Even with the up-and-down nature of its early schedule, the West Genesee baseball team knew it could make a loud statement about its ambitions by playing well against undefeated, CNY Counties League-leading Liverpool in last week’s three-game series.
The first game didn’t take place until Wednesday due to rainouts, but when they did get on the field, it turned into a tense pitching battle where the Wildcats did well, yet still lost 2-0 to the Warriors.
Billy O’Brien only lasted two innings, but reliever Brian Hartnett went the rest of the way for WG, only giving up single runs in the fourth and sixth innings and waiting for his team’s bats to solve Liverpool.
WG would get eight hits to the Warriors’ four. After starter Jeff DeStefano exited in the fifth, Andre Leatherwood held the lead until the seventh, when WG loaded the bases with nobody out on three consecutive singles off Owen Valentine. The tying and winning runs were on base.
Again, the Warriors went to the bullpen and Nick Antonello took over. Aided by a pair of strikeouts, Antonello stranded all three of those runners and, for the time being, kept Liverpool unbeaten as it won its11th game in a row.
When the two sides met again on Thursday, WG lost, 7-1, to Liverpool, an odd result given that both teams recorded six hits, but the Warriors’ swings counted more as it netted four runs in the second inning and two more in the third to take control.
Marshall Winn took the loss, unable to get past the second inning as five Wildcats relievers contained Liverpool the rest of the way. Winn did drive in the Wildcats’ lone run in the bottom of the third on a single that scored Mike Bonacci. For the Warriors, Jonah Harder had three RBIs and pitched the last two innings in relief of Joel Ciccarelli.
Moving to softball, when West Genesee returned to action last Wednesday at Central Square, it offered a possible sectional playoffs preview – and if so, the Wildcats enjoyed the show, hanging on to beat the Redhawks 6-5.
Three-run rallies in the second and fourth innings gave WG a 6-0 edge. Abbey VanHorn hit a home run as she and Emily Winton each produced two RBIs off Central Square pitcher Abby House, with Elle Lazore adding a double and RBI and Teagan Dow also driving in a run. Katie Drogo got three hits.
Staked to that big lead, WG pitcher Deanna Shackleton maintained a shutout until the bottom of the fifth, when the Redhawks scored five times to pull within one, the key blow Madison Besaw’s two-run double. But Shackleton escaped that jam, and then pitched two scoreless frames to close out the complete-game win.