Rams set for state baseball playoff debut

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 1 June 2018 at 9:02 am

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Roy-Hart catcher Noah Hardy, shown here waiting from a throw at home plate during this past Saturday’s Section VI Class B title win over Olean, and his Ram teammates will face Midlakes in the Far West Regional Saturday at Frontier Field in Rochester.

Having successfully cleared four hurdles at the sectional level, Roy-Hart is now set to begin a history making first trip to the state baseball playoffs as the Rams face Midlakes in the Class B Far West Regional at 2 p.m. Saturday at Frontier Field in Rochester.

Roy-Hart advanced by first capturing its first ever sectional title by edging Medina 4-2 for the Class B2 crown and then outlasting B1 champ Olean 12-9 for the overall Section VI Class B championship.

Roy-Hart’s Mike Huntington makes a catch in right field.

Midlakes gained its berth by defeating Newark 15-1 for the Section V Class B title.

Roy-Hart brings an 18-2 record into the regionals while Midlakes is 18-5.

“A big key is we’re playing as a team. They just love to play baseball,” said Rams Coach Mike Tarnowski. “Our goal is to win every pitch, every at bat, every inning and they embrace that. It’s pretty special to have a team like this.”

It’s been a steady climb up the ladder of success over the past three years for Roy-Hart beginning in 2016 when the Rams captured their first Niagara-Orleans League title since 1953. The Rams repeated as N-O champs and advanced to the Section VI Class B2 finals in 2017 and now have three-peated as N-O champs and captured their first sectional diamond crown this spring.

Roy-Hart’s lineup includes senior shortstop Al Xapsos who is hitting .443 with 20 RBIs, senior pitcher/outfielder Jake Bruning (.438, 18 RBI), junior first baseman/pitcher Charlie Bruning (.432, 14 RBI), senior third baseman/pitcher Ben Schwab (.414 28 RBI), eighth grader outfielder Gavyn Boyle (.403, 20 RBI), junior second baseman Charlie Brigham (.338, 17 RBI). junior third baseman/outfielder/pitcher Walker Samanka (.325, 13 RBI), freshman catcher Noah Hardy, sophomore outfielder Mike Huntington, senior designated hitter/outfielder Andrew Srock and junior designated hitter/infielder Karson Grover.

“It’s a great mix between our vets and our younger guys,” said Tarnowski. “We’ve been tested and we know we’ll see the other team’s best.”

The victor of Saturday’s game advances to the state semifinals in Binghamton on June 8.