoca/Prattsburgh and Fillmore have gotten together, “instant classic” are the words that usually come to mind. Earlier this year at Houghton University, the Eagles completed a rally that saw them down 3-0 at one point, with five straight runs to pull ahead towards a 5-3 win.
Beyond that, last year’s Class D Finals at Keshequa, where the Eagles bested Avoca/Prattsburgh again in the slimmest of margins to secure their first Section V title in two decades, and the first for head coach Bill Nolan in his coaching career across all sports. Now, the picture was all lined up for Class D1’s 1-2 to do it all over again on Saturday.
This time, on a beautiful day at Maple City Park in Hornell.
It was a much different story this time around. One that saw a new author and illustrator take over shop at the scribe’s lectern.
Like Roy Ayers in his 1976 hit song, everybody loves the sunshine. For Avoca/Prattsburgh, the Titans felt what they felt and did what they did. In the sunshine.
Two new words would describe this season’s final part of the trilogy: total dominance.
The Titans wasted no time making an immediate impact on the offense, as they connected with everything they were presented with at the plate against Fillmore’s Brent Zubikowski, finding all the outfield gaps, capitalizing off outstanding base-running, the works. Avoca/Prattsburgh did it all, and because of it, they went on to score nine of the first 10 runs to set the tone against the Eagles, never looking back despite one last heroic effort in the seventh by the defending champions, as they went on to capture their first Class D1 championship as a combined team with a 9-5 win.
“Going into the game, we knew Fillmore was going to be tough. Our team goal was to look for pitches away and hit it opposite field. That’s something we work on all year,” said Titans coach Dennis Miles. “Did we ever? It worked to perfection, and it took the game away from them. The damage was done, but it was never over until it was over. Hats off to Fillmore, we never felt safe one bit, but we made some plays when they tried to stretch things out a bit. We’re very happy with our team and we’ve worked extremely hard since January to earn this.”
Each team was presented with a chance to get their wheels spinning in the first, as both Avoca/Prattsburgh (20-3) and Fillmore placed a pair of runners on base during their first at-bats. But in each situation, the runners would be left stranded after key outs were tossed by both Haden Abbott and Brent Zubikowski for their respective teams.
It wouldn’t take long for the Titans to crack through however, as the run-scoring began in the top of the second with the game’s first two runs, stemming off a gigantic lead-off triple from Sawyer Devoe that went over the head of James Hillman in right field and to the fence. On the following at-bat, he breaks the ice off of Connor Hammond’s fielder’s choice for the 1-0 lead.
The lead grew to a pair with Abbott helping the cause later on, as he found another outfield gap in left field to record the next RBI.
The Eagles would respond however, as James Hillman provided the team’s first RBI on his two-out liner into left, going far enough out to bring Damon Potter home to score, cutting the deficit in half at inning’s end. But little did Fillmore know, it would be just the beginning for Avoca/Prattsburgh.
In the top of the third, the Titans were unstoppable, as they nearly went through their entire lineup one time in the midst of their four-run frame — four of the next seven straight that would point in Avoca/Prattsburgh’s direction. Helping fuel that cause was another lead-off triple, this time by Jamel Crowder, as he scored a short time later on a ball that was lost in the sun into the outfield, getting their original two run lead back briefly.
Josiah Stilson and Sawyer Devoe each added more damage to finish off an inning where the Titans posted four hits and four straight RBI to remain in complete command of the ballgame.
”That’s baseball. Dennie has a great group of kids on that team, and we have great kids here. We’ve banged heads a couple of times over the years, and it’s been a great experience. But they came out swinging today,” said Eagles coach Bill Nolan. “Our defense was a little lazy, which allowed them to find all those gaps. In a game like this, we can’t do that against a team that will make you pay off of those.”
Three more runs would scratch across in the fourth inning to finish off Avoca/Prattsburgh’s scoring sequence, one off a bases-loaded situation behind Zubikowski. But despite their deficit growing to as large as eight, the Eagles were destined to spring back into the midst of action down the stretch.
That chance would come in the bottom of the fifth, when Zach Sisson struck a shot down the left field line far enough for Nolan Krzeminski to ride his high horse all the way home from first base, while Sisson wound up at third with a massive two-out RBI triple. Back-to-back walks issued by Abbot and the Titans would see the bases become occupied for the first time against Avoca/Prattsburgh.
