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Countdown to Friday Night Lights: A South

By Keith McShea

Who’s who: The six-team division consists of the Hamburg Bulldogs, Hutch-Tech Engineers, Iroquois Chiefs, Lake Shore Eagles, South Park Sparks and West Seneca East Trojans.

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

Live from Far West Regional softball, with baseball #preptalkscores updates: Hamburg softball wins (with VIDEO)

2013 Class A Far West Regional champion Hamburg Bulldogs. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)
By Keith McShea

The spring season's most important week begins today -- because it's the last week. Today there Far West Regional playoffs in baseball and softball

I'm at Brockport State for the Class AA, A and B softball games. The C and D games are at Olean. The baseball games are at Niagara Falls (AA), Batavia (A & D) and Jamestown (B & C). We will have reporters providing updates from all baseball games. 

If you are at one of today's big games on the diamonds, be sure to tweet updates with the hashtag #preptalkscores. Those tweets will automatically appear in the live blog below. 

Check out our SCOREBOARD PAGE for today's complete schedule, which will be updated with results as soon as we have them.

* * *

The final out for Hamburg, more highlights and interviews:

Continue reading "Live from Far West Regional softball, with baseball #preptalkscores updates: Hamburg softball wins (with VIDEO)" »

Live from the Section VI girls lacrosse finals: Lancaster, Hamburg repeat; Amherst wins 9th in a row (with video interviews)

Class A champion Lancaster (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)
Class B champion Hamburg (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)
Class C champion Amherst (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)
By Keith McShea

The spring season's Championship Week continues today with several major events, including the Section VI girls lacrosse finals tripleheader at All High Stadium.

That's where I'll be, providing play-by-play updates in the live blog below for the Class A (Lancaster vs. Frontier, 3:30 p.m.), B (Hamburg vs. West Seneca East, 5:30) and C games (Lake Shore vs. Amherst, 8 p.m.). 

The Georgetown Cup series between St. Joe's and Canisius is set to get started (4:30 at St. Joe's) after yesterday's postponement, as is the Section VI Class A boys lacrosse final of Orchard Park vs. Clarence at Hamburg (5:30). There are also several softball finals and semifinals and baseball finals on today's schedule. 

If you are at one of today's big games, be sure to tweet updates with the hashtag #preptalkscores. Those tweets will automatically appear in the live blog below. 

Check out our SCOREBOARD PAGE for today's complete schedule, which will be updated with results as soon as we have them.

Continue reading "Live from the Section VI girls lacrosse finals: Lancaster, Hamburg repeat; Amherst wins 9th in a row (with video interviews)" »

Live from Section VI boys lacrosse finals: Hamburg, Silver Creek repeat; OP-Clarence postponed (with video interviews)

By Keith McShea

The spring season's Championship Week begins today with several major events, including the Section VI boys lacrosse finals tripleheader at All High Stadium.

That's where I'll be, providing play-by-play updates in the live blog below for the Class B (Hamburg vs. Niagara-Wheatfield, 3:30 p.m.), C (Silver Creek vs. Akron, 5:30) and A games (Orchard Park vs. Clarence, 8 p.m.). 

The Monsignor Martin lacrosse final is also today. The Georgetown Cup opener has been postponed, as have some Section VI softball games.

If you are at one of today's big games, be sure to tweet updates with the hashtag #preptalkscores. Those tweets will automatically appear in the live blog below.

Continue reading "Live from Section VI boys lacrosse finals: Hamburg, Silver Creek repeat; OP-Clarence postponed (with video interviews)" »

Video: Will East, WSW win and will meet for Division II hockey title

Williamsville East defeats Hamburg and West Seneca West beats Sweet Home to advance to the Section VI Division II championship on Super Monday.

Read more about Tuesday's hockey action in our report for Wednesday's paper.

Live from Section V's sweep of the boys lacrosse regionals (plus video highlights & interviews), and all of Saturday's #preptalkscores

I'll be spending the afternoon and evening at the Far West Regional boys lacrosse games championships at Hamburg High School.

While I'll have updates from those games, tweets to the hashtag #preptalkscores will also automatically show up in the live blog below. So if you are a game tonight and you're updating via Twitter, be sure to include that hashtag. I'll have periodic tweets updating these games at @KeithMcSheaBN, but most of my play-by-play updating will come in the live blog.

Check out today's full schedule on our scoreboard page, where you can check back throughout the evening for updated scores and highlights.

See you out at the games, in the blog and on the tweeter. :-)

* * *

My story is here.

