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Thursday, April 5, 2012: New bats already making a difference

   Leading off today: Today is mostly a catching-up-on-some-stuff-I-should-have-already-posted day and then I'm out the door for a work-related road trip. I hope to tack on a few notes in another blog late tonight.

   So away we go:

   Going batty: For high school sports reporters who haven't already done so, you probably really do need to help readers explain the new rules pertaining to non-wood bats in high school baseball this spring. As the Timers Herald-Record phrased it over the weekend, players coaches are preparing for a brand-new ballgame.

   High school hitters are now being required to use bats that are certified BBCOR (Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution), which act much more like a wood bat than their metal and composite predecessors, the BESR (Ball Exit Speed Ratio) bats.

   The ball leaves the bat at a slower rate of speed, which should keep the pitcher and corner infielders safer by giving them more time to react to line drives.

   "So far we have noticed a big difference in the ball exit speed," Marlboro coach Dave Onusko said. "There seems to be a smaller sweet spot on the new bats. Balls hit off the handle will either be weak ground balls or short pop-ups. I believe we will see a faster-paced game with much less scoring."

   Said Minisink Valley coach Dave Benedetto: "It is now more important than ever that the hitter's swing be fundamentally sound so that good contact can be made. I think that you will see better hitters being developed."

   Up in Section 5, coaches have also noticed a difference already. Honeoye coach Mark Storm told The Canandaigua Messenger balls travel noticeably shorter distances and his outfielders aren’t playing as deep. He said his hitters “hate” the new bats.

   “To me personally, it’s good for baseball,” Canandaigua coach Dale Werth said. “Games will be quicker and there will be more bunting and 'small ball' stuff.”

   New BBCOR bats cost between $200 and $400.

   Cortland investigation: Police are investigating an incident last week that led to the dismissal of four Cortland High varsity lacrosse players, The Post-Standard reported.

   A March 26 incident allegedly victimized two other players, Superintendent Larry Spring told the paper. Another incident the following day was less serious. Spring would not elaborate on the incidents because the investigation is ongoing, the paper reported.

   One of the victims reported the incidents to first-year coach Matt Blaich, who notified AD Jeff Johnson. Spring and Principal Gregory Santoro then investigated, Spring said, and that subsequently led to police being called in.

   “I would put it in a category of things that we want to make sure in no way, shape or form ... are thought of as acceptable,” Spring said. “I don’t think anybody would ever want their child to be subjected to these kinds of things.”

   The four players thrown off the team did not play in Saturday’s season-opener win over Chittenango. At that game, police broke up an argument between two small groups of adults near the Cortland sidelines. No arrests were made.

   Greece follow-up: The family of a 14-year-old Greece Athena/Odyssey hockey player who authorities say suffered a concussion in a confrontation with a teammate claims the coach and school district administration ignored earlier violent acts by the accused teenager, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

   Tyler Grimshaw, who has been charged with third-degree assault, “demonstrated a pattern of aggression toward his hockey teammates” that school officials and coaches ignored, alleges a notice of an intent to sue the district and coaches.

   The notice alleges that school officials had been notified that Grimshaw's actions in practice caused other concussions and that he once fired an “Airsoft” gun at a teammate in the shower. That player quit the team, the papers said, further alleging Grimshaw also once aimed the gun at a coach and also once “opened fire" on several young players.

   Greece Central District spokeswoman Laurel Heiden said she could not comment on the filing. The school

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district has begun an internal investigation into the incident.

   Neither the boy’s mother, Mary Jo Mandrick, nor her attorney, Jeffrey Wicks, would comment, the paper reported.

   Staying put: The NYSPHSAA boys basketball final fours will remain in Glens Falls through 2016 after the state's boys basketball committee approved the Glens Falls Civic Center's bid on a three-year contract. Formal approval, all but assured, from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association is expected this summer.

   “Today’s a great day for Glens Falls,” Mayor John “Jack” Diamond said.

   Glens Falls organizers had been expecting competition from the Carrier Dome in Syracuse for the new contract, but that never materialized. Syracuse officials did not make presentations to either the state boys or girls basketball committees at recent meetings.

   “It’s quite a commitment. You need a lot of people to do this, and you need to do it in a profit making way,” tournament director Doug Kenyon told The Post-Star.

   Since 1981, the tournament has made more than $2.5 million in profit that the NYSPHSAA has used to support various sports programs, Kenyon said.

   Girls lacrosse: Northport High School junior midfielder Cortney Fortunato, who scored the game-winning goal of the 2011 NYSPHSAA Class A championship game, tied a school record with 10 goals and added two assists Wednesday as the Tigers routed Commack 21-8 in a Suffolk Division I game.

   Northport has 40 goals in the two games since an 11-8 loss to West Babylon on March 30. “It was a wake up call for our team,” Fortunato told “We realized the girls we lost from last year were impact players. That was a hard loss. But it’s definitely something we’d rather have happen at the beginning of the season. We can learn from it.”

   Earlier this week, Irvington's Kristen Palese scored four goals, including her 200th on the varsity, during a 10-8 victory vs. Ursuline.

   Coaching news: Pearl River sophomores Caroline Kardashian and Mandy McCarthy combined to strike out 10 in a two-hitter Wednesday. That win and a loss by Nanuet leaves Pearl River coach Mike Carlacci the record holder for career softball victories in Rockland County with a 352-53 record, breaking a tie with Nanuet's Tony Toronto.

   Tony Truilizio, who coached Buffalo Riverside to considerable success, is taking over the football program at North Tonawanda. Riverside won the Harvard Cup championship four times under Trulizio; After the Buffalo schools joined Section 6 for the 2010 season, the Frontiers won the Class AA North title.

   Rick Tomm coached NT last season but did not reapply for the position, The Buffalo News reported.

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