The lead would come down to as little as four in the final stand for the Eagles in the bottom of the seventh, as they loaded up the bases behind Chris Abbott with nobody out. The defending champions would capitalize on it with Luke Colombo scoring off an error, but in the end, the Titans were able to hang on behind their early-game barrage on offense.
“We know Fillmore never gives up. They’ve shown that quite a few times this year, and they always seem to find a way to come back and make it a game,” Miles said. “Their seniors won’t go away, so the kids knew they had to get 21 outs. Unlike other sports, you can’t press or you can’t stall to get those 21 outs, you have to go out there and do it. The problem was, we were coasting and then we had a couple of injuries late that hurt our game plan. It made things really tense, and it left us in a big hole.”
Avoca/Prattsburgh scored nine runs off 13 total hits, with Devoe leading the way with a perfect 3-for-3 outing that included his triple and double. Haden Abbott and Dan Stilson each had two hits to chip in, while Crowder finished with his triple. On the mound, the win belonged to the tournament’s MVP AND the regular season MVP in Haden Abbott, who garnered the win behind six strikeouts and five walks.
On the flip side, the Eagles were paced by Zubikowski and Potter on the mound, as each hurler struck out two and walked one, with Potter holding Avoca/Prattsburgh scoreless the last three innings during his tenure of relief.
“The good news was Damon came in and he settled us down and kept us in it,” Nolan said. “We made it interesting at the end, and it was fun to watch. We had the bases loaded one more time in the seventh inning to give them a little push, but we couldn’t get the big hit when we needed it. The left-on-base stat is one that often gets overlooked, and we had a ton of those today.
At the plate, Nolan Krzeminski, Zach Sisson, Brent Zubikowski, Luke Colombo and James Hillman all had hits to add in.
The journey for Avoca/Prattsburgh will continue ahead to the Class D Qualifier, which will be right back in Hornell on Tuesday in a 5 p.m. first pitch. As for the Eagles, another phenomenal season is in the books, as they wrap up with a record of 17-2 overall. Fillmore is set to graduate four seniors in all, in Ward, Zubikowski, Aiden Wagner and Luke Colombo — the middle of the order.
Looking back, Nolan says his team accomplished a tremendous amount of great things. And it began with a mantra that has reverberated across the entire season.
“The never-say-die attitude. That is something that makes the game interesting from beginning to end,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how deep we fell, there was that glimmer and they believed in it. That’s a quality every team has, and it was something I enjoyed this year. I told them after the game that they had nothing to be ashamed of. Avoca/Prattsburgh is a great team, and you’re going to win some, you’ll lose some. We all have had days, good or bad, but we showed a lot of character. They should feel great about the effort they put in all year long.”
As for his four elite seniors, it was the very last time not only as a coach, but in the coming days, it will be his very last time seeing them in school as an educator, as he officially announced his retirement from the school district earlier this year after serving the Fillmore community for over 40 years.
For a group that he has come to know since they were little kids, Nolan said it has been the biggest of honors knowing them, being their coach and watching them grow over the years.
“It’s a very talented group of seniors. You don’t see a core like this come around every so often that is as talented as they are,” Nolan said. “All four of them hit the ball, they throw, they can run. The two that really stand out are Mitch and Brent, those guys are superstars. That’s 20 percent of your team, and add on the Colombos and Wagners, they could do it all. That’s our middle of the order that we’re losing after this year. But we still have (Nolan) Krzeminski and Sisson still at the top. The table is set, it’s just a matter of filling in the pieces again.
Nolan continued on his seniors, “I’ve known Brent since he was four, five years old. He’s a crazy kid that’s grown into a crazy adult. He’s going to University of Buffalo and I wish him all the best in his engineering. Mitch has always been a staple, he’s never been as focused as he is now and he wants to go into law enforcement. He’s been a joy to work with, just like Brent. Aiden is a kid that just has a knack of swinging the bat and his defense improved. As a student, he’s a hard-worker, a problem-solver. And Luke, I’ve seen him in the hallways over the years after having him in middle school. He’s joining the military. You can’t think of a better guy for that, he is a true patriot.”
