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Friday, May 24, 2019: Winless Cassadaga Valley pulls sectional softball upset

   Leading off today: I'm pretty sure this is what folks have in mind when they trot out the "what a difference a year makes" line.

   Cassadaga Valley began the 2018 Section 6 softball postseason without a loss, but the Lady Cougars came into the 2019 sectionals winless after moving up a class in a rebuilding year.

   The latter changed in a huge way Thursday when Cassadaga Valley pulled off a 4-3 upset of top-seeded Frewsburg in the Class C2 quarterfinals. The eighth-seeded Lady Cougars trailed 3-0 after four innings and won with the help of a two-run triple by Olivia Bishop in the fifth inning and RBI singles by Holly Crandall and Brielle LeBaron in the sixth.

   "It's amazing. It was unbelievable to watch the girls come together," first-year coach Jerri Crandall said. "I couldn't be more proud of the girls."

    • Down 8-5 in the top of the seventh inning, Starpoint rallied to a 9-8 win over Maryvale in the Section 6 Class A2 semifinals.

   Bailey Briggs delivered a two-run double, followed by Alexis Briggs' run-scoring double. Alexis Briggs stole third and scored on Megan Amacher's sacrifice fly.

   Oh, brother: Junior Gabe Castillo-Sanchez defeated seventh-grader Lucas Castillo-Sanchez 6-0, 6-2 in an all-Washingtonville contest between brothers for the Section 9 singles championship in boys tennis.

   "It added a little complexity to it," Gabe Castillo-Sanchez said of playing his brother, whom he also defeated in a league semifinal last week. "It was fun. I'm not going to let up, because he's a really good player. I think he knows that."

   Opponents have taken just five games from Gabe in eight straight postseason wins.

   Oh, it's them again: Skaneateles will play in the Section 3 girls lacrosse finals on Tuesday for the 18th straight season after routing Marcellus 17-4 in the Class D semifinals.



   "I don't think about not being in the championship game," coach Bridget Marquardt said. "Yesterday all I thought about was Marcellus and playing them. I didn't think about next Tuesday. I tell the girls to focus on one game at a time and that's always been our philosophy. I don't think about, 'Oh my gosh, I might not (make it to the finals).' ... I expect to be there. We hope to be there and we work to be there."

   Grace Dower led the Lakers' offense with four goals and seven assists. Maggie Newton scored five times, and Olivia Navaroli had four goals and one assist.

   Alumni news: The WNBA appears to have made lemonade out of lemons with an unprecedented gesture on behalf of former Cicero-North Syracuse basketball great Breanna Stewart, who'll miss the new season due to a torn Achilles tendon.

   Hemmed in by league roster rules, the Seattle Storm placed Stewart on their suspended list while finalizing their regular-season roster.

   The WNBA then turned around and announced it was hiring the reigning league MVP as an ambassador at a salary in excess of the $65,000 base salary the fourth-year veteran would have earned as a player.

   It all stems from the WNBA rule stating that teams must between 11 and 12 players and cannot replace an injured player without releasing someone. The league has not had provisions for an injured list since 2005 or an inactive list since 2008.

   The defending league champions might have been able to absorb Stewart's loss had they not also lost guard Sue Bird, the former Christ the King star, to knee surgery that will sideline her indefinitely.

   With Stewart's salary off their books, Seattle was able to keep rookie forward Anriel Howard, a second- round draft pick.

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