Sure, he can hit and pitch and field his position, and then there's the aspect of Jamie Wallschlaeger's game that Gowanda coach Tim Smith likes the best.
"He's the best overall and the toughest player I have ever coached," Smith said. "With the game on the line, there's no other player who I would want with the bat in their hand or ball on the mound than Jamie. He's a tremendous leader."
Smith wasn't the only one who appreciated Wallschlaeger's overall game as Western New York coaches named him Player of the Year. The senior outfielder was also one of 11 players named to the 2007 All-Western New York team.
Wallschlaeger grew up a Yankees fan and liked to watch Ken Griffey Jr. when he played for Seattle. He developed a passion for the game that hasn't waned since he played on his first real team at age 7 in Collins.
His senior year was a memorable one as he brought the Panthers within a single out of winning the Section VI Class B title. He's a two-time Cattaraugus County Player of the Year. He batted .500 and scored 19 runs in 16 games.
Wallschlaeger will continue his career at St. Bonaventure while studying physical education.
Red Raiders move on
St. Francis made it back-to-back Georgetown Cup titles this year while landing Kevin Roth and Vinny Scarsella on the first team.
All of the team's seniors are pursuing athletic careers in college: Roth (Le Moyne/basketball), Scarsella (Canisius/hockey), Brian Haas (Cortland/football), Bob Waters (Springfield/volleyball), Mark Majka (Fredonia/baseball), Chris Hoak (Nazareth/basketball) and Erik Prentice (Medaille/baseball).
Eleven Buffalo-area players will represent the Western Region at the July 26-29 Empire State Games in Westchester County. Three All-WNYers made it: Jason Radwan of Lake Shore, Sebby Bellitto of Jamestown and Joe Polichetti of Dunkirk.
Also landing spots were: Mike Bright of Niagara Falls, Blake McLimans of Hamburg, Matt Jimenez of Iroquois, Jon Van Remmen of St. Francis, Frank Polino of Canisius, Jessie Kelso of St. Mary's, Andy Tobias of Jamestown and Tim Szalkowski of Starpoint.
It's been 57 years since Newfane won a Niagara-Orleans League title. Paving the way was All-WNY first baseman Ray Clogston, who pounded out 42 hits and drove in 36 runs in 24 games. Clogston was also named Niagara County Player of the Year. Panthers coach Jim Conley has retired, ending a 32-year career. . . . State Class D champion Pine Valley is represented on All-WNY by second teamer Jon Howard, a senior pitcher. . . . The only sophomore to make first team was third baseman Jason Radwan of Lake Shore. Radwan struck out just once in 54 at-bats. His gaudy stats included breaking the single-season school record for hits with 32. "I don't care that he's only a sophomore, he deserves to be on this team," coach Bob Kowal said. . . . After missing the entire 2006 season with a back injury from basketball, junior left-hander Jarred Flock of Lew-Port came back in a big way to make All-WNY. He led the team in RBIs with 28 batting leadoff. . . . All-WNY outfielder Andy Schettine of Silver Creek was second team All-WNY in football. He looks to continue his football career at Hobart. . . . It's been a big year for second-teamer Matt Crandall of Cattaraugus/Little Valley. He was named Cattaraugus County Pitcher of the Year for the second straight time. In football, he earned first team All-State, rushing for 2,082 yards. . . . Dunkirk won the Section VI Class A title behind catcher first-teamer Polichetti. "Simply put, Joe can flat out hit [.466] and he was a true leader for our team," coach Frank Jagoda said. . . . Longtime Alden coach Ken Kohl retired last week. He has taught math in Alden since 1971. He started the girls basketball program 32 years ago, coached baseball for 20 years and boys soccer for 15. . . . Senior Cael Johnson of Frewsburg is a gifted swimmer and football player, but he's headed to St. Bonaventure for baseball. The Bears enjoyed the best season in their history, reaching the state semifinals in Class C. Johnson was a career 16-1 in CCAA II with 225 Ks in 128 innings. In swimming he's one of Section VI's best in the 500 meters and in football he was a Class D East all-star lineman. . . . Eden reached the first state title game in its history riding the bat of second team All-WNY DH Tom Klein.