Taylor RBI, Genaway Pitching Leads Wahconah into Semis

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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DALTON, Mass. -- The Wahconah baseball team got off to a rocky start in Monday’s Western Massachusetts Division 3 quarter-final.
But Will Genaway was rock solid from there, striking out seven and allowing no runs after the first inning in a 2-1 win over Monument Mountain.
Cam Taylor hit a two-out RBI single to break a 1-1 tie in the third, and Genaway stranded 10 runners to help Wahconah earn a spot in Wednesday’s sectional semi-final against South Hadley at Western New England University.
Monument used two singles and an errant throw by Genaway on a comebacker to the mound to scratch out the early lead.
But after Brandon Perry singled up the middle to drive in Nate Cormier, Genaway retired the next three hitters. And despite scattering two more hits and five walks the rest of the way, he kept the fifth-seeded Spartans (11-11) off the board.
“I just ended up getting confidence in my defense,” Genaway said. “They were great. They don’t let much by them. It’s really confidence-boosting as a pitcher to know you have that behind you because you know you can make ground ball outs. Then it’s an easy game.”
Wahconah (14-8) committed just one more error after the first inning.
Genaway said he did not need to change his approach after some early struggles.
“Their one-through-four hitters are legit,” he said. “They tear us up. [Joe Aberdale], hit a home run against us earlier. That’s why we intentionally walked him. They’re dangerous hitters.
“Otherwise, we just kept pounding the zone -- curveball fastball. That was it.”
The intentional free pass came with two out in the top of the seventh. Genaway got the next man up to fly out to right fielder Shane Sinopoli, ending the game.
Sinopoli scored Wahconah’s first run way back in the bottom of the first.
He drew a leadoff walk and moved up when Ty Cowdrey earned a free pass. An infield single by Andrew Beaudoin loaded the bases, and a wild pitch brought Sinopoli home to tie the game, 1-1.
In the third, Matthew Schneider drew a leadoff walk. He stole second, moved up on a wild pitch and scored standing up on Taylor’s single to right.
Wahconah’s coach said his team was prepared for the kind of battle it faced from Monument, which went 1-2 against Wahconah in the regular season. 
“One thing that we’ve really focused on is not panicking,” Rob Cowdrey said. “We’re not going to crush teams. We’re going to make mistakes. Games are going to be tight, so we need to prepare ourselves for those one-run games.
“How you do that is with good pitching and tight defense, and we’ve been able to do that this year.”
Monument Mountain coach Tom Hankey could take solace in the fact that his team won three of its last four just to get to the playoffs and won its third straight just to get to Monday’s quarter-final.
“We had 10 kids all year,” Hankey said. “I couldn’t be prouder of this group than any team I’ve had in the past.
“We’re going to build off of this. Most of them are coming back. This will be good experience for us. We’ll see what happens next year. But I’m very proud of the effort and the way the season played out.”
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