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Countdown to Friday Night Lights: A North

By Keith McShea

Who’s who: The six-team division consists of the Grand Island Vikings, Kenmore East Bulldogs, Niagara-Wheatfield Falcons, North Tonawanda Lumberjacks, Starpoint Spartans and Sweet Home Panthers.

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

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)" »

Live from the Far West Regionals & your #preptalkscores (with VIDEO of buzzer-beater that beat Olean)

By Keith McShea

Hello on one of the most meaningful days on this school year's Western New York high school sports calendar.

We'll be reporting live from Rochester's Blue Cross Arena, site of the Far West Regional round that determines berths in next week's state public school final four. Meanwhile, Canisius and St. Mary's will play for Catholic state titles at Fordham University. Here's a preview of today's boys hoop action.

Also today: Girls basketball regionals at Buffalo State and state semifinal boys hockey with Niagara-Wheatfield in action in Utica. 

I'll provide play-by-play updates from the boys regionals in the live blog below and I'll have periodic #preptalkscores updates via Twitter which will also appear in the blog. 

Your tweets with the hashtag #preptalkscores are welcome -- as they will appear in the live blog as well. You can comment on these games or others. Every night, scoring update tweets (in any sport) are welcome to those on Twitter -- just use the #preptalkscores hashtag.

Check our scoreboard page for a complete schedule of tonight's games; the scoreboard will be updated as we receive game reports throughout the evening.

Continue reading "Live from the Far West Regionals & your #preptalkscores (with VIDEO of buzzer-beater that beat Olean)" »

PrepTalkTV's [BN]TheDressingRoom: Division I champion Niagara-Wheatfield

Niagara-Wheatfield players celebrate their win in the locker room after the game.

Read Miguel Rodriguez's story on Super Monday's championship games here.

Video: Super Monday hockey: Niagara-Wheatfield 7, Clarence 2

Niagara-Wheatfield won its second straight Section VI Division I (large school) hockey title by beating Clarence 7-2.

Read Miguel Rodriguez's story on Super Monday's championship games here.

Live from Super Monday hockey: Niagara-Wheatfield wins second straight Div. I title

By Miguel Rodriguez

Clarence meets defending Federation (Section VI) Large School hockey champion Niagara-Wheatfield in the first of three games here today at First Niagara Center.

The Federation Small School Final is supposed to start at 6 p.m. and feature West Seneca West against Williamsville East. The Niagara Cup Final, formerly known as Federation Catholic Playoff final, starts at 8 p.m. or so featuring Bishop Timon against St. Joe's.

CLARENCE vs. NIAGARA-WHEATFIELD

First period

N-W needs just 51 seconds to take 1-0 lead. Frank Vecchio II knocks in own rebound following a transition rush off Red Devils' neutral zone turnover.

On power play, Clarence ties it at 1 with 8:11 left on goal by Matt Colicchia.

Just 31 seconds later, N-W strikes again. Justin Durkee's change up from slot slips past Clarence goalie Devin Paluh. N-W leads, 2-1.

Continue reading "Live from Super Monday hockey: Niagara-Wheatfield wins second straight Div. I title" »

Live from Scrimmage Saturday: Seven stops and 24 teams (with 34 video highlights plus an episode of PrepTalkTV)

Cheektowaga and Eden line up on their first series with the Walden Galleria looming in the background. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

If it's the last Saturday of August, it must be Scrimmage Saturday, and we must be on our way to seeing as much football action as we can.

We'll be bopping around Western New York today -- as we have the last two years -- to catch as much football as we can in a limited time.

Disclaimer/explainer: Regular visitors to the blog know how much I love it when fans cite scrimmages as evidence for one team being better than another during the regular season, especially when it comes to the discussion of our polls. Just because I'm interested in all of the scrimmages (and getting to as many as I can), and learning about teams and players, they are still scrimmages. Once the season starts, I don't want to hear about them. :-)

If you're out and about like we are today, we want your reviews and breakdowns of what you saw. Keep it in context -- try and notice which first-team units are out there and what the teams are trying to do. Be sure to comment here our on our Facebook page, tweet us at @KeithMcSheaBN or send an email.

8:34 a.m. We are on our way. I met up with photographer Mark Mulville at One News Plaza and we're headed to Cheektowaga for our kickoff.

Eden, Springville, Tonawanda and West Seneca East are visiting Cheektowaga. We're planning a quick stop before heading nearby to Cleveland Hill. 

9:22 a.m. Great start to the day for us -- and for Eden. The Raiders, known for their ground-and-pound-and win formula, threw for two touchdowns against Cheektowaga -- including one on the first play of the scrimmage! -- and added in another touchdown as we were leaving. 

We were on hand for some warmups before things got started, with Tonawanda coach Rob Gross asking his team, quite loudly, "What's this half-speed!? Why are we doing anything half speed?!"

