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Thursday, March 23, 2017: Ex-Long Island ace Stroman stars in WBC

   Leading off today: Still just 24 years old and with 24 major-league victories under his belt, Marcus Stroman most definitely has a bright future in baseball ahead of him. And the future grew brighter Wednesday.

   The former Patchogue-Medford star threw six hitless innings and the United States rolled past Puerto Rico 8-0 to win the World Baseball Classic for the first time. Stroman, who was named the tournament MVP, left after facing one batter in the seventh and finished with one hit allowed, struck out three and walked one.

   Stroman was selected by the Washington Nationals out of high school in the 18th round in 2009 but opted for college instead. After pitching and playing some infield for Duke, he was taken 22nd overall by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012.

   Lisbon coach dies: Renee Robinson, who was beginning her seventh season as the softball coach for Lisbon, was found dead Wednesday in her home across the road from the school, The Daily Times reported.

   She was 54.

   Robinson's parents discovered her body after being notified she had not arrived for work at the Claxton Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg.

   Robinson had been a three-sport standout at Lisbon in the late 1970s and coached several other sports for area high schools over the years.

   Department of statistics: The Buffalo News notes that this coming weekend will mark the first Federation basketball tournament since 2002 in which there will not be at least one Western New York team competing for a championship.

   Two years ago, four Section 6 or area CHSAA squads played in the last game of the entire season, and the Canisius and Park boys returned home with the hardware.

   More Federation fodder: A couple of tweets -- neither of which qualifies as something new, but both of which are worth pointing out:

   Following up: Our previous blog made mention of the fact that Hameir Wright, selected by Gatorade this week as the state's boys basketball player of the year, has not yet announced his college plans.

   Today, The Record wrote about the Albany Academy star's rather fluid situation. Though he has some offers on the table and has attracted interest from big-time schools that might soon wave scholarships at him, Wright seems destined for prep school in the fall -- likely an indication that the offer he covets hasn't been made yet.

   "If I feel that I'm ready mentally, physically and the feeling that I get is so overwhelming that I would accept a scholarship and leave, then that's what I'll do," he told the paper. "If not, I'll just carry on as planned."

   Helpful hint as you track possible developments with Wright: Keep a close eye on which elite programs lose underclassmen to the NBA draft as the NCAA tournament winds down. One of those departures could be the development leading to an offer that changes Wright's mind about prep school.

   Talking some football: The Section 6 football schedule was released Wednesday, and my big takeaway is that the Buffalo area is feeling the same pain that Section 5 (among others) has been feeling for several years now -- namely that there are not enough officials to go around when it comes to so many of the 64 schools wanting to play Friday night home games.

   That's leading to more night games on Thursdays and Saturdays during the regular season.

   Also noteworthy is the absence of public vs. private games -- which had crept back into the schedule in recent years -- on the schedule, which kicks off Sept. 1.

   If you're looking for cause/effect, it may be due in no small part to last year's late transfer of star lineman Jeremiah Sanders from Buffalo South Park to Bishop Timon-St. Jude after the preseason scrimmage weekend, a development that angered several coaches.

    • Separately, Monsignor Martin power Canisius released a schedule that includes an opener against Section 5 Class AA contender Pittsford.

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