Weekly Feature



2018-07-05 / Sports

Champions fill majority of First Team lineup

All-Bee Baseball
PATRICK NAGY
Sports Reporter


Seven of the nine members of the 2018 All-Bee Baseball First Team played for schools that won section titles this spring. Coach of The Year Ryan Mohr (Maryvale) joins First Team member Joe Battaglia (Williamsville North), Pitcher of the Year Max Giordano (Lancaster), Joe Mack (Williamsville East), Ryan Mansell (Lancaster), Ryan Voight (Lancaster), Mike O’Brien (Clarence) and Simon Krywcun (Maryvale). Player of the Year Charles Mack (Williamsville East) and First Team member Ben Damiani (Lancaster) are both missing from the photo. Group photo by Kathleen Kramer Ben Damiani photo by Jason Nadolinski Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Seven of the nine members of the 2018 All-Bee Baseball First Team played for schools that won section titles this spring. Coach of The Year Ryan Mohr (Maryvale) joins First Team member Joe Battaglia (Williamsville North), Pitcher of the Year Max Giordano (Lancaster), Joe Mack (Williamsville East), Ryan Mansell (Lancaster), Ryan Voight (Lancaster), Mike O’Brien (Clarence) and Simon Krywcun (Maryvale). Player of the Year Charles Mack (Williamsville East) and First Team member Ben Damiani (Lancaster) are both missing from the photo. Group photo by Kathleen Kramer Ben Damiani photo by Jason Nadolinski Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Some of the top players who earned championships in the Bee’s coverage area comprise the 2018 All-Bee Baseball First Team.

ECIC Division I and Section

VI Class AA champion Lancaster has a trio of representatives.

ECIC Division II, Section


Ben Damiani Ben Damiani VI and Class A-1 champion Williamsville East and Class A-2 and overall Class A champion Maryvale also have selections.

Players from Class AA runner up Williamsville North and Clarence round out the team.

Ryan Mansell — Outfield Lancaster

Whether he was at the plate or in the field, senior right fielder Ryan Mansell did whatever it took to help Lancaster have a successful season.

The Legends won their fourth Section VI Class AA title since 2012 and finished with an 18-3 record.

“He is a total team player,” Lancaster coach Mark Dalfonso said. “He was voted by his peers at the end of the [regular] season to be a captain [going] into the playoffs.”

Mansell, who set Lancaster’s career passing record for yards during the football season, was capable of playing any position on a baseball diamond but started in right field for the past two years.

“He has an extremely strong arm in right field,” Dalfonso said.

In 12 league games and four postseason contests, Mansell batted .368 with seven doubles and one triple, recorded 12 RBIs and scored 20 runs.

“He was a tough out and was consistent at the plate throughout the year,” Dalfonso said. “It was almost like having another coach on the field.”

Mansell also pitched in five league games and went 3-0, recorded a 1.33 ERA and struck out 23 batters.

Mansell, a First Team ECIC I all-star, will be playing baseball at Brockport State College.

Simon Krywcun — Outfield Maryvale

Maryvale had one one of its best years in school history, and the play of Simon Krywcun was a big reason why.

The three-year starter in center field was a consistent performer all season, helping the Flyers win the Section VI Class A-2 and overall Class A titles, and reach the Far West Regional for the first time since 2015 when they were in Class B.

In the leadoff spot, the senior recorded team highs for hits (26), doubles (6) and runs (20), and was second in plate appearances (82) and at-bats (72). He also batted .361 and recorded 10 RBIs.

Krywcun had multiple hits in eight games and scored two runs in five contests. He also tied for the team lead in stolen bases with 13.

“He had a little bit of a down year last year, but he bounced back in all parts of his game,” Maryvale coach Ryan Mohr said. “We could always rely on him. We had a lot of guys contribute to our success, but without his defense in center field and getting on base to lead off the order, I don’t think we would have the year we had.”

Krywcun’s biggest hit of the season was a bases-clearing triple to help the Flyers rally to a 10-8 win over Lewiston Porter in the Class A-2 semifinals. He also laid down two bunt singles in the Flyers’ 5-3 victory over Williamsville East in the overall Class A title game.

Krywcun was named a First Team ECIC III all-star and won the team’s most improved player award.

It’s the second time in three years Krywcun was selected to the All-Bee First Team, also receiving the honor in 2016.

Mike O’Brien — Outfield Clarence

Mike O’Brien led Clarence in most offensive categories, but what separated the senior from the rest of his teammates this past season was his baseball IQ and desire.

