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.
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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."
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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."
---Keith McSheabuffalonews.com/highschool facebook.com/preptalkblog twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk