ROME — Oriskany’s Matteson Hoehn had everything going during Wednesday’s Center State Conference tilt against West Canada Valley.
Hoehn threw a one-hitter, scored the game-tying run in the sixth, and then drove home the game-winner in the bottom of the seventh as the Redskins edged the Indians 2-1 at Kost Softball Fields.
The victory pulled Oriskany even with West Canada Valley atop the CSC Division 3 standings. Both teams sit at 9-1 in the conference and 12-1 overall with three games to play.
“I rely on my pitches and movement a lot,” Hoehn said. “It’s great to have that movement against them. I throw it inside, outside and throw a curve, screw, drop, change, rise and kept them off balance. Plus I rely on my team and never am worried with them behind me because I know they’ll make plays.”
Facing West Canada Valley’s dominant ace, Jordyn Conte, Oriskany head coach Mike Reilly needed Hoehn to be on top of her game. The senior responded, striking out 14, while allowing just five baserunners.
“She’s a gamer,” Reilly said of his pitcher. “She’s a senior and I knew warming up she was ready to play. She was hitting every spot and the one that was working for her today was the screwball. It was coming in on them and they had trouble with it. She works on all those pitches, except for fastball, she’s selft-taught and works on all those pitches herself.”
The teams were mired in a scoreless tie as Conte and Hoehn were sharp in the circle. While Hoehn, didn’t have to face much adversity, Conte, a two-time all-state performer, worked out of several jams as the Redskins had runners in scoring position during the first two innings and put runners on base in five innings.
Conte, who came into the game with four straight shutouts and seven this season, finished with five strikeouts and received solid support from her defense through the first five innings. Right fielder Sarah Costello and shortstop
Courtney DiTata each made a couple of nice plays to keep the game scoreless.
Hoehn also had some help in breezing through West Canada Valley’s lineup as shortstop Angeline Hays made consecutive stellar defensive plays to keep Maggie Burdick and Conte off the basepaths in the top of the fourth.
However, it was Burdick who struck first in the sixth. After Hoehn recorded her ninth and 10th strikeouts to start the inning, Shae McEvoy drew a walk to start the two-out rally. One pitch later, the Indians had the lead as Burdick blistered a liner to left field that took a couple hops to the fence and scored McEvoy.
“I’m always anxious to hit the ball and wanted to get a run for our team,” Burdick said.
The Redskins didn’t get flustered by falling behind, and with some help, answered in the bottom half of the inning. Matteson Hoehn reached on an error to lead off the inning. Aeron Hamm followed with a sacrifice bunt, but the Indians misconnected on the throw to first, giving the Redskins runners on second and third with nobody out.
Having runners in scoring position is tough, but having them with Maddelyn Hoehn coming to the plate is an extremely dire situation.
Hoehn, who singled in her first two at-bats, found a hole in right-center for a double that knotted the game 1-1.
Hamm, who had to wait to see if the ball would drop, was held up at third to once again give Oriskany second and third with nobody out.
Seemingly the Redskins had the advantage, but with Conte in the circle, nothing is assured. The senior helped her own situation for the first big out by fielding a grounder, faking to first and catching Hamm leaning toward home.
Conte made a quick pivot and threw to Caroline Hobin, who applied the tag at third for the first out.
After a groundout bunt to Conte and a popout to McEvoy at first, the Indians were out of the big jam.
The Indians were retired in order in the seventh as Hobin flied out to center fielder Sofia Tagliaferri, before Hoehn notched her 13th and 14th strikeouts.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Redskins got contributions from the bottom of their order. Seventh-hitter, Courtney Donahue started the inning by drawing a hard-earned walk. Abby Edsall followed with a sac bunt but the throw went into right field and the runners advanced to second and third.
Ninth-hitter, Juliet Tagliaferri also bunted and reached to load the bases as Conte decided to not throw to first, fearing Donahue would score the winning run.
With the bases full and nobody out, leadoff Matteson Hoehn strolled to the plate and popped a soft liner into center field to plate Donahue with the winning run to complete the big victory for the Redskins and knock the Indians from the unbeaten ranks.
“I was thinking just hit the ball,” Matteson Hoehn said. “Just like it was the beginning of the inning and it was just me and nobody on base … just put the ball in play. It was amazing when it landed and we won.”
Maddelyn Hoehn wasn’t shocked to see the bottom of the order spark the decisive inning.
“I’m so proud of them,” Maddelyn Hoehn said. “I never give up on anyone in our lineup. I know any one of them can go up there and get the job done, and they did today.
“It’s huge this win. I’m so proud of us and I can’t to keep going forward from here.”
It was the first loss for the Indians, who blanked Oriskany 4-0 in the first meeting on April 16. West Canada Valley head coach Ron Lindsay thought his team could’ve played a cleaner game, but gave the credit to the Redskins.
“We had a couple of mental mistakes and a couple errors,” Lindsay said. (Oriskany) put the ball in play well and we swung at too many pitches out of the strike zone to help them a little bit. But, (Hoehn) threw very well and mixed up her pitches today.
“I give all the credit to her, she moved her pitches very well, and it kind of got us out of our zone a bit.”
Conte finished with five strikeouts, upping her school-record mark to 642. The loss was tough, but it gives the Indians, who won the sectional title in 2017, time to correct their mistakes before the tournament begins.
“We did what we could, but our batting wasn’t that great today,” Conte said. “We’re looking forward to getting better as team and being stronger at the plate for when we face the better teams like Oriskany.”
For Oriskany, which also received hits from Hamm and Sofia Tagliaferri, the goal is finishing out the season strong in preparation for a long sectional run.
“We really want to win sectionals,” Matteson Hoehn said. “We really want to win that. After losing in the final four last year, we want to go farther than that.”
Reilly will take his chances with this feisty group of Redskins, who are jelling at the right time.
“All year our approach is the same,” Oriskany head coach Mike Reilly said. “We feel we’re never out of it and the feeling in the dugout is they never feel they’re out of any game and feel any one of them can get it done. They all have confidence in themselves and each other. … I think we have a good chance going forward. They play so well together … the sky’s the limit.”
Oriskany 2, West Canada Valley 1
West Canada Valley 000 001 0–1 1 3
Oriskany 000 001 1–2 7 1
W: Matteson Hoehn. L: Jordyn Conte. 2B: WCV, Maggie Burdick. Oriskany, Maddelyn Hoehn.
Records: Oriskany 9-1, 12-1; West Canada Valley 9-1, 12-1.
Nick Sardina is a writer for midyorksportsreport.com. Follow Nick onTwitter @nsardinamysr or on Facebook. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org