Boasting a good blend of youth and experience Mustangs will begin state playoffs Saturday

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 3 June 2022 at 9:00 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Medina freshman third baseman Brody Fry, shown here making a throw backed up by senior shortstop Joe Cecchini, and their Mustang teammates will face Palmyra-Macedon in the Class B Far West Regional at 2 p.m. Saturday at Monroe Community College.

Having captured both Niagara-Orleans League and Section VI Class B titles, Medina will now begin state playoff competition on Saturday with a squad that has has been a very successful blend of veteran and youthful players.

Now at 21-3, Medina will face undefeated (23-0) Palmyra-Macedon in the Class B Far West Regional at 2 p.m. Saturday at Monroe Community College. The victor will advance to the state semifinals on June 10 at Binghamton. Pal-Mac blanked Bath Haverling 7-0 Thursday to advance.

“They have melded together very nicely,” said Medina Coach Jon Sherman of his Mustangs squad whose regulars include 4 seniors, 1 junior, 2 sophomores, 3 freshmen and 1 eighth grader. “We have a lot of young kids but everyone has come together and they’re all good buddies. It’s really nice to have that good team comradery.”

Four players from Medina’s 2019 state Final Four team – senior pitcher/first baseman Zach Fike, senior shortstop Joe Cecchini, senior catcher/pitcher Xander Payne and junior pitcher/first baseman Aidan Paul – have provided the veteran leadership for the Mustangs whose regulars also include freshman second baseman Tyler Kroening, freshman third baseman Brody Fry, sophomore leftfielder Julian Woodworth, eighth grader centerfielder Vinny Gray, senior rightfielder Hayden Woodroe, sophomore designated hitter Richard Keppler and freshman Ryleigh Culver who catches when Payne is on the mound.

On the mound Fike is 10-0 with 116 strikeouts and an earned run average of 0.746. Paul is 6-2 with 122 strikeout and a 1.607 era. and Payne is 5-1 with 55 strikeouts and a 1.180 era.

At the plate, Paul is hitting .427 with 6 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run and 23 RBIs, Payne .412 with 12 doubles, 3 triples, 3 home runs and 14 RBIs, Fike .385 with 10 doubles, 3 triples, 2 home runs and 25 RBIs, Cecchini .324 with 10 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs and 24 RBIs, Keppler .309 with 10 RBIs and Woodworth .283 with 14 RBIs.

“Our pitching has been solid all season and you have to have that to go very far,” said Sherman. “Now we need our pitchers to keep doing what they’ve been doing, play good defense and score a few runs.”

Pitching in fact has been a strong suit for both teams as Mustang hurlers have registered 11 shutouts and the Red Raiders mound staff 13.

Medina is 2-0 in previous Far West Regional appearances having defeated Sodus 4-0 in 2003 and LeRoy 10-2 in 2019.