Locals acknowledged for successful baseball, softball seasons

The New York State Sportswriters Association named its All-State baseball and softball teams recently and several local players made the lists.

Fredonia senior Weston Ley was named to the Class B baseball First Team as a pitcher and second baseman, while teammate, junior Cameron Voss, was named to the Second Team as a pitcher and first baseman.

“Both of them had incredible years,” Fredonia head coach Vince Gullo said. “Weston led us offensively and Cam’s season … He put us on his back and helped lead us to the Far West Regional where he gave us a chance to win. Both of their performances really made for a special season.”

In 17 league and playoff games, Ley hit .661 with 11 doubles, six triples, 25 runs scored, 23 RBIs, 11 stolen bases and 16 walks. Ley’s lone home run tied the Section 6 Class B-1 final against Olean. On the mound, he went 5-2 with a 1.46 earned-run average (ERA) in 48 innings of work. Ley was also named to the All-Western New York First Team and was the CCAA West I Player of the Year.

“I’m going to miss just having Weston down in my office talking baseball and football and especially out on the field,” Gullo said. “He had just an incredible season and he’s a great young man.”

Voss, who was a member of the Class B Fourth Team last season when he pitched a one-hit shutout over Clinton in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class B title game, finished 8-1 with a 0.89 ERA in 17 games. He struck out 85 batters and allowed opponents just 27 hits in 63 innings on the hill. Voss’ lone loss of the year came against Livonia in the NYSPHSAA Class B Far West Regional, while the batters he faced hit just .127 against him. He threw one-hitters against Dunkirk and Frewsburg, as well as a two-hitter against Southwestern. Voss, who was a member of the All-WNY Second Team, was also the CCAA West I Pitcher of the Year. He hit .484 during league and playoff games.

“Cam has his work cut out for him,” Gullo said when asked if he thought Voss had it in him to be named to an All-State team for a third-straight season next year. “Everyone knows who he is and he handled the pressure this year. Next year will be more experience for him and hopefully he’ll lead us on another run.”

Elsewhere, Westfield junior Nolan Hunt was a Second-Team selection in Class C at pitcher and outfield while Silver Creek senior Nick Iskra was a Fourth-Team member as an outfielder.

During the regular season, Hunt compiled a batting average of .400 and was one of the best pitchers in the area for the Wolverines, who won the CCAA West II league title.

“He has been our go-to pitcher as far as pitching against the tougher teams,” Westfield coach Doug Kaltenbach said. “He had a dynamite season. His ERA was under 1.00 on the season and his strikeout ratio was ridiculous. He struck out between 1.75 and 2 batters per inning. I’m certainly glad he’s coming back next year.”

Iskra, who has committed to play for the Gannon University Golden Knights’ baseball team, which is a NCAA?Division II program, battled through injuries his senior year, but still remained productive enough to land a spot on the All-State team.

“Nick is a very headsy type of baseball player who plays the game as it should be played,” Silver Creek coach Mike Janisch said. “He plays it hard and has a lot of savvy for the game. He was the catalyst for our offense with the bat and his ability to understand how to run bases and how to be a guy who scored a lot of runs.”

In Class D, Pine Valley was represented by senior Winfred Nelson (pitcher, shortstop) on the First Team while senior Thomas Raiport (pitcher, outfielder) was a member of the Second Team. Nelson was a member of the Fourth Team in 2013 as an infielder.

Nelson finished the season with 43 innings pitched, a 5-1 record and an ERA of 2.60.

“Not to take anything away from Thomas, but Winfred meant almost everything to us,” Pine Valley head coach Chris Buczek said. “He was the vocal leader. He was one of the first guys at practice every day and one of the last to leave. He wasn’t a quiet leader; he was loud and people followed him because he was a good, hard baseball player and because he demanded everyone worked as hard as he did.”

Raiport led the Panthers with a .478 batting average while driving in 16 runs and collecting seven doubles to go with a home run.

“Thomas is soft spoken, but his leadership comes through his examples,” Buczek said. “He’s a guy that is always working hard and setting an example. If we were doing a drill he’s showing everyone he can beat them at it and trying to be the best. His presence behind the plate was very meaningful as well. Plus he had a lot of big hits in key moments.”

Brocton’s Ryan Johnson, a sophomore, made the Third Team as a pitcher and shortstop.

Johnson finished the year with a .495 batting average and his performance on the mound helped the Bulldogs reach the Section 6 Class D championship game.

“Ryan is much more mature than (the typical) sophomore,” Brocton coach Terry Presto said. “He’s been a manager for the varsity team ever since his older brother played. So he knew my system and knows what I expect. He went above and beyond that. He is always looking to improve his game; he works hard at it. He played multiple positions and that was a luxury where I could keep him on the field because he hits very well.”

In Softball, Pine Valley sophomore Jessica Wilcox was named to the Class D Second Team as a pitcher while Forestville senior hurler Alisha Szumigala was named to the Third Team.

Wilcox dominated in the circle throughout the regular season and continued her dominance in the Section 6 playoffs with two no-hitters in the first three rounds.

“Jessica is a very hard worker,” Pine Valley softball coach Danielle Arnone said. “In the offseason, she would come early in the morning to work on her pitching and she just strives to get better every day. For two years in a row she took the varsity team deep in the playoffs. That is a big accomplishment for someone her age.”

Szumigala, who took over as the Hornets’ top pitcher as a senior, helped lead her team to the Sectional semifinals in her lone season at the front of Forestville’s rotation.

“Alisha is just a tremendous athlete,” Forestville coach Brianne Hazleton said. “She has been on varsity since ninth grade. She moved into the starting pitcher role last season and stepped her game up. We wouldn’t have been able to win as many games as we did if it wasn’t for her. I knew that we had a chance against every team because she threw hard, worked hard and pitched year-round.”