NIAGARA FALLS — Royalton-Hartland was simply out of control, out of runs and out of luck.
The latest roadblocks for the Rams included facing Depew senior pitcher Eric Woodley and dealing with their own defensive struggles as five different pitchers beamed seven Depew batters and allowed the Wildcats to advance via mercy rule.
A four-run brigade in the opening inning was enough for Depew to maintain control of the contest and force the run limit with a 10-0 six-inning victory in the Section VI Class B championship game Monday at Sal Maglie Stadium in the city of Niagara Falls.
As Roy-Hart head coach Jim Heideman said after the loss, the team’s hitting was symmetric with its pitching effort.
“We kind of hit as we play and we couldn’t throw strikes today, so that hurt us,” Heideman said. “We started getting behind, getting down. And the bats kind of follow. We’re a big momentum team. Today, we just didn’t have any momentum.”
While facing Roy-Hart starter Brayden Hy, Depew (22-1) had its first five batters all reach base, including a two-run single from junior Anthony Weber to take a 2-0 lead. With Jake Gould now on the mound, junior Christopher Kanick then delivered a two-run single to left field, giving Depew a 4-0 lead.
Three runs on three hits were added in the third inning thanks to an RBI single from sophomore Daniel Reese and a two-run single from senior Tyler Karnyski to take a 7-0 lead. Depew added one run apiece in the last three innings played, including a single from junior Tyler Pagano to force the run limit. But Wildcats head coach Dennis Crawley knew the team needed a strong day at the plate out of the gate.
“Jumping on them early was key because I know how good they are,” Crawley said. “They usually have strong pitching. We just happened to find some holes and get some lucky breaks.”
After managing only three hits through the first five innings against Woodley, Roy-Hart found life in the top of the sixth. With one out, junior Dawson Draper’s double, junior Ethan Kuzma’s walk and junior Remington Albee’s single loaded the bases.
The next at-bat, senior Zack Walker — who delivered a two-run single to spark the Rams in Saturday’s Class B2 win over Fredonia — grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
Despite the ending, Heideman was “proud” of his players.
“There’s a lot of teams that are home right now (and) we’re still playing, so, be proud of that,” Heideman said. “Go back to work and come back next year hungrier.”
In the victory, Woodley threw all six innings and struck out seven Roy-Hart batters, sophomore Justin Refermat went 2 for 2 at the plate, including a triple and senior classmate Josh Toolen scored two runs.
Depew will now take on the winner of Section V’s Palmyra-Macedon or Penn Yan in the Class B Far West Regional at 2 p.m. Saturday at Grand Island High School on Grand Island.
In his final appearance in a Rams uniform, Canisius College commit Thomas Russo III delivered a double in the third inning. Freshman Sean Mettler and junior Brayden Hy had a hit apiece in the loss.
Roy-Hart finishes its season with a 17-5 campaign.