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Countdown to Friday Night Lights: B South

By Keith McShea

Who’s who: The eight-team division consists of the Alden Bulldogs, Depew Wildcats, Dunkirk Marauders, East Aurora Blue Devils, Eden Raiders, Olean Huskies, Pioneer Panthers and Springville Griffins.

Continue reading "Countdown to Friday Night Lights: B South" »

More from the Far West Regional softball games

With limited print space, plenty of interesting quotes (and a few notes) didn't make today's story. Here they are:

- Big thanks to Olean Times Herald sports editor Chuck Pollock for the juiciest stat of the night: Mynderse pitcher Courtney Johnson throwing 66 of her 78 pitches for strikes. Of course, the Blue Devils lost, 4-0, but still.

- Pitt-Mendon coach Maureen Kempski celebrated her birthday Tuesday in grand style. Her team looks poised to take a shot at the state title. Winning pitcher Brittany Grage improved to 15-0 on the season with a 0.24 earned-run average. She's allowed just five earned runs in more than 120 innings pitched this season.

- Great job by Kempski and her team for having a printed roster with the team's record, phone numbers and all the other pertinent facts and figures about the team. Section VI coaches: take note.

- As you'll read in the quotes below, Amherst got aggressive on the basepaths late in their game, but it cost them. The Tigers had a player tagged out at home after a passed ball and at third base. Looking back on those outs now may not prevent an entirely accurate picture, however. The Tigers were desperate to score runs and we're trying to make something happen. Hard to fault them for that.

- Remember, state semifinals and final are Saturday down the Thruway in Waterloo. Not a bad drive.

And here's some quotes from Tuesday's action:

Pittsford-Mendon coach Maureen Kempski

On if her team was ready for the next step: “Yes, but they’ve worked really hard and this was their goal at the beginning of the season. Most of these kids have been on my team at least three years. The girls have believed this is their time and they’re working hard. They believe in each other.”

On Amherst’s aggressive baserunning: “I was surprised with the score that they did that. I have a very strong infield. … I think because we had a few mental lapses maybe in the inning before, they thought maybe we’ll jump on them and see if we can rattle them, but with this group, they’re always ready. They believed they could get it and made the plays.”

Amherst coach Mike Chatelle

On going for extra bases:“We always talked about being aggressive, whether it was at the plate or in the field or on the basepaths. They made some decisions and went with them. They ran the bases hard and were looking to take the extra base."

On nerves: “I think we were a little tight, tighter than we’re normally used to. That’s understandable, it’s a different level.”

Olean coach Dan Brooks

On getting a lead: “One of our goals this year is to score first. If we can score first, we feel pretty comfortable. Chelsea has been throwing outstanding during sectionals. If we can score first we settle in a little better.”

On Calabro: “She was working hard, you could see it. She got a little frustrated at times, you could see it in her body language. It was her fastball that got her out of jams tonight."

On the team’s schedule:“Our league prepares us for this. One of the things I decided to do this year was upgrade our nonleague schedule. We played North Tonawanda, we played Kenmore West, we played some outstanding teams. And on top of that our division one [schedule]. The Fredonias, Falconers, Dunkirks, Allegany-Limestones, they’re outstanding. We played the perfect schedule for where we’re at right now. We’ve faced teams like this before. Our league is outstanding and it proves it year in and year out.”

Clarence coach Todd Banaszak

On taking an early lead: “It just gives the pitcher a little bit more confidence. Yeah, I guess you could say it put the team at ease.”

On missed opportunities: “I thought we should have scored more runs. We threatened quite a bit, but we just couldn’t get that big hit.”

On finishing the deal: “The first thing I said when we went to right field [after the game] was we’ve been there three times already, now we’ve got to win it. They’re a good group. They’re focused, they’re intense … hopefully we have all the ingredients to get it.”

Clarence pitcher Jen Sansano

On her defense: “They’re always there. I know the girls are behind me. They’re always stellar in the field.”

On taking an early lead: “It shows that the girls are in the game and they’re just ready to pounce on every team.”

---Jay Skurski

Who's going to win Class B football?

The Class B field is set, and there are favorites everywhere you turn -- Cheektowaga is tops in the polls, Depew is coming off a tremendous performance against No. 1 large school Lancaster, East Aurora might be the hottest team in the bracket, and Lackawanna is the defending champion.

As with all of our polls, we want to hear how and why you voted. Let us know in the comment space below.

Be sure to vote in all of the polls: Class AA, Class A, Class C and Class D.

---Keith McShea

Maple Grove hoops goes independent

Maple Grove basketball has a great game plan, and it's months before the season will start.

The Red Dragons applied and were approved for an independent schedule, and they've put together a great lineup for a team that is expected to challenge for its third straight trip to the state final four in Glens Falls.

Here's a link to Scott Kindberg's excellent Jamestown Post-Journal story about Maple Grove going independent this year, and here are some specifics for your calendar:

"The Red Dragons open their season Dec. 4-5 at the Olean Tip-Off Tournament, play at Jamestown's United Way Tip-Off Tournament the next weekend and travel to St. Mary's of Lancaster on Dec. 15. The Dunkirk (Dec. 18-19) and St. Bonaventure (Dec. 29-30) tournaments close out 2009. Maple Grove will open with Newark in the Jamestown Tournament.

"Maple Grove's first home game isn't until Jan. 7 when it entertains Southwestern. Three games on the Dutch Hollow Road follow against Randolph (Jan. 11), C.G. Finney (Jan. 20) and Westfield (Jan. 29). After a game at Southwestern on Feb. 5, the Red Dragons entertain St. Joe's (Feb. 9) before closing out the regular season with road contests at Finney (Feb. 12), at Randolph (Feb. 16) and at North Tonawanda (Feb. 18)."

This is just an outstanding move by Maple Grove as it eschews league games that were extremely noncompetitive for top-notch tests that should help them prepare for the postseason. That benefits both the Red Dragons and the CCAA teams that took a pounding twice in league games last year. It also gives high school hoop fans throughout Western New York (and the rest of the state) some great games to watch. 

Niagara Falls went independent a few years ago for similar reasons, which was also a fine move. The Wolverines returned to the Niagara Frontier League the last few seasons; I wasn't in favor of their return and I still think Falls should go it alone when it comes to boys hoops.

---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.

@KeithMcSheaBN | [email protected]

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