After a fairly lenghty prepractice address by the officials, we got started as the head referee said, "Rock and roll, Scott," to Cheektowaga coach Scott Zipp.

And early misstep by Cheektowaga against Eden prompted a "Do your job!" admonition from an assistant coach to a player.

On the other half of the field, West Seneca East scored a TD against Tonawanda. 

And let's go to the video:

Above is our first play of our season as West Seneca East got things off and running against Tonawanda. 

Talk about a great start for Eden. This is their first play as their offense went against Cheektowaga. 

A nice run for Eden.

9:30 a.m. Just about to pull in to Cleveland Hill. (Reminder for any hey-buddy-keep-your-hands-on-the-wheel fans: Mulville is driving).

9:37 a.m. iPhone update from Cleve Hill, where they haven't started due to Silver Creek being late. This may screw up some of our travel plans. We'll see.

9:48 a.m. Official addresses teams: "Next week it starts for real, today's for fun."

10:24 a.m. Back in Mulville's Honda heading north to Lockport. It's a super bummer that Cleve Hill was behind because we're a half hour off the ideal schedule I had set up for the day. That's alright. Every game (and every assignment) isn't going to go as planned and you've got to make those key adjustments, right? 

On the bright side, we saw the first-stringers for all four teams at Cleve Hill. The defenses ruled the first round as a fired-up Silver Creek unit bottled up Burgard and the Cleve Hill defense kept Cardinal O'Hara out of the end zone. 

Daryl Spencer had a nice sack for a big loss for Cleve Hill on defense, then looked very good with some rollout completions on offense. Zeddie Williams, who should be the feature back after the graduation of older brother Zach, looked solid out of the backfield for Silver Creek. Burgard also had some very solid run stops. 

Here are the top videos from Cleve Hill:

10:36 a.m. It's a long trip to Lockport. We're just on to Transit from Millersport & the I-990. Six top programs in action up at Emmet Belknap Intermediate: St. Francis, Sweet Home, North Tonawanda, Williamsville South, Grand Island and the host Lions. 

Trying to plot out a backup plan -- a main stop for us is Orchard Park, which is hosting Canisius in a scrimmage that started at 10.

11:02 a.m. Got to Lockport in time to catch the tail end of Jordan Johnson of Sweet Home leading the offense against Will South. Johnson and Sweet Home looked to be moving the ball fairly effectively -- he had a touchdown pass to the far left side of the field called back on a penalty. We didn't see a ton of Sweet Home against Will South but we saw a few more plays against Lockport. 

Williamsville South and Grand Island were paired up on the other end and there were some hard hits, including a busted play for South that almost resulted in a hit on coach Kraig Kurzanski, who was in the customary coaches' spot behind the huddle. 

St. Francis finished strong on defense against Grand Island and then paired up with North Tonawanda. I caught the second half of that pairing, with NT making some nice stops on defense. 

Here's our best video from Lockport:

11:31 a.m. We're on the road again, heading south and hoping to fit in a stop at Riverside but that might not be a great decision with OP are key final stop. 

11:37 a.m. Just talked to PrepTalkTV partner Lauren Mariacher at Canisius. The first-stringers are done there -- she has video and interviews from there so I might not go down there. I think we'll head to Riverside.

11:40 a.m. Just checked in with Lauren again. Canisius and OP will be on the field for another hour, so Mark and I are going to squeeze in a visit to Riverside, which is hosting McKinley, Bishop Timon-St. Jude and Maple Grove.

Even if we stay just a few moments, we'll be able to get some video, photos and some looks at the teams. Right now we've seen 14 teams in three stops.

With Scrimmage Saturday, it's certainly about quantity, not quality.

11:54 a.m. And JUST when we think we've come up with a great plan, we pull into the Riverside parking lot and pass a kid wearing orange-and-black carrying his shoulder pads out. 

"That's not a good sign," says Mark. 

It wasn't. The Riverside field was empty.

The kid was from McKinley. Arghhhhhhh.

If I wrote what I'm feeling right now, I'd get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Maybe two.

Off to OP. Arrrrrrgh. Sigh.

1 p.m. We caught the very end of the Canisius scrimmage at Orchard Park, did some interviews and filmed an intro for PrepTalkTV. Lauren Mariacher is working on that and it'll be posted later today. 

I'm headed back to One News Plaza to get some more videos and details posted before heading out to evening scrimmages at Iroquois and Amherst. 

More updates to come ...

3:02 p.m. Here is the finished PrepTalkTV product (now starring on the buffalonews.com home page):

3:49 p.m. I've posted a bunch of video here, and I'll have more to come from the six-team Lockport scrimmage as well as some from my next two stops -- Iroquois and Amherst.

4:26 p.m. Hello from the awesome back field setting at Iroquois.

Iroquois' practice field is way behind the school. And I mean wayyyy behind.

5:40 p.m. Note to football coaches and athletic directors. If you want Prep Talk hanging out at your scrimmage for a long time, have it at night :-).

