Four Section VI teams and a ton of Section VI track and field athletes will by vying for state championships Saturday.
While Vestal High School hosts the state championships in track and field starting today (see leonetiming.com and armorytrack.com), four local teams will try to win state titles on Saturday and we'll have updates here on the blog.
I'll start my day at Tonawanda baseball's semifinal -- I'll have live updates from that game while I'll be passing on live updates from the Frewsburg semifinal as well as from the Clarence and Olean softball games at Waterloo thanks to correspondent Nate Buetel.
Today is the first school day in a longggg time on which there isn't any high school action scheduled -- which means we must be near the end of the season.
We are -- high school action in New York State wraps up this weekend.
We still have plenty to talk about in what will be our final live chat of the 2009-10 high school sports season, whether it is looking back on quite a school year, quite a spring season, or looking ahead to the state championship chances of the Clarence and Olean softball teams and the Tonawanda and Frewsburg baseball teams as well as local athletes heading to the state championships in track and field and golf.
As always, anything in the world of high school sports or our coverage of it is up for discussion. See you tonight.
If you won't be around for the chat, feel free to ask some questions in the comments section below and we'll throw them out during the session.
It's a busy day for Western New York baseball teams.
We've just gotten Tonawanda on the phone to confirm the Warriors' 2-1 victory over Wellsville in the Class B Far West Regionals at Dansville. Tonawanda advances to the state final four Saturday in the Binghamton area.
Correspondent Ben Gaughan reports from Batavia that Frewsburg has beaten Caledonia-Mumford, 3-0, in the Class C regional.
Clarence's season came to an end in Batavia as the Red Devils fell, 3-1, to McQuaid.
Correspondent Amanda Bremer reports that Pine Valley lost to Bolivar-Richburg, 5-1, in the Class D regional at Coca-Cola Field, where the Class A game was scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m.
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Update at 11:24 p.m. Albion falls, 6-2, to Pittsford-Sutherland in the Class A game.
I'll be live at the Section VI boys lacrosse championships this afternoon and evening at Orchard Park. I'll be getting updates from the baseball and softball action as well.
The Class A game starts the tripleheader at 3:30 p.m. as defending champion Orchard Park meets Clarence. Up in Niagara Falls, Clarence is also in action in the highly anticipated AA softball final against Williamsville North.
The rest of the boys lax action includes defending champion Hamburg meeting Amherst at 5:30 in the B final and top-seeded Eden facing defending champion Silver Creek in Class C at 8.
The Class A softball final has Williamsville South playing Amherst at 6 p.m. at Niagara Falls while the Class D baseball final at Jamestown has Pine Valley meeting North Collins at 4:30 p.m. The Georgetown Cup championship series will be set today when St. Francis faces St. Mary's in a game at St. Joe's that was postponed from Thursday.
We'll update as soon as it is possible -- just hit refresh once every couple of minutes.
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3:52 p.m.After the FIRST QUARTER of the AA game, Orchard Park has a 4-1 lead. A few technical difficulties at the start here; my apologies. The OP field is new, but not the press box, but we have a seat and somewhere to type, and I can see all the action -- if I move my head back and forth around the .
A report from correspondent Nate Beutel at softball in Niagara Falls - Clarence took a 2-0 lead over Will North after two innings.
4:06 p.m. OP is having a nice run to take a 7-1 lead with 4:14 left in the second quarter, prompting a timeout by Clarence.
A good timeout after a very pretty goal by OP, which came just 13 seconds after senior Kevin Kelly scored off an assist by senior Sean Purtill. On the ensuing faceoff, junior Trevor Vargo won it, fed sophomore longstick middie Kole Robinson, who handed ahead to Purtill, who fed Vargo in front of the cage for the goal with 4:14 left.
4:09 p.m. OP now up, 8-1, after a great solo underhanded effort by Matt Wilson -- his third of the game -- after he charged from behind the cage.
4:13 p.m. We are at HALFTIME of the Class A game and OP leads Clarence, 8-1.
4:17 p.m. Update from Niagara Falls: CLARENCE BEATS WILL NORTH IN THE CLASS A SOFTBALL FINAL, 2-0, on a one-hitter by senior standout pitcher Jen Sansano. I set up a separate post for the game for comments.
4:29 p.m. OP's lead is now 9-1 after another pretty passing play that started with a ground ball by junior defenseman Cullen Mangino -- who scooped it up and cleared it across midfield himself. He moved deep into the offensive end and then started a tic-tac-toe play with a pass to the right side of the cage to Purtill, who fed cross-cage to wide-open sophomore Ben Johnson for an easy score with 8:54 left in the third quarter.
