WAYLAND — Call it coaching intuition, but Mickey Carretto had a bad feeling. And boy, did bad things happen.
The Wayland-Cohocton Eagles batted around the order in the home half of the sixth inning, plating seven runs en route to an 11-0 Section V, Class B shutout over Carretto’s Hornell Lady Red Raiders, Tuesday afternoon at The Eagles’ Nest on the campus of Wayland-Cohocton Central School.
“All season long a big inning has come on the heels of not making a routine play. Usually we’ll have that one error and it’s a momentum killer,” Carretto said. “We had a dropped fly ball near the start of the inning and led to a couple of runs — they’re one of the best base-running teams I’ve seen — and then later in the inning we dropped a give-me out there and the inning got a lot longer that it had to be. Then, she started to get up in the zone a bit. But those things are just baseball and softball to a T.
“Obviously, my senior Aran Kilcoyne is down about the game. That is her last game and we all just hoped for a better outcome,” Carretto continued on. “What’s nice about it in a bittersweet way is that these kids care. They started to get beat down a little bit in that game, but they hung in there and found a way to get through it. I really believe that there are some good things coming.”
The Eagle victory secured a spot in Round 2 where Way-Co will meet up with Livingston County foe Livonia.
“We still have some things to work on, but I was pleased,” Dave Stewart, head coach of the maroon and gold, said. “Mick had his kids prepared tonight and they did a pretty good job of defending our short game. We had seven runs in that one inning, but beside that they played pretty well.”
It was the first time the Eagles went up against HHS freshman hurler Erin Crosby, who finished with one strikeout and five walks.
“Sectional time can be funny because it seems as though you play game-after-game in the regular season, you get into a groove and then you go into sectionals not having played since the last time we faced Hornell,” Stewart explained. “The second or third time through the line-up ... our first at-bat wasn’t too bad, we just made some base-running mistakes that cost us. That was about it. We lined out a few times in that inning as well.”
“For a team that slaps and puts a ton of pressure on you defensively, she pitched relatively well. Our goal coming in was to stay away from their hitters and bite corners, and for four innings she did that,” Carretto said. “She was hard hit to come by in the first four and then they got some extra outs to work with later on. A good team will capitalize on that stuff, a good team gets to you eventually. We didn’t make the plays that we had to make, no excuses.”
On the opposite side, McKenzie Weber rang up seven Raiders on strikes, while issuing one free pass. She scattered four hits.
“Any time you pitch a shutout it’s outstanding,” Stewart said. “She kept them off-balance and she pitched a real good game for us. Her curveball was working pretty well today, she was breaking that off pretty good. She doesn’t throw many fastballs during the game, it’s pretty much curves and change-ups. Again, she kept them off-balance and did a good job. We got a lot of groundouts to the second baseman and that’s what we’re looking for when she’s in the circle.”
Jessie Hammers, who accounted for what would turn out to be the eventual game-winning run in the third inning on a Weber RBI, paced the maroon and gold’s 11-hit attack at 4-for-4. Ashlee Schumacher went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBI, while Mikaela Nelson was also 2-for-4 with two RBI. Tristin Markel tacked on a double and Mia Forsythe drove in two runs of her own.
Shae Gree, Erin Crosby, Victoria Cramp and Hannah Boone registered one hit apiece for HHS.
A total of five Lady Raiders were left stranded on base, including three who were in scoring position.
“About mid-game, once in the third and once in the fourth (with the score 1-0), we had the tying run on third base and we couldn’t cash in,” Carretto said. “Our bats have just been a little weak lately. Those are opportunities that can give you a lift or give you some momentum and we just didn’t get it done.”
HHS closes up shop with a record of 2-17. As Carretto noted earlier, the Raiders will lose one senior, but the future appears to be bright.
“I’ve got 12 of 13 returning,” the coach said. “We’ll get right back at it in the winter time. We’ll start by addressing the needs that showed up this season, build and going forward in the hope of being more competitive. I think we will be, especially considering another year of maturity for these guys. They’re learning what the sport is all about and how tough it can be. I think we’re heading in the right direction despite what the record might say.”
Way-Co, now 16-4, will now play host to the Bulldogs in a father-daughter showdown scheduled for Thursday back in Wayland. Coach Stewart’s daughter, Molly Stewart, is the Livonia ace who guided her team to an 8-0 Round 1 shutout over Wellsville.
“We saw them once and we’re supposed to play them in the last game but got rained out,” coach Stewart said. “I’ve seen them a few times, and one lives in my house and two others play on our summer travel team.
“It’s competition. My daughter understands. Actually, she’s pretty good friends with a lot of my girls. She’s been going to Myrtle Beach with Hannah McKelvey and played on the travel teams with some of them. She know these guys. It’s not an easy game to coach in by any means. It is what it is.”
Hornell 000 000 0 — 0 4 5 W.-Cohocton 001 370 x — 11 11 1
H — Erin Crosby (LP) and Victoria Cramp W-C — McKenzie Weber (WP) and Mia Forsythe