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Tuesday, May 16, 2017: New Paltz's lengthy wait in softball ends

   Leading off today: New Paltz won its first Mid-Hudson Athletic League softball championship ever and the first league crown in 47 years with a 3-0 win over Ellenville in nine innings on Monday.

   Jill Harrison struck out 15 and pitched a seven-hit shutout for New Paltz, whose last title was in 1970 in the Ulster County Athletic League. The game was scoreless until the top of the ninth when Veronica Hill hit a RBI single and Paige Sarvis added a two-run single.

   A wild walk-off win: An intentional walk went amiss in the bottom of the seventh inning and handed North Rockland a crazy softball victory.

   With one out and runners at the corners, Bella Chiorazzi had just taken the third intentional ball of the at-bat when the ball went off the glove of the Clarkstown South catcher and got just far enough away for Manhattan-bound senior Victoria Alonso to come rushing home from third for a 2-1 win.

   "I was hoping I was getting one on the outside corner that I could punch (to right field)," Chiorazzi told The Journal News.

   More softball: And then there's this:

   A thought: I'm not an egomaniac -- hell, I stopped taking myself seriously a long time ago -- so I'm not offended that the Suffern gang didn't read (or heed) my blog last September detailing two very similar situations in football.

   On the other hand, NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas tweeted a reminder on the subject late last summer and followed up via a memo to all the executive directors in the organization in response to my inquiry in the fall season. I'm pretty sure keeping current with stuff originating from Zayas is in somebody's job description down there, right?

   Unexpected departure: Park School boys basketball coach Mike Battaglia has stepped down after a 104-46 run and a Federation championship in 2015, The Buffalo News reported.

   "The athletic director and I weren't seeing things the same way, it's as simple as that," Battaglia told the paper without elaborating.

   AD Marcus Hutchins termed the resignation a surprise.

   "He didn't speak with me when he decided to step down; He spoke with the head of the school (Chris Lauricella) when he stepped down," Hutchins said. "We are very appreciative of his contribution to The Park School, particularly to athletics."

   Park was 17-6 last spring, with four OT losses and all the setbacks by six points or less.

   "I am so grateful to have had the opportunity at Park," said Battaglia, a physician. "We were successful and it was fun. The people were outstanding. It's a wonderful thing."

   Battaglia indicated he'd be receptive to another coaching opportunity -- and Hutchins isn't ruling out the possibility of that opportunity being back at Park.

   "I would love for him to come back and be part of what we have," Hutchins said.


   Change of plans: The Section 3 Class A baseball tournament will wait until the quarterfinals to begin its experiment with a double-elimination format.

   The original plan was to play the whole event as double-elimination, but the section made a decision last week to open the tournament to all schools because of weather issues throughout the regular season. The possibility of 15 teams entering the draw made that many games a risky proposition if the section is going to stay on schedule with playing down to a single champion and state tourney rep.

   Badgers bite back: The story of high school quarterback Ben Bryant from Illinois is getting a lot of play in the media this week.

   Bryant, a three-star prospect who'll graduate next spring, had given a commitment to Wisconsin, where Sayville standout QB Jack Coan enrolled in January.

   But after tweeting that he'd received a scholarship offer from Georgia, Bryant was notified by the Badgers that he was no longer in their plans.

   There's speculation that the Wisconsin staff is sweet on a better QB prospect in the Class of 2018 and is using the tweet as an excuse to free up Bryant's scholarship for another position.

   If that ends up being confirmed, aren't some pretty good future recruits who are interested in the Badgers going to hold off on committing to Wisconsin and instead lean toward other schools? The thinking is that making a late switch from Minnesota or Purdue to Wisconsin might be less problematic for teens than attempting to do it the other way around.

   Bad news for 'FNL' coach: Texas high school football coach Gary Gaines, the real-life coach who was the focus of the movie "Friday Night Lights," has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers, it was reported late last week.

   Gaines is not yet affected by the disease and continues to perform his daily work as well as help the Alzheimers Association of West Texas with preparations for a fundraiser game next month.

   Gaines boasts a hall of fame resume that spanned five decades in coaching before his retirement in 2012, but his most famous stop was at Odessa Permian, where he and the school were chronicled in a book, movie and TV series.

   Whoops: A girls lacrosse state championship game in Georgia had to be postponed Saturday because two sets of nets were defective.

   As warmups for Kell and Blessed Trinity high schools were concluding, referees noticed that the goals that were in place were bent and not fit for use. A backup set of goals was brought in, but it was found that those goals also had an issue, the Marietta Daily Journal reported.

   As the delay dragged on, it was also discovered that some of the lines on the field at Lakewood Stadium were not put down correctly.

   "The officials got here and said, 'We've got a problem with these goals,', said Denis Tallini, the Georgia High School Association administrator for lacrosse, "and the coaches agreed to that."

   You might recall the 2016 Georgia state basketball championships were played on a court that wasn't set up according to regulations. Baskets weren't aligned correctly, resulting in extra-long free throw and field-goal attempts.

   But rest assured that Georgians can still line a football field correctly while blindfolded and hog-tied at midnight in the middle of a hurricane.

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