Section V baseball records: The most breakable and the untouchable

Livonia’s Reid VanScoter. (Photo: SUE KANE)

By BILLY HEYEN

Section V baseball remains on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state tournament has already been canceled. In its absence, it’s a good time to look at some Section V history.

The Section V baseball record book, which can be found here, contains a bevy of records set by local high school athletes through the years. One of the best parts of records is the fact that, if someone exceptional comes along, they can be broken (well, except for a 0.00 ERA you’ll notice below).

This is a look at many of Section V baseball’s records, along with some added historical context and analysis of whether the record is likely to be broken or more likely to never be touched.

Single game records

Most home runs

Number of home runsPlayerSchoolDate
3Dom MussoGananda5/14/13
2Logan VeleyAttica4/6/17
2Cito CulverIrondequoit2010

These are the only players listed in the Section V record book for single-game home runs, but there are certainly more players who have hit two homers in a single game, including Section V’s all-time HR leader Conner Simonetti. But it’s Musso along with three that could be a lot tougher feat to match or even top.

In Major League Baseball history, 18 players have hit four home runs in a single game. Because high school games are only seven innings, that makes the odds even lower of a Section V hitter doing so. The right power hitter could probably match Musso eventually with the three in a game, but it seems unlikely that any Section V hitter would ever hit a fourth unless extra innings played a part.

Most RBI

Number of RBIPlayerSchoolDate
13Mike BowerHolley1985
12Steve NewmanRush-Henrietta2001
10Shane ChesnesMt. Morris2006
9Cito CulverIrondequoit2010
9Logan ValeyAttica2016
9Tony CirincioneCanandaigua2004

Bower’s record is one of the longest-standing in the Section V baseball record book, and for good reason — 13 RBI is a ton. In any given at bat, the most available to a hitter is four, so it takes at least four trips to the plate to drive in 13. In a game where one team is bashing the other, it’s likely that players up and down the lineup are doing the driving in, rarely leaving the bases juiced for one player a number of times.

Only one hitter, Newman, has come within even an RBI of matching Bower in the 35 years since the record. While a counting total like RBI will never be totally untouchable because baseball has no clock, Bower’s record feels like one of the safer ones in the book.

Most Hit By Pitch

Number of HBPPlayerSchoolDate
4Ryan JuergensHilton2013
4Joe GouldmanGeneseo2008
4Brian LarkenLyndonville2007

Potentially the most painful record in the book is held by three players from the past 15 years. It’s certainly not an impossible task to break it — a team would need to score a lot of runs, and one player would have to have some unfortunate luck and a willingness to not flinch. 

Of course, maybe the the fourth hit by pitch a batter would do anything to get out of the way instead of wearing a fifth.

And here’s a bonus hit by pitch record for you: Pittsford Sutherland’s Aaron Freida was hit by pitch in 14 consecutive games in 2010. Ouch.

Most strikeouts (7-inning game)

Number of strikeoutsPlayerSchoolDate
22Nate KuchtaVictor2000
21Ryan EckelHammondsport4/17/13
21Bob TolandCaledona-Mumford4/5/05
21Scott EvinghamRichburg1986
21Reid VanScoterLivonia2017

Kuchta struck out batters for all 21 of his outs in a no-hitter win for Victor, and one of those got away on a dropped third strike. That gave him the opportunity for the the rare four-strikeout inning and one of Section V’s most impressive records.

Because of modern pitch count rules, it’d be very hard for a player to reach Kuchta’s mark. Only allowed to throw 105 pitches in the regular season, compiling so many outs via punchout pushes the pitch count up in a hurry. The best chance would be in a postseason game, where the pitch count allowed is 125. Even then, the odds of a dropped third strike in the middle of the dominance are so low. Kuchta’s record might be safe.

In an 11-inning game in 1953, Arkport’s Dean Piatt struck out 25 batters. That’ll never happen with modern pitch count rules, so Piatt’s overall single-game Section V strikeout record is safe as can be.

Single season records

Most hits

Number of hitsPlayerSchoolYear
59Ben WardHoneoye2008
58Marcus WayHoneoye2007
57Jerry TregeaNorthstar2004
52Cody DixLyndonville2009
52Chris RoederVictor2009
52Brett MattesonWhitesville1999

Something was in the Honeoye water in the late ’00s. Way must’ve felt pretty good about breaking the Section V single-season hits record in 2007, only to have Ward come out the next year and pass by Way in the same colors. 

