WELLSVILLE – Through the last two games, the Lions have struggled to put some pieces together on offense, having only accounted for five hits combined in road games against Bolivar-Richburg and Hornell.
They returned home for their last regular season game on Friday to honor their two lone seniors, Jake Seeley and Colby Griffiths, for their efforts the past few seasons.
Despite the recent struggle, it’s been a masterful ride all season for Seeley, Griffiths, and the entire Lions crew, having only lost one time in the Lion’s Den, and making seasoned coach Dennis Miles the winningest in Section V history.
But the ride isn’t over yet. They wanted some momentum for what is poised to be a deep run through the sectional tournament. With Wayland-Cohocton in town, it was simple case of "home sweet home."
With only five hits in the last two games, the Lions matched that total and more in the first inning alone, as they set the tone right away with six runs off seven hits in the opening stanza to get the early jump on an eventual 9-2 home win over the visiting Eagles to wrap up the regular season at 14-4.
“We struggled with the bats the last three games when we hit that funk,” said Wellsville coach Dennis Miles. “Hopefully, we’re starting to rise out of the valley, and start going towards the peak. It was very encouraging to see that right off the bat, and we hit the ball hard through the first couple of innings. We really settled in, and that was something that really lifted the pressure off of us.”
The Lions went through the entire lineup once, as they teed off early on Way-Co starting pitcher Connor Englert. Despite an early out by Alex Ordiway to lead off the game, the next seven hits came right in a row, scoring all six runs. The biggest being a two-run triple off the bat of Colin Cook.
“Give them credit, they put the ball in play early,” said Way-Co coach Steve Wager. “This game didn’t mean a ton for us, one way or another. We were treating it as a game where a lot of pitchers were going to get some work in, and it just didn’t work out for us.”
The Lions added two more runs in the bottom of the second. Austin Keib earned a fielder’s choice to the right side of the infield, scoring one, while Colby Griffiths used heads-up base running to find his way home on a passed ball.
But the Eagles (6-14) would catch Wellsville off guard in the top of the third, as they scratched across two runs, one off an RBI single from Ethan Trischler. Austin Mark had the last RBI to cut the lead down to seven after three complete innings.
After a pitching change in the fourth inning to Ryan Ebert, Wayland-Cohocton's defense began to buckle down, allowing just one more run in the last three innings of play. The run came in the bottom of the fifth, as Seeley brought Tronetti around on a single to branch the lead back out to seven.
“I was very impressed with their second and third pitcher they had today,” said Miles. “If we do get these guys on Monday, we won’t take them lightly. They are very well-coached, they teach baseball over there.”
After the two runs in the third inning, Tronetti handed out three more shutout innings before Aiden Cook came on in relief to strike out the side to end the game in the seventh. Tronetti recorded the win with nine strikeouts and two walks in his combined one-hitter.
“Joe was outstanding on the mound, he’s capable of it,” Miles said of his ace. “It’s so much fun to watch him when he’s on, he spots his pitches so well. Aiden came in and did what we hopefully can get out of him down the stretch. I give a lot of the credit to our pitching coach Mark (Keib), he’s been working with these pitchers for the past few weeks. It just shows the job that he’s done.”
Seeley had the big bat for the Lions, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBI. Cooper Alsworth added two hits and scored twice. Colin Cook had two hits including his two-run triple and scored once.
Englert went the first three innings for the Eagles, striking out two and walking one. Trischler and Ebert combined to strikeout five Wellsville batters in relief of Englert. Wayland-Cohocton finishes the regular season with a record of 6-14 after starting the season with an 0-9 record, and winning four of its last six games.
Wager says the team’s getting healthy, which definitely helped build momentum late.
“These guys started the season 0-9, and we’ve played much better the last few weeks,” he said. “They don’t give up. It’s a credit to them. We don’t care who we play in sectionals. We’re starting to get kids back, and we’re starting to get healthy again. We haven’t been healthy all season, so we’re starting to play much better at the right time.”
Both teams now await Sectional seeding in Class B, with a possible first round matchup in the Lion’s Den on Monday.
Wayland-Cohocton 002 000 0 – 2 1 2
Wellsville 620 010 X – 9 12 2
W-C – Connor Englert (LP) (2K, BB), Ryan Ebert (3) (3K, 4BB), Ethan Trischler (6) (2K), and Jamie Carman.
W – Joe Tronetti (WP) (9K, 2BB), Aiden Cook (7) (3K), and Colby Griffiths.