Niagara Falls native Matt Clingersmith has built a baseball power at Niagara County Community College. The Thunderwolves qualified for their fifth National Junior College Division III World Series appearance in nine years and stand atop this week’s College Power 10.
1. Niagara CCC baseball. Clingersmith, who played for Erie CC and Canisius College, was named Region III coach of the year for the sixth time in his 11 seasons. The Thunderwolves (43-8) are ranked No. 2 in the nation and advanced to the eight-team national event, which starts Saturday in Greenville, Tenn.
Top hitters for the Thunderwolves: Zarley Cina (.389), St. Francis High product Joe Milkowski (.353) and East Aurora’s Noah Thompson (.333). David Lyskawa (Williamsville North) is 8-1 and is fifth in the nation with 95 strikeouts in 60 innings.
Cina, Lyskawa and Christian Young were named first-team all-region. The 6-foot-7 Young, a Frontier High graduate, was drafted by the Oakland Athletics last June. He has struck out 80 in 43 innings.
2. St. Bonaventure baseball. The Bonnies finished 15-8 in the Atlantic 10 Conference, their best finish since 2008. The third-seeded Bonnies face sixth-seeded Davidson at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the seven-team tournament in St. Louis.
Leading the Bonnies is pitcher Aaron Phillips, a junior from Cleveland Hill who is a strong candidate for the major league entry draft in June. Phillips is 9-1 with a 2.77 earned-run average and ranks fourth in the A-10 with 81 strikeouts in 94 innings. Cole Peterson leads Bona with a .341 average. Orchard Park product David Hollins hits .294 with a team-high eight homers.
3. Canisius women’s lacrosse. The Griffs advanced to their sixth NCAA Tournament in seven years by winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title yet again. They were thumped in the NCAAs by No. 12-ranked Boston College, 21-9. However, the loss looks less disappointing in hindsight. Boston College then stomped No. 7 Syracuse (21-10) and No. 8 Southern Cal (20-14) to advance to the Final Four on Friday.
4. Canisius baseball. The Golden Griffins are the No. 3 seed in the six-team, double-elimination MAAC Tournament, to be held this week at Sal Maglie Stadium in Niagara Falls. Canisius, which went 16-8 in the MAAC, plays No. 6 Rider at noon Wednesday. The Griffs’ offense is led by Jake Lumley (.358), Mark McKenna (.342), Liam Wilson (.337) and Christ Conley (.309). J.P. Stevenson (9-4) and Andrew Sipowicz (5-3) lead the pitching staff.
5. Daemen’s Bridget Niland. The director of athletics recently earned two professional appointments. She was named chairperson of the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission and placed on the NCAA Division II Infractions Appeals Committee. The council promotes sports tourism as an arm of Visit Buffalo Niagara. The committee, comprised of five members, hears appeals filed on behalf of institutions or individuals that have had penalties levied against them as the result of a major violation.
6. UB track and field. The Bulls will send numerous athletes to the NCAA East Preliminaries at Lexington, Ky., starting Thursday. The top 12 in each event advance to the NCAA championships in Oregon. Among the top Bulls competing: Tyler Scheving, seeded 22nd in the 800 meters at 1:48.37; Devon Patterson, seeded 22nd in the shot put at 60 feet, 5 inches; and Miranda Daucher, seeded 24th in the discus at 171-4.
7. Buffalo State tracksters. Benjamin Ezike will defend his national title in the triple jump Saturday at the Division III championship meet at Geneva, Ohio. Ezike has the seventh best mark this season at 43 feet, 10.6 inches. Seeded 10th is Buffalo State’s 4x400 relay team of Robert Liebel, Phil Giuga, Cody Sikora and Mohamed Kouyate. Among the women, Buffalo State’s 4x100 relay team of Satin Holmes, Dayonna Holmes, Catarra Burroughs and Keanna McKnight is seeded seventh.
8. Daemen’s Mackenzie Donahue. The senior from East Aurora ranks 15th in the 10,000 meters entering the Division II national meet this weekend at Bradenton, Fla. Donahue won the 10,000 meters at the East Coast Conference meet in a record time of 38:31.11.
9. Medaille athletics. The Mavericks won the inaugural Buffalo Cup, an all-sports competition with conference rivals Hilbert and D’Youville that is decided by head-to-head results. Medaille earned 27 wins over its two rivals, with Hilbert earning 14 wins and D’Youville 10.
10. Erie CC baseball. Knocked off No. 1-seeded Herkimer, 9-8, by scoring eight runs in the eighth inning to advance to the Region III Final Four. Erie finished 27-28, an eight-win improvement over last season.