Aggressive start lifts Bulldogs past Eagles

BROCTON- The No. 4 Brocton Bulldogs wanted to come out of the gates aggressively in Wednesday’s Section 6 Class D quarterfinal game against the No. 5 Ripley Eagles.

They did just that as the Bulldogs showed their aggressive attitude from the very beginning en route to an 8-3 victory.

“Being aggressive helped us all the way around,” Brocton coach Terry Presto said. “We played sound defense and didn’t have any errors and we got timely hitting when we needed it.”

Ryan Johnson got out to a quick start on the mound for the Bulldogs as he used just five pitches to sit down Ripley’s first three batters.

At the plate, Brocton’s Scot Laurie led off with a walk which was followed up by the senior first baseman stealing second base.

“I wanted to keep our heads in the game early,” Presto said about the team’s use of bunting and stealing. “We were just trying to keep up the intensity, because when we weren’t as aggressive, that’s when we let them back into the game.”

Laurie came around to score when Johnson punched a single to give Brocton the 1-0 lead.

After another quick top half of an inning, the bottom of the second went similarly to the first as Tayler Appel led off with a single for the Bulldogs and followed that up by stealing second base. Derek Walter used a sacrifice bunt to move Appel to third which set up Laurie to drive in the run with a double down the left field line.

“We started out slow,” Ripley coach Ken Rowe said. “We were making contact with the ball, but it was a lot of pop flies, where Brocton would get a walk or get on base and then get a key base hit to score a run. That was really the biggest difference.”

Brocton broke open the game in the bottom of the third with a five-run outburst. Jordan Patterson led off the inning with a walk, followed by Dan Ferguson reaching base on an error. Patterson crossed home plate on an RBI single by Johnson and Latham Dunn reached base on a bunt to load the bases. With the infield in to try to get the out at home plate, Appel hit a ball right to the second baseman, but Ferguson was able to beat the throw home for the Bulldogs’ second run of the inning.

Dunn scored on a passed ball, while the final two runs of the inning came on a two-run single from Laurie.

“Scot (Laurie) and Ryan (Johnson) had the two big hits for us in the third,” Presto said. “Early in the season we had success with the timely hitting we look for. Towards the middle of the season we got away from that, hopefully we are getting that back at the right time.”

With the 7-0 lead, Johnson was able to build upon his early success on the mound.

The freshman allowed just two hits and issued three walks through the first five innings of his outing.

“Ryan did a great job,” Presto said of his starting pitcher. “He got the ball around the plate and kept them off balance.

The Eagles found some success at the plate in the top of the sixth inning when a number of Ripley batters reached base.

Vinny Scholeno hit an RBI single to give the visitors their first run of the game.

Alex Swan came up with the clutch at bat, blasting a triple over the head of the center fielder to score two more runs.

“The balls started to drop a little,” Rowe said. “There were less pop flies and more line drives. In the end, we left too many runners on base though.”

With the score 7-3, Brocton was able to add an insurance run when Laurie led off with a walk and came around to score on a Patterson double.

Laurie led the Bulldogs at the plate going 2 for 2 with a pair of walks, three stolen bases and three RBIs and two runs scored.

Laurie closed out the seventh inning on the mound and struck out two Ripley batters.

As for the Eagles, it was a very emotional loss for all involved.

“This was the last game Ripley will ever play,” Rowe said. “It’s been an honor to coach these guys and I would love to get the chance to coach them in the future, but they will give a huge boost to Chautauqua Lake or wherever they go. We had a group of inexperienced players, especially most of the six last-year players, but they have stepped it up the last couple of years. They were a pleasure to coach.”

As for the Bulldogs, they will play host to Sherman on Friday at 5 p.m. in the Class D semifinals.

No. 3 Pine Valley 9,

No. 6 Panama 7

SOUTH DAYTON – The No. 3 Pine Valley Panthers needed a six-run sixth inning to rally past No. 6 Panama, 9-7, Wednesday in Section 6 Class D high school baseball quarterfinal action.

Trailing 9-3 in the sixth inning, Pine Valley finally got the bats going. Thomas Raiport walked and stole second. He scored on a Josh Kilburn RBI double. Tyler Swanson followed with a RBI double to plate Kilburn. Jacob Wilcox singled and Swanson eventually scored on a passed ball. Talon Snyder added an RBI double and Spencer Sticek capped off the comeback with a two-run double.

Of Pine Valley’s 13 hits, five were doubles and one was a triple.

“When you draw a team like Panama for our first playoff game, you know how much trouble they gave you in the regular season,” Pine Valley coach Chris Buczek said. “Playoffs are different. You don’t get a second chance. Credit needs to be given to my kids to fight back in the fifth and sixth. Late in games, you hold your bat tighter and tense up. They kept going and believed they were going to break through.”

Sticek finished 2 for 4 while Kilburn, Swanson and Wilcox each went 2 for 3 with a double.

Panama was led by Ricky Eddy’s three singles. Eric Schutt had a double and triple and Tanner Propheper had a double and a triple in defeat.

“Panama deserves credit,” Buczek added. “They came out and played baseball.”

No. 2 North Collins 3, No. 7 West Valley 2

NORTH COLLINS – An errant pickoff attempt chased home Jaden Keough with the eventual game-winning run Wednesday as No. North Collins (12-7) escaped with a 3-2 win over No. 7 West Valley during Section 6 Class D quarterfinal baseball action.

Austin Winter allowed two runs on four hits while striking out three and walking two over 6-2/3 innings of work.

“Austin was himself,” North Collins head coach Paul Kellner said. “He threw strikes, (West Valley) put the ball in play and our defense played exceptionally well.”

The Eagles jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after Jared Keppel and David Fere had RBI doubles, but the Wildcats were able to battle back.

Cole Stanbro scored on a Jared Ras double in the top of the fourth, before Ras tied the game with a double in the sixth.

Stanbro was the tough-luck losing pitcher as he allowed three runs on three hits while striking out six and walking two.

“It was a very well-played game by both sides,” Kellner said. “I thought Cole pitched a fantastic game.”

Keppel struck out Mike Grigsby with a man on first to pick up the save.

North Collins will host playoff nemesis Pine Valley on Friday in the semifinals. The Panthers have beaten the Eagles for four of the last five Section 6 Class D titles.

“We’ve seen each other in the finals the last five years,” Kellner said. “So it will be interesting to see what happens in the semis. It’s just another game that we have to go out and try and win. It doesn’t matter who it is.”