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More from the state diamonds

It just wasn't meant to be for Fredonia softball.

The third straight loss in a state championship game is especially painful for T'ana Abt and her senior classmates. Many of them won regional and district Little League titles together. They had hoped to go out together as high school state champions by winning the one trophy that had slipped through their grasps. Instead, they were denied by a Mechanicville team devoid of seniors.

"It feels like a family breaking up," said senior Mary Kate Bongiovanni. "When we look back at this when we're older, we're going to realize we had so much fun -- and that not too many teams can say they've been to the state finals three years in a row."

"[The loss] hurts the girls but they're a great bunch," Hillbillies coach Dave Polechetti said. "I've been very fortunate to coach a great group of girls. I thanked them during the awards ceremony for taking me on a great ride the past few years."

This marks the third straight year Section VI has failed to win a state softball title.

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Frewsburg baseball coach Jay Grann loved the way his pitchers got the Bears to a 3-0 victory over Seton Catholic in the Class C semifinals.

"They were phenomenal," Grann said of his pitchers. "They were able to make plays, and they trust their defense to do that for them."

---Miguel Rodriguez and Dan Scotchmer

Live from the state baseball final four: Clarence, Frewsburg fall in finals; Fredonia loses semi

BINGHAMTON -- Good afternoon from muggy NYSEG Field. We're here live for the Class AA baseball state semifinals between Clarence and Section II's Columbia High School. Opening pitch was scheduled for 1 p.m., but didn't come until 2:12 p.m. The first semifinal went 3 hours, 21 minutes as Mamaroneck of Section I defeated Massapequa of Section VIII, 4-3, in 11 innings.

Zach Lauricella is on the hill for the Red Devils. He struck out two, hit a batter and induced a ground out to get out of the top of the first inning, then laced an RBI double to right field to put Clarence up 1-0 in the bottom. A sacrifice fly by Adam Urschel later scored Lauricella and Clarence is up, 2-0, after the first inning.

I'm also tracking the Class B semifinal between Fredonia and Section III's Westhill. That one got started at the 1 p.m. scheduled time, so I was able to catch a little more than an inning at nearby Conlon Field. The Hillbillies lead, 1-0, on a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning from Anthony Polvino. Updates will be sporadic as I try and follow two games at different locations, but be sure to check back often.

3:59 p.m.: Super-quick update: Fredonia loses in Class B, 4-2, while Frewsburg advances to the Class C state title game. The Bears beat Section VI (Binghamton area) champion Seton Catholic, 3-0, and will face Maple Hill in the final at 4 p.m.

4:02 p.m.: Super-quick update II: Clarence advances to the Class AA title game with a 2-1 win. Complete game for Lauricella. Off to get quotes, title game should start about 4:35 p.m. here at NYSEG Stadium.

4:43 p.m.: Here's some additional information from Frewsburg's 3-0 semifinal victory over Seton Catholic in the Class C semifinal. Starting pitcher Asa Johnson went 5.1 innings, striking out 9 and giving up just two hits and two walks. Jake Sleasman had an RBI double in the first inning to score Dalton Scalf with the winning run. The news isn't all good for the Bears, though, as they trail, 7-2, in the Class C title game in the bottom of the second inning to Maple Hill. That update comes courtesy of correspondent Dan Scotchmer.

4:52 p.m.: We're underway in the Class AA title game between Clarence and Mamaroneck and I'm finally catching my breath. Wind is picking up and some dark clouds are rolling in, so I've got my fingers crossed for no rain delays. Check back later for updates.

5:59 p.m.: The news isn't good out of Binghamton for Section VI fans. Here at NYSEG Stadium, Clarence trails, 7-2, after four innings. Red Devils starter Derek Hoffman went 2.2 innings, allowing 7 runs, 6 of which were earned, on 7 hits. In the Class C final, Frewsburg trails Maple Hill, 18-2, through five innings. News photographer Mark Mulville made the trip down I-81 South from the state track championships in Syracuse to get some shots from both games, so be sure to check those out in Sunday's print edition. And lastly, before I forget, a huge thank you to Scott Stutzman, assistant principal at Fredonia, for his help in tracking the Class B semifinal earlier via cellphone.

6:18 p.m.: We have a final in Class C, 19-2, Maple Hill defeats Frewsburg. The Bears ran out of pitching, according to Scotchmer. It's 8-2 Mamaroneck in the top of the sixth inning after a titanic home run by Matt McGovern. The shot to right brought chants of "MVP" from the Tigers fans in attendance.

6:53 p.m.: We have a final in Class AA, 12-2, Mamaroneck defeats Clarence. The Tigers broke it open with five runs over the last two innings. That's it for live updates from NYSEG Stadium, have a great night.

---Jay Skurski

Live from the state softball final four: Fredonia drops final; Randolph loses in semi

WATERLOO -- We're coming to you live from the state softball championships at Waterloo High School with the Class B semifinal between Fredonia and Section IV champion Chenango Valley.

10:16 a.m. Fredonia leads 1-0 through four innings. Hillbillies took 1-0 lead in top of third inning on Katie Bartkowiak's two-out single to center that scored Mary Kate Bongiovanni, who worked a two-out walk and reached second on Anne Wasik's single to center. Good at-bat by Barkowiak, who fell into an 0-2 hole.

In top of fifth with one out, Hillbillies' Bongiovanni singles, steals second and moves to third on Wasik single to right. Wasik took second on throw home while Bongiovanni stayed at third. Bongiovanni scores on ball four wild pitch. Wasik to third while batter Bartkowiak moves to second. Fredonia leads 2-0.