This isn’t an unbreakable record, but it would require a prolific season on a good team. Let’s do some math. If a team plays 25 games in a state final four run, and a player gets four at bats a game on a strong offensive team, that’s 100 at bats in a season. To reach 60 hits would require a .600 batting average. Most good hitters would be pitched around and walked, thus limiting their overall at bats and requiring an even higher ratio of hits.

Ward also holds the Section V single-season runs record from that same 2008 season, scoring 55 runs that year. He went on to play at Finger Lakes Community College and St. John Fisher College. Way’s historic 2007 also saw him tally 58 RBIs, a Section V record. Way was walked a record 36 times the next season to prevent that kind of damage again.

Most doubles

Number of doublesPlayerSchoolYear
20Mike HackettPavilion2008
19Andrew BaileyHoneoye Falls-Lima2015
18Robbie GilesDeSales2007
18Chris ReganWellsville2001
17Cody DixLyondville2008

An average high school baseball season will last about 20 games, which means that a player would need about a double per game to beat Hackett’s record. That’s certainly not impossible for a good high school hitter.

You could make the case that speed would help a player break this record because there’d be singles stretched into doubles, but speed could also mean doubles stretched to triples. Bailey, the most-recent challenger to Hackett, was a power hitter without immense speed.

Hackett went on to play baseball at Genesee Community College and then Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia.

Most triples

Number of triplesPlayerSchoolYear
16Alex OrtizEast2009
12Marcus WayHoneoye2007
11Tim PenniseHammondsport1995

No player in Section V has yet to average a triple per game for a full season, but Ortiz got pretty close in 2009. Ortiz actually ranks one triple shy of the national record, according to the NHFS record book. 

For a player to break this record, he’d need blazing speed and the green light to try to turn a double into three at every opportunity. He’d also just need a lot of hits, as Way shows with his second place spot on the list the same season he set the then-section single-season hits record. 

Most home runs

Number of home runsPlayerSchoolYear
11Mike ZaccardoIrondequoit2003
10Conner SimonettiFairport2011
10Rob SchroederEast Rochester2001
10Sam AruckRed Jacket2001
9Cito CulverIrondequoit2010
9Conner SimonettiFairport2013

The trickiest part about breaking this record isn’t necessarily the raw number of home runs. It’s not like Zaccardo stands way above the pack by himself. Other players have approached his mark. No, the trickiest part is that once you’re a known commodity as a home run hitter, high school pitchers will want nothing to do with you.

Take Simonetti, for example. He hit his 10 home runs as a sophomore. That meant as a junior and senior, he rarely saw pitches on the inner half and often didn’t even see strikes. Simonetti still hit nine out as a senior, but if a player can sneak up for seven or eight early in a season before people know his name, that might be his best chance. 

Highest batting average

Batting averagePlayerSchoolYear
.719Aleric StewartFriendship2016
.668Kyle MorrisonCanaseraga2006
.664Marcus WayHoneoye2007
.661David KephartAndover2005
.641Mitchell HaleOakfield-Alabama2015

Hitting a baseball isn’t easy. Even on the occasions a hitter squares the ball up, it might be hit right at a fielder. So to get a hit in nearly three-quarters of your at bats, as Stewart did in 2016, is remarkable no matter the level of competition. It also might seem untouchable due to the gap of 49 points to the next closest player. 

All it takes to make up that gap is a bit of luck, though, four or five more bloopers and bad hops combining to aid a hitter’s average. But to even get in range, a hitter has to go 3-for-4 or 3-for-5 basically every game of the season. Going 2-for-4 each game would be a standout season and be nowhere close to the top of this table. So a hitter could do it, sure, especially an uber-talented hitter at a small school, like these five are. But it would still require an extra heaping of luck.

Believe it or not, Stewart went on to play soccer at Finger Lakes Community College, not baseball. He hit .719 in his senior year. Talk about going out of baseball on top.

Most stolen bases

Number of stolen basesPlayerSchoolYear
52Frankie SantiagoFranklin2016
51Adam EndersBelfast2018
48Hunter WilliamsRed Jacket2019
45Tom CanaryGeneseo2006
45David KephartAndover2004
45Jason SwanLyons1992

The top three stolen base seasons in Section V history have all happened in the last five years. Even as the major leagues have gone away from the stolen base, there’ve been a few players locally tearing up the base paths. 

