North outslugs South, 15-14
JAMESTOWN?- There was no shortage of excitement for baseball fans at this year’s Chautauqua County Exceptional Senior All-Star Game at Diethrick Park as the North team held on for a nail-biting 15-14 win over the South on Monday evening.
Rain on Sunday forced the game to be postponed, but luckily the area’s best senior ball players only had to deal with a few light showers on Monday.
It was most valuable player Weston Ley of Fredonia who pushed the North to victory during his final two innings on the mound, recording a pair of strikeouts and fending off a late push by the South.
Ley’s squad nearly gave the game away after entering the bottom of the ninth inning with a 15-13 lead. Falconer’s Jacob Youngberg led off with a single and then went to third following a poor throw to first from the North.
Another error in the field scored Youngberg and left Ley hanging on the mound with the score now 15-14.
The Hillbillies’ hurler was up to the challenge though and got groundouts from Maple Grove’s Collin Stack and Golden Falcon Gib Stuart to end the night and earn his MVP honors.
Earning MVP honors in the loss was Stack, who put on a showcase at the plate and started out the night on the mound for the South.
Stack fanned a pair in two innings on the hill and struck two triples, a single and picked up two RBIs.
Rounding out the honors for the North, Cody Smith of Fredonia took home the award for the game’s top play after making a diving grab on a ball near the right-field fence to end the second inning.
“It was fun, it was just a good time,” said Southwestern coach Darin Beckerink. “They did a good job and that is why we are here,
Beckerink and the rest of the Trojans’ staff had the honor of coaching the South team while Vince Gullo and the Fredonia staff was running the Northern dugout.
“This was the first time I got to coach here,” Beckerink said. “It was fun, it is a different experience. It is tough to get all the kids in, but it was a good time to do it. It was a great time for the kids.”
Both teams began the day with their bats fired up with the North jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the home half of the first.
Stack struggled with his first series of pitches and walked a pair of batters before reigning in his arm.
Tyler Furlow of Chautauqua Lake got the North on the board with an RBI single that was followed by a two-RBI single from Fredonias Matt Sheridan and an RBI double by Westfield’s Brandon Johnston.
The South was quick to support Stack with runs during their first chance at the plate, which started with a single by Youngberg. Stack then helped his cause with a triple to score Youngberg and added another after racing home on a wild pitch. That set the scene for Jamestown Red Raider Jake Sisson, who struck a solo shot over the left-field fence to make it 4-3.
The game was then tied when Falconer’s Jimmy Schwab stung an RBI single.
“The kids are seniors and they play well, “Beckerink said. “You cant expect any more out of them, they did a great job.
The North added four more runs in the second thanks to singles from Smith, Furlow, Westfields Rob Burgess and Sheridan, and a big three-run double from Ian Clute of Chautauqua Lake.
That retired Stack from the mound in favor of Falconer’s Mike Wilcox, who fanned three with four walks.
The North began the game with Westfield’s Rob Burgess on the hill before changing to teammate Brandon Johnston in the third.
While Sisson claimed an RBI for the South in the third, four more hits by the North ended the inning at 14-5.
Beckerink’s squad was able to close that gap thanks to a big seventh inning, that included an RBI double from Jamestowns Chris Haase. Another RBI single from Stack and two wild pitches made it 15-12 entering the eighth.
The penultimate inning saw Sisson take the hill for the South and he would end the day with three strikeouts and a walk.
The North was unable to add any runs to cushion its final-inning lead and was forced to rely on the arm of Ley for the final inning.
Rounding out the pitching for the North was Pine Valleys Winfred Nelson and Cassadaga Valleys Matt Hallowell.
Also on the hill for the South was Frewsburg’s Tage Johnson, who had three strikeouts and two walks.