Winning the Section VI Class A-2 championship was a tremendous accomplishment for the Maryvale High School baseball team, which saw some ups and downs in the regular season and relied on some late-game heroics to claim just its second sectional title in 28 years.
Meanwhile, Williamsville East steamrolled past pretty much everyone on its path in Class A-1 to repeat as the champ. So the overall Class A championship game seemed like just a formality for the Flames, who were ranked first in the state by Maxpreps.com.
But that’s why they play the games.
Maryvale took an early lead and never let it go, shocking the Western New York baseball community with a 5-3 win over Williamsville East on Saturday afternoon at Niagara Falls High School.
“It’s surreal,” Maryvale sophomore Connor Desiderio said. “I don’t know how to react. That team is 19-1, they have three kids going D-I already, it’s just unreal. Our mindset was that nobody expects us to win so let’s just leave everything on the field today and see what happens. It’s amazing to win this game.”
Williamsville East’s offense had been on a roll all season long, reaching double-digit runs nine times – and scoring exactly nine on two other occasions. That run included an 11-5 win at Maryvale just a little more than two weeks ago. But the playoffs are different and the Flyers picked a fine time to shine.
“The last three years I’ve been on varsity we’ve tried everything to get to where we are now and to the chance we had today,” winning pitcher DeAnte Mecca said. “We did everything we had to do; it’s not really something I can explain right now. We were confident. We knew we had a chance and we played with confidence.”
The senior Mecca was the surprise star on the mound after injuries limited him to just three innings this season. He kept the red-hot Flames – who scored 33 runs in their three Class A-1 playoff games – off balance for 4 1/3 innings. He allowed two runs and three hits while striking out five.
“DeAnte has so much velocity on his ball and we thought he’d be the best guy to go with,” Maryvale coach Ryan Mohr said. “He’s a senior and I think that was one of the greatest games a Maryvale pitcher has ever thrown when you consider the circumstances and the opponent.”
East took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first on Joe Mack’s RBI base hit but Maryvale scored four times in the bottom of the inning to take control.
Trey Esquilin tied it with a run-scoring single and then seventh-grader Dalton Harper drove home two more with another base hit. Mark Bailey then scored on a wild pitch. Mecca added a sacrifice fly in the fourth to extend the lead.
A Dillon Lobdell homer and an RBI double by Mike Wolf got the Flames closer but they weren’t able to get back in the game against Mecca and Desiderio, who tossed the remaining 2 2/3 innings.
“We were a heavily-favored team,” Williamsville East coach Jerry Gasz said. “Give them credit. We just did not hit the ball the way we did previously in the playoffs. We’re not used to being in a hole like that. We’re an aggressive team and I was taken out of our game because I had to sit back and wait for things to happen, which it never really did. I’m not used to being on this end of the stick. That’s a tribute to them. They played an outstanding game against a very, very good hitting team. We did not step up today.”