Xapsos, Rams out-duel Newfane ace at Gasport Elementary
Budziszewski's Rams improve to 2-1 on Monday.
Staff Reports Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Monday's Niagara-Orleans League baseball contest featured two of the best high school pitchers in the area in Royalton-Hartland sophomore Andy Xapsos and Newfane senior Josh Kneeland. When the smoke cleared, the host Rams earned a 4-1 victory at Roy-Hart Elementary School field.
A diving catch by Rams senior second baseman John O'Brien spoiled a bases-loaded, two-out threat by Newfane in the top of the seventh inning.
Head coach Dan Budziszewski's Rams improved to 2-1 in the league as Xapsos held the Panthers hitless for five innings, fanning nine, and ended up with a three-hit victory.
Newfane's Josh Kneeland fanned 11 in a losing effort as the Rams reached him for eight hits.
In the sixth inning, Roy-Hart sophomore Justin Heschke hit a two-RBI single that scored senior sibling Austin Heschke and junior Craig Fitch. O'Brien then had an RBI single that brought home Justin Heschke to cap the three-run bottom of the sixth. Austin Heschke had a long double to start the rally.
Newfane (1-2 N-O) scored its lone run of the game in the top of the seventh inning off a bases-loaded walk.
This was Roy-Hart's second game of a double header Monday. The team participated in a non-league game played at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo earlier in the day. The Rams lost to Hutch-Tech 15-3.
Roy-Hart's next game will be at Albion at 4:45 p.m. today. Also today, the Panthers will travel to Akron to take on the undefeated Tigers.
Xapsos will be Roy-Hart’s top pitcher this year and will play shortstop when not on the mound. First-year coach Budziszewski, formerly the school’s junior varsity coach, said Xapsos hit “well over .400 last year.”
Senior outfielder Austin Heschke will be a leader offensively as will junior catcher and outfielder Josh Baptiste. Junior third baseman and pitcher Fitch rounds out Roy-Hart’s top four players.
“Those are my core group, everybody else is ability-wise pretty much the same,” Budziszewski said. “Those are the guys that are going to carry us.”
Budziszewski is also looking forward to seeing sophomore Justin Heschke, who shows “a lot of potential.”
Roy-Hart finished fifth behind Albion, Medina, Akron and Newfane in the Niagara-Orleans League last year going 9-12 overall and 7-9 against divisional foes.
Rounding out the Rams' 2014 roster are seniors Evan Conley, Brian Guild and John O’Brien; and juniors Aaron Metz, Jordan Duell, Sam White, Alex Farewell, Andy Jacobs, Cole Gregson and Luke Tyler .