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ESG Day Three: Western softball, girls hockey win gold; golden sweep for volleyball

Hello from Day Three of the Empire State Games, where I'll keep you updated with some action early in the day along with my travels.

12:50 p.m. Western softball will play Long Island for the gold -- but the game has been moved up from 3 p.m. to 1:30 at the Audubon Recreation Complex due to poor weather forecast for this evening.

In baseball, the games have been moved up as well. The bronze medal game will start immediately after the 1 p.m. game between Western and Central; with the gold medal game (originally scheduled for 7 p.m.) starting immediately after the bronze.

If Western wins, it plays for gold; if not I believe they are headed for the bronze game. 

It's a good move by Games officials because of the poor forecast later in the day, when showers are supposed to move in.

12:55 p.m. The Western women's hockey team beat Adirondack, 7-0, this morning and will playing for an undefeated round-robin record and a gold medal when it faces Long Island at 6:30 p.m. at Audubon.

Long Island is also undefeated, although it has two wins and two ties. Western is 4-0. By points, I think LI could win the gold on a tiebreaker if it beat Western because it would have beaten them head-to-head. No matter what, it should be a great finishing game.

3:34 p.m. After a lot of running around, some big news.

WESTERN SOFTBALL WINS THE GOLD MEDAL with a 3-0 victory over Long Island. Lindsay (Garbacz) Morris pitched the shutout while Michelle Fridey had a two-out, two-run single in the top of the seventh for some big insurance runs. I'll have video posted soon hopefully.

Western baseball, however, will play for bronze after falling to Central, 2-1, in eight innings.

6:32 p.m. We're back after a stop in the media center and some major coordinating with our ESG team -- we're at Alumni Arena for the finales in volleyball.

7 p.m. WESTERN WOMEN'S OPEN VOLLEYBALL WINS THE GOLD, beating Central in four games. It's the first of four finals in which Western can win gold. Western won, 25-23, 22-25, 25-19, 25-14. In the fourth game, Western was just too much for a Central team that seemed to run out of gas.

7:19 p.m. Make it two-for-two for Western. MEN'S SCHOLASTIC VOLLEYBALL HAS WON GOLD. It won the first game in a marathon but didn't have as much drama in the next two in a 30-28, 25-18, 25-20 victory over Long Island.

A report from photographer Jim McCoy, who I couldn't hear too well on the phone: Western and Long Island are tied in the final women's hockey game.

7:38 p.m. The women's scholastic final has just started as top-seeded Western takes on Long Island. The men's open final follows with Western, the second seed entering today's playoff round, meeting Adirondack.

8:10 p.m. Long Island making an early statement in the women's scholastic game. LI took the first game, 27-25, and went up, 9-1, to start the second. Only twice in the history of Games volleyball, which goes back to the first Games in 1978, has a region other than Western or Long Island won the gold, and it hasn't happened in 28 years (Hudson Valley won 1980 and 82).

8:24 p.m. The second-longest team gold-medal streak is definitely in jeopardy -- Long Island won the second game, 25-16. Western has won seven straight golds.

8:30 p.m. Word passed along from a friendly media coworker. WESTERN WOMEN'S HOCKEY HAS WON GOLD after scoring two late goals against Long Island.

8:48 p.m. Things are tightening up here -- Western wins the third game, 25-18, to cut the Long Island lead to 2-1. One important thing to note: If Long Island wins this match, there is an additional game to determine the gold because Long Island came out of the loser's bracket of today's playoffs.

9:08 p.m. Western has tied it up. Great effort to even things up at 2-2 with a 25-14 victory in which Western was in control from the start.

9:24 p.m. Western got off to a 5-1 start before the match was delayed at least five minutes, maybe 10, when Long Island protested a call. A committee was formed, a player had to sign a paper, I couldn't believe it. It was like filing an accident report with the cops. Western keeps rolling -- it is up, 10-3, in a game that will go to 15.

9:32 p.m. WESTERN WOMEN'S SCHOLASTIC VOLLEYBALL HAS WON GOLD. The home team lived up to their sing-song-ing with a 15-10 victory in the fifth and deciding game. Quite a comeback for Western. Fun stuff to watch, as it always is here on ESG Saturday.

10:59 p.m. Back from interviews and writing my story for first edition -- without the men's open game. Talk about some serious hitting in this one. Whoa. Western won the first game, 25-21, and the second, 25-22.

11:22 p.m. WESTERN MEN'S OPEN VOLLEYBALL HAS WON GOLD after a 25-21, 25-22, 25-14 victory over Adirondack. 

The victory gives Western a sweep of the volleyball medals for the first time since it accomplished the feat in 2002. Western also won all four in 1993.

12:20 a.m. Back at the media center after redoing the end to the volleyball story. Found out that astoundingly the women's open basketball had a four-way tie for first place and that Western will play for gold after winning some sort of a mini-game. Wow.

See you tomorrow for end of the Games.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschool     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

tagged

Baseball | Empire State Games | Hockey | Softball | Volleyball
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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN | kmcshea@buffnews.com

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