Wolves blanked by Heuvelton, 14-0
AMSTERDAM – After playing some of its best baseball of the season on its way to a Section II Class D title, Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville saw its run come to an abrupt end Friday.
The Wolves dropped a 14-0 decision to Section X champion Heuvelton in the state Class D regional semifinals at Shuttleworth Park.
“We’ve been playing good ball,” Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville coach Darin Lynch said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had a game like this. Unfortunately, today was a bad game for us.”
After pounding out an average of 13 hits a game on its way to the sectional title, OESJ was held to just five hits by Heuvelton sophomore ace Mike Martin.
Martin finished with nine strikeouts and two walks on his way to the complete-game win.
Martin was backed by an 11-hit effort by the Bulldogs, who scored in five of seven innings. The Wolves also helped by committing eight errors.
“I’m happy with how we played today,” Heuvelton coach Dave Steele said. “We hit the ball well and took advantage of some mistakes by them.”
Heuvelton used a balanced effort on its way to the win, with all nine starters reaching base at least once and all nine each had at least one RBI. The Bulldogs also had seven different players record at least one hit and seven scored at least one run.
Friday’s contest was far different than last year’s regional effort for Heuvelton. After defeating Section VII champion Lake Placid, 4-3, in the regional semifinals, the Bulldogs were blanked 20-0 by eventual state Class D champion Fort Ann in the regional finals.
“We lost six seniors from last year’s team, but those who came back this year knew what it felt like to have the season end like it did last year,” Steele said.
Heuvelton got on the board early, scoring once in the first and three times in the second inning.
The Bulldogs got a one-out walk from Aidan Scagel and an infield single by Andrew Woodard to put two runners on in the first.
After OESJ starter Johnny Vicciarelli got a pop-up from Dylan Liscum for the second out, Jordan Macaulay reached on an error for the Bulldogs. Scagel scored on the play to give his team a 1-0 lead. Cole Piercy followed two a two-out single to center to load the bases, but Vicciarelli got a fly out from Jack Palmer to end the inning.
Payten Johnson had a two-out single in the bottom of the first and nearly scored on what looked to be a double down the right-field line by Brad Smith. Instead, the ball was ruled foul and Martin got Smith to ground out to end the inning.
“That changed the momentum,” Lynch said. “If we had been able to tie the game there, it might have helped us.”
Instead, the Bulldogs were able to extend their lead in the second, scoring three times on four singles and an error.
“In the state tournament, any time you can get a couple of runs early, it gives you confidence,” Steele said. “We got off to a good start and kept our momentum rolling the whole way.”
Macaulay had a two-run single to right, while Woodard added an RBI single. Scagel and Liscum also singled in the inning for Heuvelton, which chased Vicciarelli who was replaced on the mound by Brad Smith.
Martin fanned all three OESJ hitters he faced in the bottom of the second.
The Wolves put two runners on in their half of the third, getting one-out singles by Joey D’Antonino and Dylan Klock.
Heuvelton got out of the jam, and took a 4-0 lead into the fourth.
The Bulldogs doubled their advantage in the inning, scoring four times on three walks, two errors and two hits.
Collin Trathen and Liscum each had RBI singles in the fourth for the Bulldogs.
OESJ put two on with one out in the bottom of the inning, getting a single from Devan Battisti and a walk from Nate Trumble.
However, the Wolves were unable to capitalize as Martin struck out the final two batters of the inning to end the threat.
Heuvelton pushed its lead to 12-0 in the fifth, getting a two-run single from Palmer, an RBI single from Piercey and a bases-loaded walk from Martin.
Trumble came on with one out to replace Smith in the inning for the Wolves.
Over the final three innings, OESJ mustered just two baserunners. Vicciarelli drew a walk in the fifth and Smith singled in the sixth.
Heuvelton capped the scoring in the top of the seventh, getting a two-run, two-out single from Scagel to make it 14-0.
“Unfortunately, we did what I thought we would do because we were looking into the future,” Lynch said. “I told the team that they had to get by regionals first.”
Scagel finished 2-for-4 with two walks, two RBIs and four runs scored for the Bulldogs, while Woodard, Liscum and Piercey each had two hits. Macaulay finished with three RBIs, while Piercey and Palmer each had two RBIs.
Klock, Johnson, Smith, Battisti and Joey D’Antonino had the only hits for the Wolves.
“We just couldn’t get going today,” Lynch said. “Unfortunately, that’s baseball. Things didn’t go our way today.”
Heuvelton (17-2 overall) will face Section VII champion Lake Placid (5-8 overall) today at St. Lawrence University’s Tom Fay Field in Canton with the winner advancing to the state semifinals.
Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville finished its season with a 14-7 overall record.
“We’re young and I think we’ll learn from this. We’re hoping to get back to this situation next year,” Lynch said. “I’m very proud of the kids. We’re young and we exceeded a lot of expectations to get this far.”
Heuvelton 14, Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville 0
Heuvelton130 440 2 – 14 11 1
Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville000 000 0 – 0 5 8
Martin and Macaulay; Vicciarelli, Smith (2), Trumble (5) and Johnson, Smith (6).