4:35 p.m. OP now up, 10-2, answering a Clarence goal by junior David DeCirce with yet another pretty passing play in transition. A great stick-check by Mangino on the defensive end became a clear that went from Mangino to Gary Davies to senior middie Dan Nesci, who fed Purtill on the right side, who fed back into the high slot (hockey term) to Sean Rimmer for a liner he put past Clarence junior goalie Zach Johnson.
4:40 p.m. Timeout with 2:06 left and OP owning its 10-2 lead.
5:01 p.m. After some frustrating browser/connection problems, we're back. Our apologies. OP's lead is 14-4 after a goal by junior middie Peter Biondi with 3:01 left in the game.
5:05 p.m. OP now up 15-4 with 2:03 left after a goal by junior Brian Kaspzyk.
5:09 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE and we have a CLASS A CHAMPION. Orchard Park beats Clarence, 15-5, for its 16th straight sectional title and 19th in the last 20 years.
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5:46 p.m. We're about to start the Class B game. At the start of warmups, while I was doing interviews at the sideline, the Hamburg and Amherst teams did some serious woofing across the midfield line -- very reminiscient of college football pregame woof-fests. Everyone stayed on their side of the line, so just some good, clean (loud) fun.
5:48 p.m. First possession for Hamburg but two shots go wide and Amherst hears the ball back on the backup.
5:52 p.m. Adam Dings makes it a 1-0 Hamburg lead on a nice leaping bounce shot with 6:48 left in the first quarter.
5:55 p.m. Hamburg goes up, 2-0, on a similar move as Andy Velazquez comes from the right side across the middle and fights off a defender as he gets his scoring shot off.
6:01 p.m. Timeout Hamburg with the ball with 19 seconds left in the first quarter.
6:03 p.m. We are at the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER and Hamburg leads Amherst, 2-0.
6:21 p.m. We're still at 2-0 Hamburg; the teams have exchanged extra-man opportunities, turnovers and hits but no goals.
6:22 p.m. As soon as I type that, Hamburg's Josh Kerr scores off a feed from Ryan Feuerstein -- which came off what the press box says was the 13th turnover by Amherst. The goal was at 4:14 left in the quarter.
6:23 p.m. Thirty seconds later, at 3:47, Max Maxwell comes from behind the goal, beats a defender and scores on a low shot for a 4-0 Hamburg lead and prompts a timeout by Amherst coach Stefan Henn.
6:26 p.m. Timeout Hamburg with 2:37 left in the second quarter.
6:29 p.m. Hamburg adds another. After a save by Amherst goalie Scott Theilman, Josh Kerr picks up a ground ball on the left side and fires it in the top right corner for a 5-0 lead with 1:48 left in the second.
6:32 p.m. Hamburg's late surge in the second was pretty good, but Ryan Feuerstein made it outstanding. With the clock ticking down, he came from behind the right side of the goal and whipped around a shot that went in the goal with just one second left in the half. Hamburg leads, 6-0, with :01 left, which means ...
We are at HALFTIME and Hamburg leads Amherst, 6-0.
6:37 p.m. Update from Niagara Falls in SOFTBALL: Amherst leads Williamsville South, 2-0, after three innings of the Class A final.
6:44 p.m. We have an update from BASEBALL: Pine Valley beats North Collins, 6-0, to win the SECTION VI CLASS D CHAMPIONSHIP.
6:46 p.m. We have started the third quarter. Hamburg senior goalie James Maxwell just made a nice one-on-one stop at the left doorstep on Amherst senior Bryan Lawson.
6:53 p.m. Hamburg scores on a pretty goal by Josh Kerry from Ryan Feuerstein with six minutes left; Amherst scores on its next possession thanks to senior Jack Huck; Hamburg, 7-1, with 5:35 left in the third.
6:55 p.m. Hamburg goes up, 8-1, with four minutes left on a nice rush from behind the right side of the goal by freshman Max Maxwell.
7:01 p.m. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, Hamburg leads Amherst, 8-1.
7:08 p.m. Hamburg goes up, 9-1, with 7:00 left on a goal by Chris Feuerstein, who dodged past a double-team and scored from the right side.
The Hamburg fans were cheering on their defense, which has been outstanding all game. Amherst has had long possessions, but excellent checks have limited the Tigers to a few fairly easy shots saved by James Maxwell.
