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Saturday, April 29, 2017: Frewsburg's Lynn hits four homers in softball rout

   Leading off today: Catcher Olivia Lynn hit four home runs and drove in nine runs as Frewsburg defeated visiting Ellicottville 16-1 in girls softball action Friday.

   The senior belted two-run home runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings before capping the performance with a three-run shot in the sixth.

   Lynn and Ayla Bragg hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning.

   MaKena Adams threw a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts and a walk for the Bears.

   Another no-no: Solvay senior Lauren Nichols tossed her second no-hitter of the spring and fourth of her career as the Bearcats beat Jordan-Elbridge 12-0.

   Nichols struck out 17 batters and walked one. At the plate, she was 4-for-5 with three doubles and three runs scored.

   With the win, the state's fourth-ranked Class B team improved to 7-0.

   More softball: Williamsville East rallied from seven runs down entering the bottom of the fourth inning to beat Amherst 9-8.

   The Flames completed their rally with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Rachel Steffan, who delivered a two-run single in the fourth, reached via a two-out error and scored on Sam Crane's double. Cara Leone's single scored Steffan with the winning run.

   Baseball: Fredonia avenged a season-opening loss to Maple Grove by beating the Red Dragons 4-1 behind pitcher Reid Tarnowski, who threw a one-hitter and struck out 18 for the Hillbillies, last year's state Class B runner-up.

   Boys lacrosse: Ninth-ranked Massapequa earned an 8-4 win over No. 7 Syosset as Section 8's two highest-ranked Class A teams met.

   Massapequa held Syosset to its lowest total since a 6-3 loss to Garden City to open the 2014 season.

   "Syosset is a high-powered offense and to hold them to four goals is unbelievable because they can put the ball in the back of the cage at will," Massapequa coach Tim Radomski told Newsday.

    • General Brown killed off two overtime penalties, and Dominic Lutz scored in the third extra period to edge Canton 8-7.

   Luke Rogers (three goals, one assist) and Bryce Johnson (three goals) led the General Brown offense, and goalie Carson Pickeral made 12 saves.

   The Lions have won eight straight games.

   Looking ahead: There are relatively few items to be put up for a vote Friday during a regularly scheduled meeting of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association's Executive Committee, and I'll hit those highlights in a blog or two next week.

   On the other hand, the agenda is chock full of discussion/information items. Representatives of the 11 sections will take the proposals home for a final round of discussions locally, and much of what's presented Friday will go to a vote during the NYSPHSAA Central Committee meetings in July.

   One of the more interesting items to be discussed is the length of ice hockey games. The NYSPHSAA is considering moving from 15- to 17-minute periods beginning with the

2018-19 season. Doing that -- and changing the lengths of penalties to 2, 5 and 10 minutes) would bring New York into line with the NFHS rules for the sport.

   Among other things, the change would potentially give the state's ice hockey coordinator a seat at the table on the NFHS rules committee.

   The penalties aspect of the change raises an interesting dynamic. Part of the discussion by the hockey committee en route to proposing the change was that tacking the extra 30 seconds onto a minor infraction would make penalties a bit more meaningful and arguably make players a bit more disciplined.

   Future classification numbers for three sports are also in play next week after having passed though the respective sport committees and the state organization's Championship Advisory Committee. July votes could approve changes for boys and girls cross country effective this fall and for football and girls volleyball in time for the 2018 season.

   Here's what the cross country changes look like:

Class Current cutoffs Proposed cutoffs
Class A 850-over 830-over
Class B 445-849 446-829
Class C 261-444 240-445
Class D 260-under 239-under
   On paper, the estimated 536 teams across the 11 sections will be divided evenly across the four classes. In reality, the usual annual combining of teams (a topic for a blog next week) and the number of schools (mostly Class D) unable to field full lineups will throw the optimal balance out of whack.

   Because regular-season scheduling around the state doesn't depend upon class assignments, the Central Committee can approve the changes in July and have them go into effect for 2017 sectionals and states without causing issues.

   The website offers an easy to digest school-by-school look at the effect of the changes. Noteworthy right off the bat is that the Queensbury girls would no longer be stranded in Class A against the likes of Saratoga and Shenendehowa.

   The girls volleyball committee has put forward a proposal for modest changes for its 586 teams, resulting in a projected 116 to 119 schools per class across the state:

Class Current cutoffs Proposed cutoffs
Class AA 941-over 950-over
Class A 587-940 598-949
Class B 345-586 368-597
Class C 203-344 221-367
Class D 202-under 220-under
   The football committee is running up against the same concerns that existed 18 months ago when it asked the Executive Committee to add a sixth classification. No matter how you massage the numbers, the smallest schools in each class will have only a fraction of the students that the largest schools have -- hardly ideal for a collision sport.

   A new pitch for approval of six classes may materialize in due time, but football will have to get by with the standard five for now. The committee is proposing smaller AA and D classes and dividing the mid-sizes schools into three equal-size classes.

Class Current cuts Proposed cuts Percent
Class AA 930-over 1025-over 14.90%
Class A 570-929 585-1024 22.83%
Class B 365-569 355-584 22.83%
Class C 240-364 230-354 23.07%
Class D 239-under 229-under 16.34%
   The Championship Advisory Committee has signed off on the numbers and the Executive Committee is acquainted with the safety issues that have been a concern for the football community. Still, some of the section-by-section numbers in the respective classes figure to look pretty ugly if the plan is OK'd in July.

   Extra points: I noticed a big name missing from the Carlisle (Pa.) entry that finished second in the boys distance medley relay Friday at the Penn Relays. After poking around online for a minute I saw that former Carthage star and multi-time New York state champ Noah Affolder has been sidelined all month with an ankle injury that could shut him down for the rest of the season.

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