• The Wolverines are headed to the Far West Regional game. 

    Tuesday at Houghton University, BR defeated the Section V Class C1 Champions, the Letchworth Legends (I saw that on Max Preps, though the school’s website still has them with a nickname that falls outside the new state rules, so ???).  The score ended up 7-3 in BR’s favor, though it was a very close, nerve wracking, and ferociously battled contest.  That is until the top of the 7th.   BR put 4 across in that frame to take a big lead.  The Legends, as one would expect, did NOT roll over following that inning.  They battled on and had a chance to narrow the gap.

    It seems hard to fathom, seeing as how they were the victors, but, BR was outhit 10-8 in this one.  They also had an extra error.  A couple of cringeworthy bases running snafus took away opportunity for a few bigger innings in the early going. 

    An old baseball philosophy says that you don’t want to make the first or third out of an inning at third base.  The reasoning being that there is no advantage to getting to that bag in those conditions.  Further explaining, with no outs, a runner at second is highly likely to score, so there is no reason to “dangerously force the issue”.  With two outs, the runner at second would be running on contact, so again no advantage gained.  Hey, we like to be educational here as well as the very rare goofy things that show up from time to time on this page.

    Unfortunately for BR, they had a hat trick of such outs in the first 2 innings, thus nullifying potential crooked numbers. 

    Before the big 7th, BR’s box score resembled some sort of binary (math term) computer code, 1-0-1-0-1-0.  So, a few of those third base outs, could have made a world of difference.

    Well enough of the Debbie Downer-isms….

    Landon Barkley and Caden Allen combined on the hill for BR.  Barkley went 5 with 5 Ks and was tagged for two runs, one earned.   Allen pitched the last two, striking out a pair and being dinged for the third Legend run.   Both ended up working the team out of some hairy situations that very easily could have flipped the script.

    BR lost the coin toss, so the Legends chose to be the home team.

    BR got going quickly.  Reiss Gaines, first pitch swinging, got aboard with a sharp single to center.  He stole second. A fielder’s choice off the bat of Trey Buchholz erased Reiss.  Trey would steal second and advance to third on a throwing error.  A right-side groundout by Aydin Sisson (more on him to come!) scored Trey.   Allen singled up the middle and stole second in short order.  As luck would have it, the Wolverines dipped into that bag one time too many, and Caden was gunned out to end the frame.

    Letchworth got that one right back.  An error on the first batter turned into two bases.  A sharp single to right scored the speedy runner.  Kingston Loucks made a good play on the ball to keep things to a single.   A walk put 2 on.  But then Barkley got a pitcher’s best friend, no not a dog, but a 1-6-3 DP, the lead runner getting to third.  The next man hit a ball to Gaines in center for the end of the inning.

    Charlie Militello drew a walk to start the BR second, but the boys couldn’t do anything with it as the third of the baserunning bad things contributed to the shortened at bat.

    A fairly quick bit of work by Barkley in the home second.  Two groundouts Buchholz to Allen, making the big stretch at first on both plays, started things.  A walk gave them hope.  Ground ball, Allen to Barkley covering, ended the inning.

    BR doubled their total in the third.  Scratching out a run using some good ol’ fashioned smallish ball.  Gaines started with a walk.  He made it to second on a wild pitch.  A fly by Buchholz to center, allowed Gaines time to tag and advance.  Sisson got his 2nd RBI with a sac fly to right, easily plating Gaines.  Allen got hit, then stole second, so maybe some more to be had, even with 2 down.  But….

    The Letchworth third had them looking as if they intended to tie it up again.  After a Barkley strikeout, a single to the hole at short put one on. A liner to Gaines was two away.  Another single to the outfield, Loucks once again tracking it quickly, holding the runners at first and second. Another strikeout ended the threat.  Whew!

    Pitching change to Letchworth’s big gun and BR went in order in the fourth.

