Every week during the basketball season a panel of voters participates in The News' large and small school boys basketball polls.
And every week we let you know, like the title says ... how The News voted.
This week marks a change at the top as Canisius takes over the No. 1 large school spot for Niagara Falls. Canisius had a great start to what should be a fun month, winning at Timon Friday, beating Section V Class AA power Fairport (then ranked second in the state) on Saturday, becoming the top-ranked team in the Class A state poll on Monday and ascending to The News No. 1 spot today.
1. Canisius (15-3) [last week: 2] -- I said I was waiting to see Niagara Falls and Canisius this past weekend to see if there was a move to be made for this spot, and the results made it a clear one. Canisius was all over Fairport from the start and then made the plays to hold on. Fairport, Bishop Kearney (which Falls lost to Sunday) and Webster Schroeder (which Falls lost to Saturday) are considered to be tightly grouped together when it comes to who is the best Class AA team in Section V.
Every week during the basketball season a panel of voters participates in The News' large and small school boys basketball polls.
And every week we let you know, like the title says ... how The News voted.
This is just one ballot -- there are nine other voters in each poll. This week's News poll is available via the high school home page.
It's a Super Week, and we're not talking about Sunday's football game. As you'll see throughout the blog, there are several big-time games this week -- there's even one on Super Bowl Sunday that is worth a bit of hype.
1. Niagara Falls (10-1) [last week: 1] -- The 100-18 win over Kenmore East revived calls for the Niagara Frontier League to allow Falls to play as an independent. I've said they should have remained that way since the 2005 Federation championship team.
Hello from the Buffalo State Sports Arena. We're moments away from our first game of a tripleheader tonight: the B-2 semifinal between Cleveland Hill and Wilson.
It's one of the best weeks of the year if you're a high school sports fan, and I'm excited to be here. We'll be back in moments with the tip.
Wilson starters: Thilk-Moxham-Parrott-Martin-Walch.
Cleve Hill starters: Glover-Tompkins-Barker-Molson-Spencer
5:31 p.m.: CH controls the tip, and we're off.
5:37 p.m.: CH leads, 6-4, midway through the first quarter. Brennan Moxham has three of Wilson's points, while Jeru Molson just converted a nice layup off a steal for CH.
5:39 p.m.: Maybe some nerves on the big stage? Lots of sloppy play on both ends. Cleve Hill definitely trying to run more, while Wilson is trying to slow the pace.
5:42 p.m.: CH is out to a 13-4 lead, prompting a timeout by Wilson coach Brett Sippel. A three-pointer by Jordan Parker on the Golden Eagles' last possession were the last points.
5:44 p.m.: Golden Eagles lead, 13-8, after one quarter. Moxham hit a three and Pat Walch went 1 of 2 at the free-throw line with 4 seconds left for Wilson to cut into the lead.
5:48 p.m.: CH timeout, leading, 17-15. Moxham has five in the second quarter for Wilson, which took a 15-13 lead, but the Eagles responded with a bucket in the lane by Barker and a steal and layup by Spencer.
5:53 p.m.: CH timeout, leading, 19-18, 3:35 left in the first half.
6 p.m.: Halftime, with the game tied, 25-25.
First-half note: Here's your scoring summaries: For CH, Tompkins has 2, Barker 4, Parker 3, Molson 4, Watkins 2, Davis 4 and Spencer with 6. For Wilson, Moxham leads all scorers with 15. DiLaura has 1, Walch 1 and Martin 8.
Programming note: Tyler Martin is wearing No. 30 for Wilson, not the No. 11 he's listed as having in the program.
6:10 p.m.: Third quarter is underway.
6:13 p.m.: Martin misses both free throws for the Lakemen, who trail by a pair. Wilson has been bad from the free-throw line, a big reason it's trailing.
Quick blog note: Making an executive decision to switch up the format and go with the time left remaining in the quarter. If you need to know what time it is, look at the corner of your monitor. :).
4:49 left in the third quarter: Jordan Thilk makes a traditional three-point play, Wilson's first points of the third quarter, and CH leads, 31-28.
3:01 left: Moxham gets his first points of the second half, as Wilson uses good ball movement to beat the 2-3 zone the Eagles have employed. CH leads, 33-30.
