Rams seek berth in state diamond playoffs

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 25 May 2018 at 9:52 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Roy-Hart pitcher Walker Samanka and his Ram teammates will face Olean on Saturday for a berth in the state playoffs.

It’s been a banner, record setting season for the Roy-Hart baseball squad that the Rams are looking to continue.

First, the Rams claimed a third straight Niagara-Orleans League championship. Then Thursday evening they captured the school’s first Section VI diamond title by trimming rival Medina 4-2 in the Class B2 final.

Now, Roy-Hart seeks an even bigger prize – a berth in the state playoffs. The chance to accomplish that will come at noon on Saturday as the Rams face Class B1 champion Olean at Orchard Park High School for the overall Section VI title and a spot in the state playoffs. Olean bested Fedonia 12-8 in the B1 final.

It has been a Rams squad led by the veteran quintet of seniors Jake Bruning (pitcher/outfield), Al Xapsos (shortstop), Ben Schwab (third base/pitcher) and juniors Charlie Brigham (second base) and Charlie Bruning (first base/pitcher).

The Rams otherwise youthful starting unit has also included eighth grader Gavyn Boyle (outfield), freshman Noah Hardy (catcher), juniors Walker Samanka (outfield/pitcher), Karson Grover (designated hitter), and seniors Andrew Srock (designated hitter) and Matt Huntington (outfield).

It’s proved to be a very successful mix of youth and veterans as the Rams went 10-2 in N-O action and are 17-2 overall.

Jake Bruning and Samanka shared the pitching duties in the B2 title win combining for a 5 hitter with 12 strikeouts as Brigham had the big hit with a two-run single in the first inning.

Though it was a narrow setback,  reaching the B2 final for the first time since 2005 was also a major accomplishment for a very youthful Medina squad whose starting lineup included only two seniors, infielders Brett Riemer and Alex Allis.

The Mustangs underclassmen dominated lineup also included eighth grader Zach Fike (first base), freshman Brian Fry (shortstop), sophomores AJ Seefeldt (second base), Nate Sherman (centerfiedl), Chris Goyette (pitcher/catcher), and Trevor Luthart (pitcher/first base) and junior Matt Saj (outfield).

With seven of nine starters returning from this year’s N-O and Class B2 runner-up squad looks to make for a positive future for the Mustangs.