Lackawanna has not had a tradition of winning in baseball in recent years but perhaps all that is going to change. The Steelers were 3-9 in ECIC IV last season and 1-11 the season before, but coach Jeff Otremba thinks Lackawanna could have its best team in the last 25 years.
The Steelers got the season off to an impressive start with wins Monday and Tuesday in Orlando, Fla.. Lackawanna defeated Heritage Christian of Kissimmee, 17-4 on Monday and Oratory Prep of New Jersey, 10-6, on Tuesday at the Bear Creek Recreation Complex.
Alex Rodriguez went 3 for 4 both days with five RBIs on Monday and three more on Tuesday and closed out both wins in relief. Matt Rodriguez, Alex's younger brother, an eighth-grader, went 4 for 5 with three RBIs on the two games. Dan Elvers was the winning pitcher Tuesday, striking out seven with no walks. Elvers was 4 for 5 with three walks in the two games and had a single, double and triple on Monday and two-run double today.
It's the first Southern spring training trip in Lackawanna history. It was made possible by fund raising by the players and the booster club, who raised $24,000. The team flew to Orlando for the two games and practice.
Otremba has coached many of these Steelers since their days of PAL baseball.
"I've been coaching 17 years and this is as good a group of kids as I've ever had," Otremba said. "I'm so proud of the way they took responsibility upon themselves and made this all possible."
Big lax win for West Seneca East
West Seneca East lost to Grand Island in last spring's Section VI Class C boys lacrosse finals. In the rain on Tuesday the Trojans got the measure of GI, defeating the Vikings on their home turf, 11-5.
Danny Flynn led the offense for coach Jim Maisano's team with four goals and three assists. Drew Werner and Nate Walker had two goals and an assist each.
Maisano was pleased with the defense led by Victor Rodriguez, who will play at Genesee Community College next year. "He's very athletic and cleared the ball well," Maisano said.
"Flynn is our go-to midfielder," Maisano said. "He's very unselfish. He got a bunch of goals early and when they started keying on him he was able to dish the ball off."
Maisano has lined up a challenging schedule which includes Penn Yan and Penfield of Section V and local games against Akron, Lancaster and Nichols in addition to Class C division games.
NW lax wins in OT
Eli Dowdy scored on the first possession of overtime to give Niagara Wheatfield an 11-10 triumph over Williamsville East in Class B league boys lacrosse.
The Falcons trailed 9-5 at the half but made a furious comeback and tied the game on Bobby Bruno's tally with about two minutes left in regulation.
Devin Napolean had four goals and three assists for Niagara Wheatfield. Dowdy had two goals for the Falcons, who were the Section VI Class B runners-up to Hamburg last season.