Here are some video highlights from the Class C game -- pretty cool ones at that, particularly the exciting endgame. It's either really cool, or really distracting -- but there are two play-by-plays going on with the Penn Yan radio coverage along with the Time Warner Cable broadcast. And yes, I'm kicking myself for missing Zed's game-tying record-breaker. Talk about a turnover/failed clear by me. Ugh. Chest-tap (my bad):

Some of the postgame show:

More quotes from postgame interviews:

Silver Creek junior Zed Williams:

"I'm disappointed -- I wanted to win it for the seniors.
"I saw time ticking down, and I had to take a shot, in case we missed we'd get another chance -- but he made a good save."

Orchard Park coach Gene Tundo:

"We just didn't have a whole lot of scoring opportunities. They slid fast and took away our [offense]. They're just good. Big defenders, a big goalie, we just never really got in a flow.

"We didn't clear the ball well. We had the ball 8 or 9 times where we just didn't get it in the offensive zone. They' played defense the whole length of the field -- they're a good team.

On OP's defense: "They did a great job , awesome. They played great. Our goalie [Taylor Ferrino} made some great saves. They got tired. You play that much defense, you get tired."

"We threw the ball away a couple of times clearing it, and on offense, and those extra possessions hurt you.

"We needed a little spark, and we just didn't get it. Their defense shut down any hope we had. They don't really have any weaknesses. Their attack is good, middies are good, there's not really a weakness. And they play a tougher schedule, too.

"I don't think we've ever been shut out. Never. I don't think we have."

Irondequoit senior Nick Doktor:

On difference of first & second halves: "I think we were a little antsy at first. We had a lot of bad turnovers, not taking care of the ball, and that allowed them to get off to a good start. They were capitalizing on our turnovers and our mistakes. That was a catalyst for them.  Another big problem in the first half was they were killing us on time of possession.

"We wanted to settle the ball down once we got it, and work our offense, and once we knew we could do that, we know we have a lot of offense, a lot of guys that can put the ball in the back of the net.  

On winning on Hamburg's home field: "They had a great crowd, it was a great atmosphere, and obviously they're very comfortable here playing on their home field. We battled and they battled and it was a great game.

On Hamburg pulling its goalie in a one-goal game with three minutes to play: "We were just trying to be patient. They have a lot of guys on offense -- they could have come back as easily as we did. We were just trying to keep it from them as long as we could."

Irondequoit coach Craig Whipple:

On playing on Hamburg's home field: "It was a difficult situation -- we couldn't do anything about it. We just knew that we would have to take care of our business to come out with a win. Was it a difficult scenario? It definitely was. But I'm proud that they were able to come out and captailize and adjust to being in this environment.

On the great second half: "I think they settled down. It was a hostlie environment, and once they settled down and knew they could play their style of lacrosse they came out and did that. That represented in goals, and then it represented in everything else on the field. As soon as everyone settled down and put a few in the back of the net, they understand all right, we're comfortable. The defense settles down, the next guy hustles a bit harder and finds those ground balls and we're able to capitalize.

On Section V's sweep: "Definitely [pleased to complete the sweep]. You battle teams thoughout the year, but when you leave [the section], you want the guys around you to do well as well. So I'm excited about that.

On faceoffs: "It defintely changed the flow of the game. It enabled us to get back in there because we were seeing more poss on offense, and I thought if we were to see more possessions on offense, that we would establish goals, and once we get comfortable scoring , you thrive off of that and you build off of that.

On if Hamburg pulled its goalie too early -- with three minutes left in one-goal game: "Not necessarily.

"I think they respected the fact that our six guys on offense are really good ballhandlers. I think they respected the fact that we were going to be able to capitalize and maybe even put one more by them. I appreciate the fact that they went out swinging. They wanted the ball back. If they created a turnover , who knows, they could have went down there, got a goal and got the momeneum. I don't think it was necessarily too early for them. I think they knew we've been in a lot of tight games before this year [and were able to close them out]."

Hamburg coach Jerry Severino:

"We were supposed to end this game in a different way. We played a great first half, I was so happy with the way they were playing. We were really attempting not to have what happened in the second half. But Irondequoit was a great challenge. They took advantage of our mistakes. Honestly, we played our worst half at the most important time of the year. We played a pretty poor second half.

"When we get on a run like that [like Irondequoit did], we say it's like sharks when they sense blood in the water, and that's what happened. They had a sense that they could do what they did; and we weren't able to stop them. The ball bounced one way a couple of times. They were much better on the ground ball; they were better on the faceoff in the second half. we made some decisions that we we'd like to have back.

