WEST VALLEY — The West Valley varsity baseball team hosted Ellicottville below looming clouds, seeking to add to its win total. The game featured multiple lead changes, but West Valley got the better of its opponent, leading 8 – 7, when the umpires called the game, after five innings, due to weather. The victory improved the Wildcats’ record to 6 – 3.
West Valley maintained a 3 – 0 lead, as it headed into the fourth inning, including a run by Cole Stanbro, who was brought home, on a Collin Proctor single. The pace began to change, in the fourth inning, when Ellicottville scored 2 runs. That string turned into 7, when Ellicottville batted in the fifth, taking a 7 – 3 lead, over the home team. The Wildcats took the lead back, and the win, with an identical run figure, in the fifth, scoring 5, en route to the victory. Jared Ras came home on an RBI single, by Mike Grigsby, to clinch the shortened game.
Stanbro led offense, for West Valley, batting 2 – 2, including singles in both the first and third innings. In addition, he got the win from the pitcher’s mound, despite allowing 7 runs, in five innings. He managed to strike out eight batters, while walking five and giving up four hits.
Keegan Kittle had a 2-run double, while Patrick Enser had an RBI single.
“It was great to see our team respond, after giving up 5 runs, in the fifth,” Head Coach Bryan Hanson said, after the win.
A game against Sherman slotted for April 26 was cancelled, due to poor field conditions. That game was rescheduled for Friday, May 17.
On April 27, the boys participated in the Jamestown Community College Showcase, against Randolph.
“Every year, the Chautauqua County Baseball Umpires’ Association and Chautauqua Lake Central School puts on a baseball showcase, featuring six games, at JCC’s Russell E. Diethrick Park,” Hanson explained. “The last three years have been rained out, and the showcase was not played. This year, the weather was warm and sunny. West Valley was the home team, on the scoreboard.”
The Wildcats team showcased its offensive ability, winning a high-scoring contest 13 – 12.
“Pitchers had a tough day, during the game,” Hanson said. Between the Wildcats and the Randolph Cardinals, 25 runs were scored, on 23 hits, accounting for seven lead changes.
While Randolph steadily built a 3-run lead, going into the bottom of the fourth, West Valley struck, with 6 runs, in that inning. Randolph countered with 7 tallies, in the following inning, to take a 10 – 6 lead, but West Valley responded with 3 more, to make it a 1-run game, going into the sixth. In that inning, the teams traded single runs, causing the game to come down to the seventh and final inning.
In the seventh, Randolph struck quickly, but no more after 1 run. Derek Wells started it off, in the bottom of the inning, reaching first, on an error. Stanbro and Proctor then singled to load the bases, followed by Kittle’s fly to score Wells. Ras singled to right field, scoring Stanbro and moving Proctor to third. Finally, a sacrifice fly by Marcus Enser brought Proctor home and secured the win, with the team’s third run, of the inning. In the victory, Stanbro got on base, four times, and scored 1 run, to go with two RBIs. He tripled, in the fifth inning, and hit a crucial single, in the seventh.
On the mound, Ras was the winner in relief. He pitched two and two-thirds innings, surrendering 3 runs.
“I told my kids that the game was going to be tough, because Randolph is a good team,” Hanson said. “We hung in there and were close, for the whole game. They came through, in the end.
“Diethrick Park is a special place to play, and it was great to see us come out with a win,” the coach added.
The momentum did not seem to carry over, in the team’s next game, which was played on April 29, in Ripley. Despite outhitting the opposition 8 – 7, the Wildcats lost 6 – 3. Enser, however, had a noteworthy game, hitting on each of his three at-bats, including a single, in the third inning.
Ripley’s Trevor Enterline got the win, as he allowed 3 runs, during six innings, striking out 12. He walked three and gave up seven hits.
The game was lost, in the first inning, when Ripley ripped in 6 runs – a lead that was upheld into the fourth inning. West Valley countered with a run in each of its next three innings, but failed to generate anything in the seventh. The team fell to 6 – 4 with the loss, including a 2 – 3 league record.
“We were not ready to play, when the game started,” Hanson said, after the game. “We hung in there and could not come up with the big hit, to cut into the lead. We left 10 men on base, and seven of those were left in scoring position. If you are going to win, you have to knock those runs in.”
West Valley will take on Clymer at home on Monday, May 6, at 5 p.m. The Wildcats will play each of the next two days as well: Tuesday, May 7, hosting Sherman at 5 p.m and Wednesday, May 8, in Cattaraugus-Little-Valley at 4:30 p.m.