Clarence made quite a statement in ECIC I on Monday. It knocked off Williamsville North in a matchup of the two top-rated large-school teams in Western New York. The Red Devils won their first eight games overall.
But there will be challengers for those two in a stacked division.
Lancaster has the most heralded player in the region in LG Castillo, an outfielder with great speed and a throwing arm. He also can hit, based on a .492 average last season. Castillo is helped by Max Giordano and Collin Reformat. The Legends have had trouble getting games in this season, but they will be tough. Orchard Park, led by Cole Hollins and Troy Banks, is always good.
Williamsville East is back after coming within a run of taking a state title last year, and is the big favorite. Charlie Mack of the Flames – a first-team all-state player as a sophomore – is a standout. Usually a shortstop, Mack struck out 29 batters in 25 innings on the mound. Mike Steffan will complete a great career at Williamsville East this spring before moving on to Canisius College. West Seneca East and Williamsville South have started well.
Maryvale looks like a title contender entering the busy part of the season, with star pitcher/shortstop Anthony Hernandez. Alden should be very good again too. The Bulldogs are led by returning all-leaguers Tom Bednarski, Bryan Cybulski and Tim Pelittieri. Depew has some good young talent.
Springville broke out of the gate quickly, and Tonawanda and Eden should be right with the Griffins. Ian Baker of Springville, Noah Mouton of Tonawanda and Joe LoTempio of Eden are back to contend for all-league honors.