On pulling the goalie late in the game: "it's risky when you do that, but we were in a desperate situation and that's the way it goes.

On faceoffs: "We had an awful lot of trouble getting the ball at the faceoff 'X'. I rotated three or four guys in, but they gained probably three or four faceoffs for every two we got. Those kind of possessions are huge."

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

Super Tuesday: Lancaster, Hamburg and Amherst win girls lax titles (with video & photos), plus many other #preptalkscores

Class A champion Lancaster (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)


Class B champion Hamburg (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)
Class C champion Amherst. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)
It is a Super Tuesday in high school sports today with major matchups and championships in baseball, softball, boys lacrosse and girls lacrosse. If you are at a game and getting your Tweeter on, make sure to tweet to #preptalkscores.

I'll be spending the afternoon and evening at the Section VI girls lacrosse championships at All High Stadium. We'll also have reporters at the Monsignor Martin boys lacrosse championship and the Georgetown Cup baseball semifinals. 

While I'll have updates from those games, tweets to the hashtag #preptalkscores will also automatically show up in the live blog below. So if you are a game tonight and you're updating via Twitter, be sure to include that hashtag. I'll have periodic tweets updating the girls lacrosse finals at @KeithMcSheaBN, but most of my play-by-play updating will come in the live blog.

Check out today's full schedule on our scoreboard page, where you can check back throughout the evening for updated scores and highlights.

See you out at the games, in the blog and on the tweeter. :-)

* * * 

Note: Super Tuesday is so super-full of high school playoff action that we're covering, that my Prep Talk column & the Power 10 will appear in Friday's paper instead of its traditional Wednesday. That actually will be a better fit for the Power 10 since the pool of teams will be whittled down by then. 

* * * 

Postgame show from the Section VI girls lacrosse championships: 

Lancaster coach Julie Buccieri, sophomore Allie Stewart and junior goalie Karli Pawlak:

Hamburg coach Katy Ryan and senior Amanda Obenshain:

Amherst coach Jodi Battaglia, senior Carly Martin, sophomore Grace Lawson and sophomore Emily Bitka:

* * *

A later addition I overlooked on my phone originally -- because it's quote far away. It's video of Frontier's final possession in the A game, on which a free position was stopped by Emily Pawlak in the final seconds.

The best part about the clip is watching Lancaster coach Julie Buccieri on the far right of the Redskins' sideline. Early on a foul is called, and let's just say she's not thrilled -- then she ends up watching the final play by herself far down the sideline while coaching the defense.

(Be sure to blow up the video to full-screen for a better look.)

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

Van Tine was all about others

On Sunday I helped in the preparation of the obit for an old friend, Ed Van Tine. Making sure the little details of this man’s big life were accurate was painful. How many awards he won seemed so trivial.

I also knew Ed would have none of it. I once tried to put together a list of his accomplishments to nominate him for the Lacrosse Hall of Fame and he was less than helpful. He wasn’t involved in coaching for the plaudits and he wanted no recognition.

Ed was one of the first friends I made after moving to Buffalo in 1983. I introduced myself because he had a “Loch Raven Lacrosse” bumper sticker on his truck. I grew up in Towson, Md., ground zero for lacrosse excellence in the 1960s and ‘70s, and Loch Raven Blvd. was about a mile from my house. Turns out we knew people in common.

 My appreciation for Ed transcends sports. We moved into a home that had an unfinished room at the back and it was October.  Winter was rushing in (and the Orioles were winning the World Series!) I could construct a story but building a room was beyond my abilities. Ed showed us how to removed a stone hearth, which didn’t meet fire code, and how to build a brick one on which we could place a wood stove. When we were slow laying the bricks on a Thanksgiving Day, he came over and quickly finished the job so we wouldn’t be late for turkey dinner. At his house.

 Some of my favorite moments were when Ed would complain about the sports section I worked for. He would say he didn’t care to read about the pros, guys that didn’t come from here. He cared about the kids, he wanted to read about the kids, the ones he coached and the ones others coached. I assured him that most people wanted to read about the Bills and the Sabres but he wasn’t dissuaded. When talking about a subject he cared about, his eyes blazed with passion; picture a blue-eyed Mike Singletary. And he was passionate about the kids. I loved to see that fire blaze.

 His wife always told us she never worried what he was doing when he wasn’t home. She knew he was on some field teaching anyone who would show up how to play lacrosse. He was a person who gave and gave and he did so despite not being in good health the entire time I knew him.

