HERMITAGE – Celebrating the successful Senior Night scenario, the home team wins and everyone goes home happy. However Hickory High was in a 3-run hole through 3 innings of Monday’s Region 2 tilt with Titusville.
Perhaps sneaking a peek toward next week’s showdown at Franklin, the host Hornets had a choice: cave in or show some senior-laden leadership.
Cam Whalen whacked a 1-out solo shot to highlight Hickory’s 4-run 5th frame as the Hornets harvested a 7-3 win at the Hermitage Athletic Complex.
Hickory (6-1 region, 9-2 overall) had only 3 hits, but made them meaningful. Asher Patton pounded an RBI-double in the Hornets’ 2-run 3rd inning, and Connor Evans ended the 4-run rally with a 2-run single up the middle.
Arguably, Whalen’s was the key hit, however. He struck out in his first at-bat, then grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded and 1 out in the 3rd. At that point Hickory trailed Titusville, 3-1.
But the senior backstop was stout with a 3-all stalemate in the 5th. Against Rockets’ reliever Kolin Baker, Whalen went ‘yard, a line drive that just narrowly remained fair and cleared the low left-field fence. Fans froze without reaction, such was the suddenness of the sizzling shot off a 1st-pitch breaking ball.
“I just tried to go in there and hit the ball, not try to over-think it,” Whalen began. “It was huge for the team, especially on Senior Night. Everybody was kind’ve down a little bit. We weren’t playing our best game at the start – came out a little flat. But it put us on top and especially gave me a lot of energy. And it helped the team; we ended puttin’ three more runs up.”
“The go-ahead run, it gives everyone confidence to see one go out. It was a big hit. He’s done that most of the year for us,” Hickory Head Coach Grey MacKenzie said in praise of Whalen. “It’s clutch to have him as a senior leader, to come up and do that.”
Hickory hasn’t had many sub-par outings, but the first 4 innings on Monday reminded mentor MacKenzie of a loss to region foil Franklin.
“Against Franklin we got down early, and the train kind’ve came off the tracks for a little bit. This was a much better performance, gettin’ our stuff together. I think it gave us a little more confidence, that we would be able to make a comeback ...
“I realize everyone says ‘one game at a time,’ but as much as possible we try to stay focused on who we’re playin’, especially in region,” MacKenzie continued. “We saw what (Titusville) did against Franklin (losing 6-5 in 9 innings); we knew they were gonna be a better team than their first performance that they had against us. I thought (the Rockets) played well; we played just a little bit better, so it worked out.”
Hickory right-hander Jorge Leedham allowed 3 third-inning runs, walking the bases full. Then Titusville’s aptly-named Hunter Titus tattooed a 2-run double that came within approximately 10 inches of being a grand slam.
But to his credit Leedham needed only 9 pitches to set down Titusville in the 4th, before Nick Osborne overwhelmed the Rockets. In the righty reliever’s 3 innings he retired 8 of the 12 hitters he faced (2 hits, both by Brian Clark, 1 walk, 1 hit-batsman on 41 pitches, 25 for strikes). Hickory 3rd-baseman Hayden Gallagher initiated a 5-4-3 game-ending double play.
Whalen’s classmates include Patton, Gallagher, Dom Trinchese, David Greenburg, Andrew Gay, Caleb Benton, and Kyle Moyer. Gay garnered a ribbie on a bases-loaded walk for Hickory’s 1st run; Greenburg initiated a sparkling 8-6-2 play at the plate in the 1st frame, retiring the Rockets’ Zach Abrams (who singled and was attempting to score on Clark’s double), aided by shortstop Clay Wiesen’s relay throw, and pinch-runner Moyer mustered a run on Evans’ hit.
“The senior class, we’ve got a good group of guys,” MacKenzie said. “I’ve gotten to work with these guys since they were in seventh-grade, and it’s fun to see ‘em put together a good run their senior year. Hopefully that continues deep into the playoffs.”
“We’re really close, especially this year we’re a really close group of guys,” Whalen said. “It’s like a family, and we all work hard. Hopefully we’ll go out and play our best baseball toward the end of the season, play well in the district, and see how it goes.”
Notes: In 4 frames Leedham (74 pitches, 39 strikes, 3 runs on 3 hits, 4 walks, 1 hit batter, 2 KOs) had just the shaky 3rd inning. ... Hickory drew 9 walks (2 by Greenburg) and Wiesen was hit by a pitch against Titusville twirlers Clark (3-plus innings, 63 pitches, 30 strikes, 3 runs on 1 hit, 2 walks, a HBP and 5 strikeouts), Baker, Abrams and Andrew Fish. ... Offensively, Osborne greeted Baker with a sac-fly RBI. ... Gallagher and Patton both tallied twice. ... Titusville is now 7-8 overall, 2-4 in the region.
In other action:
• Sharpsville 14, Reynolds 0 (5 inn.) – At Kevin S. Yarabinec Memorial Field in South Pymatuning Twp., the Blue Devils rolled to the Region 3 win.
