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Perfect bunt leads Billies over Blue Devils

Kevin McGraw etched his name into the Williamsville South history books Saturday afternoon. McGraw’s bunt in the seventh inning helped rally the Billies to a 4-3 win over Kenmore West in the Section VI Class A1 pre-quarter finals.

Trailing 3-2 and with Josh Foster on first, Coach Chris Murphy called for the bunt. Foster saw the signal and took off for second base. McGraw laid down a text book bunt. The ball rolled within a hair of the foul line down towards a hard charging third baseman. The conditions were tough, the rain was pouring down it was a recipe for disaster and disaster struck the Blue Devils. A poor throw down to first base missed the mark and went sailing into right field, Foster scored easily from second for the tying run and McGraw reached third.

The next batter, lead-off hitter Joey Battaglia, already 2-for-3 on the day sent a hard line drive into center field and McGraw crossed the plate for the go-ahead run.

“It was the right time to call for the bunt and it went perfectly,” said coach Murphy after the game. “The conditions were poor but it was the same for both teams. Both teams played great today, our guys stuck with it and found a way to win.”

Will South had to rally twice to lock down the W. After surrendering an early run, Foster, who started on the hill settled in for the Billies and made some good pitches to keep the score close. “The first inning was a little sloppy but it settled down for me,” Foster said.

Andrew Fron, the Canisius College commit made the start for Kenmore West and couldn’t have pitched a better game. He allowed a hit to the first batter he faced, then after seeing the next hitter attempting to bunt made a nice grab for the games first out. Fron then fanned the next five batters and finished with a total of 13 K’s in a complete game effort.

The Billies scored two runs in the third inning to jump out to a 2-1 lead. Battaglia singled in Foster and then scored the go-ahead on a pass ball.

Will South couldn’t hold the lead in the bottom half of the third. With men on second and third, Fron delivered a big hit for the Blue Devils, giving Kenmore West a 3-2 lead.

Nick Huber came in to relieve Foster and did a very good job in silencing the Blue Devils bats the rest of the way.

“That was our game plan. We wanted the ball in our senior’s hands. Nick knew he was going in he just didn’t know when,” Murphy said. “You feel bad for the seniors on the other team. Their guy (Fron) was a beast all game.”

Ken West had an opportunity to add to their lead in the sixth inning. Owen Green led off with a double into right-center. Cole Phillips came into pinch run for Green and reached third on a sacrifice by Angelo Eckert. Zach Boyes bunt turned into a double play for the Billies, ending the threat.

Jake Reilly and Dom Schmidt hit singles in the bottom of the seventh inning. Both runners advanced to second and third on a double steal but the Blue Devils could not complete the comeback.

The final out for the Billies

— Mike Pidanick (@mkpidanick) May 19, 2018

“I’m real proud of our guys, they never quit,” Ken-West head coach John Haynes said afterwards. “At the end of the day it’s all about execution and our opponents were able to do that a little better than we did today.”

With the Billies win they advance to meet Williamsville East on Tuesday. “We played them tough the last time out,” Huber said. “It was a one run game. We are looking forward to playing them again, we know how good they are so we’ll have to be at our best.”

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