After seven years of trying team Orville’s earned a spot in the NABF World Series Tournament held next month in Battle Creek, MI. 2017 1st Team All-WNY high-school baseball player Ben Serrano (Kenmore West) smashed a three-run homer in the 6th Inning to propel Orville’s to an 8-5 win over Battistoni Diesel in the New Era Muny AAA Regional Finals held at Northtown. Serrano, who is headed to Niagara University also had a single in the 5th inning to give Orville’s their first lead of the game.
Coached by Glen Toughey, an assistant with the St. Joe’s Marauders of the Monsignor Martin league is excited to make his first trip to Battle Creek. “Our first time going to Battle Creek and we’re looking forward to it.” Toughey will be joined by his son Brendan who also plays third base. “I believe we have the best infield and outfield in the league and we showed it.”
Diesel broke a scoreless tie in the 4th inning when Rob Leuhrsen laid down a perfect bunt along the 3rd base line with men on 1st and 2nd. The throw to third missed the mark resulting in the game’s first two runs. Orville’s responded in the 5th and never looked back.
It wasn’t an easy road for Orville’s to reach this point. Last season they went out to Cincinnati, OH to play in their regional in hopes of earning a berth into the 2016 NABF World Series. But they lost in the final game to Lake Erie, ending their only shot.
That same Lake Erie team travelled to WNY this weekend but went two and out. Orville’s did not need to play them although that was on the mind of Coach Toughey. “I wanted them bad this time around but it didn’t work out but we’ll take it” Toughey said.
Orville’s opened up pool play Friday afternoon against Diesel and hammered the 2015 NABF World Series champs 7-0. On Saturday they faced the OP Sox and used a five-run bottom 7 rally to advance into the Semi’s Sunday where they faced Team Deb. They slugged it out for 9 innings and came away with a 14-12 victory setting up a rematch with Battistoni Diesel.
Battistoni avenged their loss Friday by defeating Orchard Park 4-2 Saturday afternoon. On Sunday morning they drew Jamco in the Semi’s and scored a 4-3 win and a Finals berth. For one reason or another the Diesel bats dried up late Sunday, thanks in large part to the great pitching they faced. Winning pitcher Garrett Pauly went the distance squandering 4 hits over nine innings.
The Diesel put together a late 9th inning rally to pull within three runs but like all good teams Orville’s found a way to close it out.
The road to Battle Creek hasn’t completely closed on Battistoni or Jamco. Each team will head out to play in another regional. The Diesel are heading to Frederick, MD while Jamco travels to Connecticut. They’ll need to win on the road in order to punch their tickets to the 2017 NABF World Series.
Serrano finished with 5 RBI’s in the final game “it was something I needed, to play with these college players and prove I could do it” Serrano said post-game. “It was definitely an adjustment but as the season went on I felt more comfortable and saw some improvement.” Serrano just completed an outstanding high-school career, along with several other 2017 high-school grads in WNY that made their presence felt throughout the MUNY AAA Buffalo Regional.