Successful N-O title run highlights Mustangs diamond season

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 10 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Bruce Landis – Medina’s Niagara-Orleans League championship baseball team includes, in front, Josh Scroger, Shane Freeman, Devonte Howard, Gage Grabowski and Brad McPherson. In the middle row are Quentin Adkins, Justin Morgan, Kyle Herman, Matt Riemer, Izaiah Rhim and Brian Fry. In back are Head Coach Eric Hellwig, Lawson Fenton, Jason Hellwig, Tyler Ames, Brennan Zinkievich, Jared Zinkievich and Coach Tom Robinson.

Ending a 20 year title drought, Medina High compiled a 12-2 record this season to capture the Niagara-Orleans League baseball championship.

Medina got off to a quick 6-0 start to the season, ignited by a 9-2 win over defending champion Albion. The Mustangs then rebounded from a brief 1-2 skid during the middle of the season (losses of 2-1 to Newfane in 8 innings and 9-2 to Albion) to win the last five in a row and claim the N-O crown for the first time since 1995.

“It was a great season,” said Medina Coach Eric Hellwig. “The boys have worked tremendously hard for several years and it paid off in the league championship. This group of seniors have played together since they were eight so this is very special.”

The Mustangs were led by the large senior contingent of Brennan Zinkievich (outfield), Josh Scroger (outfield/pitcher), Matt Riemer (pitcher/first base), Devonte Howard (third base), Kyle Herman (third base), Jason Hellwig (pitcher/shortstop), Shane Freeman (outfield) and Lawson Fenton (outfield).

The Medina lineup also included juniors Justin Morgan (catcher), Tyler Ames (outfield/shortstop), Gage Grabowski (third base), Brad McPherson (outfield), and Jared Zinkievich (outfield); sophomore Quentin Adkins (outfield/pitcher) and eighth grader Izaiah Rhim (second base).

Herman led Medina at the plate hitting .507 with 25 RBIs. Riemer hit .406 with 23 RBIs, Brennan Zinkievich .345 with 14 RBIs and Hellwig .329 with 15 RBIs. Hellwig also had 15 stolen bases, 9 doubles and 2 triples and Riemer 10 doubles and 2 triples.

On the mound, Hellwig went 8-1 with a 2.09 earned run average and Riemer 7-2 with a 1.83 era.

Medina, which dropped a narrow 6-5 decision to Eden in the semifinals of the Section VI Class B-1 playoffs, finished with an overall record of 17-5 which sets a school record for most wins in a season.