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Wednesday Evening Live (with softball and lacrosse video)

All the Section VI playoff action had traffic snarled on the 290 :-). (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) 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.

* * *

If you're out at a game, let us know what you saw and what you thought of the action.

---Keith McShea

Wide-ranging championship live chat after wide-ranging championship day (June 2)

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.

(Here's the Wednesday Evening Live post I put together before the chat.) 

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.

Here is our last chat (May 26) as well as previous spring chats on May 19May 12, May 5 and April 21

Here is the archive from the winter season: last chat (April 14)March 31, March 24March 17March 10, Feb. 24, Feb. 11, Feb. 3Jan. 28Jan. 20Jan 14, Jan. 6, Dec. 15.

---Keith McShea

Live from the Class AA baseball final: Clarence beats OP, 7-3 (with video)

Sign and the flag make for a nice photo, even on an iPhone. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

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.

* * *

Celebration time for Clarence as coach Dave Smith gets dunked after some nice Red Devils teamwork kept him distracted.

* * *

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."

* * *

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."

* * *

Here's my story.

---Keith McShea

Class A final is set and it's a surprise; Canisius-Joe's in Georgetown Cup semifinal

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

Class A baseball semifinal times set for Saturday

Here are the times for Saturday's Section VI Class A baseball semifinals:

Albion at Iroquois, 1 p.m.

Williamsville South at Grand Island, 2 p.m. 

---Keith McShea

Busy night, busy live chat (May 26)

It's a great day for some postseason high school action, and there is plenty of it going on today.

We'll have plenty to talk about for our chat tonight. I have the starting time at 10 but it may get pushed back to 10:15 since I'm reporting on today's All-High Championships in track.

As always, anything in the world of high school sports or our coverage of it is up for discussion.

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.

Here is our last chat (May 19) as well as previous spring chats on May 12, May 5 and April 21

Here is the archive from the winter season: last chat (April 14)March 31, March 24March 17March 10, Feb. 24, Feb. 11, Feb. 3Jan. 28Jan. 20Jan 14, Jan. 6, Dec. 15.

---Keith McShea

Who's going to win baseball championships?

The Section VI baseball tournament bracket was revealed Saturday and the postseason begins Monday while the bracket was set Monday for the Georgetown Cup playoffs in the Monsignor Martin Association.

The top seeds for the Section VI tournament in each of the five classes are: Clarence (AA), Grand Island (A), Dunkirk (B), Frewsburg (C) and North Collins (D) while St. Francis is the No. 1 seed in the Georgetown Cup.

But who will be standing at the end? Vote in the polls and let us know why you feel that way in the comment space below. For complete schedules and updated results, go to the high school home page.

Discuss and vote on the softball and lacrosse playoffs as well. 

Saturday's quarterfinals
At St. Joe's

5-St. Mary's vs. 4-Bishop Timon-St. Jude, 10:30 a.m.
7-Cardinal O'Hara at 2-St. Joe's, 2 p.m.
At Delaware Park
6-Nichols vs. 3-Canisius, noon
Sunday's quarterfinal
8-Niagara Catholic at 1-St. Francis, 2 p.m.
Semifinals -- June 3
At St. Joe's
St. J/O'H vs. 3-Can/Nic, 3 p.m.
St. F/NC vs. 4-TSJ/5-SM, 6 p.m.
Championship Series

June 7, 8 & 9; 3:30 at Coca-Coca Field

Monday's prequarterfinals
9-Jamestown at 8-Frontier
12-Sweet Home at 5-North Tonawanda
13-Kenmore West at 4-Niagara Falls
14-W.S. West at 3-Hamburg
11-Lockport at 6-Niagara-Wheatfield
10-Lancaster at 7-Wmsv. North
Wednesday's quarterfinals
9-James/8-Front at 1-Clarence
12-SH/5-NT vs. 13-KW/4-NF
11-Lock/6-NW vs. 14-WSW/3-Ham
10-Lanc/7-WN at 2-Orchard Park
Semifinals: Friday, May 28 at hi seeds
Final: Tuesday, June 1 at Sal Maglie Stadium, Niagara Falls, 4:30 p.m..

Monday's qualifier
17-Cheektowaga at 16-Starpoint
Tuesday's prequarterfinals
17-Cheek/16-Star at 1-Grand Island
9-Lew-Port at 8-Amherst
12-W.S. East at 5-Wmsv. South
13-Lake Shore at 4-Wmsv. East
14-Kenmore East at 3-Albion
11-Pioneer at 6-Hutch-Tech at Delaware I, 4 p.m.
10-Maryvale at 7-Riverside at Riverside Park, 4 p.m.
15-Bennett at 2-Iroquois
Quarterfinals: Thursday, May 27 at hi seed
Semifinals: Saturday, May 29 at hi seed
Final: Wednesday, June 2 at Sal Maglie Stadium, Niagara Falls, 4:30 p.m.

