HORNELL — The Hornell Red Raiders got the clutch hits when they were needed the most, scoring three runs with two outs in the seventh inning in order to get some revenge for last week’s extra inning loss to Dansville with a 4-3 walkoff win over the Mustangs on Monday evening in Maple City Park.
It was a sloppy game for Hornell, but the Red Raiders stayed within striking distance and then put things together in the seventh inning in order to escape with an important LCAA win.
“I told the guys that I’m not even sure how to feel about this game. I’m happy that we win and I’m really happy that we won a game that we should not have won, but I’m disappointed with the overall play,” said HHS coach Brian Dyring. “We are just too sloppy still. We play great for three innings and then we lose it. It’s like we can only keep our attention span for 45 minutes. We are not going to win many games and we are not going to win a sectional game if we play like this. We are happy to get the win today, but we can’t be successful in the big picture playing like this.”
As was the case the last time these two teams met, the game was a scoreless pitcher’s duel for much of the contest. Neither team was able to register a run until the fourth inning, where Dansville was able to score a pair of runs and take a 2-0 lead.
Hayden Meyer got the inning started with a single and was joined on the base paths by a walk from Derek Bell. Trevor Shotwell then put a two-RBI single into the outfield that scored both Meyer and Bell and gave Dansville the 2-0 advantage.
Hornell got on the board for the first time in the sixth inning of play. Tommy Pieklo got the frame started when he reached base on an error. He moved around the bases on a sacrifice and then came around to score when Demetrice Cabic forced an error with a hit in play.
Dansville responded in the top of the seventh inning, adding an insurance run to make it a 3-1 ballgame. Ball worked a leadoff walk and moved to second on another walk from Ethan Mapes. Dylan Race eventually worked another walk to load the bases, and Ball came home moments later on a wild pitch.
But in the bottom of the seventh, Hornell finally got its offense rolling in a big, way, scoring the three runs needed to win the ballgame in dramatic fashion. With two outs already gone, Zach Miles worked a walk and was joined on the base paths moments later by a single from Tyler Acton. A passed ball moved both runners into scoring position, and then Tommy Pieklo hustled out an infield single that forced an error, allowing Acton to score and putting Pieklo into scoring position. Justin D’Amato then laced a single into left field and Pieklo raced around third, scoring easily to bring the game to its 4-3 final.
“I’m happy for Tyler Acton, who did not have a great night up until that point. He had a rough at-bat his first three times to the plate, but hen he steps up in that situation and delivers a big hit. I’m happy for Justin D’Amato, who really needed a hit like that,” said Dyring. “This is one of those games where you are happy for the players, but from a coaching perspective, it’s a little frustrating.”
Matt Oyer got the start on the hill for Hornell but was given the no-decision. Zach Miles made a relief appearance and eventually picked up the win Hornell (6-4) now hosts Haverling on Friday evening at 6:30 p.m.