To sum it up, the long-time educator says “The seniors are so giving, and to work with them and to talk with them as much as I have over the years inside and outside of school, it’s been an absolute thrill and I will miss it.”
Up next, Avoca/Prattsburgh will square off with Class D2 champion Northstar in a 5 p.m. first pitch back in Hornell on Tuesday in the Class D State Qualifier.
Avoca/Prattsburgh 024 300 0 – 9 13 4
Fillmore 010 021 1 – 5 5 5
A/P – Haden Abbott (WP) (6K, 5BB), Jamel Crowder (5) (2K), Chris Abbott (5) (BB), H. Abbott (7) (BB), C. Abbott (7) (K, BB) and Macoy Putnam.
FIL – Brent Zubikowski (LP) (2K, BB), Damon Potter (4) (2K, BB) and Nolan Krzeminski.
ACTION PHOTOS BY: Ashley VanHusen Photography LLC (visit her on Facebook HERE)
PHOTOS BY CHRIS BROOKS:
Class C2 Finals
No. 1 Notre Dame-Batavia 3, No. 3 Bolivar-Richburg 0
WAYLAND — The campaign began with an eye-opening experience down to Myrtle Beach over Spring Break back in early April. It was one that allowed the Wolverines of Bolivar-Richburg to put together a phenomenal run through the regular season and into the playoffs, rattling off 19 of the next 21 games into the win column.
To say that the Wolverines have conducted some of their best baseball of the season, would be a massive understatement. But with three Sectional wins now under wraps, they now were one step away from a potential five-peat bid. The lone hurdle in their way was as rock solid as they come — top-seeded Notre Dame-Batavia.
The No. 1 Irish have averaged in the neighborhood of a single run allowed to the opponent across all 21 games played, leading up to Saturday afternoon’s Class C2 Finals at Wayland-Cohocton. In other words, a near impenetrable defense.
It was a challenge that Bolivar-Richburg would accept, as they hung right with the Section V titans for much of the battle. They remained in reach, but there was one problem.
Bryceton Berry was a brick wall.
The Notre Dame-Batavia ace was on fire right from the start, as he lit up the Wolverines with a magnificent performance consisting of 15 massive strikeouts and just four walks while going the distance, tossing a five-hit shutout to secure the Irish the Class C2 Championship with a 3-0 win, ending Bolivar-Richburg’s four-year reign at the top of Section V.
“They got us today. Their pitcher threw an excellent game. He’s the real deal, and when they got into jams, he got them out,” said Wolverines coach Dustin Allen. “We left seven guys on base, and that also was a part of a bases-loaded situation in the fifth. We just couldn’t get the big hit that we needed. We didn’t quit, and we battled right to the end and gave them a great game, even though we didn’t score. I’m proud of our sportsmanship, our hard work and our attitude. Our fans were incredible, and it was amazing how many traveled up this way to support us.”
Berry’s 15-strikeout complete game held the Wolverines in check all game long, and while the Irish used their defense to propel their ascension, the offense found their way to break through beginning in the bottom of the third with their first two runs of the game to break the ice.
The lead was held after Berry’s fourth straight shutout inning against Bolivar-Richburg, as they added one more piece of insurance in the bottom of the fourth to give themselves just enough wiggle room to break free. The Wolverines would attempt to spring their way back into the game with a massive bases-loaded chance in the fifth, but the Irish were able to ward it off, as they silenced the No. 3 seeds for the remainder of the way, as Berry recorded his 15th and final strikeout to close out the championship win.
Caden Allen and Landon Barkley each led the Wolverines in the batting department, both garnering two hits. David Baldwin had the team’s remaining hit. On the mound, Barkley and Trey Buchholz each struck out two and walked one their pitching appearances.
Bolivar-Richburg’s masterful season has concluded, as they wrap up the 2023 campaign with a record of 19-5 overall. The team will lose just three seniors to graduation next month in Baldwin, Evan Pinney and Ian Unfus.
For Allen, he says that the response his team provided after an early 0-2 start, was second to none.