“He brought an element that is necessary for every team,” Red Devils coach Dave Smith said. “He was one step ahead of everybody and had a desire that outmatched most of the other kids.”

In 21 games, O’Brien led the Red Devils in plate appearances (78), at-bats (65), hits (25), singles (21), tied for the lead in RBIs (17), and was second in batting average (.385) and runs (20). He also walked in nine other plate appearances. His on-base percentage was .447.

“He was a super steady performer that was on base for us all of the time,” Smith said.

O’Brien, who started in left field as a junior, moved to center field for his senior year and did not miss a beat.

“Mike covered a lot of ground and got a good jump on balls,” Smith said.

O’Brien also posted a 4-2 record in seven appearances on the mound, leading the team in innings pitched (32) and strikeouts (20), as well as recording a 2.18 ERA.

O’Brien, a First Team ECIC Division I all-star, was also chosen as the team’s MVP. He was also the recipient of the White Letter Award, an honor given to a player who excels in a sport and the classroom, and is a good citizen in the school.

O’Brien will not be playing baseball in college but will be attending the University of Kentucky.

Joe Battaglia — Infield Williamsville North

Senior shortstop Joe Battaglia contributed a lot on and off the field for Williamsville North, which reached the Section VI Class AA title game for the past two years.

“He was a huge part of our team for two years,” North coach Max Zimmerman said. “In addition to being a two-year shortstop and one of our top three hitters, I liked how he carried himself off the field. He was always the guy who stayed late and made sure all of the equipment was put away or carried the baseballs to the field. It’s stuff that the best players on the team do not usually find themselves doing.”

Battaglia batted second in the lineup and led the Spartans in almost every offensive category, including plate appearances (79), at-bats (56), batting average (.393), doubles (9), home runs (2), runs (22), on-base percentage (.557), slugging percentage (.661), and walks (18). He also tied for the lead in hits (22) and RBIs (16).

A team captain, Battaglia was also named a First Team ECIC Division I all-star.

Battaglia plans on walking onto the Niagara University baseball team where his older brother, Peter, recently completed his sophomore year.

To prepare for college baseball, he is playing in the summer for the Olean Oilers in the New York Collegiate Baseball League.

Ben Damiani — Infield Lancaster

Like his teammate, Ryan Mansell, Lancaster senior third baseman Ben Damiani did anything to help the Legends win.

“Ben is a very intense, fierce competitor,” Dalfonso said. “He’s hard on himself, but that is because he wants to win at all costs.”

In 12 league games and another four postseason games, Damiani batted .423 with 22 RBIs, five doubles, two home runs, scored 24 runs and also posted a .635 slugging percentage.

A two-year starter, Damiani’s best games were regular season contests against West Seneca West (two hits, five RBIs); Jamestown (three hits, four RBIs); and Frontier (three hits, four RBIs).

Damiani, a First Team ECIC I all-star, earned Second Team All-Bee honors last year.

Damiani will be playing football at Brockport State College.

Ryan Voight — Catcher Lancaster

Ryan Voight rarely saw the field as a junior for the Legends, but a ton of offseason work resulted in a great senior year.

“I would constantly see him working on his skills with his dad at our batting facility at Westwood Park in Lancaster to become the best player that he could possibly be,” Dalfonso said. “His goal was to be a huge asset to the team, and he was.”

In 12 league games and four postseason games, Voight batted .463, tallied 10 doubles, two home runs and 24 RBIs, and scored 17 runs.

In the Legends’ 15-6 win over Williamsville North in the Section VI Class AA final, Voight tallied three hits, including two doubles, tallied an RBI and scored two runs.

Voight was nearly perfect behind the plate, missing one passed ball for the entire season.

“He took pride in that,” Dalfonso said. “Not many guys attempted to steal on him.”

Voight, a First Team ECIC I all-star, also won the team’s character athlete award.

Voight will be playing baseball next year at Brockport State College.

Joe Mack — Designated hitter, Williamsville East

Joe Mack makes his return to the First Team after a tremendous freshman season.

Mack, who received 16 of a possible 22 votes, hit .483 with a team-high six home runs to go along with 26 RBIs, 25 runs and an .883 slugging percentage. He was also walked 22 times.

“He was a threat every time he came to the plate,” East coach Jerry Gasz said.

Mack, a starter since the seventh grade, has already been penciled in as next year’s starting catcher.

“I think the sky is the limit for him,” Gasz said. “He’s my key player for next year. Before he leaves East, I think he might be the best catcher to play the position.”

email: pnagy@beenews.com

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