:24.3 seconds left: Spencer draws the foul and knocks down a pair of free throws to give the Eagles a 35-30 lead.
End of three, Cleve Hill up, 35-30. Martin missed a good look at a three for Wilson at the buzzer.
7:08 left: Moxham hits a pair of free throws after Martin started the quarter with a three and it's tied, 35-35.
5:04 left: More than 2 minutes without a hoop ...
4:18 left: The drought comes to an end when Walch hits 1 of 2 free throws to give Wilson a 36-35 lead.
3:36 left: Big-time three-pointer for Spencer to put CH up, 38-36. That's followed by a timeout.
2:47 left: Another clutch three by the Eagles, this time from Julian Glover. CH leads, 41-38. Wilson has possession.
1:22 left: Moxham drills a deep three for Wilson to tie it at 41. Wow.
1:07 left: Molson responds for the Golden Eagles with a contested 16-footer in the lane. It's 43-41. Good finish here.
:31.1 seconds left: I wasn't kidding about the great finish. Martin pures a deep three from the right wing to put Wilson up by one, 44-43. CH has possession after Wilson's Walch picked up his fourth foul on a battle for a rebound.
Here's Martin's three:
:11.4 left: Moxham grabbed a big board on defense for Wilson, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1. That gave the Eagles the ball, but Molson lost the ball in traffic. Wilson's Martin recovered. He hits 1 of 2 free throws to make it 45-43 Lakemen. Cleve Hill will have a chance to tie or win on the final possession. The next Wilson foul puts the Eagles in a 1-and-1 situation.
:3.7 left: Barker goes coast-to-coast, but can't finish at the rim. Ball goes out of bounds off CH. Wilson has possession. Eagles will need to foul, and hope for a miss.
0.09 left: Diez gets open under the basket, and Cleve Hill is late to foul him. He rattles home the first and knocks down the second, giving Wilson a four-point lead.
4:35 left: The shutout is over. Alex Curtin hits a long jumper to give Olean a 2-0 lead. On East's next possession, Chris Boyd hits a three. East leads, 3-2.
End of first quarter: East leads, 10-6. Sorry for the lack of updates, combination of a lot to do, and not a lot happening at the start. East got hoops from Jasen Oden, Tremmell Fisher, and a three-pointer by Chris Boyd for the lead. Nick Schmidt hit a three at the buzzer for Olean.
7:31 left: Sam Eckstrom opens the quarter with an inside field goal to bring Olean within two, 10-8.
3:51 left: Andre Jackson knocks down a pair of free throws and East leads, 19-13.
2:58 left: Max Portlow, a sophomore, has back-to-back baskets for the Huskies. The last one cut it to 19-15.
2:19 left: Fisher gets inside position and finishes a traditional three-point play to give East a 22-17 lead. If he catches the ball there regularly, Olean will be in trouble.
:40.8 left: It's turned into a three-point shooting contest. A three by Curtin for Olean was answered by a three for Boyd, only for Schmidt to respond for Olean. After all that, the Huskies are up one, 26-25, their second lead after Curtin's shot gave them their first.
End of first half: East 30, Olean 26. Action really picked up at the end of the first half. Boyd hit another three for East, which then got a steal by Oden on the inbounds pass. He kicked it to Jackson for a 12-foot buzzer-beater, and the Panthers are up.
7:00 left: The Huskies didn't forget their shooting stroke in the locker room. Sophomore Pat Scholla knocked down a three in the first minute to cut East's lead to one, 30-29.
5:56 left: Olean goes back in front as Eckstrom gets nice position inside and finishes with a short bank shot for a 31-30 lead.
4:03 left: Dominique House is cleaning up -- the glass. The 6-foot-4 East senior has back-to-back putbacks, the second of which he was fouled on. He knocks down the free throw and East leads, 37-31. The Panthers are on a 7-0 run.
1:47 left: East has extended the run to 13-3, taking a 43-34 lead and prompting a full timeout by Olean coach Jeff Anastasia. House had a long jumper, then a steal and pass to Oden, who's got back-to-back layups in transition.
:19.7 seconds left: Olean gets a much-needed hoop underneath by Eckstrom, who was fouled and hits the free throw to pull the Huskies within six, 43-37.
End of three: East 43, Olean 37.