For the Section V player looking to break this mark, it obviously starts with speed and strong base-running savvy. But the most important part is to get on base, because as the famous saying goes, you can’t steal first base. Once on, it requires at least a steal nearly every time, and the occasional steal of third after a double or an immediately preceding steal. It’d also help the player’s cause to be the leadoff hitter, maximizing times on base without a lead runner ahead of him.

Swan’s record stood atop (or tied at the top) the books for 24 years, but with the recent activity passing that 45-steal mark, Santiago might have company soon.

Most innings pitched

Innings pitchedPlayerSchoolYear
123 2/3Koby HahnArkport2005
107 1/3Adam VossFillmore2002
106 2/3Dave JoslinPrattsburgh1978
106 2/3Jason RuckerEast Rochester1993
104Ben TependinoCanandaigua1995

Hahn might have the two most untouchable records in Section V with this and his 222 strikeouts in the 2005 season. As long as pitch count rules and rest days stay in effect (which weren’t on the books when any of the above pitched), 123 2/3 innings is basically impossible to reach. If a starter pitches seven innings each in 15 games, which is basically impossible due to the rest rules, that’d still only be 105 innings.

It’s remarkable, too, that Hahn struck out 12.7 batters per seven innings even in working so many innings. No Section V pitcher will ever be that dominant in that many innings again. Hahn also threw the most career innings in Section V history, with 278.

Hahn is now the athletic director at Arkport after spending a handful of seasons as the Prattsburgh head coach.

Among the other names above, Rucker is the single-season wins record holder, with 15 in that 1993 season. Again, due to pitch count and rest rules, it’s unlikely any pitcher would throw often enough to match that mark. Reid VanScoter most recently won 13 games in 2015 for Livonia.

Lowest ERA

Earned Run AveragePlayerSchoolYear
0.00Cito CulverIrondequoit2010
0.15Ryan HouseHammondsport2009
0.16Ben KellyGeneseo2013
0.21Brian DupraGreece Athena2007
0.21Jimmy CannonAndover1963
0.23Reid VanScoterLivonia2016

Well, if you’re looking for the most unbreakable record in Section V, this is technically it. No one will ever have a better season ERA than 0.00. Culver was a first-round pick for the Yankees out of high school and probably could’ve been a pitcher in pro ball instead of a shortstop. His name shows up in a couple of the hitting records, too, after he put together an astounding senior season.

Someone could come along and match Culver, and there’s no complicated math. You just can’t give up any earned runs all season. But no one will ever beat him.

Most saves

Number of savesPlayerSchoolYear
8Jack FinnertyGreece Arcadia2010
7Tom McWilliamsCanandaigua1987
6Jim CoyneCanandaigua2000
5Dakota StackhouseWarsaw2010
5Mason PutnamPrattsburgh2017

This is a record that could be broken, but it would require a couple of specific circumstances. You’d first need a pitcher that made sense to use almost exclusively in a relief role. That’s the only way to circumnavigate the rest rules enough to tally nine or more saves. In addition, the pitcher needs to be on a team good enough to win double-digit games but not good enough to blow everyone out. 

As the public worries more and more about the health of young arms, a team could come along with a stacked pitching staff that decides to specialize and put someone in a closer role enough to break Finnerty’s mark.

Putnam’s name might sound familiar. He’s second in all-time scoring in Section V boys basketball history.

Most no-hitters

Number of no-hittersPlayerSchoolYear
5Billy RouseRush-Henrietta1960
3Jon CarpenterPrattsburgh1994
3Rich HuffDundee1958
3Ron MaplesLyndonville1955
3Larry RussellNunda1953
3Roger SawyerMt. Morris1952

There are recent Section V pitchers who have shown the dominance to flirt with no-hitters. VanScoter had a two no-hitter season. Canandaigua’s Michael Sculli and Cooper Crunick each threw two no-hitters in 2019. But reaching or passing five is another level, and Rouse’s record is probably safe.

Especially with rest day rules limiting starters to probably a max of 13 starts in a season, the odds of more than a third of those being no-nos isn’t too high. But hey, if Hunter Walsh can throw a state championship no-hitter, anything is possible.

