Medina trims Fredonia to claim Class B title

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 25 May 2024 at 5:41 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Preston Woodworth, who came on in relief in the sixth inning, celebrates getting a strikeout for the final out of Medina’s 4-3 win over Fredonia in the Section VI Class B championship game this afternoon at Grand Island High School.

In a tight sea-saw, rain interrupted contest, top seeded Medina nipped No. 2 Fredonia 4-3 in the Section VI Class B championship game at Grand Island High School this afternoon earning the Mustangs a berth in the upcoming state playoffs.

“It feels great. I’m really excited for our next game,” said designated hitter Richard Keppler who drove in what proved to be Medina’s winning run in the sixth inning.

That next game will be next Saturday when the Mustangs face Section V champion Wellsville in the Class B Far West Regional at 10 a.m. back at Grand Island High School. Wellsville edged Notre Dame 1-0 to win the Section V title.

“It’s just amazing, really amazing,” added catcher Ryleigh Culver who singled in Medina’s first run of the day in the opening inning. A leadoff walk to Julian Woodworth and a sacrifice bunt by Aidan Papaj set up the opportunity.

Fredonia answered back with the tying run in the second inning on a fielders choice play and later grabbed a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth on an RBI double by Brady Helmer.

Medina, which had stranded a runner at third base in the second inning and had another thrown out at home in the third, quickly retied the contest at 2-2 in the home half of the fifth. A two out RBI single by Papaj drove in Vinny Gray who had reached on a one out single.

The sea-saw battle continued into what proved to be the decisive sixth inning.

First, Fredonia regained the lead for what proved to be the last time at 3-2 on a two out RBI double by Nathan Sercu.

However, the Mustangs quickly answered the challenge by responding with the deciding two runs in the home half of the frame.

A single by Carter Woodworth drove in the tying run and Keppler followed up with a double to plate what proved to be the game winner. A leadoff walk to Fry followed by a sacrifice bunt by Preston Woodworth set up the threat.

Now needing to get just three more outs to lock up the win the Mustangs would have to wait three hours before being able to celebrate.

With one on and one out in Fredonia’s top of the seventh lightning strikes halted play and the sky opened up with a monsoon downpour.

The rain lasted for some two and a half hours and when play resumed just three hours after being stopped it took the Mustangs just six minutes to get the final two outs on an infield grounder and a strikeout by Preston Wooworth who came on in the sixth inning in relief of Fry who who hurled the first five and two-thirds innings.

“It’s really nice especially for our seniors,” said Fry of the win which improves the Mustangs season record to 19-1.

The trip to the state playoffs will be the third for the Mustangs since 2019.

Mustang seniors Henry Winters, Julian Woodworth, Brandon Christiaansen and Richard Keppler hold up the championship plaque.

Richard Keppler bangs out a double to drive in the Mustangs winning run. At right, Carter Woodworth, who singled in the tying run, scores the game winner.