FRANKFORT, NY – Most Section III teams, from football to baseball, have warm-up music before their games. There’s only one in the entire section that brings their own warm-up music with them on the road..
The West Canada Valley Indians walked onto the field at Frankfort-Schuyler High School on Saturday to the beat of their very own playlist, blaring from a portable boom box..
“It just gets us going, gets us pumped,” junior pitcher Jordyn Conte said.
In their first outing since their state tournament run, the Indians’ music helped them hit the ground running. Conte pitched a complete game, only allowing one run and one hit (while racking up 11 strikeouts), while every member of the West Canada Valley batting order scored a run in the Indians’ 16-1 mercy rule victory. Maggie Burdick and Devin Thomas each scored three runs, while Conte and Thomas combined to drive in seven of their runs as well.
“I was happy with the way we swung the bats today,” West Canada Valley head coach Ron Lindsay said. “We stress one run an inning, good fielding and baserunning and we did that. I was happy with how we did today.”
That stellar performance for the Indians began on the mound, where Conte struck out the first eight Maroon Knights she saw, only giving up a walk in the first three innings.
“[My pitching] felt good [today],” Conte said. “My change-up needs work, but I hit my spots. For the first time out this season, it was a good outing.”
West Canada Valley struck first with their bats in the top of the second, when a screaming line drive by Thomas scored Caroline Tobin. From there, passed balls by Frankfort-Schuyler pitcher Trinity Critelli would help push another two runs across the plate, broken up by a very light dribbler down the first base line by first baseman Victoria Tasovac that scored right fielder Chloe Smith. Suddenly, what looked on paper to be a hard-fought battle between two of the best teams in the Center State Conference was looking to be more and more of a mismatch.
“We just didn’t bring the energy from the start,” Frankfort-Schuyler head coach Bryan Ingalls said. “You have a game or two like this every year, but it all comes down to energy. We just didn’t have the mindset today. We just need to build on this…we need to be better in May than we are now.”
Unfortunately, the bad quickly became worse for the Maroon Knights, as 14 different Indians came up to face Critelli in the very next inning. This time, instead of the passed ball resulting in runs for West Canada Valley, it was the stolen base, as the Indians successfully stole four bases. One of those was the rare double steal, which brought home center fielder Kyleigh Gage. Thomas and Burdick would combine for two runs as well (both on line drives by the second baseman that would score her shortstop). The backbreaker for the Maroon Knights came off the bat of left fielder Bryann Brelinsky, who rocketed a ball over the left field wall to bring three runs home. In all, nine runs were scored in the third inning, bringing the score up to 13-0 in favor of the visitors.
“Our hitting was good…it was there,” Conte said. “We’re solid. It’s our first game, and we’re just going to get ready for the next one.”
Luckily, Critelli bounced back from the nightmarish third, and only allowed a single to Tasovac in the fourth. “I told her to just stay fluid,” Ingalls said. “Her velocity was down a bit. She was just tight today, but she stayed on it and loosened up.”
As a matter of fact, it seemed everyone on the Maroon Knights loosened up. Despite getting an out on the first pitch, the Knights put two out of the next three people on base, with shortstop Charlotte Rodio coming home on a two-out double by Hannah Banas.
Unfortunately, from there, it was all about the Indians. They would add another three runs, two coming off the bat of Conte (one of two two-RBI hits she would have on the day). This one, a long single, scored Gage and Thomas. Gage picked up an RBI of her own in the inning as well, scoring Burdick on a long double to center field. In the bottom of the inning, despite an error and allowing the first two Knights on base, Conte finished what she started, putting the next three Frankfort-Schuyler batters out (including her 11th and final strikeout) to send the team home after just five innings.
Despite it being their first game of the season after being forced inside by the weather, Lindsay was very happy with the start of the Indians’ 2018 season. “Coming from the gym to the field is different,” Lindsay said. “[The skills] transferred well…we have to build on what we did today. We’ll take all the little things we didn’t do well today and focus on them, and we’ll see how things go.”
Ingalls had the same sentiment, but stressed the importance of the need for a quick turnaround for the Maroon Knights: “Ultimately, you need to make adjustments. That’s what Jordyn [Conte] did, and our girls had to be defensive. We’re 2-2, but we’re a fifth of the way through our season.”
“Our defense was a little iffy,” Conte said, “but we came together and got it done. We’re solid…hopefully we’ll get back to regionals.”
If they do, you can bet they’ll provide the warm-up music.
West Canada Valley Indians 16, Frankfort-Schuyler Maroon Knights 1 (five innings)
Indians 0 4 9 0 3 16 18 2
Maroon Knights 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 3
WP: Jordyn Conte (CG, 11 K, 0 BB, 1 H, 1 R)
LP: Trinity Critelli (CG, 5 K, 4 BB, 18 H, 16 R, 9 ER)
2B– West Canada Valley: Devin Thomas, Maggie Burdick, Kyleigh Gage.
HR– West Canada Valley: Bryann Brelinsky.
Team LOB: West Canada Valley 8, Frankfort-Schuyler 3.