“My three seniors David, Evan, Ian. They will be missed greatly. I wish we could have gotten this for them, but we’ll keep on working in the offseason so we can get back here again. They’ve all been great leaders. David took a year off and then came back and had a solid contribution, Ian really stepped up at second and in the outfield, and Evan had some big hits when we needed them. All three have been a pleasure to coach, and I wish them all the best. We responded well after an 0-2 start, and we proved the doubters out there wrong.”
Bolivar-Richburg 000 000 0 – 0 5 2
Notre Dame-Batavia 002 100 X – 3 6 0
B-R – Landon Barkley (LP) (3K, 2BB), Trey Buchholz (4) (2K, BB) and Aydin Sisson.
ND-B – Bryceton Berry (WP) (CG, 15K, 4BB) and Hayden Groff.
Class B2 Finals
No. 1 Wellsville 3, No. 2 Bath-Haverling 2
WEBSTER — There have been many prominent and memorable comebacks deep in sports lore that have lived on through time. Just to name a few: The Boston Red Sox rallying back with a reverse sweep over the New York Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series. In hockey, the San Jose Sharks defeated the Vegas Golden Knights just a couple years ago in a Game 7 comeback during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Perhaps the most notable of them all, from a local perspective: simply called “The Comeback” — The Buffalo Bills overcoming a 35-3 deficit to defeat the Houston Oilers in the 1992 AFC Wild Card game.
The Lady Lions of Wellsville experienced something just like that, last year when they defended their Class B2 championship against the Bath-Haverling Lady Rams at Webster Schroeder. Down 1-0 late, a miraculous hit from Sawyer Burke propelled the Lady Lions over the top in the fifth inning to complete a 2-1 win.
The stars would align once again in this year’s Class B2 playoff picture, as the top two teams in the class came together once more, this time at Webster Thomas, to decide it all.
Everyone in attendance from far and wide around the field would indeed get their monies worth again on Saturday, as the two dynamic superpowers authored another chapter in their playoff saga that would come down to the final sentence on the very last page.
Bath-Haverling’s Kalil Witherell and Wellsville’s Makenzie Cowburn gave it their all for their respective teams in a defensive battle where runs were going to be rare to come by. But when they were, it would come at the most crucial points of the game — the home stretch.
The Lady Rams accounted for the game’s first sequence of runs to put Wellsville behind the eight ball beginning in the top of the fourth inning, as the bats found their groove. The Lady Lions would remain in the same position all the way down to the wire in what would be their very last tenure at the plate.
Although they were down, they continued to do what they always did — believe.
With the middle of the order coming to the plate and time running out, the Lady Lions had to act quickly. With runners on first and third against the Lady Rams defense and one out, they would utilize the situation in a gigantic way.
How gigantic exactly? Another comeback win for the ages gigantic.
Marissa Ordway and Emma Dunaway flipped the endgame upside down with RBIs that allowed Wellsville to roar back, deadlocking the game at two on each side to erase Bath-Haverling’s lead. With the game-winning run standing just feet away, a wild pitch to the backstop during Sawyer Burke’s at-bat allowed Ayla Faulkner to speed in, scoring it in a flash to help the Lady Lions walk it off in the most dramatic of fashions to claim their third straight Class B2 Championship in style, winning 3-2.
“I am really proud of our team today. We did not quit. The motto of our program is ‘Believe’, and that’s what this group of young ladies did,” said Lady Lions coach Matt Burke. “We faced an outstanding pitcher, and had opportunities throughout the whole game, but couldn’t score. It’s amazing how we put together a rally in the seventh inning. As a program, we work hard with the expectation that good things will happen. It’s not guaranteed, but when they do, it’s very rewarding. We had a great opportunity today to take advantage of it, and we created great memories for these young ladies and for the Wellsville softball program itself.”
Before the walk-off frenzy set in for the Lady Lions, they would have to navigate their way through another tough challenge provided by the Lady Rams again, as the defenses settled in through the first three innings of play with Witherell and Cowburn taking command of their respective circles.
But a breakthrough was eventually discovered by Bath-Haverling, as they climbed aboard first in the top of the fourth with one of two huge doubles, the first from Makayla Smith to score the icebreaking run. The momentum was maintained into the sixth inning where a big piece of insurance was added on by Caydence Spears, as she bolted the team’s second RBI double to push the advantage to a pair with one inning to go.