Bunt single by T'ana Abt loads bases. Erin Pantano RBI single off pitcher's glove makes it 3-0, then Julie Arnold gets hit by pitcher to force in Bartkowiak. Hillbillies lead, 4-0. Marge Wronski safe on fielder's choice grounder but Abt forced out at home for second out. Throwing error by CV catcher lobbing ball back to pitcher enables Pantano to score to make it 5-0. Chrissy Ortolano safe on fielding error. Pinch hitter Katrina Johnston comes to plate as 10th batter of inning for Fredonia, and she strikes out to end inning. Fredonia leads 5-0.

10:25 a.m. Caitlin Roberts of CV leads off bottom of fifth with single, moves to second on wild pitch, takes third on fly out and scores with two outs on another wild pitch. After five innings, Fredonia leads, 5-1.

Through six innings, Fredonia leads, 5-1. Heading into bottom of seventh, it is still 5-1 Fredonia as Hillbillies went down in order in top half of inning.

10:47 a.m. FINAL SCORE: Fredonia beats Chenango Valley in Class B semifinal, 5-1.

The Hillbillies will face Section II's Mechanicville for the title this afternoon at 1:30 on field two.

It is the third straight state semifinal for the Hillbillies.

Anne Wasik and Erin Pantano each had two hits, while Mary Kate Bongiovanni scored two runs in the triumph. Fredonia pitcher Marah Dahn was solid, limiting CV to three hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

It will be a little crazy with Class B final and Randolph's Class C semifinal going on at the same time but we'll do our best to provide status reports. See you later.

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12:33 p.m. Randolph trails Section IV champion Tioga, 5-2, in the Class C semifinal with Randolph batting in the top of the fourth. The Cardinals scored two in the first but Tioga answered with four in the bottom of the inning. Tioga added a run on an error in the third.

1:10 p.m. It's a FINAL SCORE: Tioga 5, Randolph 2 in Class C semifinal.

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1:35 p.m. Class B final to start in 25 minutes or so.

2:54 p.m. Mechanicville leads Fredonia, 1-0, after four innings. Kelsey Hines with an RBI double.

3:04 p.m. Fredonia leaves the bases loaded in the fifth.

3:16 p.m. A two-run triple by Alysa Russell gives Mechanicville a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth.

3:29 p.m. Mechanicville's lead is 3-0 after six innings. Last chance for the Hillbillies.

3:32 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Mechanicville beats Fredonia, 3-1, in the Class B state championship game. Fredonia falls in state final for third straight year. MaryKate Bongiovanni had an RBI triple in the seventh.

---Miguel Rodriguez

Stuczynski in attendance Friday at state track meet

CICERO -- Of all of the athletes at Friday's New York State Track and Field Championships, the most accomplished was sitting on the sidelines.

Jenn Stuczynski, Olympic silver medalist in the pole vault, was among the big crowd that took in the first day's events at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. She sat in a lawn chair next to her coach, Rick Suhr, predictably taking in the pole vault.

The Fredonia native signed autographs and welcomed the chance to talk about her days as a high school athlete with well-wishers.

"We found out it was in Syracuse so we decided to make the drive up here. We passed the sign for Liverpool on the way here and I was like, "Wow, that's where the track started for me,' right there in the pentathlon in 2000," she said.

Stuczynski is coming off the best indoor season she's ever had. She was the "Track & Field News" Athlete of the Year. She won all four of the Visa Championship meets she entered and broke the American record twice.

In the two meets she has competed in so far this outdoor season she won both by over a foot. The current world leader this season at 15 feet, 10 inches, leaves for the U.S. National Championships in two weeks.

"For the pole vault, the biggest advice I can give is to be aggressive," she said. "I think a lot of kids might doubt pole changes and be hesitant. When you're on it, attack it. Whenever you have that doubt, you're not going to attack it the same way. Have the mentality, "You know what? I'm going to own this pole.'"

Stuczynski had plenty to cheer about as Section VI boys and girls combined to win five public school state titles and break six sectional records. The event continues Saturday at 10 a.m.

---Mary Jo Monnin

Who has the best shot at a state title?

Saturday could be a very big day for Section VI. It certainly could be a big day for any number of teams.

In and around Binghamton, Clarence (Class AA), Fredonia (B) and Frewsburg (C) will participate in the baseball state final four. At Waterloo, Fredonia (B) and Randolph (C) will play in the softball final four. At downtown Rochester's Marina Auto Stadium (formerly Paetec Park), the Orchard Park boys lacrosse team will try and win Section VI's first state championship in that sport.

Orchard Park lacrosse might have an advantage in having to only play one game (the baseball and softball teams have to win a semifinal and a final for a state title), but the Quakers are charged with reversing decades of history in the sport.

What's your pick? Let us know how you voted in the comment space below. I'll have my pick as we get started on Saturday.

---Keith McShea

Fredonia baseball slugs way to final four

The Fredonia baseball team scored nine runs in the first two innings to beat Bath, 10-6, in the Class B Far West Regionals at Jamestown's Deithrick Park, according to a text message from correspondent Dan Scotchmer.

Fredonia returns to the final four, where it advanced in 2005 and 2006; in 2006 the Hillbillies won the state championship.

Another team from CCIAC I to the final four -- I believe this is at least five years in a row.

The Fredonia softball team was up, 8-0, after two innings so it looks like Hillbilly fans will have a lot to cheer about this weekend.

---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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