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Saturday, April 28, 2018: The no-hitter that wasn't a no-hitter

   Leading off today: Imagine if Stephen King wrote the novel based on his dreams after eating a garlic and sardines pizza before bedtime. And then Quentin Tarantino adapted the screenplay and directed the movie after three days of heavy drinking.

   They would have still fallen short in dreaming up the most bizarre non-no-hitter, no-hitter in the pitch-count era of New York high school baseball.

   Tuxedo junior Joe Castellanos was one strike away from a no-hitter at Eldred on Monday when coach Marco Margotta came to the mound to discuss options. Castellanos had reached 95 pitches, so staying on the mound to finish off the no-hitter would have triggered an additional day of mandatory rest and cost him the opportunity to throw again on Friday.

   Castellanos opted to stay in -- with the way the weather has been this spring, there was no guarantee there would be a game Friday.

   The umpire had a different idea. Margotta's visit to the mound was his second of the inning, requiring the coach to replace Castellanos.

   So Castellanos swapped positions with second baseman Ethan Cardona, who proceeded to surrender a hit to Jordan Reed on the next pitch.

   Castellanos returned to the mound foe the next batter, rang up a strikeout and closed out a 10-0 victory. His pitching line read: 7 innings, 0 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 18 strikeouts ... and no no-hitter, at least not officially.

   "I feel bad for him because he pitched so well," Margotta said.

   The outing was the continuation of a stellar spring for Castellanos. He's struck out 65 batters and allowed just 11 hits in 27 2/3 innings, compiling a 1.63 ERA.

   "I don't know what it is this year," Castellanos said. "I feel like whenever I'm pitching to someone, I don't feel nervous. I feel that everything is going to be good."

   Penn Relays: St. Anthony's ran a near-historic race but had to settle for second place Friday in the boys distance medley at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia.

   Hopewell Valley, N.J., won in 9:57.77 to break the meet record of 9:59.66, and the Friars' quartet of Mason Gatewood, Michael Barbaro-Barnett, Brendan Dearie, Matthew Payamps nearly also came in under the old mark. With Payamps anchoring in 4:08.34, St. Anthony's posted a 9:59.87.

   Purcellville (Va.) Loudoun Valley, anchored by former Carthage runner Sam Affolder, was third in 10:04.49.

   In the girls 3,200 relay championship, Shenendehowa took third in 9:03.62 on the strength of Hannah Reale's 2:13.57 anchor.


   Softball: Brittyn LeBaron pitched a perfect game with 10 strikeouts to spark undefeated Cassadaga Valley to a 2-0 victory over Forestville. It was the team's first perfect game since 2004, when Alicia Morley hurled back-to-back perfect games.

   Forestville's Brooke Ostrye pitched a two-hitter and struck out 12. After the first inning, she allowed only one walk and a fifth-inning double by LeBaron.

   Seeking office: Yonkers Saunders boys basketball coach Anthony Nicodemo is stepping into a whole different sort of

competition, announcing that he will run for a seat in the New York State Assembly.

   Nicodemo, a social studies teacher for the last 13 years, will run for the 90th district seat previously held by George Latimer, who became the Westchester County Executive on Jan. 1. Shelley Mayer won the seat in a special election, but won't be running again in the fall after winning another special election, this time for the state Senate, on Wednesday.

   "I've been representing Yonkers for years, and the City of Yonkers has been so supportive of my endeavors and what I've done ... Shelly Mayer did such a great job of representing Yonkers and our kids, and who I thought can do a better job of replacing her than me?" said Nicodemo, who has coached basketball at Saunders for nine years.

   Looking ahead: I wrote earlier this month about the horrendous spring weather and some of the suggestions people have had for extending the season so that baseball and softball teams aren't trying to jam eight games into 10 or 11 days in mid-May to complete the regular season.

   A couple of people have since pointed out there's a potential short-term fix available for 2019.

   Because of how the academic calendar falls next school year, Regents exams will begin June 18, which is a week later than usual.

   As it stands now, the NYSPHSAA baseball and softball champion- ships (as well as track and lacrosse) are scheduled for the June 8-9 weekend.

   With an unexpected extra week to play with in 2019, do not be surprised if spring championships are pushed back a week, which in turn adds a week to the regular season.

   The subject is likely to come up beginning with Friday's regularly scheduled NYSPHSAA Executive Committee meeting in Troy.

   More reading: My weekly column on crosses state lines to explain how Loyola Academy from suburban Chicago came to play three boys lacrosse games in three days in Upstate New York last weekend.

   Loyola coach Rob Snyder had a stellar playing career in the sport, first at Geneva High and then the University of Notre Dame. He stayed in the Chicago area after graduation and became the Loyola head coach in 2004.

   A chance meeting with West Genesee coach Mike Messere before the 2012 season started the annual visits.

   "We reached out him. We said, 'Hey, are you interested in playing?' and he decided yes," Snyder said of Messere. "We played him one year and we kind of bonded, I guess you could say, we kind of hit it off, and we said, 'We'd love to come up every year if you're interested.'"

   That series has been intact since, and Loyola has added games vs. Victor and Ithaca to the trip the past two springs.

   Extra points: Two-thirds of all NYSPHSAA schools have access to full- or part-time trainers, which matches the national average. At Friday's NYSPHSAA meeting, the Executive Committee will hear a proposal recommending that every high school have "a Certified Athletic Trainer providing full-time coverage to the athletic program."

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