The Lady Lions (20-1) would remain vigilant and poised however, hanging right behind the Lady Rams until the very end. Although they came up empty in the bottom of the sixth, a strong defensive outing in the seventh would give them one last boost to use in what would be their final at-bats.
Marissa Ordway would help kick it off with a base hit into the outfield, advancing to second along the way before moving to third on a mishandled grounder by the Bath-Haverling defense from Natalie Adams. With runners on first and third, and one out on the board, the wheels were set in motion.
Averee Palmatier was the first to knock on the door for the No. 1 seeds, as she belted an RBI single into left center field to cut the deficit in half, scoring Ordway from third. Moments later, the game was tied with Emma Dunaway’s belt back into the same junction of the field to plate Adams, forcing even playing ground with the Lady Rams for the first time since the defensive battle first settled in.
Dunaway would earn MVP honors behind her hit.
With a 2-2 tie and Sawyer Burke approaching the plate, another game-winning moment would arise for the Lady Lions. With it, a pitch from Witherell was thrown and then a tumultuous clamor followed as Ayla Faulkner made a break for home, scoring on the wild pitch to send the Lady Lions and their crowd into an absolute frenzy, as they capped off anothe incredible comeback to capture a third straight Class B2 Championship.
“Makenzie Cowburn kept us in the game, and the Bath hitters were very tough outs today,” said Burke. “Emma made a tremendous play at short on a grounder to tag out a runner in the sixth. That helped us with the hits we got in the last inning. Those were clutch. Marissa, Averee, Emma, it’s so nice to see them come through. (Kaili) Witherell, the Haverling pitcher, was excellent tonight and I’m really proud of how our hitters hit, even though we struck out 15 times. We had competitive at-bats, and we got it done in the end. This is a huge win for Wellsville softball because of that.”
The Lady Lions totaled all three runs off six hits with Ordway and Brazen Beckwith leading the attack with two hits each, with Beckwith recording a double along the way. On the mound, Cowburn recorded the win in the midst of her pitcher’s duel with Kaili Witherell, as she struck out nine and walked three while holding Bath-Haverling to five hits in her complete game.
On the other side, Witherell fanned 15 Lady Lions in her complete game in return for the Lady Rams.
Next up for Wellsville is the Class B State Qualifier round, which is set to begin on Tuesday at Honeoye Falls-Lima, as they prepare to square off with the Class B1 champion Batavia Lady Blue Devils in a 5 p.m. first pitch.
Bath-Haverling 000 101 0 – 2 5 3
Wellsville 000 000 3 – 3 6 3
B-H – Kaili Witherell (LP) (CG, 15K) and Caydence Spears.
WLSV – Makenzie Cowburn (CG, 9K, 3BB) and Brazen Beckwith.
Class C2 Finals
No. 1 Bolivar-Richburg 5, No. 3 Dundee/Bradford 0
IRONDEQUOIT — Since the arrival of head coach Brooke Lovell, success has never tasted sweeter for the Lady Wolverines of Bolivar-Richburg in recent years.
Nearly 60 wins, two straight Section V titles and a plethora of bonus accolades in between everything, the winning culture that has been re-instilled into the program is something that the Lady Wolverines continue to strive for, each and every time they step onto the field no matter where they are.
This season has been no different. The Lady Wolverines have found the win column 21 times out of their 23 games thus far, including massive wins over Bloomfield, Hornell, Addison, Olean, Friendship/Scio and during this Sectional hunt against Cuba-Rushford and Byron-Bergen, they have done it all.
And now, the possibility of adding a third straight Section V title to their showcase in Lovell’s third season at the helm, became an absolute reality with a trip to Eastridge High in Irondequoit on Saturday to face a No. 3 Dundee/Bradford squad who upset Class C powerhouse Caledonia-Mumford to earn their place in the Class C2 Finals.
Through thick and thin, the Lady Wolverines have battled. They have fought tooth and nail in order to continue their climb towards the ultimate prize that awaited at the end of their Sectional journey. But after their previous victory over the Lady Bees of Byron-Bergen in the Semifinals, they would return to form.
All of which, spearheaded by another dominant effort by Malayna Ayers in the circle.