Got a good long look -- along with the Prep Talk blog's "Milt Latimer" -- at Lackawanna, Frontier, Iroquois and Niagara-Wheatfield, seeing all of their first-strings go at in in their second go-round of '1's.

Lackawanna was very impressive with Keith Taggart leading the way not only at running back but on defense. Some big hits there.

Niagara-Wheatfield sure looked the part, sporting uniforms which looked ready for gameday, right down to every player's pulled-up red calf socks with a black Falcon logo on them. Coming off a winless season and with a new coach in Tim Hagerty, the program looks like it has a little spark. The sideline was extremely into the final offensive session against Iroquois in the first go-round.

Iroquois and Frontier both had good spurts in their session against each other, some nice run stuffs and scoring drives. Frontier got a spark on its offensive series after it made a change at quarterback.

It looked like a productive scrimmage for all four teams.

Here are the video highlights, which were included the best stuff I saw all day:

With six stops and 20 teams seen, now I'm off to Amherst for the final stop of the day.

6:25 p.m. Arrived at Amherst, which is hosting West Seneca West, Kenmore East and Hutch-Tech.

7:09 p.m. Saw some nice play at Amherst's Dimp Wagner Alumni Field, where it appeared that the hosts were the top unit -- not too surprising based on last season and the Tigers' returning experienced players, but certainly impressive nonetheless. Amherst is very fast, and they showed it off on both sides of the ball against a West Seneca West unit that made a few unforced errors, including some turnovers on offense. The Tigers had one player sprint from the backside to chase down a run, and also sped to big gains off of short passes.

Hutch-Tech had some nice run stops and moved the ball better than Kenmore East did in their two series.

The highlights:

And check this out -- I call it a day and walk off the field, and as I walk out of the gate, I run into Tonawanda coach Rob Gross. He was the first coach I saw this morning, and the last coach I see as I leave. Can't make this stuff up.

I think that gives us a very strong finish to our Scrimmage Saturday -- looks like we're ready to go for next weekend.

* * *

Also check out a photo gallery by Mulville.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

Playing catch (up) with some summer hoops

I had a summer break that started as soon as the 2010-11 season concluded, and now I'm back -- and here to throw some notes out regarding some summer news and notes ... 

* Late in the spring season we told you about the BCANY Hoops Festival set for Johnson City from Aug. 5-7. The event seems like a great one, and it's one that came about due to the unfortunate absence of the Empire State Games this summer. 

The roster has been selected by the coaching staff of head coach Larry Jones (Depew) and assistants Mike Haskell (retired Pioneer) and Mike Berkun (Medaille):

Reggie Agbeko (St. Joe's), Stan Wier (who has transferred back home to East Aurora), Sterling Taplin (Williamsville North), Ryan Whelpley (Walsh), Matt Hart (Canisius), Aaron Frasier (Seneca), Aaron White (Canisius), Jamaal Carter (City Honors), Adam Weir (Canisius), Jordan Williams (Bishop Timon-St. Jude).

Alternates are: Matt McDonald (Canisius), Demone Harris (Timon), Kyle Kobis (Timon), Derrick Sekuterski (Depew).

The team will play Long Island on Friday, Aug 5 at 4:30 p.m. On Saturday, Aug. 6, the Buffalo team plays New York City at 9 a.m. and Hudson Valley at noon. Saturday's evening session includes a dunk contest and three-point contest at 4:30 p.m.; a parent clinic on recruiting at 5:30 and a player clinic with college coaches at 6:30.

The event concludes on Sunday, Aug. 7 with the seventh-place game (9 a.m.), fifth-place game (10:30 a.m.), consolation (noon) and championship (1:30 p.m.).

While the event is being run by BCANY, there are some expenses that will need to be covered for teams and players (food, lodging, transportation -- costs mostly taken care of by the ESG during the Games). The squad is seeking sponsorships -- if you are interested in helping the team defray some costs, call Jones at (585) 746-8327.

This team deserves some serious commenting -- that squad is a really good one, a much better collection than I expected for what is a startup event this year. Great talent, great depth, great mixture of schools. Excellent job by the basketball community in getting the word out and credit the coaching staff for what must have been some difficult choices after the tryouts. 

* Speaking of some good hoops competition, this weekend might be the Taste of Buffalo but fans can get a taste of hoops up in Niagara Falls. Some top programs are in action at the Niagara PAL Team Camp at Niagara Falls. Here's the lineup: 

Friday: 5 p.m. -- Main gym, Niagara Falls vs. Canisius; Aux. gym, St. Joe's vs. Niagara-Wheatfield; 6 p.m. -- Batavia vs. Grand Island; Aux. gym, Wilson vs. Holland; 7 p.m. -- Main gym, Jamestown vs. Sweet Home.

