Photo Gallery | Wahconah baseball beats Monument Mountain 2-1
DALTON — Cam Taylor had a chance to give his Wahconah baseball team a lead in the first inning, but didn't come through. When he got a second chance, he made no mistake.
The Wahconah left fielder punched an RBI single to right in the third inning, scoring Matt Schneider with what turned out to be the winning run as fourth-seeded Wahconah held off No. 5 Monument Mountain 2-1 on Monday afternoon in a Western Massachusetts Division III quarterfinal.
"Every win is awesome," Wahconah coach Rob Cowdrey said. "The deeper you get in the tournament, the more special they get."
With the win, the Warriors advance to the semifinals for the second consecutive year. They'll play top-seeded South Hadley. The Tigers needed 12 innings to beat No. 9 Belchertown 2-1.
"It means the world," said Will Genaway, who gave up an unearned run on four hits to get the win. "We've put in the work all season. It's a great ride, a great ride."
The ride was almost detoured because the Warriors, who scored a run on three walks and a wild pitch by Monument's Jared Haley in the first, left the bases loaded in the first and left two on in the second. The Warriors were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position in those first two innings. Haley held Wahconah to six hits in the game and did not walk anyone after the third inning.
The third inning, however, was a different story.
Genaway had pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the third, striking out Ben Wyatt to end the inning. In the home third, Henry walked Schneider on four pitches. Schneider stole second and went to third on a passed ball before the sophomore right-hander bounced back to get Austin Cancilla and Patrick Butler on strikes. That left it up to Taylor, who hit a 1-0 pitch to right, scoring Schneider easily. He reached out and punched the ball over the head of Monument second baseman Nate Cormier.
"My first at-bat, it was bases loaded and I struck out," said Taylor. "The next opportunity, I really just had to put it in play and score some runs.
"I saw him put that curve out and I poked it into right."
The rest of the game, it was about the pitchers. Henry pitched three shutout innings, facing one batter over the minimum in the last three innings.
Genaway did not give up a run over his last six innings. He walked five — one intentionally — and struck out seven. Cowdrey said that it took Genaway a couple of innings to find his out pitch, the curve ball.
"It did. I eventually found it," said Genaway. "It started spinning and it started dropping."
"Their pitcher threw a heck of a ball game," Monument's Cormier said of Genaway. "It was a very good curveball. I only struck out five times this year and he got me with it. He's a heck of a pitcher. He shut us down."
Monument had only four balls reach the outfield all day. The last one was a fly ball to right off Tyler Wade's bat, and Shane Sinopoli snared it to send the Warriors to the semifinals.
"We had our chances. We had bases loaded, we had first and second," Monument coach Tom Hankey said. "Those are the breaks of the game. It's unfortunate, but Wahconah did what they had to do to win."
Jared Haley and Branden Perry. Will Genaway and Matt Schneider. W—Genaway. L—Haley.
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.