She has been Bolivar-Richburg’s number one almost everywhere on the field this season. In the circle, at the plate, the list goes on. And because of it, the Lady Wolverines senior has gone on to produce one of the best seasons of her career. The corroboration? — a 12-strikeout, three-hit shutout in her biggest game of the season, posting it against Dundee/Bradford while jump-starting the offense with a big third inning hit that created a crack big enough into the ice for the rest of the team to follow behind, as Bolivar-Richburg went on to claim their third straight Section V title in shutout fashion by a 5-0 count.
“Malayna has been great all season long, and she was even more outstanding tonight,” said Lady Wolverines coach Brooke Lovell. “She mixes her pitches very well and the defense has stepped up behind her to make big plays. From the beginning of my tenure here, I have coached some great athletes. They have bought into the culture, the guidelines, the expectations that I’ve established. I believe that has allowed us to be really successful.”
The Lady Wolverines (22-2) would duel early with Dundee/Bradford across the first two innings of play, providing chances on the bases to knock on the door with. In the midst of those opportunities, Bolivar-Richburg put a big stop to a pair of walks issued in the second by Ayers in the circle, as she quickly rebounded to deliver all three outs with her arm to keep Dundee/Bradford at a standstill.
After a 1-2-3 on defense in the third, Bolivar-Richburg rode the momentum wave towards their first lead of the game, beginning a strand of four consecutive innings with a run scored, beginning with a massive Ayers triple to the deep outfield to start cracking the ice, scoring Haley Mascho along the way.
The damage continued to increase in the fourth with two more runs to earn a 3-0 lead, as Emma Sisson drove one in on a single into the outfield, while Madison Carney scored an RBI off an error by the Dundee/Bradford defense.
Bolivar-Richburg’s lead would ultimately reach its apex of five as time continued to progress, as they accounted for a run in each of their last two offensive outings — a Rylee Whiting sacrifice fly in the fifth, and an RBI single off the bat of Madigan Harris in the bottom of the sixth. In the top of the seventh, Dundee/Bradford did their best to chip away after a lead-off double started their final offensive series, but a pop-out straight to Ayers at the mound closed out the game for good, as the Lady Wolverines remained at the top of Section V with their third straight title.
“I have really enjoyed coaching this group of kids,” Lovell said. “They all get along really well, and they all feed off of each other’s energy. They get hyped up off of their teammates and their successes, and that is really special to see.”
Mascho, Ayers and Sisson all had two hits to lead the Lady Wolverines offense. For Lovell, the big hits continue to come through, especially from the bottom of her lineup, where Sisson currently stands.
“The bottom of the order really came through for us tonight, and honestly it sparked things,” she said. “Emma had a big hit for us, and she has had an incredibly good approach at the plate that saw some great at-bats during Sectionals.”
The next stop for the Lady Wolverines: The Class C State Qualifier on Tuesday, as they prepare to square off with Class C1 champion Addison — a team they defeated, 7-5 in their home tournament back at the end of April. First pitch between both teams is set for a 7 p.m. start at Honeoye Falls-Lima.
Dundee/Bradford 000 000 0 – 0 3 2
Bolivar-Richburg 001 211 X – 5 9 1
D/B – Adrienne Kendall (LP) (CG, K, 2BB) and Korrin Yeoman.
B-R – Malayna Ayers (WP) (CG, 12K, 2BB) and Madigan Harris.
Class D2 Finals
No. 1 Friendship/Scio 13, No. 3 C.G. Finney 0
FILLMORE — Ever since their loss to Bolivar-Richburg back in mid-April, Friendship/Scio has been a wagon. The defending back-to-back Class D2 champions went on to dock 11 straight wins into the column, allowing them to keep their foot down on the gas pedal all the way through Sectionals and back to the Finals once again on Saturday.
After earning an automatic berth into the Semifinals as the No. 1 seed, they would need to hurdle over one more stepping stone to get back to that coveted Section V stage once again. The No. 3 Lady Falcons of C.G. Finney were standing in their way between them and a third straight championship.
But the two main ingredients to a winning recipe for overwhelming success proved paramount for Friendship/Scio like it has all season long.
Nevaeh Ross. The offense.
The perfect harmony.