Saturday: 9 a.m. -- Main gym, St. Joe's vs. Niagara Falls; Aux. gym, Canisius vs. Jamestown; 10 a.m. -- Main gym, Sweet Home vs. Wilson; Aux. gym, Batavia vs. Niagara-Wheatfield; 11 a.m., Main gym, Grand Island vs. Holland.

Single elimination tournament begins at noon, with championship at 5 p.m.

There is a $2 admission for fans 13 and older.

* I will hopefully hit some summer events of all sorts -- I'll be soon selling raffle tickets to benefit the Tom Borrelli Award and Scholarship Fund. We have some great prizes and it's a great cause as we continue to honor our fallen coworker. 

The third Borrelli Award for boys and the inaugural Borrelli Award for girls will be announced later this month and the winners will receive their trophies at the July 27 Tom Borrelli Golf Tournament at Holland Hills. For those interested in golfing ($100 per person) or donating, please email me at kmcshea@buffnews.com. 

* By the way, the spring All-WNY teams and all-league teams (for baseball, softball and boys and girls lacrosse), which have been published over the last month, have all been collected at the high school home page.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

Live from state championship softball: Section VI goes 0 for 3 (with video)

Hello from state championship softball at the Adirondack Sports Complex in Queensbury.

Niagara-Wheatfield is here in Class AA, Falconer in B and Frewsburg in C.

I'll have updates throughout the day, but a light drizzle is limiting me to the iPhone right now.

9:48 a.m. Niagara-Wheatfield leads Cicero-North Syracuse, 2-1, after one in the AA semifinals.

Falcons leadoff dynamo Caitlin Attfield led off with a bunt single and came home on this fielder's choice:

The N-W rally ends with C-NS centerfielder Jenna Tartaro tracking down a nice shot off the bat of Alyssa Depetris.

10:15 a.m. Not a good bottom of the second for N-W: C-NS scores seven to take an 8-2 lead after two. The rain has picked up to a harder drizzle now.

Fans under cover in this morning's AA semifinal featuring Niagara-Wheatfield. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) 10:30 a.m. We are suspended due to rain in the bottom of the third. C-NS leads, 8-2, and has the bases loaded with no out.

10:55 a.m. Down the road at the Morse Athletic Complex, Frewsburg has a 4-2 lead on Haldane in a C semifinal heading to the bottom of the second. Raining here but there hasn't been a delay. Frewsburg had a four-run first in which they sent 10 batters to the plate.

11:14 a.m. Haldane scores three in the bottom of the second to take a 5-4 lead. At the end of the inning, the umpire calls a delay to address puddles at home and near third.

11:44 a.m. Play restarted fairly quickly, with Haldane adding four runs in the bottom of the third to take a 9-4 lead. Haldane with a pair of well-hit gappers to drive in their runs.

11:50 a.m. Frewsburg hasn't sent more than three batters to the plate in an inning since the first. 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth.

Samantha Mott delivers for Frewsburg. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) 12:13 p.m. Ouch for Frewsburg. Seven more runs for Haldane, which now leads, 16-4, after four innings.

12:23 p.m. We are back down the road at Adirondack, where C-NS scored a run to take a 9-3 lead after three. This going back and forth & trying to time it right is going to be tough :-).

12:49 p.m. Back at Morse and Frewsburg got two back but trails, 18-6, in the bottom of the sixth. And Haldane just stole a base. Why???

12:51 p.m. Single makes it 19-6.

12:54 p.m. Two-run single made it 22-6 before the inning ended. Heading to the top of the seventh.

1:26 p.m. Section VI is 0-2. Frewsburg lost, 22-6. Niagara-Wheatfield lost, 9-2.

At the end of the Haldane game, their coach added insult to a blowout with some unsportsmanlike conduct I'll elaborate on later when I'm on a laptop and not an iPhone.

Falconer's Cherise Gunnell with the pitch. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

1:53 p.m. B semifinal has started.

2:02 p.m. Windsor gets one in the first after two errors and no hits. With one out, Emma Benson hit a fly to left that would have been a good running catch but the ball went in and out of the glove for a two-base error. Cara Martin followed with a hard-hit ball that went under the second baseman to score Benson.

Update from Binghamton: Dunkirk baseball has lost, 6-2. Check this link from The Journal News of Westchester County for some details (sorry for old school link but we're still updating via iPhone):

http://baseball.lohudblogs.com/

3:15 p.m. Been conserving energy with the iPhone. Windsor has a 4-0 lead heading to the bottom of the fifth. Windsor added three runs in the second.

3:22 p.m. Falconer gets one back with an RBI single by No 9 hitter Allyson Roach. She drove in Shelby Overturf, who walked then moved to third on two fielder's choices. Heading to the sixth.

3:47 p.m. It's a final: Windsor 4, Falconer 1.

Ballgame over. Section VI softball season over. Western New York high school season over.

* * * 

My apologies about not updating this sooner (I'm writing it Monday). Saturday was a longgggg day (my story is here), Sunday was spent traveling (and recovering :-) ).  

