Genaway Gem Sends Wahconah Back to Title Game
GREENFIELD, Mass. -- The Wahconah baseball team used a whole lot of Will Genaway and just enough offense to knock off Hoosac Valley and earn a berth in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 title game.
Genaway struck out 12, and Wahconah managed six hits and seven walks to earn a 4-1 win and set up a date against Mount Greylock in Saturday afternoon’s sectional final at the University of Massachusetts.
“He was absolutely untouchable,” Wahconah coach Rob Cowdrey said of Genaway, who scattered six hits. “I think the longer the game went on, the hotter he got. He just started grooving.
“And what was nice for us was we finally got him some run support. He’s pitched in tight games all season long, one run ballgames. And we were able to put a couple of runs on the board and take a little bit of the pressure of him.”
Genaway came into the game with a 5-4 record but an earned run average of 1.84 with 55 strikeouts in 45-⅔ innings.
On Thursday, he benefited from a couple of double plays to help hold down Hoosac Valley (14-8).
In the second, the Hurricanes had runners at the corners and one out. But Wahconah catcher Joe Woronick fired to shortstop Pat Butler to complete a strike-’em-out-throw-’em-out twin kill.
In the fourth, the Hurricanes were in the same situation with men on first and third and one out, but Genaway got a comebacker to the mound to start a 1-6-3 double play.
“That’s huge,” Genaway said of the defense behind him. “That’s confidence boosting. They’ve been doing that all year for all of our pitchers. They make plays, and it really takes the pressure off our pitcher.”
Second-seeded Wahconah (16-6) opened the scoring in the bottom of the third inning, using four walks to score the game’s first run.
Bob Archambault led off the inning with a free pass, and after Ty Cowdrey bunted him to second base, Genaway and Woronick each worked a walk. Drew Forfa then walked on six pitches with the bases loaded to pick up the RBI.
“We’d never seen [Hoosac’s Keagan McGrath] pitch,” Rob Cowdrey said. “And he pitched pretty good, but what it is is in-game adjustments. We look always for opportunities. If a pitcher is going to come and throw first-pitch strikes at us, we know we have to be aggressive at the plate.
“In this case, we picked up that he was having a lot of higher pitch count innings. So we were taking advantage of that, trying to drive up his pitch count, tire him up and see who they had next.”
After McGrath got the second out on an infield fly, Anthony Don Diego hit a bases-loaded infield single to score Genaway and make it 2-0 after three.
Hoosac Valley got one back in the top of the fourth when Noah Matrigali led off with a single, moved up on John Krol’s walk and scored on a Jack Sniezek (2-for-3 with a triple) RBI single.
The Hurricanes got men into scoring position in the sixth and seventh, but each time Genaway slammed the door. In the sixth, Krol hit a two-out double, but Genaway got the third out on a groundball to short.
In the seventh, Chris Larabee singled, and pinch-runner Luc Trombley moved up on a wild pitch with one out. But Genaway got a called third strike for the second out and finished the game with a fly ball to the outfield.
For Hoosac Valley, which won seven in a row in May just to make the tournament, one off night on offense could not diminish what it accomplished.
“I challenged these guys,” Hoosac Valley coach Mike Larabee said. “About three or four weeks ago, we had some inner problems … and we addressed them. Hats off to these seniors. They responded to it. They had a great career.”
The Wahconah seniors get at least one more game and a rare chance to repeat as sectional champion.
“It speaks to the level of baseball that comes out of Berkshire County, which is nice,” Rob Cowdrey said of the all-Berkshire D3 final on Saturday. “We constantly are having contenders every year, and a lot of times they’re making it deep into their respective tournaments. I think it speaks highly of Berkshire County baseball.
“Obviously with us and Greylock, we know each other. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It just really comes down to who capitalizes on it.”