Friendship/Scio was able to ward off C.G. Finney through an early defensive battle in the beginning stages with an offensive breakthrough in the bottom of the third, scoring five humongous runs to set the tone against the Lady Falcons while the junior phenom in the circle held them in check in return, as she handed out 15 chairs and walked just one to toss a two-hit shutout, propelling the team towards a third consecutive Class D2 championship with a 13-0 blank in Fillmore.
The Friendship/Scio (18-3) bats emerged energized, as they unleashed a 17-hit barrage against the Lady Falcons as a whole. Individually, Morghyn Ross and Kiara Grover had two outings of epic proportions to allow them to hit all strides, with Ross going 5-for-5 with a double and three runs scored, while Grover got the scoring started in the bottom of the third, blasting a two-run shot from within the team’s five run frame to set the tone immediately against C.G. Finney.
Grover’s home run would be one of three hits within a 3-for-5 outing at the plate.
The momentum shifted forward into the fourth, where Friendship/Scio continued to pile on the runs, adding six more into the fray off multiple hits from the offense once again, never looking back from that point on as they coasted towards their third straight title.
In all, five different Friendship/Scio hitters all recorded at least two hits, with Logan Roberts helping further the cause with a 3-for-4 outing that included a double. Kadence Donohue chipped in with an RBI double in the bottom of the third to record two hits in tota, scoring three times. Nevaeh Ross had two hits of her own including a double, and two RBI.
The next stop for Friendship/Scio is the Class D State Qualifier right back in Fillmore Tuesday night, as they get set to square off with Class D1 champion Notre Dame-Batavia in a 5 p.m. first pitch.
C.G. Finney 000 000 0 – 0 2 1
Friendship/Scio 005 620 X – 13 17 0
FIN – Amelia Piecki (LP) (CG, 3K, 4BB) and Kiley Knittle.
F/S – Nevaeh Ross (WP) (CG, 15K, BB) and Morghyn Ross.
Class D Semifinals
No. 2 Mount Morris 210, No. 1 Fillmore 211 (Friday)
RUSHFORD — All season long, the Eagles of Fillmore have been dominant on the golf course. 11 matches, 11 wins. Now, they found themselves one step closer towards heading back to the Class D Finals once again — A spot they haven’t seen since 2019.
Their next objective to get there, was to outlast No. 2 Mount Morris straight down to the wire in their final home match of the season at Allegheny Hills in Rushford. With multiple strokes being exchanged,, and after many drives, chips and putts, the degree of separation was just a single stroke at the end of the day.
That would point in favor of the visiting Blue Devils, as Fillmore met their match for the first time this season in their closest battle yet, as a divine medalist round from Ethan Provino helped Mount Morris stave off the Eagles and earn a trip to the Class D Finals next week, scoring a 210-211 victory in the most thrilling of fashions, Friday night.
“This one was a heartbreaker. Losing by a single stroke with a trip to the Finals on the line is a pretty tough pill to swallow. Today wasn’t our best day overall in terms of our average, but we stayed within ourselves and played well enough to give ourselves a shot,” said Eagles coach Tom Parks. “We shot a little higher than normal, but that’s to be expected with a lot on the line. Their No. 1 shot even par for the round. He’s heading to States for individuals, and is as good as they come. Overall, considering four of our six players were first-year golfers, we had a terrific season.”
Provino’s medalist round for Mount Morris was exceptional, as he shot dead even through his nine-hole journey, scoring a match-low round of 35 to pace the Blue Devils into the Finals.
For Fillmore, Reid Cockle led all golfers for the Eagles at the top of the scorecard with his team-low round of 47. Anderson Wiltsey followed with his round of 51. Layton Sanasith chipped in with a 55, while Jack Cool rounded off with a 58.
Another fine season of golf for the Eagles is now history, as they wrap up with a record of 11-1 overall as Allegany County champions once again. Looking back, Parks says that making it this far was something he didn’t really expect at first, when the season began back in March.
“We finished 11-1, Allegany County champions and advanced to the Semifinal round for the first time since 2019. I have a bunch of kids who really enjoy playing this game, and are all coming back next year,” he said. “We certainly wish we could have eliminated one stroke out there, but at the same time, I don’t think we thought that we’d be in this position in March. I’m proud of the guys, and I’m sure they’ll be hungry to take it a step or two further next season.”