Rams capture Far West Regional diamond title

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 2 June 2018 at 7:22 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Roy-Hart’s first baseman Charlie Bruning celebrates after getting the final out of today’s 10-1 Far West Regional victory over Midlakes at Frontier Field in Rochester. The Midlakes runner is Connor Young.

A huge relief pitching effort by senior Jake Bruning combined with a 13 hit attack sparked Roy-Hart to a 10-1 victory over Midlakes in the Class B Far West Regional this afternoon at Frontier Field in Rochester.

The victory propels the history making Rams into their first state semifinals against Seton Catholic next Friday at 5 p.m. at Maine-Endwell High School near Binghamton. Seton Catholic trimmed Adirondack 3-2 in the Central Regional.

Jake Bruning, who came on to turn in a sparkling relief effort for the Rams, here delivers a pitch.

Roy-Hart jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning on a two-run double by Gavyn Boyle and a fielders choice play off the bat of Charlie Brigham. Three walks loaded the bases to set up the opportunity.

However, Midlakes answered right back with a run in the home half of the frame on a single by Jordan Maher and an RBI double by Devin Kelly and then quickly loaded the bases with no outs on a pair of walks.

That set the stage for Jake Bruning to enter the pressure cooker situation in relief of his brother Charlie and he wasted no time in quickly getting the Rams out of the jam on two clutch strikeouts and a fly-out to Walker Samanka in left field.

“Charlie was having some trouble and I was able to come in and hit my spots and get the job done,” said Jake Bruning. “After that I knew we would win. I’m just so very proud of this team. They just work so hard.”

Gavyn Boyle bangs out a third inning double to drive in Roy-Hart’s first two runs.

Getting out of that bases loaded jam started a strong five inning relief stint for Jake Bruning who allowed only one hit, a seventh inning single, and struck out eight over that stretch.

“That was huge. Jake really stepped up,” said Roy-Hart Coach Mike Tarnowski. “He wants the ball when it’s crunch time like that.”

Sparked by that big mound effort, the Rams quickly boosted their lead to 5-1 by scoring twice in the fourth inning on an RBI double by Charlie Bruning and an RBI single by Jake Bruning. A leadoff single by Noah Hardy and a sacrifice bunt by Karson Grover set up that threat.

Midlakes did get two runners aboard in the home half of the frame via a pair of walks but Jake Bruning quickly got out of trouble on a pop out to Charlie Bruning at first base.

The Roy-Hart advantage increased to 7-1 after a pair of sixth inning tallies on a fielders choice play off the bat of Samanka and an error. Leadoff singles by Schwab and Boyle sparked that uprising.

Jake Bruning faced only four batters in the fifth, striking out two, and retired the side in order in the sixth notching a strikeout for the third out.

The Rams put a firm lock on the victory by scoring three times in the top of the seventh on a two-run single by Boyle and an RBI single by Jake Bruning.

Boyle and Charlie Bruning both finished with 3 hits as Jake Bruning, Schwab and Hardy each had 2.

Jake Bruning then closed out the win with two strikeouts and a groundout to shortstop Al Xapsos in the bottom of the seventh after yielding a leadoff single.

Charlie Bruning also had a clutch strikeout to end the first inning after Midlakes got runners to second and third. He also ended the second frame with a strikeout stranding a Midlakes runner at second base.

Improving to 19-2, the Rams now look to continue their history making postseason run at the state semis. In going 5-0 to date in playoff action, the Rams have already made plenty of history by capturing their first sectional title, a 4-2 win over Medina in the Section VI Class B2 finals, their first berth in the state playoffs, with a 12-9 win over Olean in the Section VI Class B final, and then today earning a first ever Regional victory.

Roy-Hart’s Ben Schwab slides into third base ahead of the throw to Ezra Maslyn of Midlakes.