Cameron Williams earned the win, pitching 3 2/3 innings. He struck out 4. Tyler Clary closed it out. He fanned 2 batters.
Offensively for Sharpsville, Jared Trontel doubled, singled, hit a sac fly and drove in 3 runs, Joe Bornes had 2 singles and 3 RBI, Eric Lenzi ripped an RBI double, Williams had an RBI double, Max Messett singled and drove in a pair and Jackson Doyle and Tyler Clary both singled and had an RBI.
Andrew Herman, Garrett Erford and Jacob Moser hit singles for Reynolds.
Jonathan Crumbacher (1 inning), Dominic Bertolasio (2/3), Lee Walter (2) and Andrew Herman split time on the mound for the Raiders. They had no strikeouts, 4 walks and gave up 10 hits.
• West Middlesex 5, Jamestown 0 – At Jamestown, Jake Bowen and Logan Hurley combined to throw a 1-hitter in leading the Big Reds (5-0, 12-1) past the Muskies. With the win, WM locked up the Region 1 title.
Bowen struck out 12 batters, walked 2 and gave up a single in 5 innings. Hurley pitched the final 2 innings. He fanned 1 and issued no walks.
Hurley had a single and drove in 2 runs for WM, Chase Tomko ripped an RBI double, Alex Kachulis hit a pair of singles and Zach Long was credited with an RBI.
Jed Goodlin suffered the mound loss for Jamestown. He fanned 10 batters, walked none and gave up the 5 runs on 6 hits. Goodlin singled at the plate.
• Kennedy Catholic 10, Youngsville 2 – At Youngsville, KC rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game in the 5th inning and then tacked on 2 runs in the 6th and 6 in the 7th frame en route to the Region 1 win – the 1st victory of the season for the Golden Eagles.
Cody May went the distance on the mound for Kennedy Catholic. He struck out 7, had no walks and only gave up 4 hits.
At the plate for KC, May had an RBI single, Max Feeney had a hit and 2 RBI, Carsen Burkhart ripped a pair of singles, Thomas Malvar tallied 1 hit and drove in a pair of runs and Charlie Gonzalez was credited with 2 RBI.
Nyko Mercado, Ethan Curry, Alex Kemery, Jason Beers and Ethan Morningstar pitched for Youngsville. They combined on 9 strikeouts, 9 walks and gave up 5 hits. Mercado doubled for the Eagles.
• Lakeview 8, Rocky Grove 5 – At Rocky Grove, the Sailors built on a 5-3 lead by scoring 3 runs in the top of the 7th en route to the Region 3 win over the Orioles.
Trent Milliren went the distance on the mound for Lakeview. He struck out 6 batters, issued no walks and only gave up 6 hits.
Offensively for the Sailors, Milliren doubled and singled, Zack Doddo had 2 singles and an RBI, Kyle Uber doubled, Brett Beith, Brandon Partridge and J.P. McGee had RBI singles and Noah Burke added a pair of singles.
• Grove City 13, Conneaut Area 7 – At Linesville, the Eagles trailed 6-3, but tied the game 6-all in the 5th and then plated 3 in the 6th and 4 in the 7th to grab the Region 6 contest.
Lance Craig had 3 hits, including a home run, and drove in 4 runs to lead GC. Also, Carter Chinn ripped 3 singles and a double and drove in a run, David Dennis collected 2 doubles and drove in a pair, Julian Breese had a 2-run double, Zach Rodgers doubled and singled and drove in a run, John Hake tallied an RBI single, Dylan McElhinney had 2 hits and Mason Jones doubled.
McElhinney and Jones pitched for GC. McElhinney fanned 5, issued no walks and gave up 4 runs on 8 hits. Jones walked 4 and allowed 3 runs on 1 hit.
Ryan Richardson and Jayden Mihoci pitched for CASH. They combined to strike out 4 batters, walked 2 and gave up 17 hits.
Richardson doubled and singled and drove in a run, Peyton Hearn had 2 hits and an RBI and Austin Gabel, Brandon Wise and Jordan Kullen all had 1 hit and an RBI.
• Wilmington 12, Mercer 7 – At New Wilmington, the Hounds improved to 7-1 in Region 3 and 13-2 overall with the win.
Timmy Lewis was the winning pitcher. He struck out 3, walked 1 and gave up 2 hits and no runs in 2 innings.
At the platie for the Hounds, Cameron Marett went 2-for-3 with 3 RBI, Caelan Bender was 3-for-4 with an RBI, Robert Pontius turned in a 3-for-4 plate appearance with 2 RBI and Nathanael Luu was 3-for-3 and drove in a run.
Dylan Hetrick pitched 3 1/3 innings for Mercer and took the loss. Brian Shevitz went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI for the Mustangs.
• Hickory 6, Slippery Rock 4 – At Hermitage, the Hornets snapped a 4-all tie by plating 2 runs in the bottom of the 6th inning to capture the Region 6 win.
Morgan Huey drove in the go-ahead run in the 6th on an RBI groundout. Also for Hickory, Carlie Miller had 2 hits and an RBI, Sarah Cardamon doubled and drove in a run and Avery Micchia had 1 hit and 2 RBI.
