Mustangs nip Rams in a 1-0 thriller to repeat as Section VI Class B2 diamond champions

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 28 May 2022 at 3:22 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina seniors Joe Cecchini, Zach Fike, Xander Payne and Hayden Woodroe hold the championship plaque after the Mustangs nipped rival Roy-Hart for the Class B2 title this afternoon at Grand Island High School.

Making a lone first inning run stand up Medina nipped rival Roy-Hart 1-0 at Grand Island High School this afternoon to repeat as Section VI Class B2 baseball champions.

The Mustangs scored that lone run right at the outset as Xander Payne led off the game with a single and came around to score two outs later on an error.

Medina pitcher Zach Fike, who hurled a sparkling one hitter with 5 strikeouts, and his Mustangs defensive mates did the rest.

Roy-Hart’s best scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the first as the Rams got the bases loaded with one out on a walk, a single by Brayden Hy and an intentional walk. However, Fike bore down to quickly get out of the jam on flyouts to Julian Woodworth in leftfield and Hayden Woodroe in right.

“I started out a little shaky but then I settled in and I got some great support from my defense,” said Fike, “I couldn’t have done it without my defense.”

Zach Fike hurled a one hit shutout for the Mustangs.

Settling in Fike allowed only one baserunner the rest of the way on a one out walk in the second inning as he retired 18 of the last 19 batters he faced.

“Gutsy”, said Medina Coach Jon Sherman of Fike’s performance on the mound. “Zach was steady and our defense was solid. We knew what was coming in Roy-Hart and our kids were ready.”

The Mustangs infield of Payne at catcher, Aidan Paul at first, Tyler Kroening at second, Joe Cecchini at shortstop and Brody Fry at third all took turns making key plays for outs.

At the plate, Payne and Paul each had a pair of hits.

Roy-Hart likewise got a strong pitching performance from Thomas Russo who scattered 4 hits and struck out 7.

Medina got runners in scoring position in four straight innings from the third through the sixth but couldn’t cross home plate again,

The Mustangs got a runner to third in the third inning as Payne doubled and advanced on a sacrifice fly by Cecchini but Russo ended the threat with an inning ending strikeout.

Then in the fourth inning, Paul led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Woodworh but again Russo bore down to end the threat with back-to-back inning ending strikeouts.

The Mustangs got two runners aboard on walks in the fifth but another strikeout by Russo ended the inning.

Paul then led off the sixth with a double and moved to third with two out on a sacrifice bunt by Fry but Russo ended the inning on a groundout back to the mound.

Medina now advances to Monday’s Section VI Class B state qualifier game at noon at Niagara University. The Mustangs will face the B1 champion (either Depew or Lew-Port).

The Mustangs improve to 20-3 while the Rams finish the season at 19-5.

Roy-Hart’s Ethan Kuzma slides to try and reach first base as Aidan Paul takes the throw for Medina.