Photo by Michael Johnson
Geneseo head coach Chuck Nesbitt (middle) gets the victory shower from Xavier Copeland and Jon Ridler following the Blue Devils 11-6 win over Keshequa in the Class C championship game in Livonia.
Geneseo baseball wins first title in 30-plus years
LIVONIA – No ‘Cardiac Kids’ needed this time.
Known for their late game heroics, rallying from late inning deficits six times this season, the Geneseo baseball team decided to put their foot on the gas early.
Third-seeded Geneseo (16-5) scored seven runs in the first and four more in the second as they built an 11-0 lead and coasted to the 11-6 victory over No. 8 Keshequa (9-11) in the Class C sectional finals before a nice crowd at beautiful Baker Field in Livonia.
It was Geneseo’s first sectional baseball title in 31 years. Many of the same kids that played baseball were also a part of Geneseo’s first-ever sectional football title last fall.
It certainly has been a banner-hanging year in Geneseo.
“Very special,” said Geneseo coach Chuck Nesbitt. “This group of kids just found a way. They believed in themselves since day one.”
The first inning saw Geneseo bat around and plate seven runs chasing Keshequa starter Jesse Ellis before the final out in the first was recorded.
Taylor Semmel’s RBI hit to left opened the scoring, and a few batters later Devin Welch extended the lead with a two-run hit that made it a 4-0 game.
By the time relief pitcher Tyler Piraino recorded the final out in the first, Geneseo had built a seven run cushion.
The Blue Devils’ offense was far from done.
Semmel would get a gift triple to lead off the second when his fly ball to right was misplayed, and then scored on a fielder’s choice by Tony Belfiore.
Later in the second, and with two outs, Geneseo senior Jon Ridler, known for both his speed and power, ripped a Piraino pitch deep to left center field for a mammoth homerun that made it 11-0.
That was more than enough for Semmel, Geneseo’s pitching ace, who got shaky at times but settled down after a rough third inning and allowed just a single hit the rest of the way. He finished with six strikeouts and won his 11th game of the season on the bump for the Blue Devils, who will play Class CCC champion East Rochester at Dwyer Stadium at 5 p.m. Thursday in a ‘C’ state qualifier.
Ridler was named the game’s MVP.
Keshequa, who had pulled off a pair of back-to-back upsets beating top-seeded Honeoye 4-3 in the qaurterfinals, and then nipping Bolivar-Richburg 2-0 in the semis, was led in the title game by Piraino’s three hits and one RBI.
— Read the entire story in next week’s LCN.