 He belongs in the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame for building the game of lacrosse here from an afterthought to a mainstream sport. I also think he belongs in the national Hall of Fame because kids he coached and kids who learned from those he taught are making an impact on the college game.

 His memorial service will be at the Rich Products Atrium on March 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The place will be packed because he gave so much to so many, and it wasn’t all just about a sport.

-- Fletcher Doyle

PrepTalkTV: Preseason interviews with coaches from St. Francis, Burgard, Sweet Home, Hamburg, Wilson, South Park and St. Mary's

PrepTalkTV met up with a few coaches before the Kensington Lions All-Star Classic at Depew High School to ask them about the upcoming season. Here's what they had to say about their teams and divisions:

St. Francis head coach Jerry Smith:


Burgard head coach Jason Kolb:


Sweet Home head coach John Faller:


Wilson head coach Bill Atlas:


South Park head coach Tim Delaney:


Hamburg head coach Mike McFadden:


St. Mary's head coach Dave Hersey:


Be sure to check back to the PrepTalk blog as we gear up for the first day of practices all around Western New York on Aug. 15.

--Lauren Mariacher

Live from Class A Far West Regional baseball: Hamburg falls to V-Pittsford-Sutherland, 6-0 (with video)

A beeeeeautiful night for baseball at Batavia's Dwyer Stadium. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

Hello from Dwyer Stadium in Batavia -- as the baseball announcers would say -- on a beeee-autiful evening for baseball. We're here for the Class A Far West Regional game between Section VI champion Hamburg and Section V (Rochester area) champion -- and defending state champion -- Pittsford-Sutherland.

This is my first visit to Dwyer and I love the place. Gotta put it on my list to get out here to watch the Muckdogs muck it up some night.

7:11 p.m. Game time was scheduled for 7, but Hamburg is still taking infield at the moment, with Pittsford-Sutherland yet to do so. The start was pushed back due to the Section V Class D final being played beforehand.  

If you are computer bound instead of out enjoying this lovely evening at a high school baseball game ( :-) ), check out some fine work by two of our summer interns.

Ryan Marfrut covered Game Two of the Georgetown Cup championship series, which Canisius closed out with a thrilling, come-from-behind, 5-4 victory over St. Francis. Check out the live blog from Coca-Cola Field. Bryan Tenney and the Crusaders win their third straight cup. Those guys love playing for the Cup in June. 

Sam Kilb is now in the driver's seat at Coca-Cola Field, covering the Class AA Far West Regional between Clarence and Victor. Check out the live blog.

7:27 p.m. Umpires and coaches meeting at home plate. 

Usually you just hear the synthesizers of Europe's "Final Countdown" when you are at a sporting event. We have had the pleasure of hearing the entire song while the coaches and umpires meet. 

Lineups: 

Hamburg (15-9): Leadoff Jordan Pytlak ss, Tyler Herr 1b, Brian Castonguay 2b, Michael Kerr 3b, James Zemla cf, Tyler Shaw dh (for Sam Hogan p), Eric Simoncelli c, Jake Dehlinger rf, Nolan Ringo lf. 

Pittsford-Sutherland (22-2): Leadoff Hunter Merill lf, Jordan Swisher c, Brad Kacza ss, Zach Salvia 1b, Nick Barra 2b, Grand Heyman cf, Jeff Kay rf, Matt Barra dh (for Michael Gibbs p), Spencer Lowe 3b.

Solid, enthusiastic crowd on hand for Hamburg, including about 20 purple T-shirt-wearing students at the top of one bleacher. No such student section from Pitt-Sutherland. 

7:38 p.m. First pitch, and its a strike from Gibbs. 

There's a big glare as the sun is setting over left field. Right now it is hovering over the foul pole so it shouldn't be too much of a problem, if at all, for batters. It's a slight problem for sportswriters. 

7:45 p.m. The top of the first was a very eventful one for Hamburg, which is NOT happy, and it appears they have good reason to be.

After a pop out by Pytlak, Herr and Castonguay each reached on slow rolling singles between third and short. Kerr bounced one to short, but the last one was a big hop that couldn't be handled for an error -- could have been a double play, but the bases were loaded. 

Zemla bounces one to third, and Lowe does well to get to third for the force, then he plants and throws to first. The call of "Out!" is one that is disagreed with by most of the press box, and many in the stands, certainly if the fans were from Hamburg. 

The first base umpire (there are four working this championship game), did the standard umpire move after a controversial call and immediately went for a walk out into right field. Hamburg coach Steve Chaffee came out and walked all the way out to right and was very demonstrative in his disagreement. 

