Wilson Stops Late Rally To Beat Falconer In B2

GRAND ISLAND — Top-seeded Falconer trailed No. 3 Wilson 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning of the Section VI Class B2 championship game Thursday at Grand Island High School with only four hits to that point.

However, the Golden Falcons still found themselves in a position to win the game when Hannah Melquist stepped up with the bases loaded; the tying run on third and winning run on second.

Emily Rhinehart worked an RBI walk to cut the deficit to 2-1, then Melquist got a hold of a pitch, but it went right to Wilson’s best player. Rian Faery stepped back from shortstop into shallow left field to secure the third and final out of the inning that delivered the Lakewomen the B2 title 2-1.

“I’m really proud of the body of work that we put together this year,” Falconer head coach Kayleigh Sieber said.

“This just wasn’t a good sample size of that work. Honestly, I probably had the most fun doing this this year and the coaching staff were so supportive and it really added a lot to the depth of our team.”

Faery caught the final out for Wilson and she was the player to give the Lakewomen their original lead. Faery legged out a double in the top of the fourth inning and then was promptly hit to third by Abbie Faery.

It looked like Rhinehart would get Falconer out of the jam, but Rian Faery did the unthinkable, on a throw back to the circle she broke for home and stole the first run of the game for the Lakewomen.

Wilson stole the run and the first lead of the game just two innings after Falconer should have scored. In the bottom of the second inning, Katrina Schrantz drilled the Golden Falcons’ first hit into center field and then in the very next at-bat she was breaking for home.

Schrantz was followed up by Nylah Sharpe hammering a ball down the left-field line that would have been an easy standup triple, but the ball rolled out of play as a ground-rule double and Sharpe and Schrantz were sent back a base, keeping the game scoreless.

“Nylah is an absolute warrior,” Sieber said. “Super, super proud of her because we’ve been working for weeks on just staying confident, sticking with it and just knowing that her breakout time was going to be during the playoffs, and she absolutely stayed true to that.”

Ellyson Baglia was walked to load the bases with no outs, but Wilson’s Riley Robinson was locked in in the circle. Robinson set down the next three batters with strikeouts, stranding Falconer with the bases loaded for the first time in the game.

“We left a small city on the bases today,” Sieber said. “Absolutely crushing to see it end that way. Just took too long to adjust to slow pitching, I’m severely underwhelmed by the pitching. We prepared for playoffs and this is not at all what we expected to see with all of our playoff games honestly. Unfortunately, the name of the game is being able to adjust throughout the game and we just didn’t make it happen.”

Aside from the hard hits by Schrantz and Sharpe, Robinson mostly stymied the Falconer batters, except for a bunt single by Angelina Fiasco and an Emily Zaranek single that followed suit with being caught stealing. Robinson finished giving up just the four hits, walking eight, hitting a batter and striking out six.

It looked like Robinson might get away with the shutout, but in the bottom of the seventh she began to falter with two outs and the top of Falconer’s lineup looming.

Sharpe led off with a walk, but a strikeout and sacrifice bunt really put the game in jeopardy for Falconer. Then Robinson seemed to lose the strike zone, walking both Khloe Livengood and Fiasco to load the bases.

Rhinehart was not given much to hit all game, walking in her first two at-bats and stealing her way to third each time — doing all she could to win for Falconer. Rhinehart’s final at-bat was much the same as she walked in the Golden Falcons’ only run.

Falconer ended up leaving the tying and winning runs on the bases in the bottom of the seventh, managing to only mirror the top half of the inning that Wilson (13-9) had by scoring just one run with the bases loaded.

Rhinehart was good in the circle all game, giving up just three hits, six walks and hitting a batter while striking out six.

“Just absolutely throwing and dealing and spinning the ball, keeping them off balance,” Sieber said about Rhinehart’s performance. “It’s just a shame we couldn’t turn any of those into some type of productivity. To strand bases loaded numerous times throughout the game is just unacceptable when you’ve got that kind of pitching. She kept us in that game.”

Rhinehart, just like Robinson, had one bad inning and it came in the seventh. After recording the first two outs she walked two batters and hit a third to load the bases and Abbie Faery’s RBI walk proved to be the difference before a popout ended the inning with a 2-0 Wilson lead.

The Lakewomen’s victory sets a date with the Class B1 champion Fredonia Hillbillies on Wednesday in Gowanda, but the youthful Falconer (15-5) team will have a lot to look forward to next season when it tries to change out the red patch for a blue one.

“A red path instead of a blue patch is going to be a reminder to them of what it takes,” Sieber said. “It’s a humbling experience and sometimes when you are really, really talented, you need to be humbled. That’s what happened tonight and hopefully just adding fuel to the fire, continued motivation, trying to push harder. What I took away from this is we’ve got a lot of talented players and we need to be a talented team, those two things are different things.”


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