Oneonta comes up just short in 10-9 loss to Westhill in Regional Championship

·5 min read

Jun. 5—Saturday's Class B Baseball Regional Championship Game between Oneonta and Westhill saw two teams who each did enough to win while at the same time giving their opponent plenty of chances to win themselves.

Unfortunately for the Yellowjackets, the Warriors made just a few more plays to eke out a dramatic 10-9 victory to end OHS's season at Onondaga Community College.

The back-and-forth affair saw several lead changes, the last of which came in the bottom of the sixth inning when Westhill's Anthony Sampo came up with a two-out RBI single to drive in what proved to be the winning run.

Oneonta had a great chance to alter the scoreboard again in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with just one out. But back-to-back pop-ups ended the game and the Yellowjackets' fantastic campaign.

"A couple of outfield miscues hurt us," Oneonta coach Joe Hughes said. "We had a couple of infield balls that we thought we could've gone somewhere else to get outs. They scratched out a couple runs on our miscues. That hurt us a little bit, but we fought, we fought, we fought like we have all year long, down five-zip and we came back and took the lead. After they re-took the lead, we tied the game back up. Here we are in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and one out, and we're a hit away or a sacrifice fly away from tying this thing up."

Aidan Gelbsman led the Oneonta offense, going 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs. Carter Neer, meanwhile, went 3-for-4 with two runs scored.

Seamus Catella, Cameron Horth, and Nolan Stark combined for six strikeouts on the mound while allowing nine hits and seven walks.

Michael Madigan had the big bat for Westhill, going 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs while Brady Richardson had a three-run double.

The Warriors' pitching trio of Ryan Campbell, Tyler Campbell, and Madigan combined for 11 strikeouts, 10 hits, and four walks.

Catella was able to work out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning to keep the game scoreless. But Westhill would open up a 5-0 lead in the third inning thanks to RBI singles from Madigan and Taden Chester, Richardson's bases-clearing double, and a pair of Oneonta errors.

The Yellowjackets got on the board in the top of the fourth after Gelbsman drove in Neer and Stark — who singled and doubled, respectively — with an RBI double of his own.

OHS then took the lead with a six-run fifth inning. Kaden Halstead and Cameron Horth got things started with back-to-back walks, and were followed up by back-to-back bunts by Lou Bonnici and Neer.

The Oneonta assembly line then kicked into full gear: Horth and Bonnici each scored on a wild pitch, Gelbsman beat out an infield single, and Liam Blair, who had been hit by a pitch, scored on another Westhill wild pitch. Catella capped things off with a hard-hit RBI triple to make the score 8-5 Oneonta.

Westhill responded immediately, however, plating four runs in their half of the fifth. The Warriors were once again able to capitalize on a pair of Oneonta fielding miscues, with Madigan providing the big blow on a two-run double to make it 9-8.

Oneonta tied things up in the top of the sixth when Bonnici, who got on base via walk, scored on an errant Westhill throw.

The Yellowjackets were able to get the first two outs of the sixth thanks to a pop-up and a strikeout. But a hit batsmen and a wild pitch put the go-ahead run in scoring position, which was eventually driven in by Sampo's RBI single.

A double by Owen Burnsworth kicked off the seventh for Oneonta, and a pair of walks by Gelbsman and Halstead loaded the bases with only one man out. But Madigan was able to induce two straight infield pop-ups to seal the deal for the Warriors and send them to the State Final Four.

While he and his players were obviously disappointed with how Saturday's game ended, Hughes said Oneonta's 2022 season, which included a Section IV Championship, was a successful one by any measure.

"You win a sectional championship, it's a difficult thing," Hughes said. "Section IV has good baseball so to win a sectional championship is quite an accomplishment. I told them I want them to remember this feeling, remember being in this kind of situation because I think we can get back here. We've got a good nucleus coming back, we've got some good underclassmen coming up. We'll just get bigger and better and stronger, and hopefully we can be on the other side next time."

The team's success was also a fitting send-off for its senior class of Blair, Catella, Neer, and Jeb Goff, a group who had seen their sophomore and junior seasons so drastically impacted by COVID.

"They were a fun group to work with," Hughes said. "Seamus was with me since his freshman year. Liam and Carter were here for three years. They're just a good group of guys. They're good leaders.

"I'm very happy for them, very proud of them. They fought and battled all year long. It's a great group of guys."

Westhill 10, Oneonta 9

OHS ... 000 261 0 — 9 10 3

West ... 005 041 X — 10 9 0

OHS: Seamus Catella, Cameron Horth (4), Nolan Stark (5, L), and Lou Bonnici

West: Ryan Campbell, Tyler Campbell (5, W), Michael Madigan (7)

3B: Seamus Catella (OHS)

2B: Nolan Stark (OHS), Owen Burnsworth (OHS), Aidan Gelbsman (OHS), Tyler Campbell (West), Michael Madigan (West), Brady Richardson (West)