The unfortunate incident I witnessed at the end of the Class C semifinal was this:

Haldane is leading Frewsburg, 22-6, and as I noted in the blog, they were stealing bases very late in the game with a huge lead. Unnecessary and could be called classless, but it is a separate issue from what I'm about to describe. 

Frewsburg, on the wrong side of the worst kind of score, seemed to be handling it as well as they could. An infielder committed an error by booting the ball late in the game, and the Frewsburg assistant joked with her that she might have tried to kick it directly to a teammate for a great play.

They were losing a big-time game, but Frewsburg seemed to have everything in perspective. 

Not so on the other side. 

In the top of the seventh, the last ups for Frewsburg in the game -- which was, as a reminder, 22-6 -- the leadoff batter hit a hard comebacker to the mound and was thrown out by the pitcher, who had been hit with the ball and was in some degree of pain. As the batter returned to the dugout, she passed home plate, where she received some encouraging words and a high-five from the on-deck batter.

Then I noticed that the on-deck batter had a very surprised look on her face and appeared to be talking to the catcher. The on-deck batter said something to the effect of, "No, I wasn't talking about that ... I was talking about a different thing."

The pitcher stayed in the game and the blowout ended promptly two outs later. Then I saw the same on-deck batter, with Frewsburg coach, at the end of postgame handshake line talking with the Haldane coach. It was a brief conversation in which the Frewsburg player looked to be attempting to explain some kind of misunderstanding.

According to Frewsburg people, the Haldane coach had yelled at the on-deck batter because he thought the Frewsburg players were celebrating the fact that the pitcher had been hurt. That's why the batter was in shock that she was being yelled at for something she didn't do. At the end of the game, the player wanted to explain this misunderstanding to the Haldane coach, who apparently wasn't buying the explanation. I saw the Frewsburg coaching staff make a NYSPHSAA representative aware of the Haldane coach's actions.

The player is a sophomore -- actually almost all of Frewsburg's players are sophomores (one senior, two juniors on roster) -- and after the game the incident left her upset to the point of tears.

It's an incident that didn't need to happen. A coach should speak to -- much less yell -- at an opposing player only in the rarest of cases, and this certainly didn't qualify. There was also an opportunity to smooth out what could have been a bad misunderstanding during the handshake, one that was initiated by the Frewsburg player, but that was, according to Frewsburg, rebuffed by the Haldane coach. 

It's an utter lack of perspective, which in my opinion is the worst thing about high school sports. Coaches and parents (and sometimes players) that go overboard in the way they handle themselves and in the way they deal with the action on the field hijack what is a wonderful athletic and educational experience and take it places it shouldn't go. They take things too seriously to the point where they embarrass themselves.

Coach, you won a state semifinal game -- and left a girl on the other team in tears. Congratulations.

Haldane lost the state championship game later Saturday afternoon.

---Keith McShea
(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

Live from Far West Regional softball: N-W's makes first final four, Falconer homers to win (with video)

National Anthem for the AA game. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

Hello from Brockport State for the Far West Regionals in softball. We've got a tripleheader, starting with the biggest and ending with the smallest of the top three classifications. 

The Class AA final is scheduled for 2 p.m. and pits Niagara-Wheatfield against Greece-Athena. That's followed by the 4 p.m. A final between Williamsville East and Pittsford-Mendon and the 6 p.m. B final of Falconer against Mynderse Academy.

The winners today advance to the state final four in Queensbury on Saturday.

2:13 p.m. The captains meeting at home plate -- we're a bit delayed here as Wheatfield's bus was late to the venue.

Starting lineups:

Niagara-Wheatfield (14-1): Leadoff Caitlin Attfield ss, Katie Gruarin cf, Lara Crooks rf, Leauren DeVantier 1b, Ally Gonyea 3b, Meghan Maranto c, Alyssa DePetris dp, Tori Baron lf, Katie Mazierski 2b; the pitcher is Alyssa Sciria.

Greece-Athena: Leadoff Olivia Miller 3b, Kelsey Johnson 1b, Riley Johnson ss, Chelsea Touchstone of, Emily Shoemaker lf, Sierra Valentine p, Lexi Stiewe dp, Kristen Cardella rf, Marissa McKenna c; Brianna Capezzuto is at 2b.

2:19 p.m. We are under way. Greece-Athena bats first as the away team.

2:27 p.m. One runner for Greece but no damage. Miller flew out, Kelsey Johnson reached on an error at short and moved to second on a wild pickoff attempt by the catcher, but she stayed there after a flyout to right by Riley Johnson and a strikeout, looking, by Touchstone. Middle of first: No score. 

2:41 p.m. Niagara-Wheatfield has to love this start. The Falcons send nine batters to the plate and score three runs on just one hit. Attfield bunt singled, then went all the way to third on a wild throw. On the first pitch to Gruarin, she put down a bunt back to the pitcher and Attfield slided acrosse home plate for the run.