Autumn Black (5 innings) and Miller pitched for the Hornets. Black struck out 1 batter, walked 3 and gave up 4 runs on 3 hits. Miller had 2 strikeouts, no walks and only allowed 1 hit.
Paige Gresgott went the distance on the mound for Slippery Rock. She fanned 2 batters, walked 3 and gave up 6 hits.
At the dish for the Lady Rockets, Caitlin Kunsman had 2 singles, Taylor Balint collected 1 hit and drove in a pair of runs and Alex Frazier was credited with an RBI.
• Sharon 15, Oil City 0 (5 inn.) – At Oil City, freshman Mirando Metro fired a complete-game 2-hitter (2 singles) with 7 strikeouts and 1 walk and Jordan Murphy ripped a double, 2 singles and drove in 3 runs as the Lady Tigers (3-3, 3-10) grabbed the Region 5 win.
Also for Sharon, Iresha Norris went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, McKenna Harry doubled and scored 3 times, Ellie McCombs had an RBI double and Grace Buckley ripped 2 singles, drove in a run and had 3 runs scored.
• Jamestown 13, Lakeview 7 – At Stoneboro, Danielle Ficeti ripped 2 doubles and a single and drove in 3 runs to lead the Region 5 Lady Muskies past the Region 1 Sailors.
Madison Hillard had 4 hits and an RBI for Jamestown, Camille Engstrom doubled and singled, Kelci Matters had a 2-run single, Maelee Lyons had 2 hits and drove in a run, Elizabeth Kammerdien had an RBI single and Hattie Smith was credited with an RBI.
Hillard (5 innings) and Ficeti pitched for the Muskies. Hillard struck out 2, walked none and gave up 2 hits. Ficeti had no strikeouts or walks and surrendered all 7 runs on 6 hits.
Chloe Herrman went the distance on the mound for Lakeview. She struck out 5, walked 3 and gave up 15 hits.
Offensively for the Sailors, Makayla Schell doubled and homered and drove in 3 runs, Danielle Sontheimer had a double, 2 singles and 2 RBI, Sophia DiMaria had 2 singles and Reagan Booher had an RBI.
• Kennedy Catholic 16, West Middlesex 9 – At Hermitage, the host Lady Golden Eagles erupted, led by Kyleigh Wansack (single, double, 3 RBI), Kendall Wansack (double, 2 RBI), and Andrea Suhar (single, 3 RBI). Alison Schultz and Milan Stephens scored 4 runs each in support of winning pitcher Grace Schultz, who struck out 9. Defensively, Addie Flanders was cited for a pair of spectacular plays.
Offensively Alyssa Morelli and Chloe Greer each had 3 hits for West Middlesex, while pitcher Teagan Pope was saddled with the setback.
• Reynolds 10, Commodore Perry 6 – At Transfer, the host Lady Raiders (8-2) rolled as Kelly Park pounded a pair of solo shots and Kendra Hillyer hammered a 2-run home run. Also, Kayln Hawthorne had a 5-for-5 plate performance. Reliever Mackenzie Herman – the third of a trio of twirlers – struck out the side in her lone inning in the circle for the win.
Mattison Arnett and Mackenzie Larimer (double) led Commodore Perry with 3 and 2 hits, respectively.
OHSAA Div. IV Playoffs
Akron Regional/Warren District: 1st Round
• Brookfield 20, Warren JFK 3 (5 inn.) – At Brookfield Twp. Park, the Lady Warriors scored 12 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning to advance to the OHSAA Div. IV Akron Regional/Warren District quarterfinals.
Bailey Drapola was 3-for-3 with a 3-run homer, a double and 4 RBI to lead Brookfield, which is seeded 3rd in the district tourney. Also, Gabby Schiska had 2 hits and 2 RBI, Morgan McNamara and Autumn Sirochman had 2 hits each, Chloe Willrich doubled and singled and drove in a run and Becca Litz and Cara Nehlen had 2 RBI each.
Schiska fanned 3 and walked 1 to earn the win. Hollobaugh struck out 4 and walked 6 in the loss for JFK, which was seeded 14th.
Brookfield hosts 6th-seeded Cortland-Maplewood at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the quarterfinals. Maplewood ousted Bloomfield, 10-0, on Monday.
The Warren District semifinal and championship games are at Candlelight Knolls Fastpitch Softball Complex in Warren. The semifinal games are scheduled for 5 p.m. on May 13 and the championship game is at 5 p.m. on May 15.
• Greenville 5, Kennedy Catholic 0 – At Greenville, the Trojans swept the Golden Eagles.
Singles: Jason Baek (G) won by default; Vijay Perry (G) def. Owen Cianci, 7-5, 6-0; Steve Jaussen (G) def. Shane Osborne, 6-0, 6-0. Doubles: Ronnie Mutinelli-Nick Kytchak (G) def. David Cianci-Cam Niemi, 6-0, 6-0; Jake Giardina-Kenny Royer (G) def. Aaron Wasser-Ryan McCarthy, 6-0, 6-0.