Medina ‘9’ has made state semis twice

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 18 April 2020 at 9:45 am

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Brian Fry slides into third base during the Mustangs 2019 state semifinal loss to Schuylerville.

All five Orleans County varsity baseball teams have made the state semifinals over the past 25 yard but only one has made it twice and that is Medina which reached the Final Four in both 2003 and 2019.

In 2003 Medina needed three thrilling extra inning wins just to get out of the Section VI Class B playoffs.

First, the Mustangs needed eight innings to nip East Aurora 1-0 in the opening round.

Limited to only two hits, the Mustangs pulled out the win on a two-out RBI single by Bobby Brown in the bottom of the eighth inning. On the mound Joe Rosenbeck hurled a two hitter with 12 strikeouts.

Then, after a 19-2 romp over City Honors in the quarterfinals, the Mustangs needed nine innings to edge past Eden 4-3 in the semifinals.

The Mustangs scored the game winner in the top of the ninth as Brown walked, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Paul Osborne, to third on a wild pitch and came home on a ground out off the bat of Tom Schoenle.

Eden did get runners to first and third with no outs in the bottom of the ninth but the Mustangs defense came up big to preserve the slender lead as Schoenle at third turned a timely double play and Rosenbeck got the final out on a grounder back to the mound.

The Section VI Class B final then proved to be an even longer marathon as Medina outlasted Allegany-Limestone 11-9 in 10 innings.

Jake Rosenbeck singled in what proved to be the game winner in the top of the 10th as an error added a big insurance run.

Allegany-Limestone did get two runners aboard with two out in the bottom of the 10th but Schoenle, who turned in five strong innings of relief pitching, got the final out on a grounder to Ryan Hodgins at second base. Schoenle also worked out of jams in both the eighth and ninth innings.

Medina pitcher Joe Rosenbeck covers home during the Mustangs 2003 state semifinal game against Carle Place.

The sectional title was the first for Medina since 1989.

The victory advanced Medina to the state playoffs for the first time.

The Mustangs opened state competition with a 4-0 win over Section V champion Sodus in the Far West Regional as Joe Rosenbeck hurled a one hitter with nine strikeouts. Offensively, the Mustangs scored three times in the fourth inning on two fielders choice plays and an RBI single by Matt Heiligenthaler.

The win propelled Medina into the state semifinals at Binghamton where the Mustangs dropped a 9-1 decision to Carle Place from Long Island in a contest which took two days due to complete due to rain.

The game began in the rain on Saturday morning and Medina quickly took a 1-0 lead on a first inning home run by Joe Rosenbeck. However, the Mustangs managed just one more hit the rest of the way.

Carle Place tied the game in the second before increasingly heavy rain caused play to be suspended until Sunday. When play resumed Carle Place took the lead for good on a two-run homer in the third inning and then broke the contest open with four runs in the fifth highlighted by back-to-back home runs.

Medina’s 2019 run featured three wins over Niagara-Orleans League foes in the Section VI playoffs.

The Mustangs opened the sectionals with a pair of shutout victories.

First, Zach Fike and Chris Goyette combined to hurl a one hitter with 12 strikeouts in a 3-0 win over CSAT. All of the Mustangs runs came in the first inning on RBI singles by Fike and AJ Seefeldt and an RBI sacrifice bunt by Joe Cecchini.

Next, Medina blanked Newfane 6-0 as Trevor Luthart threw a one hitter with 8 strikeouts. A first inning run on a sacrifice fly by Cecchini proved to be the game winner.

Then in the Class B1 semifinals, Medina bested Olean 12-1. The offense was highlighted by a lead-off home run by Brian Fry and an RBI double by Fike in the first inning, back-to-back two-run doubles by Seefeldt and Goyette in the second and a three-run homer by Goyette in the fifth. On the mound, Luthart hurled a one hitter with 4 strikeouts.

Medina then captured the Section VI B1 title with a 10-6 win over rival Albion.

Albion, which had blanked Depew 4-0 in the other B1 semi, jumped out to an early 5-1 lead as Thomas Furmanski belted a grand slam home run in the second inning.

Medina though battled back to take a 6-5 lead with four runs in the third inning. Fry tied the game with a three-run triple and Nate Sherman put the Mustangs on top with an RBI double. The Mustangs later broke the game open with four runs in the sixth on an RBI sacrifice fly by Matt Saj and a three-run double by Fry. On the mound, Luthart hurled a two hitter with 9 strikeouts.

That advanced Medina to the Section VI Class B state qualifier contest against Roy-Hart which downed Gowanda 5-1 for the Class B2 title.

This one was decided early as Medina exploded for 10 runs in the first inning to key the 15-4 victory. A three-run double by winning pitcher Chris Goyette ignited that marathon uprising which also featured a two-run single by Saj, an RBI single by Seefeldt and an RBI double by Goyette who scattered 7 hits and struck out 7 on the mound.

The Mustangs opened state playoff competition with a 10-2 win over Section V champion LeRoy in the Class B Far West Regional on the new turf field at Lockport.

Breaking away from a 1-1 deadlock, Medina took the lead for good by scoring four times in the third inning on two-run singles by Seefeldt and Luthart. Keeping the momentum, the Mustangs quickly extended the advantage to 10-1 by scoring five times in the fourth inning on a two-run single by Goyette, RBI singles by Seefeldt and Fike and a double steal play. On the mound, Luthart scattered 6 hits and struck out 7.

The victory sent Medina to the state semifinals against Schuylerville from Section II at Binghamton.

The Mustangs jumped out to a 2-0 lead by scoring once in the first on a single by Sherman which followed a leadoff triple by Fry, and once in the fourth as Sherman doubled and came home on a sacrifice fly by Seefeldt.

Medina though managed only two more hits and just one more run the rest of the way.

Schuylerville tied the game in the fourth an then took a 3-2 lead in the fifth.

Medina did rally back into a 3-3 tie in the top of the sixth on a double steal play as a double by Fry and single by Seefeldt set up the opportunity.

Schuylerville though regained the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth by scoring three times with two out to key the 6-3 victory and a berth in the state final.