Career records

Most hits

Number of hitsPlayerSchoolYears
195Tommy WagnerVictor2009-2013
183Cody DixLyndonville2007-2010
180Mike HackettPavilion2004-2008
172Jerry TregeaNorthstar2001-2004
167Marcus WayHoneoye2005-2008

For Wagner to do what he did at a large school like Victor might never be replicated, at least how he did it. He made the varsity team in eighth grade and earned numerous accolades from his freshman year on. That is probably the blueprint if anyone wants to break his record, though, almost surely needing to start in middle school.

Wagner went on to play at Cornell for four years. His hit total ranks second in New York state history, and he made Pickin’ Splinters’ all-decade team. Wagner also ranks third in Section V history in career runs scored and fourth in career doubles.

Most doubles

Number of doublesPlayerSchoolYears
63Cody DixLyndonville2007-2010
56Cito CulverIrondequoit2006-2010
55Mike HackettPavilion2004-2008
54Tommy WagnerVictor2009-2013
45Robbie GillesGeneva DeSales2005-2008

Dix has a case as the best hitting small-school catcher in Section V history when you look at the numbers. He made first-team all-state his senior year, stole 90 bases in his career and threw out 70 runners on the base paths, according to orleanshub.com.

Considering the Section V single-season doubles record is Hackett’s 20, a player would surely have to play four varsity seasons to break Dix’s record. It could be done, though, by the right combination of power and consistency.

Most triples

Number of triplesPlayerSchoolYears
27Alex OrtizEast2009-2010
26Marcus WayHoneoye2005-2008
17Mike PrattNotre Dame-Batavia2008-2011
17Steve NardozziVictor1995-1998

Hitting a Section V-record 16 triples in 2009 set Ortiz up for this record, but it’s still remarkable that he achieved this mark in just two seasons. Anyone with a chance to break the record would much more likely play the four varsity seasons of the other thre names on this list.

This exercise has also shown how outstanding Way’s high school career was. He’s all over these record books. And he did all right for himself after high school, too, going on to compete as a two-way player at Harvard. He’s now a software engineer for WHOOP, a fitness company.

Most home runs

Number of home runsPlayerSchoolYears
25Conner SimonettiFairport2011-2013
21Todd NicholsPavilion1998-2002
20Dusty OdenbachMcQuaid2003-2006
20Rob SchroederEast Rochester1998-2001
19Bryan SanchezCanandaigua1997-1999

Simonetti’s 10 home run season as a sophomore and six more homers as a junior put him in range to break this record, which he did comfortably with nine more bombs in his senior year. It’s not a mark totally out of reach, though. 

The most likely breaker would be someone who plays four varsity seasons, hits five or six as a freshman and then picks it up from there. The potentially lost 2020 spring prevents current juniors like Casey Saucke II and Gage Ziehl from raking for two more years and challenging Simonetti, but there’ll be more early standouts like them who can give this chase a shot.

Most RBI

Number of RBIPlayerSchoolYears
168Ed MarchandFinney2005-2009
159Marcus WayHoneoye2005-2008
139Cody DixLyndonville2007-2010
137Tommy WagnerVictor2009-2013
125Jared PyleFinney2001-2004

It’s rare that a hitter is at the heart of a powerhouse varsity order for four-plus seasons, and that’s really the recipe for challenging Marchand’s mark. There’s also some element of luck to RBI opportunities, because your teammates need to be on base but not driven in by the guy before the record-chaser. 

Way could’ve challenged Marchand with another season like the record 58 he had in his junior year, but he didn’t match that as opponents pitched around him. Just as with the other power stats, a hitter’s best chance would be racking up a ton of RBIs before every team knows not to give him anything to hit.

Highest batting average

Batting averagePlayerSchoolYears
.619Aleric StewartFriendship2013-2016
.545David KephartAndover2002-2005
.540Cito CulverIrondequoit2006-2010
.538Cody DixLyndonville2007-2010
.534Marcus WayHoneoye2005-2008

Breaking this record would be helped in large part by hitting at or better than the .719 Stewart hit in the 2016 season. Almost inevitably based on the luck of short seasons, a hitter won’t hit the same .600 for four years in-a-row. There’s always going to be some fluctuation. So one absurd season surrounded by three extremely good ones, batting average-wise, is the best chance anyone has of beating Stewart’s mark.

