Hornell continues streak; defeats Rochester, 9-4
WEBSTER, N.Y. – Hornell’s Dodgers came north on route 390 toting a four-game win streak along with them. The NYCBL Western Division leading club left town adding another victory to their streak.
Matt Calhoun (Harding) connected for a three-run home run in the pivotal fifth inning as the Dodgers came from behind to defeat the Rochester Athletes in Action, 9-4 in New York Collegiate Baseball League action at Basket Road Field.
Calhoun’s bomb easily cleared the fence in right center field plating Heath Burton (Furman) and Kevin Johnson (Pittsburgh) as the Dodgers took a 5-3 advantage and never looked back.
“He swings the bat,” said Hornell coach Tony Fuller of the league’s leading home run hitter. “He’s locked in. He’s been locked in for 18 games now. He’s swinging the bat exceptionally well.”
Calhoun’s blast was his fifth of the season which ties him with Adirondack’s Eric Baker.
Hornell added two runs in the next frame.
Dylan Drayton (N. Carolina Central) blooped a one-out double just inside the right field line. After a passed ball, Drayton came home when Cody Stevenson (Webster U) tripled over the head of the right fielder. Stevenson eventually scored on a balk.
The Dodgers put the game out of reach in the ninth. Stevenson led the stanza with a three-bagger to straight away center. Burton followed and repeated the trick with triple of his own and eventually came home on a wild pitch.
Jesse Frawley (Cent. Conn. St.) struck out two and walked three in five innings for the win.
Tyler Wilson (Monroe CC) worked three scoreless innings in relief. The right-hander allowed just one base runner – an infield hit.
“Tyler has been awesome all year,” Fuller noted. “He’s been very, very good in that middle relief role.”
Wilson came into the game with an ERA of 1.98. He is 3-0 with 10 strike outs and four walks in 16-plus innings of work. Opposing batters are hitting .176 against the Pittsford, New York native.
“When he comes in, he’s been lights out,” Fuller added. “He’s an all star as of right now in my mind. He puts us in a good position to win. He’s a good bridge guy to our closers.”
Rochester took advantage of errors to grab an early lead.
Jonathan Burkhardt (E. Texas Baptist) tripled to right center with one out in the third. Jordan Doherty (Mt. Vernon Nazarene) followed with a sacrifice bunt, but the throw sailed wide of first, and Burkhardt easily scored. Zac Goodno (Indian River St.) hit a come-backer, but Frawley’s throw to second was wide, and Rochester had a pair of runners aboard. After a double steal put ducks in scoring position, Nick Flanagan (Martin Methodist) blooped a single into right center, and Rochester led 3-2.
“We came out real flat,” Fuller said of the early errors. “We’ve been doing that a lot lately on the road.”
“We’ve been pounding teams early,” noted Rochester coach Taylor Hargrove. “The last four innings we’ve been giving teams games.”
The contest started as a see-saw battle.
Hornell took a one-run lead in the second.
Luke Feisal (Wofford) led with an inside-out bloop single just inside the right field line. Will Benenson (Franklin and Marshall) bounded a base hit over the head of Rochester third baseman, Josh Davis (Whitworth). One out later, Drayton singled to center scoring Feisal.
Flanagan walked to lead the home half of the second, stole second and moved to third on a ground ball. Joel Belk (Azusa Pacific) delivered an RBI single to center.
“Talent is not an issue,” Hargrove said of his club. “Our record doesn’t show it. It’s more of us putting it together for nine innings…that was a chance for us to see where we are, to try and come back. We didn’t do it.”
Johnson tripled to start the third and scored when Kyle Danford (Texas A U Corpus Christi) singled through the left side of the infield.
“They got some good speed,” Hargrove said of the Dodgers. “They’re just grinders.”
Stevenson had a game-high three hits. Burton, Drayton and Johnson all chipped in with two apiece.
The game involved some irony Hargrove was Calhoun’s coach last summer for the Xenia, Ohio Athletes in Action. The two have remained in touch, and Hargrove has been a mentor to the young player.
“He’s like a little brother to me,” Hargrove said of Calhoun. “He’s an upstanding guy, an amazing hitter. I would rather him hit a home run off us than anyone else.”
With the win and an Olean loss, the Dodgers get a little breathing room atop the NYCBL’s Western Division.
“It’s a long season, but in a short amount of time,” Fuller said when asked about the remainder of the season. “You got to play one game at a time. Take it inning by inning and win the game you’re playing.”
Belk and Doherty each had two hits for Rochester.
Zach Hedges (Azusa Pacific) took the loss allowing seven runs in seven innings.
Hornell (13-5) returns home to host the Wellsville Nitros on Wednesday night. Matt Danton (Texas A U Corpus Christi) gets the start for the Blue and White. Cameron Langfels (Eastern Kentucky) gets the ball for Wellsville.
Rochester plays at Olean on Wednesday. Belk will start for the AIA. Brandon Nemeti (Erie CC) will go for the Oilers.