DANSVILLE — There is a new entry into the game of the year competition for 2019.
The Dansville Mustangs and Hornell Red Raiders battled each other for 10 incredible innings of play on Tuesday evening at Babcock Park, but the Mustangs rallied in extra innings in order to come away with the incredible 3-2 win over the Red Raiders.
“That was probably the second best game that I’ve been involved in during the 22 years that I’ve been here. I don’t think we had a legitimate hit until the sixth inning. We didn’t walk guys, they didn’t walk guys. It was really good baseball,” said Dansville coach Tom Hober. “(Jonas) Sciotti made a great play in the last inning to keep it tied. They made plays like that all day. We made a bunch of great plays early in the game to keep them off the board too. It was awesome.”
The early part of the game was a true pitcher’s duel, as neither team was able to generate a run until the sixth inning of play. Dylan Race was outstanding on the hill for the Mustangs, pitching a complete (seven-inning) game, allowing one runs on five hits while striking out five.
For Hornell, Zach Miles quickly replaced an injured Connor O’Rourke in the first inning, and he was incredible as well, tossing 6.2 innings while allowing one run on five hits while striking out seven.
But unfortunately for both pitchers, their stellar performances resulted in no decisions for each as the offenses were finally able to get going once the two descended from the hill.
Hornell drew first blood on the scoreboard in the sixth inning to break the scoreless tie. Jonas Sciotti led things off by putting a ball in play and reaching base on an error. He moved around the base paths and came home to eventually score when Tyler Acton’s hit forced another error.
But the Mustangs quickly evened things up in the home half of the inning. Race helped his own cause when he reached first base after being hit by a pitch. A single from Jake Failla moved Race into scoring position and another single from Jake Avery brought him home to tie the game at 1-1.
That’s where the scored stayed through the final inning of regulation and the first extra inning. Then in the ninth, Hornell scored again to take the 2-1 lead and looked like it was destined for the victory. Matt Oyer worked a leadoff walk and moved to second base when Demetrice Cabic was hit by a pitch. A Dansville double play quickly put two outs on the board, but Nick Oyer came through in the clutch and punched a ball up the middle for an RBI infield single that scored M. Oyer and gave Hornell the 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the ninth.
And in most high school games, that run would be the winning run. But the Dansville Mustangs quickly regrouped and came out in the bottom of the ninth inning fighting to keep the game going. Brody Stone started the frame off with a walk and moved to second base on a sacrifice. Dylan Race followed with a walk to put a pair of runners on base, and then Jake Failla muscled a ball into the perfect spot in right field that allowed Stone to easily score and tie the game.
“We did that with two outs, which was great too. And that’s what we’ve been preaching to them lately is to never give up. Don’t hang your heads because kids these days sometimes do that. But today, they came together and they kept fighting,” said Hober. “I mean Jake (Failla) booted two balls at second base, and then comes in a bats the runner in to tie it up. What a great play. He could have easily pouted, but he didn’t. He came in and made a great play.”
Moments later, Ryan Carnavale ripped a line drive toward the gap at shortstop that looked destined to end the game, but Hornell’s Zach Miles made an unbelievable diving catch that easily turned into a double play to keep the game tied at 2-2 going into the tenth inning.
At this point in the game, Race had been replaced on the mound with Matt Puffer, who was pitching a gem of a relief performance. His strongest inning came in the tenth, where he retired the side in order to set up the Mustangs with a game-winning opportunity in the bottom half of the inning.
“We came over and said, ‘who’s got the (courage) to go out and pitch right now?’ and he looked up and said, ‘I do.’ So we said okay you’re up,” said Hober. “And he was amazing tonight. I mean we really didn’t expect to get that out of him.”
Jake Avery started the inning off by reaching base on a single. Then Hayden Meyer laid down a perfect bunt single that put two runners on with no outs. Hornell pitcher Collin Burdett quickly got a strikeout to put one out away, and then Jonas Sciotti made sure the pressure was on when he made a great decision and throw home to gun out Avery on a play at the plate.
But with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Brody Stone ripped a line drive back at the mound, where it bounced off of a glove and allowed Meyer to cross the plate and give the Mustangs the hard fought 3-2 win.
“They have a great team and (Brian) Dyring does a great job with them. It sucked that somebody had to lose this game, and I guess we were just the lucky ones today,” said Hober.
Dansville (6-2) now hosts LCAA rival Wayland-Cohocton on Friday evening at 4:30 p.m. in Babcock Park. Hornell (5-3) continues its road trip with a visit to Livonia on Friday at 4:30 p.m.
Hornell 000 001 001 0 — 2 7 2
Dansville 000 001 001 1 — 3 6 2
Hornell: Connor O’Rourke (ND), Zach Miles (ND), Collin Burdett (LP) and Nick Oyer.
Dansville: Dylan Race (ND), Matt Puffer (WP) and Hayden Meyer.