Jack Andrejko, Josh Foley, Brandon Nguyen, Ian Denny, Julien Brownlow, Curtis Merrick, Griffin Merkling
R.J. Romeo, Luke Valenti, Chris Catalano, Colin Kelly, Will Mackenzie, Jason Boule
Here is a top 10 for the Web site for the Inside High School Sports show for the week of May 15…
1. Big news in area high school girls lacrosse hit early this week when Doug Rowe, winner of more than 400 games first as the long-time coach at Baldwinsville and then turning around the Rome Free Academy program, announced he is retiring at season’s end. He did so as the Black Knights team he coaches sits at 5-0, with games this week against Whitesboro and Oswego, and perhaps poised to challenge the long-established Class A powers, including his former team from B’ville. Those Bees, who won the last sectional title in 2019, have taken recent setbacks against West Genesee and Cicero-North Syracuse, with the Northstars claiming an 11-10 overtime thriller over B’ville early this week to follow up quality wins over West Genesee and South Jefferson, all in the span of less than a week.
2. The early stages of the girls lacrosse season has produced clear favorites in Class B, where Auburn has mowed down opponents with a fierce attack, and Class C, where Fulton withstood a challenge from reigning champion Jamesville-DeWitt. Then the two sides played each other on Wednesday night. Meanwhile, in Class D it still runs through Skaneateles, who got impressive wins over Westhill and Homer back-to-back and still awaits the challenges from Marcellus and South Jefferson. To their credit, the Mustangs and Spartans both faced large-school foes, with Marcellus overwhelmed by West Genesee but South Jefferson able to salvage a split from two close games with Cicero-North Syracuse.
3. As we move to boys lacrosse, the marquee game of this week takes place during our program Saturday morning, with undefeated Fayetteville-Manlius taking on a Jamesville-DeWitt side that, since its opening loss to Baldwinsville, has beaten everyone else, including a 12-10 win over CBA. F-M’s own big test came last Thursday when it trailed B’ville most of the game but never let the Bees get away, ultimately tying it and winning it 9-8 on Anthony DaRin’s last-second goal. More wins for the Hornets followed over Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse, while B’ville knocked off those same teams this week to recover from the F-M defeat and West Genesee would get its own second chance against the Hornets late in the week after it lost to them in the April 27 opener.
4. If nothing else, CBA boys lacrosse is unafraid of tough competition. After it nearly knocked off Jamesville-DeWitt, the Brothers did beat reigning state Class D champion LaFayette in a 13-12 thriller late last week on Declan Landers’ last-minute goal. Then this week CBA played four times in six days, with the first game a 14-6 defeat to Section V powerhouse Victor and finishing on Saturday afternoon against West Genesee, who even at its worst is still ahead of most of the other area programs. Among the other small schools, Homer has kept itself unbeaten through the early going, making quite a comeback to knock off Cazenovia early in May and then following up with strong back-to-back wins over Carthage and Skaneateles.
5. Finally the weather cleared up long enough to have a lot of baseball games this week. Among the Class AA sides, it seems like everyone is chasing Baldwinsville, who in five games has allowed a grand total of four runs and twice have pulled off seventh-inning comebacks to beat West Genesee and then Liverpool. As the Bees were challenged by Cicero-North Syracuse this week, a strong, deep pool of Class A contenders began to emerge, from defending champion Whitesboro who got off to a late start but has won its first two games, to a CBA side that has scored double-digit runs in each of its three victories, to the Cortland Purple Tigers that won its first six games, including back-to-back wins over Jamesville-DeWitt early this week, one of them in nine innings.
6. Nearly two years after they clashed in the 14-inning sectional Class B baseball final, Skaneateles and Westhill battled again, but this time it was the Warriors emerging triumphant in a 7-3 game on Tuesday that didn’t require any extra frames, just the Warriors racing out to a 5-1 advantage through three innings and not getting caught. Among the many stories emerging in small-school baseball are some no-hitters getting thrown, from Bishop Ludden eighth-grader Tim Dunham doing so against Port Byron early in the month to Tully freshman Zeke Mahot spinning his own gem on Tuesday during a 10-0 win over Onondaga where Mahot struck out 10 batters. As with Dunham, Mahot pulled this off during the very first start of his varsity career – special stuff.
7. As softball really starts to hit high gear, there was a big game on Wednesday afternoon featuring two teams off to strong starts, Jamesville-DeWitt and East Syracuse Minoa. Both were undefeated, and the Spartans had not even allowed a run in three games, which included a Morgan Ransom no-hitter against Oswego, while the Red Rams had been tested far more, including a tense 5-4 win over Central Square late last week. While J-D and ESM battled up in the Class AA ranks Cicero-North Syracuse continues to barrel through opponents, having already twice knocked off rival Liverpool by 11-4 and 7-0 margins and also getting an impressive 8-2 win early this week over a Marcellus team that had scored 36 runs in its first two games, wins over Westhill and Cazenovia.
8. Once in softball, it was all about pitchers and championship teams were built around aces. Now it’s all about the bats. Case in point – Monday’s game included four where both teams scored in double digits, and on Tuesday it got even more ridiculous when Carthage and South Lewis endured the cold wins and played a slugfest the Comets won 23-22, the Falcons losing despite scoring 11 runs in the first inning (!) and holding a 16-7 lead. Once you get to the post-season and if there was a state tournament, perhaps that balance would shift back to the pitcher’s circle, but not like it did even five years ago. Top teams like Cicero-North Syracuse and Jamesville-DeWitt have adjusted to it, now beating foes with a deep lineup at the plate rather than one strong arm.
9. For the boys golf teams that played in the fall in the Onondaga High School League, Monday brought a return to the course – Vesper Hills, to be exact – for the OHSL Tournament. It proved exceedingly close, decided by a single shot, but Skaneateles won with 333 to CBA’s second-place 334, while individually the title was shared by CBA’s Joe Nicholson and Cazenovia’s Alex Moesch, who both shot 76 in cold, windy conditions. As for girls golf, it’s Liverpool, led by the Avotins sisters, that’s marched to the front of the SCAC Metro division standings thanks to that early-season win over Fayetteville-Manlius Green though the two sides will meet again, while CBA is also making a strong run at the top of this league, too, led on most days by Annie Kilmartin.
10. Some high school track and field teams actually took part in a larger-scale meet last weekend when they went to the Weedsport Invitational, but those events are the exception. Mostly it’s just league meets, with few big showdowns, although you just might see one on the girls side in the middle of this week when Fayetteville-Manlius, boasting its large contingent of great distance runners, faces Cicero-North Syracuse, who has yet to take part in a league meet due to weather postponements and other factors. Dozens of other meets take place, too, including Baldwinsville’s boys against West Genesee in the wake of the Bees having routed F-M last week to state its case as the main challenger to C-NS for future league and sectional honors.
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