Ansett and the Ridgemen beat Wellsville, 7-2
WEBSTER, N.Y. — Lake Ontario coach Taylor Hargrove has been looking for an angle to accentuate the positive. A new name and a clean slate might fit the bill.
Spencer Ansett (Whitworth) tossed five shutout innings, and his offense got all the runs needed in their first at bat as the Lake Ontario Ridgemen defeated the Wellsville Nitros, 7-2 in New York Collegiate Baseball League action at Basket Road Field, Tuesday night.
Ansett worked in and out of trouble ultimately keeping the Nitros bats at bay.
“It was a struggle with control,” Ansett admitted. “I had a lot of trouble commanding the fast ball. I was able to command both of my off-speed pitches. That was easy to keep them off-balance and work the fast ball in where I could.”
The left-hander struck out three and walked five for his third win of the season.
“He couldn’t locate his pitches,” Hargrove said. ” But he worked through it.”
His offense gave him the breathing room he needed.
Josh Davis (Whitworth) and Rob Groeschell (Lower Columbia) connected on back-to-back two RBI hits as the Ridgemen grabbed a four-run lead in the first.
Joel Belk (Asuza Pacific) and Nick Flanagan (Martin Methodist) worked a pair of two-out walks. A.J. Crosby (Edward Waters) reached on an error to load the bases. Davis delivered with a double plating Beck and Flanagan. Groeschell singled and scored Crosby and Davis.
“It’s ten times easier to pitch when your team puts up runs in the first inning,” Ansett commented. “It takes the pressure off, and you throw strikes.”
The win was the second in a row for the last-place Ridgemen.
“We want to win the second half,” Hargrove explained referring to the final 20 games of the NYCBL season. “We’re 2-0 in our minds”
The Ridgemen sit two and half back of fourth place and a spot in the NYCBL playoffs.
“We have a very good team,” Hargrove added. “We’re a little beat up. If we can learn how to win some one-run ball games, we’ll be a dangerous team.”
“We had a big win against Olean yesterday,” Ansett said. “Starting the second half 2-0 we got a little momentum.”
Lake Ontario added a run in the third. Belk led with a line drive into left field. After a wild pitch, he came around to score on a bloop single to center by Crosby.
The Ridegemen made it 6-0 in the sixth. Groeschell and Christian Lichtenthaler (Lower Columbia) started the frame with back-to-back walks. After a fielder’s choice erased Groeschell, Kolbe Andrade (St. Petersburg) singled and scored Lichtenthaler.
Trevor Keele (U. of Dallas) came on in the sixth and finished the game for the Ridgemen. The right-hander struck out six and allowed two unearned runs.
“Trev carried us the rest of the way,” Ansett said. “He did really well.”
Wellsville scratched across a pair of runs late, but missed opportunities early in the game doomed the Nitros.
“We had runners on the corners in the first inning and hit into an inning-ending double play,” noted Wellsville coach Frank Jagoda. ”That was the story of this game. They had some clutch hits with guys in scoring position. We didn’t.”
The Nitros had runners in scoring position in each of the first five innings with nothing to show for it.
“We’ve talked about it all year. We need to come through with runners in scoring position,” Jagoda added. “We don’t always need a big hit. Less than two outs, you can make an out and still score a run. We had some strike outs with less than two outs. A soft throwing lefty you need to think back up the middle. We went up there and didn’t really follow that approach. We were kind of free swinging at his pitches. It was effective for him. It didn’t work out for us.”
Andrade and Belk led the Ridgemen with two hits apiece. Belk also scored two runs. The Rancho, Cucamonga native is 2-1 on the mound along with hitting .339 and leading the team with 13 runs scored.
The Ridgemen (8-14) head west on Thursday to take on the Niagara Power (10-12) in the next chapter of the “Holy Wars.” First pitch at Sal Maglie Stadium is slated for 7 p.m. The Ridgemen recently changed their name from the Rochester Athletes in Action.
Wellsville (10-16) travels to Olean (14-9) on Friday for a meeting with the Oilers. Game time at Fred Handler Field is set for 5 p.m.