7:14 p.m. Timeout with 4:50 left and Hamburg up, 9-1.
7:20 p.m. Timeout Hamburg with 1:13 left; still a 9-1 game.
7:23 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE and we have a CLASS B CHAMPION. Hamburg beats Amherst, 9-1, for its fourth straight sectional title.
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7:54 p.m. We have a SOFTBALL update. AMHERST WINS THE CLASS A CHAMPIONSHIP. Tigers beat Will South, 3-1.
7:55 p.m. A couple minutes away from the start of the C game between defending champion Silver Creek and top-seeded Eden. Skies are greying but hopefully we don't get in any rain trouble.
8:07 p.m. Silver Creek takes a 2-1 lead on a Levi Jones goal off a nice John Jimerson pass with 8:59 left in the second quarter -- the Black Knights also scored on the opening faceoff as Zack Williams won it and charged right in for the goal.
The teams split their two meetings this season, with Eden winning on the road,16-12, on April 7 and the Black Knights winning in Eden, 20-9, on May 3.
8:15 p.m. Some big-time back-and-forth going on. Silver Creek is up, 4-3, with 4:21 left on a sweet, low swooping shot by Zed Williams.
8:17 p.m. Like I said, back and forth. Derek Wilder scores off a nice through-the-defense pass by Mike Janker and we're tied at 4-4 with 2:39 left in the first. Looks like we have our best game of the day.
8:23 p.m. At the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER, Eden has a 6-5 lead over Silver Creek. Neither team has had more than a one-goal lead.
8:30 p.m. The wild back-and-forth swings continue with a Silver Creek spurt -- it leads 7-6 with 10:15 left in the second after a hard shot by Ryan Mitchell.
8:33 p.m. Timeout Eden after Zack Williams sheds two shoves in the defensive end, clears it himself and goes in alone to score on a low overhand shot for an 8-6 Silver Creek lead with 8:37 left in the second.
8:35 p.m. The highlight show continues in a major way. Sophmore John Jimerson took a pass on his own side of midfield, sped towards the Eden goal, and as one defender chased him and anothe rdefender approached, he put on the brakes and did a super spin-o-rama move before charging in a few steps and burying a shot in the top left corner. Awesome. Check it out on Time Warner Cable SportsNet this week. SC leads, 9-6, with 8:09 left in the second.
8:50 p.m. We are at HALFTIME and Silver Creek has an 11-7 lead over Eden. What a fun half -- crazy scoring.
Time for me to get some writing done for Saturday's paper.
9:10 p.m. We're back to action, and the teams have kept up their pace with four goals in the opening five minutes. Silver Creek leads, 13-8, with 7:03 left in the third.
9:16 p.m. A slight drizzle started a few minutes ago, and then the officials called for the game to be suspended because lightning was seen in the distance. That's an automatic 30-minute delay. Ordinarily, I'd be a furious reporter right now, but the delay gives me a chance to write my story. I'll let you know of any more details, but we'll be back at 9:46 p.m. at the latest.
It's 13-9 Silver Creek with 3:40 left in the third quarter.
9:44 p.m. A steady downpour has subsided but apparently there has been more lightning during the delay, which has extended the delay. I'm typing a press box atop an empty bleacher.
10:05 p.m. Story is done for the paper and we just saw lightning again -- we've got to be looking at a suspended game that gets finished tomorrow.
10:19 p.m. A blast of thunder and another flash of lightning and ...
Section VI chairman John Faller has notified us that the game will be picked up Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. here at Orchard Park. That's Silver Creek leading, 13-9, with 3:40 left in the third quarter.
10:48 p.m. We've updated our story for tomorrow's paper and we're outta here. After the game was called, there was some serious lightning and thunder accompanied by a serious downpour. All is much calmer now.
Next lacrosse stop is Tuesday night at the regionals.
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Some postgame interview videos:
If you were at any of the games, let us know how it went and what you thought of the action.
I'm running around to different sites this afternoon before tonight's chat -- but the rush-hour traffic in the Northtowns isn't helping.
First stop is Williamsville South softball. Some rain but just a light drizzle.
5:21 p.m. Will South has a 1-0 lead on West Seneca East after four and a half.
Off to Clarence for softball and lacrosse.
5:42 p.m. Arrive at Clarence to see that the home team has an 8-2 lead on Lancaster with less than two minutes left in the second quarter.
Also an update from correspondent Nate Beutel -- West Seneca East beat Williamsville North, 13-9, in the Class B girls lacrosse final.
