When it rose to no. 11 in the state Class AA rankings, the West Genesee baseball team felt quite good – at least until it went a modest 3-2 in the stretch of five games in five days from May 5 to 9.
But the rainout of the Wildcats’ May 10 game at Fayetteville-Manlius gave the Wildcats a chance to rest, and it seemed to work because it came back to the diamond last week and registered back-to-back shutouts over two other prime contenders.
The fun started last Monday afternoon, when WG jumped all over Cicero-North Syracuse early and, with strong pitching from Seamus Barry and Evan Reichel, beat the Northstars 4-0.
These same two teams had met April 21 at Gillette Field, with Collin BeVard’s two-run home run in the seventh inning the difference as WG prevailed, 7-5.
Here, though, the Wildcats wouldn’t need late heroics. It knocked out C-NS starting pitcher Jesse Farabee with four runs in the bottom of the first inning, two of them driven home on Matt VanAllen’s double as BeVard and Anthony Carrodeagus also had RBIs.
That was more than enough for pitcher Seamus Barry. Keeping C-NS off balance all afternoon, the Wildcats hurler went 5 2/3 innings, holding the Northstars to three hits while strikng out five, before Evan Reichel took over in the sixth and went the rest of the way for the save.
Two days later, another big game loomed, WG trying to beat defending state Class AA champion Baldwinsville for the second time this spring – and doing so behind a tremendous pitching performance by Bailey Gauthier, who blanked the Bees in yet another 4-0 decision.
Just as when it beat B’ville 4-1 back on April 11, the Wildcats avoided facing highly-touted Bees pitching ace Scott Blewett, instead dealing with left-hander Brett DeLola, and getting to him early.
With two out in the top of the first, BeVard tripled, and he raced home on VanAllen’s single. Then, in the second, the Wildcats put two runners in scoring position, and Nate Guinta brought them home with a clutch single.
A throwing error led to another run in the third, but the four-run margin was far more than Gauthier, who had thrown 4 2/3 innings and combined with Barry on a one-hitter in that first meeting with B’ville, would need.
By far, Gauthier’s biggest stress came in the bottom of the third, when B’ville loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a walk. Continuing to throw strikes, Gauthier got Scott Blewett to fly out, too shallow to score a run, and Kevin Carson to ground out.
As the game wore on, Gauthier seemed to get stronger. All of the Bees’ four hits came in the first four innings, and Gauthier retired the last 10 batters he faced, finishing it off with his 10th strikeout of the afternoon.