A glum look on his face, Jamestown High School coach Dave Roehmholdt walked slowly toward home plate after clearing out the third-base dugout at the Martin Road Complex varsity baseball field on Monday evening.
It was nearly 8:30 and the unseasonably cold temperatures had the mercury dipping into the 40s.
But it wasn't the three-hour game or the frigid conditions that had Roehmholdt down in the dumps.
Jamestown’s Cameron Haberberger slides safely into second base in the fifth inning of Monday’s Erie County Interscholastic Conference Division 1 baseball game against West Seneca West at the Martin Road Complex. Below, the Red Raiders’ Alex Guzman puts a good swing on a pitch in the seventh inning, but the hosts suffered an 11-9 loss in eight innings. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Scott Kindberg
Rather, it was the way the Red Raiders let an almost-certain victory slip away.
Needing just one out for its fourth straight ECIC Division 1 win, Jamestown saw West Seneca West score three unearned runs in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game. Then, in the top of the eighth, the Indians tallied four runs - all unearned - en route to an 11-9 victory, only their second of the season.
The loss, meanwhile, dropped Jamestown's record to 5-11 overall and 4-7 in the division.
''It ain't over until the scoreboard says it is,'' first-year West Seneca West coach Max Zimmerman said. '' ... That's the great thing about the game.''
For the hosts, it all came apart so fast.
Leading 7-4, Red Raiders starter Adam Westley struck out the leadoff batter in the seventh and got Tyler Chodkowski to lift an infield popup for what appeared to be the second out. The ball was dropped, however, allowing Chodkowski to reach first base. Dalton Kruger followed with a walk, sending Roehmholdt to the mound where he lifted Westley in favor of Brett Dehner. Dehner promptly picked Chodkowski off second base for the second out.
That turned out to be the last true highlight for Jamestown.
''Things fell about at the end,'' Roehmholdt said. ''We put them in situations and they took advantage.''
Max Borzillieri worked out a walk for West Seneca West (2-12, 2-10) and he and Kruger moved up a base on a wild pitch. Another Jamestown error plated Kruger, and Borzillieri and Kevin Hanley eventually scored on John Danovskis' double to right-center field.
With the game knotted, 7-7, all the momentum belonged to West Seneca West. And although the Red Raiders managed to put two runners on base with one out in the bottom of the seventh, winning pitcher Zak Marshall was able to wiggle out of the jam.
The Indians put the game out of reach in the top of the eighth, using three bunts, two walks and two Jamestown errors to build an 11-7 lead.
''All year we've been trying to put pressure on teams,'' Zimmerman said. ''The top of the order has great bunters and we've got speed, so we try and use that to our ability. They got the bunts down and it worked out for us today. ... We made the plays at the end of the game and (Jamestown) didn't.''
The Red Raiders cut the deficit to 11-9 in the bottom of the inning on Bram Johnson's two-run double, but Marshall got the final out to end the marathon game.
Danovskis led the Indians with two hits, including a double, and two RBIs, Borzillieri had two hits and an RBI, and Ryan Kilijanski added an RBI single.
Alex Guzman paced Jamestown with two hits, including a double, two RBIs and two outstanding catches in left field. Boe Brooks added a double and Jake Sisson, the losing pitcher, smacked a two-run single.
''(Zimmerman) has West Seneca West playing much better ball than they've played in the past,'' Roehmholdt said. ''We beat them, 4-3, the first time and they've lost some tough games since. They're a dangerous team, they're playing much better and they hit the ball well.''
Jamestown returns to action Thursday when it travels to Orchard Park. The Red Raiders close their regular season with non-league games against Fredonia and Warren.
''We still have three games to put it behind us, and come out and play good ball,'' Roehmholdt said. ''We were playing very good ball until this game. We have to put it behind us and do what was working for us.''