5:47 p.m. Clarence softball has a 3-1 lead on Niagara-Wheatfield -- whoops, just made it 6-1 with a three-run homer by Tori Nappo in the bottom of the sixth. Val Nappo just added an RBI single for a 7-1 lead.
Well-placed sources here say that Williamsville North is up on Lancaster, 4-1, late in the other AA softall semifinal.
Also, Sean Bruso just texted me that Lancaster has a 6-5 halftime lead over Clarence in the Class A girls lacrosse championship.
6:11 p.m. We have a final score: Clarence beats Niagara-Wheatfield in the AA softball semifinals, 8-3.
6:19 p.m. Over at the lacrosse field (the football field), Clarence has a 9-4 lead heading to the fourth quarter.
Man, Clarence just made it 10-4 while I was typing and not video-ing. Argh. Missed out on some softball stuff too.
6:22 p.m. Now 11-4. Still typing. Ugh.
6:32 p.m. Clarence leads, 13-5, with 3:56 left. And yes, we got some video highlights. Whew.
6:43 p.m. Clarence wins, 13-5. Nice job by the Red Devils to reach their first boys lax final. Good, physical, well-played game from what I saw.
Off to Hamburg.
7:28 p.m. Arrived at Hamburg after a very necessary fuel stop (five diet Cokes to get me through the night).
Hamburg boys have scored four times -- I believe -- while I've been trying to find a parking spot. They just have Iroquois overmatched. Iroquois called a timeout after the fourth goal -- and just after I found a spot.
Also we have some final scores. Lancaster wins it's sixth straight Class A title in girls lacrosse with an 11-9 win over Clarence in what must have been a great game. thanks to correspondent Amanda Bremer and Mr. Bruso for the texts in the last few minutes.
Also, Mr. Bruso confirms a 4-1 softball final victory for Will North.
7:39 p.m. Correspondent Ben Gaughan reports that Albion beat Williamsville South, 5-3, to win the Class A baseball title.
7:49 p.m. The sky darkened big-time and a serious downpour hit Hamburg. They're still playing, but I'm still in the car -- for now.
7:50 p.m. Rain has stopped. Iroquois hanging in there at 4-2 with 3:44 left in second quarter.
8:01 p.m. Awesome goal by Iroquois -- which I caught on video -- late in the quarter makes it just a 4-3 halftime lead for Hamburg. Hmmmmm. Battery running low on iPhone - hope we have enough juice to handle a closer game than most expected.
8:21 p.m. We have a lightning delay - which means we have a 30-minute wait. Hamburg has scored twice to take a 6-3 lead with 3:48 to play in the third quarter.
With the live chat at 9:30ish, I'm going to head back to One News Plaza.
Back in the car. It wasn't raining when the delay was called, but it is now and fans are seeking shelter across the street in the high school. Thunder rumbled often before lightning was seen.
See you in the chat and we'll have all results posted as soon as possible.
8:40 p.m. Wow. Did some work in the car - now we have a torrential downpour with thunder and lightning. Not sure if they'll get to finish tonight.
I'll have video of the stormy weather, too :-)
9:45 p.m. We're back at One News Plaza, fuled with some Subway and up and running with our weekly live chat.
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If you're out at a game, let us know what you saw and what you thought of the action.
As far as spring playoff days go, they don't get much busier -- or more important -- than today.
Which should make for quite the live chat tonight.
I'll be updating the blog with the big games from today and I'll be taking in some of the action myself. Then I'll head back to the office for a chat that I have slated at 9:45 p.m. Depending on my travels (and what I'm reporting on), we might have to push the starting time back a little.
Today's action includes the Class A baseball final, 10 big softball semifinals, the girls lacrosse finals and six boys lacrosse semifinals.
We're live at Niagara Falls' Hyde Park, home of Sal Maglie Stadium, site of three Section VI baseball championship games this week.
Today it is a great matchup between top-seeded Clarence and No. 2 seed and ECIC I rival Orchard Park in the Class AA final at 4:30 p.m. We'll keep track of the action, inning-by-inning.
4:46 p.m. Clarence standout junior pitcher Zach Lauricella pitched a perfect top of the first, striking out two with a weak fly to left sandwiched between them.
4:54 p.m. Clarence threatened in the bottom of the first as it had first and second with one out, but did not score. Leadoff batter Adam Urschel hit a line drive off of the OP pitcher; the third basemen picked the ball up and threw him out on a nice play although it appeared that Urschel beat the throw.
