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Wednesday, May 16, 2018: Susquehanna Valley walks away with odd softball win

   Leading off today: The Susquehanna Valley softball team advanced to the Southern Tier Athletic Conference championship game in unconventional fashion with a 4-3 win over Maine-Endwell on Tuesday.

   The Sabres were held hitless through five innings and broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning via a wild pitch. And, no, that wasn't the weird part.

   Susquehanna Valley scored three first-inning runs when its first six batters reached base on five walks and a hit batsman. Adding to the novelty of the situation, all of that damage came against M-E pitcher Emily Hess, who was the New York State Sportswriters Association Class A player of the year as a junior last spring.

   Winning pitcher Sophia Pappas surrendered hits to three of M-E’s first five batters but just three more the rest of the way and struck out 12.

   Susquehanna Valley was playing a day after absorbing its first loss of the season, 4-1 to Corning in the James "Ace" Mirabito Tournament final. Pappas did not pitch that one after hurling three shutouts in the previous 24 hours.

   Section 1 slugger: Meghan Giordano's career at Croton-Harmon is winding down, and the sixth-year varsity softball player has compiled some staggering numbers, beginning with her .821 batting average as a sophomore.

   She's at 55 career home runs and counting for another NYSPHSAA record.

   "I don't really pay attention to numbers," said the 5-foot-4 Hofstra recruit, who was caught off-guard by her 2016 batting average. "It was just like, '.821, oh wow, that's a big number.'"

   Giordano has been walked intentionally more than 40 times in her career, including instances when the bases were loaded.

   "At first it was very annoying because all I wanted to do was just move the runners," she said. "Now, I understand (opposing teams) have to do their job. I get it, it's a sign of respect."

   Hockey rules change: The National Federation of State High School Associations is cracking down on a desperation ploy in ice hockey.

   Meeting in Indianapolis last month, the hockey committee revised the rule governing players who deliberately dislodge the net. To align with the rule regarding deliberately displacing a helmet, a penalty shot will be awarded when a player deliberately displaces the cage during a breakaway with less than two minutes remaining in regulation or any time during overtime. If this violation occurs on an obvious and imminent goal, a goal is awarded the opposing team.

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   Does this sound familiar? There's nothing in the hopper at the moment that would lead to a change, but public-school coaches in at least two Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League districts are tired of losing to private schools and would support holding separate tournaments.

  




   A recent survey conducted by WPIAL District 7 showed 86 percent of coaches want to split the playoff system. About 93 percent of District 10 coaches said the same thing.

   The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association says its hands are tied because of state government legislation that brought the public and private schools together in 1972. New legislation would be needed to separate the public and private schools.

   Changes ahead, maybe? Rob Centorani of PressConnects.com wrote last week that there might be change coming down the pipe regarding the season-ending state wrestling tournament, perhaps in the way of the NYSPHSAA separating its tournament and then conducting a Federation tournament with the PSAL and CHSAA.

   I haven't spoken to anyone about the topic, but the subject isn't new. I can say, though, that I'm confident the NYSPHSAA won't repeat its mistake from the 1990s when it forced a split in wrestling and track and screwed everything up.

   Keep three things in mind:

   (1) Unlike some sports (i.e., track and field), there is room in the schedule for a separate Federation tournament in wrestling if the NYSPHSAA wants its own championships. It could be done with the potential added benefit of creating an overall NYSPHSAA champion in each weight class since the Division I and II titlists current don't face off.

   (2) Don't assume we're heading for seismic changes in wrestling or any other sport when it comes to Federation competition. The NYSPHSAA is methodically checking off items on its long-term plan adopted a couple of years ago -- recent discussions about potentially recommending that all schools have a full-time athletic trainer is another example -- and evaluating Federation commitments and configurations was on that to-do list.

   (3) NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas is well aware of the bad execution of the split circa 1995 -- we had that discussion the week that the long-term plan was adopted -- and won't let the organization dive into a half-assed repeat.

   You can read Centorani's column here.

   Changes ahead, definitely? Three Section 3 basketball champions are being moved up to higher classifications for the next two seasons, Syracuse.com reported recently.

   The section's classification committee moved the girls programs at Bishop Ludden (from Class B to A) and the Syracuse Academy of Science (C to B), and the boys program at Utica Notre Dame (A to AA). The CBA boys will move down a notch to Class A.

   The section's non-public and charter school teams in all sports are reviewed every two years by the classification committee.


  
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