Weekly Feature



2018-05-16 / Sports

Kenmore West baseball wins rivalry game over East at Sheridan Park

by TAYLOR NIGRELLI Reporter


Kenmore West pitcher Andrew Fron throws a strike during the Blue Devils win over Kenmore East in the annual baseball-softball doubleheader at Sheridan Park Thursday. Fron had 15 strikeouts in the win. 
Photo by Dan NesselbushPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Kenmore West pitcher Andrew Fron throws a strike during the Blue Devils win over Kenmore East in the annual baseball-softball doubleheader at Sheridan Park Thursday. Fron had 15 strikeouts in the win. Photo by Dan NesselbushPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Kenmore West baseball will have bragging rights for another year. The Blue Devils won the second match-up of the season, 8-4, during the annual baseball-softball doubleheader at Sheridan Park Thursday to sweep the season series.

“It’s always good to win your rivalry, especially when you sweep it,” Kenmore West coach John Haynes said. “It’s nice to get a victory.”

Senior Andrew Fron was dominant on the mound, tossing 15 strikeouts and allowing just three hits. He also hit a two-run home run in the first inning to get the Blue Devils on the board early. Zach LaPlante and Kyle Schmidt pitched the final two innings and ran the team’s strikeout total to 20.


Kenmore East junior Aidan Bova delivers a pitch against Kenmore West on Thursday in an 8-4 loss at Sheridan Park. 
Photo by Dan Nesselbush. Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Kenmore East junior Aidan Bova delivers a pitch against Kenmore West on Thursday in an 8-4 loss at Sheridan Park. Photo by Dan Nesselbush. Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com “He’s been pitching very well all year,” Haynes said. “I think if I’m correct, he’s 6-0 in the league. He had, last week, 25 strikeouts. He had a bunch tonight. He’s been our workhorse for the year and he’s been doing a great job. We’re going to miss him next year.”

“It means a lot, being my senior year,” Fron said. “It felt amazing. I don’t think I have words. It’s just awesome.”

After the Blue Devils jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, the Bulldogs came out hard in the bottom half of the inning. Dan Spors hit a double to get things started. Nate Murdie was hit by a pitch, then Lodestro walked. A Fron wild pitch allowed Spors to score to make it 2-1. Fron struck out Mario Ruggerio and Ryan Hahn with the bases loaded to get out of a jam.


Kenmore East’s Ryan Hahn scoops up a ball rolling down the third baseline during a win over North Tonawanda last Monday. 
Photo by Jake French Kenmore East’s Ryan Hahn scoops up a ball rolling down the third baseline during a win over North Tonawanda last Monday. Photo by Jake French In the top of the second, Angelo Eckert got on with a single. He was hit home later by Jack Reilly to make it 3-1. The score would remain that way until the sixth inning when the Blue Devils broke out for five runs. Angelo Eckert had two hits and two runs. Reilly had two RBIs and one stolen base. The Bulldogs came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning, but were unable to get closer than that.

“They came out; they played tough,” Haynes said. “Ruggerio and Bova both pitched very well. We actually hit Bova early on in the fourth and fifth. We were pretty aggressive and took advantage of some situations to help us out.

“It was definitely a team effort on offense. It’s always a team effort, but obviously it was tonight. Up and down the lineup, everyone contributed. It was just refocusing. We talked about it when we came up from the one inning. We were up 3-1 at the time. We just talked about refocusing, regenerating and getting back to the basics. Once we got that first hit, we put the pedal to the metal.”

The Bulldogs had opportunities through the game with guys on base but were unable to get them home.

“First and foremost, Fron is one of the best pitchers in Western New York,” Kenmore East coach Les Simon said. “He’s one of the best pitchers I’ve seen in years. We had our chances early. Most good pitchers, if you don’t get early, you don’t get. There was a part of the game where he was unhittable. Our approach to hitting was very disappointing. We talk all the time about swinging the bats and putting the balls in play when we have guys at second or third with less than two outs. We let way too many counts go to two strikes. But full credit to Andrew; he overpowered us. They had some clutch hits.”

The Blue Devils are 12-4 on the season now. They’ll take on Williamsville East Tuesday and North Tonawanda Wednesday.

“Right now, we don’t look past anybody,” Haynes said. “It’s one day at a time, one pitch, one out, one strike, one inning.”

The Bulldogs started the week off with an impressive 6-1 win over North Tonawanda. Vinny Lodestro threw a three-hitter with six strikeouts.

Spors had two hits, Bova had a two-RBI single. Ruggerio reached base three times. Joe Crimi had a hit. Nate Murdie was strong at shortstop. Trevor Louth was solid behind the plate.

“It was, by far, our best game of the week,” Simon said. “We played solid defense behind him, but he was in total command the entire game.

“That’s the game we’ve been waiting for all year. We played good defense, got some solid pitching and had some timely hits. I wished we played like that all year; we’d have a better record. But I’m happy with the performance.”

The team followed that up with a 10-2 loss to first-place Grand Island. They were with three runs late, but the Vikings ran away with the win. Spors had two hits while Ruggerio had an RBI on a fielder’s choice.

“We were in the game most of the way,” Simon said. “It was 5-2 them in the sixth inning before they scored five runs. Ryan Hahn pitched tough for us. But they’re 13-1 for a reason. They have 11 seniors; they’re a big team. They’re the NFL champions for a reason. They’re a level above us, but we hung with them for six innings.

“It was a good effort, but a disappointing loss. There are no moral victories in a rivalry game. We have to give total credit to Fron; he was great. We just didn’t have a good approach to hitting and a lack of situational hitting. We struck out looking nine teams; you don’t win when you don’t swing with two strikes. I need to do a better job coaching, and they need to do a better job executing. If we have a better approach to hitting, we will have a better chance to win the game.”

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