David Edie has hit just two home runs during his scholastic career, both at the same field in Gowanda.
Such is the life of a catcher whose home field didn’t have a fence. No matter how far he drives a pitch, the outfielders can defend the long ball.
The good news for the Hamburg senior with a .486 batting average and slugging percentage around .600 is if he or one of his teammates hits another ball as hard and as far as the walk-off home run he hit Tuesday that propelled the Bulldogs into the Far West Regionals, there will be no defense for it. That’s because all of Hamburg’s remaining games will be played at venues with a home run fence.
The Bulldogs (19-4) make their third state tournament appearance at 7 p.m. Saturday night at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, where they face Section V champion Honeoye Falls-Lima in the second game of a regional doubleheader. The first game features Section VI Class D champion Westfield against private school and Section V winner Webster Christian at 4:30 p.m.
Section VI’s other three baseball champions will be hosts for regional games that start at 3 p.m. Saturday. Orchard Park (21-1) faces McQuaid at Niagara Falls High School, Class B champion Maryvale (15-7) takes on Livonia at Orchard Park and Holland (11-10) makes its state tournament debut against Geneseo in Class C at Lewiston-Porter High School.
Winners advance to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association final four, June 13 in Binghamton.
Friday’s Section VI track and field state qualifier and softball Far West Regionals set off the action-packed weekend.
The first of the two-day Section VI track and field championships begins at noon at Niagara-Wheatfield High School. Though it is opening day, there are a good number of finals on the schedule.
The Far West Regional softball tripleheader at Brockport featuring the Class AA, A and B games begins at 2 p.m. Friday with Orchard Park (14-6) facing Victor in AA. Starpoint (22-2) plays Pittsford Mendon at 4 p.m. in Class A, and Class B champion Alden (19-3) takes on Bath at 6 p.m.
The Class C and D regional games will be played at Dunkirk’s Promenschenkel Stadium with Chautauqua Lake facing Addison at 5 p.m. in Class C and Class D champion Pine Valley facing Section V counterpart Andover at 7.
Hamburg did raise funds for a permanent fence. While school officials couldn’t get it installed before the season, they offered to do so before the playoffs. However, coach Steve Chaffee declined because he didn’t want players changing their swings before the sectional run. He wanted them to keep making solid contact, which they have.
Is he worried about that now?
“The kids will play within themselves,” he said. “I’m not concerned anymore.”
Should the Bulldogs win and advance Saturday, Chaffee can also take comfort in the fact that the dimensions at Dwyer Stadium and Maine-Endwell High School aren’t exactly Little League.
Stud pitcher Cam Ringo threw 121 pitches in Tuesday’s win and likely won’t start Saturday. He still would be available for relief work. If he doesn’t start, the next likely candidate would be Jake Mertowski, who went 5-0 in league play.
Last year, two of the three Section VI softball teams that won at Far West Regionals returned home with state titles. Neither of those defending champions, Williamsville South and Eden, reached the sectional finals this time.
Starpoint, a bridesmaid the past two seasons at sectionals, hopes to make quick work of Pittsford Mendon during the 4 p.m. start. It’s prom night.
The Spartans petitioned the state to have the game time moved and Mendon agreed to the switch, but state brass said “no,” citing that the official game dates and times have been set since November, according to Section VI chairman Jay Hall.
“If they had to change for them they’d have to do it for all sports,” Hall explained.
“At first they were upset but then reality set in,” Starpoint coach Joe Hill said. “They know what’s at stake. They can still do both but it’ll be later” for prom.
Senior pitcher Allison Block leads the Spartans. She has a 0.86 earned run average and averages 11.4 strikeouts per game. Battery mate Tori Purucker, a senior and four-year starter, leads Starpoint in runs scored and is hitting .450.
St. Mary’s taps Todaro
St. Mary’s football has named Nicholas Todaro head coach. Todaro succeeds Chris Glenn, who left after a season to take the head coaching post at Williamsville East.
Todaro was an assistant at South Park from 2012-14 and has served as junior varsity head coach at both Bishop Timon-St. Jude and Canisius.
The Lancers went 6-4 last season, which included a win over St. Joe’s.
What’s Holland’s rallying cry? Find out at the Prep Talk blog.