    Letchworth was really threatening in their half.  A single to left put the first man on.  A BR error had them at first and second with no one out.  Another K by Barkley accounted for the first out.  A well placed bunt, and a woulda coulda shoulda, the throw to first erased the batter, two outs, second and third for Letchworth.  As if they had conspired on this one, a pitch from Barkley got a bit away from Sisson, who made a heckuva a move to retrieve the ball and flip to Barkley in plenty of time to tag the runner trying to score from third.  Barkley absorbing a lot of contact on the play.

    BR doubled their edge in the fifth.  Braden Zilker singled to left following a lengthy at bat with numerous foul balls.  Zilker stole second. Two outs later and it looked as if maybe BR wouldn’t be getting anything.  But Sisson (that name again!) doubled to left to score Zilker.  BR 3-1.

    The Legends got that one right back.  A Baltimore Chop ground ball in the infield put one on. Following Barkley’s 4th K, two singles loaded the bags.  Barkley made a diving stop of a nubber just off the mound, his flip was in time to get the force on the runner trying to score, much to the chagrin of many in the Letchworth shade of red.   Bases still loaded.  It seems perhaps the zone changed shape or size on the next batter as the walk delivered Letchworth their second run.  The zone reshaped again and Barkley’s final K ended the threat, BR 3-2.

    Again, BR went in order in the 6th.

    Allen came on to pitch in the sixth.  Letchworth got a 2 out single that was quickly snuffed out.  Allen K, Buchholz to Maddox Davison, now at first, and finally Barkley (at 2nd) to Davison to end the frame.

     

    BR was hoping for a little insurance in the top of the seventh, they instead got a BIG FLO of it (like from Progressive! HA!  Yep! getting late).

    Davison led off with a sharp single by the second baseman. Zilker bunted him to second.  Gaines was plunked, BR first and second.  Buchholz singled to right, scoring Maddox,  Gaines taking third on the throw in, while Chicken Legs found himself at second.  Sisson, (what again!)  RIPPED a double to left center to score both runners.  A grounder to the right side by Allen moved Sisson to 90 feet away.  While Barkley was at the plate, a passed ball allowed Sisson to score.  Barkley would single to center.  Caleb Miller drew a walk to put 2 on, but a fine play in the outfield put the brakes on the big inning, BR 7-2, big insurance.

    Three outs and a handshake. 

    But it wasn’t so easy.  Another single to the hole, put one on. A near catastrophic pickoff attempt but Loucks making a big hustle play to retrieve the ball and hold the runner at first.  This allowed the fielder’s choice that followed, Buchholz to Barkley got the lead runner and one down.   A gap triple gave the Legends some life, scoring one and putting a runner at third, well yeah that’s what happens on a triple.   A pop foul to Davison on the first base line had Allen head over heels and made for two away.  Allen froze the final man with the game ending punch out. 

    Gaines had a hit and scored twice.

    Buchholz also with a hit, two scored, and one RBI.

    Sisson, a run scored, two doubles and 5 RBIs.   If this were hockey, he’d get the first star!

    Allen had a hit, moved a couple of runners along when needed and threw two solid innings off the bump.

    Barkley had a hit and tossed 5 stout frames from the hill.

    Davison got the big rally going with his hit in the seventh and came along to score BR’s 4th run, just what they needed!.

    Zilker had a hit and a run and had some solid situational at bats.

     

    So, for the first time in ten years, BR makes it to the Far West Regional. Next up for BR will be the Wilson Lakemen from Section 6. The Regional will be played in Salamanca at 7 pm on Friday.

     As far as they go on this journey, BR will be facing Sectional Champions, so things ain’t going to get any easier.

    I believe the Class D Far West game will precede the C game.  It is supposed to be a nice night on Friday, so, and I know I don’t really have to ask this, but if you can spare the time to take the ride, the team, coaches, and I would appreciate it!  See you there.  Ticketing info will be posted soon.  Like pretty much everything, the cost will be going up  for Friday.