Monday's qualifiers
17-Medina at 16-Gowanda
21-All.-Lime. at 12-Akron
20-Lackawanna at 13-Southwestern
19-Olean at 14-Springville
18-Wilson at 15-Roy-Hart
Tuesday's prequarterfinals
17-Med/16-Gow at 1-Dunkirk
9-JFK at 8-Falconer
21-A-L/12-Akron at 5-Fredonia
20-Lack/13-SW at 4-City Honors at McCarthy Park, 4 p.m.
19-Olean/14-Spr at 3-Tonawanda
11-Newfane at 6-Eden
10-Depew at 7-Alden
18-Wilson/15-R-H at 2-East Aurora
Quarterfinals: Friday, May 28 at hi seed
Semifinals: Tuesday, June 1 at hi seed
Final: Thursday, June 3 at TBA

Tuesday's prequarterfinals
9-Holland at 8-Randolph
12-Salamanca at 5-Silver Creek
11-Chautauqua Lake at 6-Barker
10-CSAT at 7-Westfield
Thursday's quarterfinals
9-Holl/8-Rand at 1-Frewsburg
12-Sal/5-SC at 4-Catt./LV
11-CL/6-Barker at 3-Cassadaga Valley
10-CSAT/7-Westfield at 2-Portville
Semifinals: Tuesday, June 1 at hi seed
Final: Friday, June 4 at Dietrick Park, Jamestown, 7 p.m.

Tuesday's prequarterfinals
9-Franklinville at 8-Forestville
10-Ripley at 7-Clymer
Thursday's quarterfinals
9-Frank/8-Forest at 1-North Collins
5-West Valley at 4-Brocton
6-Ellicottville at 3-Maple Grove
10-Rip/7-Cly at 2-Pine Valley
Semifinals: June 1 and 2 at hi seed, TBA
Final: Friday, June 4 at Dietrick Park, Jamestown, 4:30 p.m.

---Miguel Rodriguez and Keith McShea

A-L baseball coach suspended for allegedly ordering beanball

Just when I thought the Gowanda lacrosse locker-boxing story would be WNY's contribution to crazy high school stories this week ...

Here is the Wellsville Daily Reporter's story on Allegany-Limestone baseball coach Paul Furlong being suspended for allegedly ordering a pitcher to hit a batter. The story is an interesting, detailed report -- the A-L pitcher left the mound during the game apparently after he refused to follow the order.

Obviously in the major leagues you hear from time to time about occasions in which pitchers are ordered to hit players, but I've never heard of it in high school sports. How about anyone out there?

---Keith McShea

Wednesday Evening Live: St. Joe's beats Canisius in 8 (with video)

Just walked to the car on a glorious evening at Delaware Park, where there are tons of people enjoying the sun -- and where the St. Joe's baseball team scored six times in the top of the eighth inning to beat rival Canisius, 7-1.

Andrew Kowalski had a huge hit to start the game-winning rally -- a bases-loaded single that gave him two RBIs and scored another run on a throwing error.

More details to come, including video highlights. I filed this report from my phone after shooting video with it during the game. And we'll certainly talk about it during tonight's chat here at 9:30.

* * *

Here's the game-winning hit by Kowalski, which came on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and one out.

There's not too much detail here in the is-what-it-is video -- Canisius tried to catch the runner rounding third but the throw was wild and St. Joe's trotted in with another run. Your cameraman didn't get the wild throw -- but you can see the end result as the Marauders' celebration continues.

* * *

Here are the final two outs of the game. St. Joe's catcher Jeff Bellanca throws out a runner trying to steal and the next pitch is a groundout.

Unfortunately we had to halt our highlight video short there at the end, because a Canisius player picked up a bat, threw it against the fence and dropped a clearly audible profanity while doing it. We're a family newspaper (and a family Web site), so we're not posting it. Obviously that player deserves an F in sportsmanship and conduct on the field.

More to come after the chat.

* * *

Post-game comments from the St. Joe's dugout:

Coach Mariano, a 1970 St. Joe's grad who is retiring after this, his 14th season, summed up what these games mean:

"That's what you're here for," said Mariano. "It's always great to beat them." 

---Keith McShea

Another busy Scholastic Spotlight Tuesday

Check out today's paper or the high school home page for a Tuesday Scholastic Spotlight edition which includes a ton of info on lacrosse, golf, football, baseball and softball.

Our online edition of High School Extra, put together by Jay Skurski and Miguel Rodriguez, has bonus baseball and softball coverage that you won't find in the paper (only because we ran out of space!).

Also from the bonus coverage department is Mary Jo Monnin's post below with added information from the Section VI golf championships.

You'll find info on the Tom Borrelli Memorial Golf Tournament at a post below as well as in the print edition of this week's column. Keep an eye out for me selling Borrelli raffle tickets at a high school event near you.

---Keith McShea
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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.

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