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High School Extra (April 22): Tonawanda taps Kelly as new football coach; GI baseball tops KW

Warriors tap Kelly

Tonawanda High School will have a new football coach as the board of education appointed Joe Kelly to the job previously held by Rob Gross, according to athletic director Charlie Jufer.

This is the first time Kelly will be head coach of a varsity program, but he has plenty of experience on the sidelines. Kelly served as defensive coordinator for a Burgard team that lost in the Section VI Class B final last season. Prior to that, he worked three seasons at North Tonawanda in various capacities, including head coach for modified for one season and another season as junior varsity head coach. He also served as defensive coordinator at East for five seasons under coach Starling Bryant.

“It’s going to be a great challenge,” Kelly said. “There’s a lot of work we have to put in, a lot of hours as players and coaches. There hasn’t been a lot of success” at Tonawanda “in a while and it’s my job to turn it around.”

Gross, a Tonawanda alumnus, coached the Warriors for six seasons, including a 3-6 finish last fall. Tonawanda made the playoffs in 2013 while in Class C but played most of the time in Class B, a classification where Kelly admits is “a murderers’ row of really good football” teams. Gross finished 15-40 with the Warriors.

GI off to special start

A day after helping Dean Santorio earn his 200th career coaching win, the unbeaten Grand Island Vikings added to that total Thursday by defeating Kenmore West, 10-5, in a Niagara Frontier League baseball game.

Drew Callen went 3 for 4 with two RBI, while Bryce Jellinick went 2 for 3 with a triple, RBI and two stolen bases for Grand Island (5-0, 5-0).

Ken West pulled within 6-5 through five but GI scored four times in the seventh to settle matters. Art Meaney hit a bases-loaded single to plate two runs.

“Obviously it’s a great feeling,” Santorio said. “That’s just proof I’ve had an awful lot of good players play for me for 16 years. I’d like to give credit to all of those kids who have played for me.”

GI defeated Lew-Port, 3-2, in eight innings on Wednesday to help Santorio earn the milestone.

“It was just a well-played game,” Santorio said. “It was great winning it in that fashion against a good league opponent so that made it extra special.”

Amherst blanks Flyers

In ECIC III baseball, Amherst defeated defending Section VI Class B champion Maryvale, 2-0, as Sean Gibson tossed a complete-game three-hitter with five strikeouts to earn the shutout.

Clark McLellan finished with three hits, including two doubles, one RBI and a run scored for Amherst.

Noah Thompson struck out 13 and Nick Izydorczak drove in three runs to lead East Aurora to a 6-0 win over Pioneer.

Canisius beats St. Joe’s

In a clash between last year’s regular-season Monsignor Martin champion and playoff champion, it was reigning postseason champion Canisius earning a 13-9 win over St. Joe’s at the Stransky Complex.

Reid Martin had five goals and an assist for the Crusaders, while Michael Tierney added two goals and an assist in the win.

In another Monsignor Martin Association contest, Kevin McMahon and Christian Watts each scored four goals during Bishop Timon-St. Jude’s 13-3 win over Nichols.

Jon Phillips had five goals and two assists as Sweet Home followed up a big win over Niagara Wheatfield by defeating Lake Shore, 13-6, to improve to 6-2 in Section VI Class B play. Steve Oswald and Matt Gademski each scored three goals for the Panthers.

Griffin Loughran had a goal, five assists and eight ground balls, while Mike Eusanio had three goals and two assists in Orchard Park’s 15-7 win at Lancaster in Class A play.