6:44 left: Scholla at the line for Olean. He knocks down a pair of much-needed free throws, as East is threatening to run away with things. It's 48-39, East.
6:31 left: Another three-point play for House, making it 51-39, East. Coach Starling Bryant calls for a 30-second timeout.
4:26 left: Timeout called, with East ahead, 55-42. Updates will be minimal from now until sometime during the last game as I write a story for our paper's first edition, which of course, you can pick up tomorrow. :) I'm sure you understand.
3:19 left: Full timeout called by Olean, which trails, 56-44.
1:42 left: Beautiful passing by East finishes with an easy layup (sorry, I missed by who) and East leads, 61-46. The Panthers will face the winners of the night's final game between Cheektowaga and Riverside for the A-2 title at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
:30.7 seconds left: Olean is hanging around, but running out of time. The Huskies trail, 61-53.
Final: East 66, Olean 56. Off for interviews. Back at some point during the last game with some more coverage.
What's the question mark for, you ask? A No. 3 is on the court for Cheektowaga, but not the roster. I'll get his name after the first quarter. As for the action, Riverside leads, 8-6, with 2:39 to play. We'll update after the first quarter and halftime, then hopefully be able to give more updates in the second half.
End of first quarter: Cheektowaga 12, Riverside 11.
Halftime: Riverside leads, 28-21, after outscoring the Warriors in that period, 17-9.
5:23 left: A bucket by Willie Jefferson has given the Frontiersmen a 35-23 lead. Cheektowaga has just 11 points in the last 11 minutes.
4:36 left: Lamont Little to the line, and he makes both for his first points of the night and a 39-23 lead.
3:06 left: Delaney hits the layup and is fouled. He makes the free throw and Riverside leads, 39-28. A modest 5-0 run for the Warriors.
2:38 left: Make that 7-0 as Aswad Jones knocks down an 8-footer and it's 39-30. Riverside coach Ron Killinger calls timeout after that.
1:00 left: Justice Feggans just buried a pretty three-pointer from the right wing to give the Frontiersmen a 44-31 lead.
End of three: Riverside 44, Cheektowaga 33
5:33 left: Dagger for the Warriors. Feggans knocks down a three after Riverside uses up almost the entire shot clock. That gives it a 53-35 lead.
3:31 left: Riverside still in control, up 55-37.
3:09 left: Killinger calls another timeout, still 55-37. Brandon Nance has all four points for Cheektowaga this quarter.
1:35 left: Riverside still on cruise control, so Killinger empties the bench to get the reserves some playing time on the big stage.
Final: Riverside 58, Cheektowaga 42. Off for more interviews.
Riverside coach Ron Killinger
Postgame: Audio from the winning coaches is now posted in this blog. The East-Riverside matchup Saturday will be the third of the season for those two teams. Be sure to listen to Killinger's thoughts on that game, he's got some interesting thoughts.
Four Section VI teams and a ton of Section VI track and field athletes will by vying for state championships today.
While reporters Mary Jo Monnin and Amanda Bremer and photographer Mark Mulville (check out his photo gallery from Day One) are at Vestal High School for the state championships in track and field (see leonetiming.com and armorytrack.com), four local teams will try to win state titles: Clarence and Olean softball at Waterloo and Tonawanda and Frewsburg baseball in the Binghamton area.
Just sit back -- or check in from time to time -- and hit the refresh button.
11 a.m. I'm en route to Binghamton; I'll pass on softball updates from correspondent Nate Beutel as soon as I get them.
11:40 a.m. Nate reports from the softball final four in Waterloo that Olean leads, 2-0, after the first inning while Clarence is scoreless.
12:10 p.m. Olean lead is now 5-0 in the fourth while Clarence is up, 1-0, in the fifth.
12:48 p.m. Hello from NYSEG Stadium in Binghamton, where Tonawanda finished with some pregame drills.
Another report from Nate from Waterloo. We have a FINAL SCORE in the CLASS B SOFTBALL SEMIFINAL: Olean 5, Dobbs Ferry 0. Olean will play Section IV's Chenango Valley for the state title in a 3:30 p.m. scheduled start.
Clarence and Bay Shore are tied at 2-2 in the seventh inning.
12:54 p.m. Pregame announcements have begun following the umpires' meeting at the plate.