I'm furious with myself for missing the play with the iPhone. If it was the second pitch, I woulda had it. Ugh. Attfield had a great head-first slide across the plate right below us.

Gruarin went to second as the throw home went behind the catcher. Crooks blooped out to second. DeVantier walked. Gonyea singled opposite-field to right to score Gruarin and move DeVantier to third. Maranto walked to load the bases after a Gonyea steal. DePetris grounded to short and she came home to get the force and the bases remained loaded on the fielder's choice. Baron walked to force in a run. Mazierski struck out. End of first: N-W, 3-0.

2:46 p.m. Another great half-inning for Wheatfield as Sciria strikes out the side: Shoemaker, Valentine, Stiewe. Middle of the second: N-W, 3-0.

2:58 p.m. More good things for N-W. Six batters, four hits and two more runs. Attfield doubled to start against a bunt-defense, five-player infield, scooting to second when the ball got past the center fielder. Gruarin singled, Attfield scored. Crooks struck out looking. DeVantier blooped a single to right to drive in Gruarin. Gonyea blooped a single to center, just over the shortstop. With runners on first and second, Maranto hit a liner to short, and Riley Johnson nabbed it out of the air and stepped on second, almost in one motion, for an inning-ending double play. End of second: N-W, 5-0.

3:02 p.m. Sciria keeps cruising. Three up, three down. Strikeout of Cardella, McKenna lined softly to first, Miller popped out high to first. Middle of third: N-W, 5-0. 

3:06 p.m. First quiet inning for N-W as Valentine may have settled down in the circle. DePetris grounded to the pitcher, Baron struck out, Mazierski lined out to left. End of third: N-W, 5-0.

3:09 p.m. Three up, three down again for Sciria. Kelsey Johnson flies to left, Riley Johnson grounds to short, Touchstone grounds to pitcher. Middle of fourth: N-W, 5-0

3:15 p.m. Another quick one for N-W as Attfield lines out to left, Gruarin pops out foul to the first baseman, and Crooks flew out to left. End of fourth: N-W, 5-0. 

3:20 p.m. A hint of a rally but still only three batters for Athena. The no-hitter for Sciria is over (wasn't my fault -- I didn't mention it :-) ). Shoemaker reaches on an infield single; Valentine struck out swinging. Then Shoemaker went on a steal and Maranto threw to Attfield who swept a tag as Shoemaker arrived and the call is out; definitely a close play, tough to tell if there was actual contact on the tag. Stiewe lined out to short to end the inning. Middle of fifth: N-W, 5-0.

3:24 p.m. Innings going quite quickly. Three up, three down for the Falcons as DeVantier fisted a liner to short, Gonyea foul-popped out to catcher and Maranto grounded to second. End of fifth: N-W, 5-0.

3:30 p.m. Cardella flew out to right, McKenna grounded to first, and then Miller delivered a solid single to left. The inning ended when Kelsey Johnson grounded to Sciria. Middle of sixth: N-W, 5-0. 

3:37 p.m. Nothing for N-W. Grounder to short by DePetris, single to left by Baron, foul pop by Mazierski which is caught nicely by a sliding Kelsey Johnson, grounder to second by Attfield. End of sixth: N-W, 5-0. 

Three outs to go for the Falcons. 3-4-5 batters upcoming for Athena.

3:57 p.m. Whoops. Forgot to update the blog before going to get quotes :-) 

We have a FINAL SCORE: Niagara-Wheatfield 5, Greece-Athena 0.

In the seventh, Riley Johnson was hit by a pitch then was out on a fielder's choice that put Touchstone at first. Shoemaker walked to put runners at first and second, but then Sciria finished it off. Valentine flew out to right, which went as a sacrifice. Sciria fielded a grounder by Stiewe and threw her out to end the game.

Here's the final out: 

It is the first trip to the state final four for Niagara-Wheatfield softball.

First final four in N-W softball history. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

Back with the A game in a few moments. Infield practice going on. 

4:27 p.m. Starting lineups being announced now. We'll try and type those in right now.

Williamsville East is the visitor.

Williamsville East: Leadoff Dani Silvestri lf, Marci Tirone cf, Jenna Reilley ss, Jenna Allers rf, Catherine Krok 3b, Tara Schiumo 2b, Sam Weaver p, Machenzie Klun 1b, Dana Larkin dp (for Jami Cohen c).

Pittsford-Mendon: Leadoff Courtney Case ss, Jenna Lazar 2b, Lauren D'Hont cf, Brittany Grage p, Anna Valentine 1b, Kelsey Julien rf, Michelle Hochman c, Katie Brennan lf, Erin Lyons 3b.

4:39 p.m. One hit but nothing more for Will East in the top of the first. Silvestri grounded to third. Grage struck out Tirone and Allers with a single to right from Reilley in between. Middle of first: No score. 

