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Monday, April 3, 2017: Eastchester baseball coach Dom Cecere dies

   Leading off today: Eastchester baseball coach Dom Cecere, who racked up more than 700 career victories since taking over the program in 1964, died Saturday. He was 75.

   Cecere had recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

   His teams won 737 games, 15 league titles and six Section 1 championships. Cecere was named national baseball coach of the year by the National Federation of State High School Associations in 2015, the same year he was inducted into the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

   "Coach Cecere is the greatest man I have ever known," Eastchester AD Jay Karol told The Journal News. "He is selfless, humble, a true gentleman and influenced the lives of countless people. Coach used baseball to teach young men about the bigger game -- life."

   The first of many: You can count on this story coming to a baseball diamond near you more than once this season.

   Rochester East baseball coach Kyle Crandall had to pull starting pitcher Pablo Garcia in the midst of a no-hitter Thursday because the hurler had reached the maximum pitch count under rules enacted before this season by the NYSPHSAA.

   Sam Sheldon came on in relief to finish the no-hitter for an 11-1 win over School of the Arts.

   Crandall told WHEC-TV that he expects implications from the new rule that go beyond what happened Thursday.

   "Unfortunately, what I think you're going to see, even at the varsity level, is teams ending games after 3-4 innings, possibly having to take forfeits," he said. "It's setting up where every kid on a roster is going to have to pitch and everyone who knows anything about the sport of baseball knows that it's a very position-specific sport and pitching is something that you can't ask every kid to have to do."

   New concussions study: A recent study from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says female athletes are 12.1 percent more likely to sustain a concussion than male athletes playing the same sport.

   Researchers from Wake Forest and Northwestern University tracked concussion data in sports relative to total injuries from 2005-15 for football, soccer, basketball, wrestling, baseball, girls volleyball and softball.

   In girls soccer in particular, researchers noted an increase in concussion statistics relative to boys playing the sport.

   "We were surprised at how the incidence of concussions particularly in girls over the past five years has increased. And we found that sports that weren't typically linked to concussion are actually quite risky," said study author Wellington Hsu, professor of orthopedic surgery at Northwestern.

   The authors suggested that the first line of defense against concussion is muscle mass. "The neck muscles of girls just aren't as developed as boys are," the study said, "so if girls experience an impact, it makes sense they might be affected by it more than boys if they don't have the muscles to cushion that impact."

   They also cited concerns that adequate protective equipment may be less readily available for female athletes, even as the emphasis on physical play in girls' sports expands.

   "We've seen a lot of data come out of women's soccer that shows the women may very well be playing harder than the men," said Geoff Manley, chief of neurosurgery at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and co-director of the Brain and Spinal Injury Center at the University of California-San Francisco. "These are tremendous athletes with incredible skill who play really hard," he said. "And there is no protection."

   Extra points: S.S. Seward district students seeking to play football will be able to do so as part of the program at Class AA Warwick beginning this fall. The plan received approval from Section 9's athletic directors last month. Seward, with a BEDS number of just 169, does not offer the sport but has won 10 sectional titles in boys soccer since 2000.

   Veteran Section 6 assistant Greg Sherlock is the new head football coach at Fredonia/Westfield/Brocton. Sherlock recently retired from Jamestown Public Schools. He was previously an assistant coach there and at Randolph.

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