YORK – Keshequa’s Tim Leyland struck out 14 and Geneseo’s John Ridler drove in three runs as the Geneseo Thunder improved to 2-0 with a 9-4 victory over LeRoy Thursday night.
Leyland labored through the first inning, walking the first two batters of the game and ultimately giving up three runs in the frame, but he allowed just five base runners and one run through the remainder of the game.
Thunder coach Mark Bennett said he wanted Leyland, who hadn’t pitched in approximately two months, to work through his early struggles on the mound.
“(Tim) played at Finger Lakes Community College, and he ended up not finishing the spring season because a class got mixed up so he didn’t get enough credits,” Bennett said. “It’s been two and a half, three months since he’s thrown, and we’ve been working him in in practices. I knew the first couple innings might be a little shaky, but I just told him to battle through it, stay focused, do what you can. He settled down, and he finished off the game excellently.”
The early adversity didn’t seem to bother the Thunder, and the offense stormed back in the bottom of the second, capitalizing on four LeRoy errors to hang five runs on the visitors. The Thunder added two more runs in the third when York’s Patrick Dishaw scored on an error and Ridler drove in Livonia’s Zack Kolodziejski with a two-out single.
Bennett said Geneseo’s ability to put pressure on the defense benefitted his team Thursday.
“Compared to our last game, we definitely put the ball in play,” he said. “That’s something I tell these guys, I say, ‘I don’t care if you get out, I’d rather have you put the ball in play, hit it hard and make them make a play.’”
Bennett also described what it’s like to coach the Thunder, a team comprised of players from York, Keshequa, Geneseo, Perry and Livonia.
“At first, I knew I was going to be short, so I had to really work hard at recruiting guys this year, and all the guys I wanted, I got,” he said. “When you put it on paper, it looks like a solid team from (player) one to 16, but as a coach, you know it’s the cream of the crop from Livingston County, how do you get them to mesh? That’s a big concern, but these guys are so familiar with each other from playing high school sports that they do it on their own. For me, it’s just a joy to be able to work with them and have the opportunity to coach the best kids in Livingston County.”
The team will look to continue their pitching dominance – Geneseo’s Alex Yarton threw a no-hitter in the Thunder’s first game of the year – when they host Coach Tony’s in a doubleheader June 16. The Thunder, who are in their third season, play their home games at York High School, and the weekend’s double dip will start at 2:00 p.m.