Medina’s first diamond sectional title was a controversial co-championship

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 30 May 2020 at 8:54 am

Contributed Photo – Medina players hoist winning pitcher Howie Bathrick onto their shoulders following the 1951 Genesee Orleans League title win over rival Albion at Batavia’s MacArthur Park (now Dywer Stadium). The win propelled Medina into the Section V Class A playoffs which ended in a controversial co-championship with Geneseo.

In a dramatic and controversial extra inning contest, Medina captured its first ever sectional baseball title in 1951 sharing the  Section V Class A championship with Geneseo.

A controversial sixth inning umpire’s call proved decisive in creating the co-championship.

Trailing 2-1 in the title contest played at Batavia’s MacArthur Park, Medina tied the game in the controversial sixth inning by scoring a run on an error.

The series of plays which resulted in a protest went as follows. Louie Foreman reached on a walk. Ed Jablonski then put down a bunt and the throw by the Geneseo infielder sailed over the head of the first baseman as Foreman rounded second base. Foreman kept running all the way around to score the tying run.

However, Geneseo protested that Foreman should have been limited to just one base and not two after the overthrow.  Because of the Geneseo protest Medina Coach Bob Schaefer offered to send Foreman back to third base but the umpire stayed with his decision,  over ruled the protest and allowed play to continue with the contest now deadlocked..

Medina later scored what the local believed was the winning run in the 10th inning  on a single  by Bob Winans followed by a wild pitch and an error for an apparent 3-2 victory.

Geneseo though followed through with the protest and the next day  the Section V baseball chairman upheld the protest.

It turned out that the umpire in making his ruling had been going by a National Baseball Association rule book which did allow two bases on an overthrow. However, that season a revised National Federation of High School Rules was in being utilized in the sectionals which allowed only one base on an overthrow.

Because there was no way for the schools to replay the game from the point of the sixth inning protest the teams were declared Class A co-champions.

Medina had advanced to the title contest by defeating Newark 7-2 in the semifinals at Rochester’s Red Wing Stadium.

Trailing 2-0, Medina exploded for all seven of its runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. John Hydock ignited the uprising with a leadoff double and later also contributed a single. Winning pitcher Joey Maryjanowski and Rich Turoski also banged out singles in the decisive inning which was also aided by three walks and two Newark errors.

On the mound Maryjanowski  hurled a six hitter.

Medina qualified for the sectionals by downing rival Albion 5-2 in a special playoff game for the Genesee Orleans League title at MacArthur Park.

Medina moved on top to stay by scoring three times in the second inning as Jablonski, Winans and winning pitcher Howie Bathrick all crossed home plate.

Medina later added two big insurance runs in the sixth inning as Albion scored its two runs in the bottom of the seventh.

Bathrick scattered 8 hits and struck out 6.

The two teams had split an interesting same day home-and-home doubleheader during the regular season with Albion winning the first 5-3 and Medina the second 2-1.

It would be 38 years before Medina would claim its first outright sectional diamond title when the Mustangs downed Grover Cleveland 7-3 to win the 1989 Section VI Class B2 championship.