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Tuesday, April 25, 2017: Susquehanna Valley junior absolutely perfect

   Leading off today: Short but sweet. That sums up Sophia Pappas' performance on the softball diamond Monday.

   The Susquehanna Valley junior hurled a perfect game, striking out all 15 batters during a 13-0 win over Binghamton Seton Catholic. The Southern Tier Athletic Conference contest was shortened to five innings by the mercy rule.

   Pappas contributed to the Sabers' offense with two doubles to drive in three runs.

   Susquehanna Valley is 7-0 this season.

   Milestone, the hard way: Liverpool softball coach Nick Spataro reached 500 career victories, but it sure wasn't easy.

   The Warriors fell six runs behind Cicero-North Syracuse through two innings but rallied to an 8-8 triumph. Liverpool did it with four runs in the fourth inning, two more in the sixth and a pair in the seventh to improve to 9-0 near the midpoint of the season.

   "I just told them, 'Well, the good thing is we've got the whole game to come back. We'll find out just how mentally tough you are," Spataro told "There's no time better than now to show it.' To their credit, they really did."

   Monday's contest was the first between the Section 3 powers since last spring's Class AA sectional final, won by Liverpool 4-0. Ashley Teixeira finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored.

   Spataro is in his 26th season of coaching.

   "I was hoping and thinking about teaching that long, but never thought about honestly coaching that long," he said. "I just take it one day and one year at a time."

   Quite a return: Junior Jenna Patterson missed all of the 2016 season after suffering a concussion in the preseason. On Monday, in her first game back, Patterson pitched a five-hit shutout in Lancaster's 13-0 softball win vs. Hamburg.

   Lancaster banged out 17 hits to improve to 6-0. Junior Erin Colucci went 3-for-5 with four runs batted in.

   Section 5 baseball: A couple of pitching performances in the Genesee Valley/Finger Lakes region caught my attention:

    • Jesse Kabat gave up a single on the first pitch and then did not allow another hit the rest of the way as Mynderse edged Palmyra-Macedon 1-0. Kabat struck out seven batters.

   Brett Anderson hit a bases-loaded, walk-off single with two outs in the seventh to score Jarrett Follett with the winning run.

    • Pavilion outlasted Perry/Mount Morris 3-2 in 13 innings, with Dylan Cote throwing six innings of four-hit relief after Austin VanSon tossed seven no-hit innings and struck out 10.

   Ryan Finch worked a two-out walk in the bottom of the 13th and scored the winning run on an infield single by VanSon.

   Perry/Mount Morris pitchers Owen Spencer and Carson Devinney combined to face 19 batters.

   More baseball: Enzo Stefanoni is working his way toward what may be a state record for baseball pitchers.

   The senior at Rye Country Day, which is part of the Association of Independent Schools, has chalked up 37 victories on the mound. There's not a go-to resource in New York when it comes to baseball records, but the 39 wins by Ichabod Crane's Josh Horn is the top mark listed on the NYSPHSAA website and quite possibly the state mark.

   "Whenever he's on the mound, you always know you're going to win," classmate Joe Burns told The Journal News "He's definitely one of my role models. I look to him, whether it's at practice or a game, to be focused and ready to go every day."


   Stefanoni started out in eighth grade as a bit of a knuckleball specialist on the mound and utility player in the field.

   "It's strange for me to say, but my first two years on the team, I was a knuckleballer because I didn't throw so hard," he said. "I needed to eat up innings. Most people are the opposite, like in the pros people do that later to preserve their career. I actually did that to get in the door."

   Today, his repertoire includes the knuckler, a slider that's become a big swing-and-miss pitch, a curveball, change-up and two different fastballs.

   "He throws all five with regularity," coach Ryan Quinn said. "He hadn't thrown the change-up all game against Hamden Hall (on April 5), then went for it on a 3-2 count for a strikeout. It was awesome."

   Stefanoni, who commutes to RCD from Darien, Conn., will attend Harvard in the fall. He's off to a 5-0 start this spring with 45 strikeouts in 28 innings on the mound and has also driven in eight runs.

   Quite a game: I don't recall what I was looking for the other day when I stumbled across this nugget from early in the month out of Indiana, but I figure it's worth sharing.

   On April 7, sophomore outfielder Tommy Hansen hit three grand slams in consecutive at-bats, driving in all the runs out of the cleanup spot in the order in Indianapolis Roncalli High's 12-1 win vs. Metamora Township (Ill.) High.

   Not surprisingly, that performance is headed for the National High School Sports Record Book for grand slams in a game and grand slams in consecutive at-bats.

   Hansen hit a no-out slam in the first inning, followed that with a two-out blow in the second inning and struck again with none out in the fourth.

   According to the record book, six players shared the previous mark with grand slams in consecutive at-bats in separate innings. The most recent was by New Yorker Corey Bell of James I. O'Neill in 2007. Hansen is the sixth player to hit three grand slams in one game and the first since 2005.

   Pennsylvania proposal: Pennsylvania high school officials are contemplating a more aggressive rule regarding transfers by athletes.

   The Pennsylvania State Athletic Directors Association has drafted a proposal that will be presented at the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association board of directors meeting next month.

   Under the proposal, a transfer after the start of a student's freshman year will knock the athlete out of varsity action for one calendar year in sports in which they participated at the previous school.

   However, the usual exceptions -- a bona fide move, a change in legal custody, moving to the corresponding public school, etc. -- will apply.

   Under existing PIAA rules, a transfer does not trigger a waiting period if there is a "principal to principal sign-off" and athletic intent is not discovered or proven by a district committee.

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