I have the iPhone video and I'll post it as soon as I'm able, which might not be until after the game. The play is closer than it appeared in person, but the video looked safe as well.

Here it is (posted in the seventh): 

Middle of the first, no score. 

7:56 p.m. A great response from Hogan on the mound, as he strikes out the side -- the last two sandwiched around a walk. End of the first, no score. 

8 p.m. No drama in the top of the second. Three straight grounders and three straight 6-to-3s in the scorebook for Shaw, Simoncelli and Dehlinger. 

8:07 p.m. A strikeout of Nick Barra starts the inning, and after an error on the second baseman, Jeff Kay grounded to second and it became a 6-4-3 double play on which first baseman Herr made a very nice stretch. End of the second, no score

8:14 p.m. Hamburg not happy again. After a leadoff sharp single up the middle by Ringo, Pytlak hit a very high pop to right. On an I-got-it-you-got-it, the ball lands in between the right fielder and the second baseman. The right fielder picks it up and throws to second for the force, and while it was a close play, it appears that Hamburg again gets a tough call as Ringo is called out. It goes as a 9 to 6 fielder's choice.

After a stolen base by Pytlak, it got even worse for Hamburg fans. Herr grounds to the shortstop, who forces Pytlak to scamper back to second and he throws wide to first. The first baseman comes off the bag and does the sweep tag, but I didn't see any contact. The better evidence is another shocked reaction by Hamburg's first base coach, and even better is Herr's instantaneous reaction that he wasn't touched. More hollers from the Hamburg fans and more incredulousness from the press box (not just me). 

Chaffee again comes out to express his frustration. Every trip has been deserved. 

But that's that. Middle of the third, no score.  

8:26 p.m. After a lineout to center on which Zemla makes a nice play to come in and nab as he went to the grass, and a groundout to third by Lowe, Merill gets Pitt-Sutherland's first hit of the day with a sharp liner to left. Merill stole second.

Swisher followed with a sharp single up the middle on a 2-2 pitch and Merill came around to score.

Ouch. Slow grounder to second on what looks like an inning-ender, but the throw is wide of first and Sutherland has runners at second and third for clean-up batter Salvia.

Salvia lines one down the third base line for big trouble for Hamburg -- the ball rolls around in the corner as the two runs score. The ball is dug out in time to nab Salvia -- who inexplicably stopped between second and third -- on a tag-out play at third to end the inning.

After three innings, Pitt-Sutherland 3, Hamburg 0. 

8:32 p.m. Hamburg with a mini-threat as, after a Castonguay strikeout, Kerr reached on an error by the shortstop after a high throw, then moved to second on a groundout to third by Zemla. But the inning ended with Shaw softly lining to second. Middle of fourth: Pitt-Sutherland leads, 3-0.

The sun has gone down over left field. Whew. View from the press box is now a sunglass-free deal.

8:39 p.m. Pitt-Sutherland adds another run and Hamburg makes a pitching change. Nick Barra grounded out to lead off, then lefty Heyman fisted a single to left and moved to second on an errant pickoff throw. Kay then rapped a single to left to drive in Heyman and, soon after, Chaffee was walking to the mound for the change.

Zemla comes in to pitch while Shaw, who had been the DH, goes to left field, and Ringo moves from left to center.

8:44 p.m. One batter and two outs for Zemla as Pytlak fields a grounder to short, steps on second and throws to first for the double play. End of the fourth: Pitt-Sutherland leads, 4-0.

8:49 p.m. A quick inning for Hamburg. Simoncelli gave a ball a ride to deep left center but it was tracked down smoothly by Heyman, Dehlinger grounded to short and Ringo flew out to right. Middle of fifth: Pitt-Sutherland, 4-0.

9:02 p.m. After the rough start with the umpires, Hamburg hasn't helped itself. Too many mistakes. A groundout to short by Lowe is followed by a walk to Merill; a fly out to center by Swisher is followed by a walk to Kaczka, and a passed ball gives P-M runners at second and third. A Salvia grounder to second could have ended the inning again, but the ball stays down and through the legs of the second baseman and both runners come in to score. The inning ends with a Barra groundout to second.

End of fifth: Pitt-Sutherland leads, 6-0

9:16 p.m. Three-up, three-down in the top of the sixth; Zemla strikes out two in the bottom of the sixth. Hamburg has three outs left. End of six: Pitt-Sutherland leads, 6-0.

9:23 p.m. Two singles, two strikeouts and a pop-out and it's over. 

We have a FINAL SCORE: Pittsford-Sutherland 6, Hamburg 0.

---Keith McShea
(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

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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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