5:03 p.m. This time OP gets on, but we're still scoreless after the top of the second. Paul Leavell and Jimmy Fitzgerald had back-to-back singles after one was out, but Lauricella got a foul pop up by Bryan Lang and struck out Scott Tatay looking for the third out.
5:35 p.m. My apologies for some technical difficulties.
Clarence has a 4-0 lead after three innings thanks to a four-run second. Ben Smith drew a bases-loaded walk, Urschel followed with a sharp two-run single up the middle and, after a strikeout and an intentional walk to Lauricella, Andrew Lawrence dinked into an RBI single into left field.
OP got a single from Dave Crowley in the top of the third but nothing else. Clarence got a leadoff single from Mark Armstrong in the bottom of the inning but nothing else.
5:43 p.m.OP gets on the board and Clarence leads, 4-1, in the middle of the fourth. Max Korzaniewski lined a single to left field to bring in A.J. Witkowski from third. Witkowski had led off with a walk, moved to second on a walk to Leavell and to third on a double play.
5:52 p.m. Clarence picks up another run to take a 5-1 lead after four. Matthew Grazen led off with a walk, moved to second on a single up the middle by Lauricella, then scored from second when the OP second basemen couldn't keep a tough ball in the infield off the bat of Lawrence.
6:03 p.m. Clarence kept its 5-1 lead after the top of the fifth thanks to a fantastic inning-ending double play. With the bases loaded, second basemen Mike Elwood handled a tough, hard hop just to the right of the bag and flipped to Urschel, who fired it on to first to a roar from the hundred or so on hand from Clarence.
6:12 p.m. Mark Armstrong led off the bottom of the fifth with a single for Clarence, but that was all and the Red Devils' lead remains 5-1.
6:19 p.m. Another inning-ending double play for Clarence to end a threat. Wow. With runners at the corners, Lauricella handled a comebacker by Scott Tatay and fired to shortstop Urschel at second, who went on to first.
That play was preceded by a fabulous defensive play by Ellwood, who came in on a slow roller and used just his glove to field and then flip to Urschel for a force play at second. Great play. Clarence still leads, 5-1.
6:29 p.m. Clarence added another two runs for a 7-1 lead after six. Grazen led off with a walk and scored on a triple by Lauricella, who bombed the ball over the right fielder's head to one-hop the wall. Lauricella later scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Matt Creenan.
6:39 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Clarence 7, Orchard Park 3.
OP's Dylan Baun had a two-run blast of a home run over the left field fence in the top of the seventh. Off to do interviews; we'll have more here later.
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Celebration time for Clarence as coach Dave Smith gets dunked after some nice Red Devils teamwork kept him distracted.
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Postgame reaction from Clarence:
Elwood was one of the most important players in the game -- even though he was the player who was replaced in the lineup for a designated hitter.
"It just gives me a better chance to focus on my defense," he said. "It feels great [to contribute]. We won the championship and that's all that counts."
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Orchard Park coach Jim Gibson:
"We had our opportunities -- we actually outhit them [9 to 8], but we didn't do it with men on base. We hit into three double plays, all with chances to score runs. I thought we shot ourselves in the foot and I thought there were a few questionable calls that hurt us. Clarence is a good team -- they take advantage of your mistakes."
The Class A final is set -- and it's not Iroquois-Grand Island.
Albion knocked off No. 1 large school and second-seeded Iroquois, 8-5, while Williamsville South toppled No. 1 seed and defending champion Grand Island, 11-5.
The undefeated Purple Eagles (21-0) take on the Billies (10-5) at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Niagara Falls' Sal Maglie Stadium.
In the Monsignor Martin Association, we have three of the final four teams and one killer semifinal matchup.
St. Joe's beat Cardinal O'Hara, 9-0, while Canisius edged Nichols, 3-2 -- the rivals will meet in the semifinals at 3 p.m. Thursday at St. Joe's. The semifinal doubleheader at Joe's concludes with St. Mary's -- which knocked off Bishop Timon-St. Jude, 2-1 -- meeting the winner of Sunday's quarterfinal of Niagara Cathoic at St.Francis.
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.
Lauren Nicole Mariacher joined The News in 2009 after graduating from the Columbia University School of Journalism. The Elma native and Iroquois graduate can usually be found on a sideline, capturing highlights for PrepTalkTV. She also hosts Prep Talk's weekly live show, with Keith McShea, as well as The News' live postgame Bills show — [BN]TheHuddle.