As shown by the wide gap between Stewart and the next closest hitter, however, Stewart’s record could be pretty safe.

Most stolen bases

Number of stolen basesPlayerSchoolYears
171Adam EndersBelfast2015-2019
124Frankie SantiagoFranklin2015-2018
118Justin NueDundee2012-2015
109John BrabonLyndonville2008-2010
106Anthony RiosEast2002-2005

Enders also scored more than 2,000 points in his high school basketball career and is Section V’s all-time leading goal scorer in boys soccer. Talk about a three-sport athlete!

Santiago stole 52 bases in 2016 and had the best chance of keeping up with Enders as they played at the same time, but Enders just pulled away from the field to steal 47 more bases than anyone else. Just looking at that gap, it’d take quite the base-stealing career to catch up to Enders.

Most strikeouts

Number of strikeoutsPlayerSchoolYears
548Alec CarneyWebster Christian2002-2006
531Bob RossiCorning West1969-1972
499Koby HahnArkport2004-2007
452Brian PullyblankCaledonia-Mumford2002-2005
429Jim DaleKeshequa2001-2004

Another counting pitching stat that probably has a safe record due to modern pitch count and rest rules. That means that Carney could remain at the top of this chart for the forseeable future. Under modern rules, a player would probably have to pitch at the varsity level for five or six seasons while striking out batters at a good rate to have any chance here.

Carney went on to play collegiately at Webster Christian. Also of note: Rossi’s performance at Corning West made him a 32nd round selection out of high school by the Cleveland Indians, but he didn’t compete at the professional level.

Lowest ERA

Earned run averagePlayerSchoolYears
0.45Jameson MoranGeneseo2014-2015
0.63Reid VanScoterLivonia2014-2017
0.82Adam EndersBelfast2015-2019
0.84Jon SchmittBolivar-Richburg1999-2002
1.07Mike RossiBath2006-2009
1.07Andy ThonVictor2000-2001

There’s Enders again, showing his prowess as not only a three-sport high school athlete but a two-way baseball player. But it’s Moran’s two standout seasons for Geneseo that hold down this record. The Blue Devils claimed a 2015 sectional title with Moran leading the way.

Of course, this record could be broken. Most likely, a player would pitch only a couple of seasons on varsity, because the earlier in a career and the longer a pitcher goes, the more likely a couple bad outings ruin his chances.  

Most no-hitters

Number of no-hittersPlayerSchoolYears
8Ron MapesLyndonville1952-1955
7Billy RouseRush-Henrietta1960-1962
311 tied with three no-hittersN/AN/A

If someone comes along and challenges Mapes and Rouse at the top of this chart, it’ll be the most must-see pitcher in Section V’s social media era. The Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan only threw seven no-hitters in a lengthy big league career. Mapes threw his eight in four much shorter varsity seasons. Obviously, that’s ignoring the level of competition, but it’s a crazy ratio of no-hitters. 

The most recent Section V pitcher to throw three no-nos is Livonia’s VanScoter.

Bonus: Hitting streaks

Consecutive games with a hitPlayerSchoolYears
34Andrew ScolaroCampbell-Savona2002-2003
29Mike HackettPavilion2005-2006
28Ryne WightBoliver-Richburg2000-2001
27Travis FenstermakerLeRoy2008-2009
27Shane MarshallWebster Schroeder2015-2016

The toughest part about a hitting streak of this length at the high school level is that it has to take place across two seasons. All sorts of things can happen in the offseason, from a change in fitness to a loss of rhythm. That’s what makes Scolaro’s standing alone five games clear of his competition a mark that could be tough to beat. 

Of course, a fast and strong hitter could come along that puts it all together in basically every game for two-straight seasons and flies by Scolaro. Hitting streaks are one of baseball’s quirkiest stats, in that a play could tally only one hit in 50-straight games and be a legend while only hitting .250 if he averages four at bats per game. But they’re fun, and it’d be riveting to have a Section V player make a run at this record. 

Bonus: Nick Anderson’s pickoffs

Want one more record that won’t be broken? Nick Anderson picked off 62 runners in his career for Wellsville. He had one season with 22 pickoffs and another with 21. You think runners would’ve figured it out at some point.

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