WEST VALLEY — The West Valley Central School varsity baseball team has gotten off to a 1-4 start. The WVCS squad traveled to Cattaraugus-Little Valley on April 14 and dropped an 11-8 decision. Despite Catt-Little Valley scoring 11 runs, only 4 of those runs were earned. West Valley senior Derek Wells started the game on the mound and allowed 2 earned runs and 6 unearned, issued six walks and struck out six, in four innings of work. Junior first baseman Jon Zimmer went 2-for-3, with a double. Junior shortstop Jared Ras went 2-for-3, with two doubles and two RBIs.
On April 12, West Valley was tripped up by Brocton 8-1. As a team, the Wildcats struck out 13 times and mustered three hits in the game. Zimmer, Patrick Enser and Collin Proctor each finished the day 1-for-3.
“We faced their ace and he had a really good curveball,” West Valley coach Bryan Hansen said. “We really struggled against him.”
West Valley lost to Franklinville 3-0 on April 10 and Franklinville freshman pitcher Bryce Blecha tossed a no-hitter, on the mound.
“All spring season, we’ve been preaching being aggressive at the plate,” Hansen said. “We were aggressive. But it was maybe a game where we should have took some more pitches and tried to work the count a little more.”
In West Valley’s first game of the season on April 5, the Wildcats lost to North Collins 13-4. Wells, Ras and Austin Wierzba each pitched two innings.
“We hit five batters, we had four walks and we had four errors,” Hansen said. “Kind of a sloppy game for us, in our first game of the year.”
The offense was led by Zimmer, who went 1-for-3 with an RBI triple, down the left field line. Ras picked up a double and finished the day 1-for-2.
Zimmer leads the team in hitting – carrying a .364 batting average, through four games. Zimmer is taking over first base for the graduated Marcus Enser this season and has hit in the two-hole and the five-spot in West Valley’s lineup. He is West Valley’s only player that has yet to strike out.
“Zimmer has been our most consistent offensive hitter,” Hansen said. “Between him and Ras, they both have been pretty good this year ... Jon has great hands; he makes great adjustments on off-speed pitches and he’s been seeing the ball really well. He’s been promising. He’s also made some great plays at first base, scooping the ball.”
West Valley picked up a win over Ellicottville, because that team had to forfeit the game that was scheduled to be played on April 5. At 1-4, Hansen is looking for his team to get back on track, after a rocky start, by being tougher mentally.
“We talked at practice, after the Cattaraugus game, about being more mentally tough,” Hansen said. “We have breakdowns in games and baseball is 90 percent mental, people always say. We just need to be more mentally tough, from the first pitch to the last pitch. We have stretches where we’re really going and we have stretches where we break down.”
A nonleague matchup with Chautauqua Lake was cancelled, due to weather. The WVCS Wildcats will continue their slate of games when they host Catt-Little Valley on April 23.