The Lancaster High School baseball team has been on quite the tear lately. The Legends have won 15 in a row entering Thursday’s Class AA Section VI semifinals and are the undisputed top-ranked team in Western New York.
The scary part? The best may be yet to come.
“We’re playing well but I think we can play a little bit better,” junior pitcher/third baseman Max Giordano said. “It’s a great bunch of guys and I think we’re really gelling. But I don’t think we’ve played our best game yet.”
A scary thought but even scarier is that it might be necessary with a tough road ahead in the always-loaded Class AA. Lancaster hosts Williamsville North at 5 p.m. Thursday in the sectional semifinals – those Spartans are responsible for the Legends’ lone loss this season.
Since dropping its season-opener, Lancaster hasn’t lost in seven weeks. The Legends are 15-0 since a 3-2 walk-off loss to rival Williamsville North on April 5. Lancaster got some revenge with a walk-off win over the Spartans on April 29.
“We’re really rolling now,” senior pitcher Collin Reformat said. “We started off with a bump in our first game but after that we really found our stride. As long as we keep playing like this we should be fine … playing our baseball.”
The Legends opened sectional play with a 6-0 win over No. 8 seed Niagara-Wheatfield – a game much more competitive than the final score may indicate. Reformat fired a two-hit shutout for his fifth win of the season.
But it was on the base paths that Lancaster caused the most damage. Speed has also been a major part of Lancaster’s attack as the Legends stole 28 bases in the regular year, led by five apiece from Giordano and LG Castillo. In the sectional quarterfinals, Lancaster stole six bases and Castillo’s aggressiveness led to a run-scoring balk that sparked a four-run, two-out rally in the fifth that put the game away.
“We have a lot of speed on this team,” coach Mark Dalfonso said. “We got aggressive on the bases and they didn’t have an answer to it. And we had some clutch hits, too, from a bunch of different kids.”
It’s been a team attack all year long, offensively, led by the incomparable LG Castillo. The senior centerfielder, a University of Oklahoma signee and projected Major League baseball draftee, belted .529 with seven home runs and 22 runs batted in for Lancaster this season.
He’s one of seven regular Lancaster batters to hit over .300, joining Ben Damiani (.400), Reformat (.385), Dominic Monti (.382), Connor Duck (.378), Kevin Walter (.349) and Tony Brown (.306).
Pitching also has been huge all year for the Legends, who entered the postseason with a team ERA of 1.95. Reformat (4-1, 2.04 ERA, 25 strikeouts in 24 innings) and Giordano (3-0, 0.42 ERA, 18 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings) have led the way. Joe Dombrowski, Ryan Mansell and Glenn Stever also had a pair of wins apiece.
Lancaster entered this season with high hopes and so far, so good – but the toughest tests are yet to come.
“It’s been a great year … knock on wood, baby, knock on wood,” Dalfonso said. “We’re moving right along. But it’s hard against anyone in Class AA.”
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