Short piles up 13 strikeouts in MCS victory

Staff report
When Margaretville’s Kyle Short and Gilboa’s Hunter Grace match wits on the baseball mound, you don’t want to miss it. The two junior pitching aces started off throwing strikes in Thursday’s opener, right where they left off in a season-ending contest at Cooperstown’s Double Day Field last year. The Blue Devils outlasted their hosts, 4-3, holding back a final-inning Wildcats’ rally to earn a nail-biting win.

Allowed two hits
Short was dominant for Margaretville on the hill, striking out 13, fielding a comebacker and a line drive, walking four and allowing two hits. Sophomore Matt VanValkenburg pitched the final inning to close the game and earned a save.

VanValkenburg’s two-out single just inside the left field foul line in Margaretville’s second plated Cooper Reither and Brandon Bush, for the first two Margaretville runs of the season. Reither had reached base on a leadoff single and Bush drew a walk.

The Blue Devils added two more runs in the third. Short was hit by a pitch to led off the inning, moved to second on Mitch Hull’s infield single and scored when the Gilboa right fielder misplayed a Reither fly ball. Hull hustled home later in the inning when Alex Serdioux beat out an infield grounder down the third-base line.

Two Blue Devil errors and the first of three Christian Cooper hits helped Gilboa get back an unearned run in the Wildcats’ fourth. Gilboa added a second run when Cooper blasted a long homerun to straight away centerfield to lead off the sixth.

Bouncing back
Mark Smith followed the round-tripper with a walk. An infield overthrow of a Cole Fancher ground ball put the tying runs in scoring position with nobody out. Short bore down, striking out the side to preserve the Blue Devils’ lead and finish an impressive opening game outing.

Margaretville called on VanValkenburg to close out the win. Nick Vogiatzis reached base on an infield error to lead off Gilboa’s seventh. VanValkenburg walked Hunter Grance and Cooper got just enough of a curveball to bloop a single just beyond Margaretville shortstop Eric Mathiesen’s reach. The bases were loaded with nobody out.

VanValkenburg got Smith swinging for the first out of the inning. Fancher’s soft flair to centerfield plated the third Gilboa run, but Short’s throw to home plate prevented the tying run from scoring. With every base occupied, VanValkenburg went back to work, striking out the next batter. The Blue Devils’ lefty then got Nick Losno to ground out, Mathiesen to Mitch Hull, to earn his first varsity save.
Grace logged five strong innings for Gilboa striking out eight, walking two and allowing five hits. Eighth-grader Cole Fancher was impressive in relief for the Wildcats allowing only an Ethan Bush single and fanning four Blue Devils in the final two frames.

Margaretville faces Roxbury in a non-league game at home today and travels to Roxbury for a Delaware League contest on Friday.