Tonawanda has brought a large (and loud) group of students, who are standing behind the dugout in maroon shirts. One of them waves a large maroon flag with "Tribe" written on it. There are a bunch of maroon-clad parents and adult fans on hand as well -- looks to me like Tonawanda fans might outnumber those from Westhill -- which is the defending state champion from the Syracuse area -- by just a bit.
1:05 p.m. We're under way in Binghamton ... but first this update from Waterloo (sounds like I'm on TV or something) ...
We have a FINAL SCORE in the CLASS AA SOFTBALL SEMIFINAL: Bay Shore beats Clarence, 3-2, in the bottom of the seventh.
Tonawanda has first and second with one out in the top of the first.
1:10 p.m. Westhill gets out of the jam as junior Kevin McAvoy gets Brian McCarthy on a fading lineout to left fielder Mike Fagan and then struck out Mike Tolsma swinging to end the inning. No score, middle of the first.
1:12 p.m. I'd like to thank Binghamton for putting Class B at NYSEG Stadium, and for Tonawanda making the final four -- which enables us to update this blog from an air-conditioned press box with much-needed power. I'm pretty where Frewsburg is playing -- at Broome Community College -- it's just a baseball field; at least it was two years ago when I covered Gowanda.
1:18 p.m. Tonawanda starter senior Jesse Zellner gets out of his own jam in the bottom of the first -- stranding a runner on third by striking out junior Mark Syron swinging. No score after one.
1:22 p.m. Tonawanda gets a good start to the second but has it wiped out on an interesting play. Junior Kyle Gallivan reached on a single he dropped into right-center. Ryan McGinnis then grounded to the third baseman, who went to second for the force. The throw was a little high and Gallivan went low to break up the play, and totally upended second baseman t the umpire not only called Gallivan out but ruled McGinnis out as well for Gallivan's illegal slide. Word in the press box was that the out call was made because it was more of a takeout rather than a slide. Tonawanda manager John Frank discussed the call with the umpires but he didn't look outraged or anything. No score after one and a half.
1:29 p.m.Westhill has taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Greg Schmidt, who served a single to left field. Westhill coach Bob Weismore sent Mike Fagan from second. Left fielder Ryan McGinnis made a good throw that beat Fagan, but the throw was a bit high -- catcher Brian McCarthy leaped to catch the ball and Fagan slid in safely. In a bit of a bad play, Tonawanda players were protesting the call and noone was at second and Schmidt took second. That didn't matter as Dan Karleski flew out to center to end the inning.
1:37 p.m. Westhill with some nice momentum here as McAvoy gets a three-up, three-down inning that began with Joey Warthling grounding out on a slow roller and a nice play by Mike McMullen. Westhill leads, 1-0, in the middle of the third.
1:50 p.m. Westhill is now up, 2-0, after three innings. McMullen led off by rocketing a double over left fielder McGinnis' head and moved to third when Zellner tried to pick him off second -- but noone was covering. Tonawanda moved the infield in and got a groundout from Nathan Nigolian, but Mark Syron hit a sharp single to right through the drawn-in infield to bring in McMullen. Mike Fagan was out on a nice unassisted putout by first basemen Tolsma, who stabbed a sharply hit ball. After a hit batter, McGinnis didn't have to move to catch a line drive to left by Jake Rush.
1:55 p.m. McEvoy might be getting stronger as the game goes on -- he struck out two, including leadoff man Zellner and Tolsma and getting an easy pop up to second from Gallivan to end the top of the fourth with the lead still 2-0 for Westhill. Sandwiched between the strikeouts was an infield single by Brian McCarthy, whose deep grounder to short was too deep in the hole for McMullen -- who made a great throw but was late. McMullen already has made two great plays in the infield.
2:03 p.m. Update thanks to Jamestown Post-Journal guru Scott Kindberg: Watertown's Immaculate Heart has a 1-0 lead on Frewsburg in the top of the fourth of the CLASS C BASEBALL SEMIFINAL.
2:06 p.m. Westhill tacks on another run for a 3-0 lead after four after an unearned run. Greg Schmidt reached on an infield single, then moved all the way to third when a pickoff attempt by Zellner went high and Schmidt was waved on easily to third. Zellner struck out top-of-the-order batter Dan Karleski and appeared to be out of the inning when McMullen's grounder went to shortstop, but Sean Stich's throw took Tolsma off the bag and McMullen avoided the tag by stumbling across first as Schmidt scored.