4:45 p.m. Two strikeouts for Weaver, but a run for Pitt-Mendon. Case struck out looking, Lazar singled to right, D'Hont struck out swinging. Grage then blasted a fly ball deep to center, over Tirone's head for a double that scored Lazar. Valentine ended the inning with a grounder to third. End of first: Pitt-Mendon, 1-0. 

4:53 p.m. Two baserunners this time for East, but another inning-ending strikeout. Krok grounded to third, Schiumo legged out an infield single, Weaver lined out, Klun reached on catcher's interference, putting runners at first and second, and Cohen struck out swinging. Middle of second: Pitt-Mendon, 1-0.

5:01 p.m. The inning started tamely enough but ended poorly for the Flames. Julien and Hochman grounded out to pitcher and third, respectively. Brennan then grounded to third and it looked like the ball might be headed down the line, but Krok went full extension on a dive to keep the play to a single. When Lyons followed with a double to deep left-center, it looked like Krok's play would be huge as it kept a run from scoring. However, the hits kept coming as Case smacked a single just out of the reach of Schiumo for two RBIs and a bloop single by Lazar scored Case (who moved to second on the throw home and to third on a stolen base). D'Hont ended the inning with a grounder to Weaver. End second: Pitt-Mendon, 4-0.

5:05 p.m. Nothing doing for East. Silvestri grounded out, Tirone struck out swinging, Reilley lined out to left. Middle of third: Pitt-Mendon, 4-0.

5:13 p.m. More hits for Pitt-Mendon, but a strong finish for Weaver prevents any more scoring. Grage led off with a single, Valentine flew out to right, Julien doubled on a ball that apparently went over the third base bag. Will East coach Ron Schumacher came out to protest afterwards but it wasn't a long discussion. But with runners on second and third, Hochman flew out to right -- with Allers throwing home strongly to prevent an attempted tag-up -- and Brennan went down swinging. Weaver got the last two strikes on an off-speed strike that was taken, then got a swinging strikeout with a hard one. End of third: Pitt-Mendon, 4-0.  

5:21 p.m. Baserunners, but no hits or runs for East. Allers walked, Krok struck out after two foul bunts, Schiumo was hit by a pitch, Weaver grounded sharply to the pitcher, who threw to third for a nice fielder's choice. The inning ended with Klun grounding to second. Middle of fourth: PItt-Mendon, 4-0.

5:28 p.m. More runs for Mendon. Lyons led off with an infield single that banged off the knee of Reilley; she was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Case; Lazar singled and moved to second on a throw home. D'Hont grounded to third, but after she was out at first, Lyons broke for home. She scored, the throw was wild, and Lazar came around to score. More runners but no more scoring as Grage wlked, Valentine singled and Julien grounded to pitcher. End of fourth: Pitt-Mendon, 6-0. 

5:31 p.m. Very quick inning for East. Strikeout swinging for Larkin, Silvestri grounded to pitcher, Tirone grounded to short. Middle of fifth: Pitt-Mendon, 6-0.  

Allers is now pitching; Weaver replaced her in right.

5:43 p.m. Another long inning for Mendon, and another run. Hochman singled to right, Brennan sac bunted her over, Lyons popped out. Case reached on an infield single on which Reilley made a great play to get in front of it on a dive, then even tried to throw her out while sitting on the dirt. Lazar followed with a single which Schiumo nearly tracked down in shallow right; that scored Hochman. D'Hont struck out to end the inning. End of fifth: Pitt-Mendon, 7-0. 

5:50 p.m. Will East gets a run thanks to Reilley's leadoff blast to center field which went for a triple. Allers grounded out to second to score the run. Krok fisted a soft liner to short. Schiumo walked but the inning ends with a Weaver groundout to third. Middle of sixth: Pitt-Mendon, 7-1. 

5:55 p.m. Ka-blam. Grage turns on one and blasts a home run over the left-center field fence -- the fences are an even 200 feet away all around. In bottom of sixth: Pitt-Mendon, 8-1.

5:58 p.m. No more damage as the next three go down. End of sixth: Pitt-Mendon, 8-1. 

Three more outs for the Flames to mount a comeback.

6:12 p.m. At leadoff there was a great battle by Machenzie Klun, who fouled off eight pitches before muscling a single over third base. Great at-bat by Klun to start a rally for East. 

Alissa Davis flied out to deep left as a pinch hitter; Silvestri reached on an infield single to deep short; Tirone fouled out to first. Reilley grounded to short but the throw was wild, allowing two runs to score. The game ended with a great catch by center fielder D'Hont on a blast by Allers. 

We have a FINAL SCORE: Pittsford-Mendon 8, Williamsville East 3.

6:20 p.m. Just finished interviews -- this was the final game of Ron Schumacher's 34-year coaching career. 

Back with the B game in about 15 minutes or so.

6:43 p.m. Starting lineups being introduced. Falconer is the visitor. 

