Dansville 7 Attica 6
Call it “Dansville determination”, “Mustang grit” or whatever you want to call it…but the red & black kept that “come back” mentality & Anthony Kanaval’s clutch double in the bottom of the 6th led the horses to an opening day victory over Attica in high school baseball by a final count of 7-6 at Babcock Park on Wednesday (Mar. 30) night. The season’s opener for both clubs proved to be 2 games in one as the start was a pure pitcher’s duel, while the final innings saw “lead changes galore!” Right-handers Anthony Kanaval & Owen Thompson were stingy for their respective teams early in the game which saw only one run & 2 hits over the first 3 innings of play. Coach Tom Hober’s Mustangs were opportunistic in the opening inning as with 2 outs Alex West worked out a walk, stole second & rode home on an Anthony Kanaval single giving the home team a slim 1-0 edge.
The Blue Devils’ bats came alive in the 4th when they batted around scoring 4 times Kyle Casey & Levi Snyder each clubbed run-scoring doubles while a pair of fielding miscues aided Attica’s rally that would put them in front 4-1 as the orange & blue would chase starter Anthony Kanaval in favor of Ryan Conklin who came on to get the final out of the inning. Dansville scraped away a run in the home half of the 4th when Ryan Conklin led off with a double to centerfield. Tom Linzy’s single put runners at the corners. A potential big rally for the Mustangs was brewing, but fate played her evil hand in the frame when Forrest Edmond ripped a pitch on a hit & run play right at the 2nd baseman who gloved the shot & tagged out the crossing runner in motion completing an unassisted double-play that seeked to thwart Dansville’s hopes. Hunter Stone stepped in, & on a 3rd strike the ball got away from the Blue Devils catcher who threw wildly to first allowing a run to cross the plate making it 4-2.
The momentum swung the Mustangs’ way in the 5th when they would take the lead with a trio of tallies that started when Derek Wampole led off with a single to left & stole second. Alex West’s base hit to right put runners at 1st & 3rd with nobody out. Anthony Kanaval’s bouncer was booted by the Attica infield allowing one run to score. Moments later, a wild pitch tied the contest as Kanaval advanced into scoring position on the play. A passed ball moved the runner up another base & then Tom Linzy’s sacrifice fly to left scored the go-ahead run giving Dansville a short-lived 5-4 advantage.
It was time for “lady luck” to visit the Genesee Region squad’s bench as in the 6th Ryan Janes led off with single up the middle. An errant pick-off throw moved the runner up a base & then a wild pitch put the tying run at 3rd with nobody out. With the gale-force breezes blowing out at Babcock Park, Levi Snyder hit a long liner over the head of the left fielder who turned to play the carom off the wall, but the ball cleared the fence by inches for a 2-run homer giving the Blue Devils the lead back at 6-5.
The Mustangs would have the last laugh in the home half of the 6th when Hunter Stone led off with a walk against reliever Joe Auguglia. Anthony Sackett followed with a double to left center field putting the tying & go-ahead runs in scoring position. Attica drew the infield in & induced a lazy grounder to 2nd & then a strike out as the Devils were one out away from wiggling their way out of trouble. With 2 outs Anthony Kanaval would belt what would prove to be the game’s winning hit when he drilled a double to right center field to clear the bases & give Dansville a 7-6 lead. Leftie Alex West came on to register the save as Attica would leave the tying run at 3rd in the 7th as the Mustangs opened with a thrilling victory at home in a close contest.
Ryan Conklin got the win in relief while working 2 1/3 innings giving up 2 earned runs on 2 hits while striking out one & walking one. He relieve Anthony Kanaval who worked the first 3 2/3’s yielding 3 earned runs on 6 hits while fanning 5 & walking one. Alex West notched the save working to 4 hitters, walking one while blanking the Blue Devils in the 7th. Offensively for the Mustangs (1-0) Anthony Kanaval went 2-3 with a double, drove in 4 runs, stole 2 bases, & scored a run. Ryan Conklin was 1-2 with a double, Anthony Sacked added a double in 4 trips and scored once…Derek Wampole went 1-4, scoring a run & stealing a base…Alex West was 1-3, scored 2 runs & stole a base…Tom Linzy was 1-1 with a sacrifice fly & an rbi…Hunter Stone also scored a run.
Attica (0-1) starter Owen Thompson threw the first 6 innings & got a “no decision” on the hill as he gave up 3 earned runs on 5 hits, struck out 6 & walked 4. Joe Auguglia absorbed the loss working the last inning giving up 2 runs on 2 hits, walked one & struck out one. The Blue Devil offense saw Levi Snyder go 2-3 with a homer, a double & 3 rbis….Jim Zittel, Owen Thompson, Kyle Casey, Joe Auguglia, Ryan Janes, & Gabe Noonan each added a hit for coach Shawn Fromwiller’s club. Dansville hosts Livonia in their next outing on Friday (Apr. 1), while Attica hosts Akron in their home opener on Wednesday (Apr. 6).