2:14 p.m. Tonawanda gets a leadoff walk from Ryan McGinnis, but two strikeouts and a groundout get Westhill and McAvoy through the top of the fifth with its 3-0 lead. McAvoy went 2-1 on second batter Shane Foster when coach Weismore came to the mound for a meeting -- afterwards, two straight swinging strikes became the first of two strikeouts.
For the bottom of the fifth, Tolsma has come in to pitch for Tonawanda with Zellner moving to first.
2:24 p.m. Tolsma has a quiet inning with just four batters, including a strikeout of leadoff batter Syron, a foul pop and an inning-ending comebacker by Rush after a walk of Corey Hewitt. Westhill leads, 3-0, after five.
2:40 p.m. Tonawanda will head to the top of the seventh in a big hole. Westhill has added two unearned runs for a 5-0 lead and is still batting with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.
2:45 p.m. Reports to the press box have some bad weather coming in as we have one half-inning to go. Tonawanda trails, 5-0, after six innings.
Tonawanda seemed to be in good shape in the bottom of the sixth after a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play. Then Karleski doubled when his long fly ball carried to the left-field corner; he moved to third after the throw to the infield was wild. McMullen hit a grounder to third for a potential inning-ender, but the throw was wild to score a run and move McMullen to second.
2:50 p.m. It was a quick (four batters) top of the seventh and we have a FINAL SCORE in the CLASS B BASEBALL SEMIFINAL: Westhill 5, Tonawanda 0.
3:28 p.m. First things first. We have a FINAL SCORE in the CLASS C BASEBALL SEMIFINAL: Immaculate Heart 4, Frewsburg 0.
Wow. What timing. I'm typing on my laptop in my car in the Broome Community College parking lot as the the rain pours down during a serious thunder-and-lightning storm.
It started raining right after I talked to Frewsburg coach Jay Grann about his team's loss -- he and the team were disappointed after the Bears fell victim to similar circumstances I just witnessed in Tonawanda's game -- a failure at the plate and in the field.
Frewsburg had beaten Immaculata Heart twice during an early-season Spring Break trip to Myrtle Beach. IHC got one in the second without a hit, added one in the fifth on an RBI single by Connor Caldwell and two more in the sixth on an RBI double by Dustin Exford and an RBI single by Anthony Magovney.
After Tonawanda lost, I ran down to the field and talked to coach John Frank (he was disappointed but fittingly very proud of his team), ran back up the stands, grabbed my stuff in the press box, asked if anyone knew what was going on at BCC (they didn't), texted Jamestown Post-Journal reporter/photographer extraordinaire Scott Kindberg to see if he knew, zipped the 10 miles north to BCC from downtown (nearby Route 11 to I-81 to BCC right off the exit was smoooooth sailing), as I'm about to turn into BCC got a call from Scott saying that Frewsburg lost, asked Scott if Frewsburg's bus was still there, he says it is and that they're still there, I say "THANK YOU SCOTT!," park my car, find coach Jay Grann, talk with him, take an iPhone picture of his scorebook, take some pictures of the Frewsburg bus (below) and get in my car right before the SER-ious downpour.
4:02 p.m. I'll update the blog with some pictures, and I'll have Olean state championship updates as I working on my story for Sunday's paper. With the battery running low on the laptop and the rain finally having gone away, I think I'll be working on it at the unofficial Buffalo News High School Sports Desk Binghamton Bureau -- the Starbucks across the street from BCC and the BAGSAI softball fields which have hosted state championships in past years.
4:26 p.m. First update from Nate in Waterloo (and first update from my back-corner table at our Starbucks Bureau) and the CLASS B SOFTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIP: Olean and Chenango Valley are scoreless after two innings. I've added some pictures here (I didn't really plan the bus thing).
4:33 p.m. Chenango Valley takes a 1-0 lead in the third.
In other news, I just butchered my order here because I don't speak Starbucks. "Frappuccino is cold, right?" Blank stare from counter dude. "Um, what flavors do I have to pick from?" The dude helped this remedial coffee schmo through it. I had a tasty caramel mocha Frappuccino. He said "caramel" with two syllables. I take mine with three.
