Neuqua’s big inning sinks Waubonsie
Updated: May 25, 2011 9:40PM
Neuqua Valley’s baseball team waited until the Class 4A Lockport Regional semifinal to get even with Waubonsie Valley, but the Wildcats came through in spectacular fashion in Wednesday’s 9-6 win.
Neuqua Valley (24-10) came in as the third-seeded team in the 23-team Neuqua Valley Sectional and Waubonsie Valley (20-13) was 14th. Despite the apparent advantage the Wildcats held coming into the game, based on ranking, they were swept three games to none in the season series.
“After losing those three games, we were kind of down in the dumps but going into this game, we knew we needed to have a lot of a lot of confidence and motivation and our energy really showed up throughout the game and we did well,” Neuqua Valley designated hitter and senior Ryan O’Keefe said.
O’Keefe had a hand in dispatching the Warriors with a two-run home run in a third-inning rally. His blast was the fifth of nine consecutive Wildcats hits in a seven-run inning.
Tanner Giesel (2-for-4, 3 RBI) lined a two-run single as the batter preceding O’Keefe and Andrew Skowronski completed the scoring with a two-run single in his second at-bat of the frame. He had flied out to left to start the inning.
“I had no idea that it was nine hits in a row,” Wildcats coach Robin Renner said. “I didn’t think it could be done. If they put it on a tee, you can’t do it. That’s pretty amazing.”
O’Keefe’s homer snapped a 3-3 tie and, perhaps more importantly, ignited a wave of enthusiasm inside the Neuqua Valley dugout. It also changed the game’s complexion.
Said Renner: “I think it did, especially our dugout, because now they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re winning this game.’”
Waubonsie Valley actually jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, utilizing two walks, an error, two wild pitches and a passed ball. Third baseman Harry Vickers (2-for-3, 4 RBI) capped the early rally with a two-run double.
Neuqua Valley tacked on two insurance runs in the sixth, with both walks in the frame coming around to score.
The Warriors squandered promising opportunities in both the fourth and fifth, bouncing into double plays with the bases loaded. Despite that misery, they managed to still score three in the fifth. Vickers roped a two-run single to conclude the scoring.
“We had missed opportunities and that’s baseball,” Waubonsie Valley coach Dan Fezzuoglio said. “The opportunities that (Neuqua Valley) basically had, they scored.”
He added that he had never before seen nine straight hits in a high school game.
Catcher Dylan Goss batted fifth for Neuqua Valley and went 2-for-3. He now has eight hits in four games at the varsity level.
Jason Avallone (4-0) got the win in relief for the Wildcats and Alan Foresta got his first save of the year. Mitch Stefani (3-4) took the loss for Waubonsie Valley.
Renner complimented the Warriors by proclaiming that they were a much better team than the 14th seed they were assigned. Waubonsie Valley won the Valley Division of the Upstate Eight Conference.
Neuqua will play in the regional final Saturday morning.