Falconer: Leadoff Sadie Stuart ss, Kayleigh Erickson cf, Shannon Gunnell c, Cherise Gunnell p, Erika Hines 1b, Shelby Overturf rf, Morgan Spallino 2b, Ashley Gunnell 3b, Allyson Roach lf. 

Mynderse: Leadoff Megan Tuttle ss, Allie Deal rf, Abby Dygert c, Courtney Johnson p, Mariah Foser lf, Sydney Rogers 2b, Meghan Felice 3b, Alysha Bachman 1b, Jessica Parish cf. 

6:50 p.m. First pitch of the B game. Since I have to write up three games, I might skimp on some details here. I'll still have scoring updates and probably inning updates. 

6:55 p.m. Falconer threatens but does not score in the top of the first. Stuart reached on an infield single, but then Johnson struck out Erickson and Shannon G. Cherise G. reached on an error by the shortstop, with the wild throw allowing Stuart to third and Cherise G. to second. Johnson then got Hines to end the inning with a groundout to short. Middle of first: No score. 

7:04 p.m. A mini-threat for Mynderse as well, but Cherise G. gets a strikeout to end the inning. Tuttle started with a strikeout, Deal walked, Dygert popped up, then Johnson thumped a single up the middle to put runners at first and second. Cherise G. got Foster on a swinging strikeout. End of first: No score.

7:07 p.m. Quick and quiet second for Falconer. Two very strong plays by shortstop Tuttle, who goes into deep short to get Overturf -- thanks to a sweep tag by Bachman; then she went deep on a hard shot by Spallino, threw off the base but again Bachman reeled it in and stepped on first in time. Ashley G. ended the inning with a foul out to catcher. Middle of second: No score. 

7:15 p.m. Only four batters for Mynderse, but one was a big one. After a leadoff strikeout to Rogers, BOOM. Righty Felice turned on an inside pitch and her high fly homer landed well over the left field fence. Cherise G. struck out Bachman and then Parish rolled out to first. End of second: Mynderse, 1-0.

7:22 p.m. Roach strikes out, Stuart with another hit on a single to left, but then Erickson strikes out and Shannon G. is out on a fielder's choice as they got the out at second. Middle of third: Mynderse, 1-0. 

7:44 p.m. Lots of good news to update for Falconer fans. Cherise G. had two strikeouts in facing four batters in the bottom of the third, and then Falconer blew up in the top of the fourth. 

Cherise G. led off with a single that landed her at third when her solid shot to center scooted past the center fielder, then Hines singled to right to drive her in. After Overdorf' bunt attempt was caught on a pop out to the pitcher, Spallino reached on an error on the first baseman, who couldn't handle the throw from the third baseman. Ashley G. bunt singled to load the bases. Roach then lined out to center. 

Then the most impressive HOME RUN of the day, as Stuart clobbers a GRAND SLAM to very deep left to turn a tie game into a 5-1 Falconer lead.

Here it is ... hard to see the ball, but it lands well past the fence in left center. 

Then Erickson made it back-to-back HOMERS just left of center to make it a 6-1 lead. Shannon G. was hit by a pitch, stole second and move to third on a passed ball before Cherise G. -- who led off the inning -- flew out to deep center. Middle of fourth: Falconer, 6-1. 

7:50 p.m. Three up, three down for Mynderse with two strikeouts for Cherise G. End of fourth: Falconer, 6-1.

7:56 p.m. Wow. Another HOME RUN for Falconer. Spallino gets around on one and another one goes sailing well over the left center wall. That came with two outs in the inning. Middle of fifth: Falconer, 7-1. 

8:11 p.m. We're heading to the bottom of the sixth and Falconer's lead is four. Mynderse got two runs in the bottom of the fifth without a hit: two hit by pitches, a sac bunt, a walk, a wild pitch (scored one) and a sac fly (scored another). In the top of the sixth, Falconer went down on two fly outs and a pop-up. Middle of sixth: Falconer, 7-3.

8:20 p.m. Cherise G. rebounded from a shaky inning with as strong an inning as you could want: she struck out the side. End of sixth: Falconer, 7-3.

8:25 p.m. Falconer sends five batters to the plate but no runs. Falcons are now three outs away from the final four. Middle of seventh: Falconer, 7-3. 

8:34 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Falconer 7, Mynderse 3.

Here's the final out.

Interview time for me. Gotta run.

Falconer's final four Falcons. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

11:28 p.m.
Thanks to the Brockport Tim Hortons for becoming a satellite office for The Buffalo News High School Sports Desk. Got some food, drink, a seat and an electrical outlet to do my story ... and to do a re-do of an update of my story after my computer locked up. Gotta love it.

I'm back tomorrow evening for Silver Creek boys lacrosse's attempt to make the state championship game, which should be very exciting. I'll have the live blog going for that but the 8 p.m. scheduled start is a real booger for my deadline. We'll get it done.

---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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