5 p.m. Chenango Valley now up, 4-0, in the fifth thanks to some smallball, reports Nate.
5:25 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE in the CLASS B SOFTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIP: Chenango Valley 4, Olean 0. The Huskies only muster two hits in the final.
Ballgame over. Spring season over. 2009-10 high school sports season over.
I'm writing my story now and then its a couple of weeks of vacation -- thanks to all for a memorable season.
* * *
Some additional quotes to what you'll find in the paper ...
Tonawanda coach John Frank:
"One game can't take away the season these boys had. You can't be perfect every game, you're not going to win them all. Obviously we made too many mistakes today. Five errors and no runs aren't going to win you a ball game.
"I'm really proud of these kids, they won the first sectional title in 29 years for Tonawanda, won their first Far West Regional. I'm proud of the boys.
"It happens. Our pitching and our defense has been our strength all year long. Our defense failed us today. That happens, and it's OK.
"The support we've been given by the parents and families and friends and students and teachers and administrators and community -- it's been absolutely overwhelming. It was a fun ride. It was a great season overall. Unfortunately it didn't end the way we'd like, but a great season overall.
"Our ambitions were high [entering the season], absolutely. I told the kids they were special all year long and they went out and proved it.
"We lost a little bit of discipline at the plate. Tte kid did a nice job, but it wasn't anything we haven't seen. The bats have failed us -- actually in the last few games they've failed us -- in sectional final and the Far West Regional, and we knew two runs wasn't going to do it today.
"I said [to his seniors after the game], 'Thank you for putting Tonawanda baseball back on the map.' It was a young team with low numbers four years ago, and they did their job and turned this program around. They can leave their senior season with their head held high even though it didn't end on the way we wanted it to."
* * *
Frewsburg coach Jay Grann:
"It came down to execution. They executed bunts and good baserunning, and we'd didn't. We had plenty of opportunities too.
"They had a good pitcher -- he mixes his pitches up well. Four hits isn't going to win a game. We gave them their first two runs. The first one scored without a hit, the second one on an error.
"I think we have to take it in perspective - we're playing in the state championships. We had beaten this team twice, 3-2 and 5-1. We knew they had solid pitching but we thought we did too. Our pitcher threw a great game. He definitely deserved a better fate. We didn't back him up offensively or defensively.
"With being No. 1 in the state, 24-0, we did a lot of positive things. We do lose some star players but we're not ruling out coming back next year, It's just one of those games where we didn't execute. We picked the worst time to play the worst game."
Four Section VI teams and a ton of Section VI track and field athletes will by vying for state championships Saturday.
While Vestal High School hosts the state championships in track and field starting today (see leonetiming.com and armorytrack.com), four local teams will try to win state titles on Saturday and we'll have updates here on the blog.
I'll start my day at Tonawanda baseball's semifinal -- I'll have live updates from that game while I'll be passing on live updates from the Frewsburg semifinal as well as from the Clarence and Olean softball games at Waterloo thanks to correspondent Nate Buetel.
Today is the first school day in a longggg time on which there isn't any high school action scheduled -- which means we must be near the end of the season.
We are -- high school action in New York State wraps up this weekend.
We still have plenty to talk about in what will be our final live chat of the 2009-10 high school sports season, whether it is looking back on quite a school year, quite a spring season, or looking ahead to the state championship chances of the Clarence and Olean softball teams and the Tonawanda and Frewsburg baseball teams as well as local athletes heading to the state championships in track and field and golf.
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.
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.”
Today's three Far West Regional softball games at Niagara Falls begin at 4 p.m. with the
Class A game between Amherst and Pittsford-Mendon; the
Class B game is at 5 (Olean vs. Mynderse) on an
adjacent field with the AA tilt between Clarence and
Fairport at 6.
The D (Panama vs. Bolivar-Richburg at 4 p.m.) and C (Westfield-Gananda
at 6 p.m.) softball regionals are being held at Scio, about 35 miles
east of Olean. We'll pass on results of those games as soon as we hear
* * *
Updates from Reporter Jay Skurski at Niagara Falls:
5:24 p.m. Amherst falls in the Class A game, 6-1.
6:55 p.m. Olean wins in Class B, 4-0, behind a three-hitter and 11 strikeouts by Chelsea Calabro.
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.