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Tuesday, April 1, 2014: Section 3 creates league for struggling football teams

   Leading off today: Section 3 is rolling out a two-year program that will give 11 struggling Class C and D football teams a chance to be more competitive by moving into a league outside the traditional setup, The Post-Standard reported Tuesday.

   Sponsored by the local chapter of the National Football Foundation, the league will consist of two divisions of schools that will surrender their eligibility for the Section 3 and state tournaments but conduct their own season-ending playoff. Participating teams will still be able to maintain some rivalries with teams not taking part in the NFF program.

   "It's a bit of a different twist," Section 3 Executive Director John Rathbun told the paper. "We're trying to put a little football life back into these communities."

   Altmar-Parish-Williamstown, Bishop Grimes, Clinton, Hannibal, LaFayette/Fabius-Pompey and Oriskany will make up the NFF West; Adirondack, Cooperstown, Little Falls, New York Mills and South Lewis will comprise the NFF East.

   Sections 6 and 8 ran similar programs the past two seasons.

   Quite a weekend: Alex Rodriguez is no longer the baseball player in his family creating the big buzz.

   Joe Dunand Jr., whose father is A-Rod's half-brother, put on a high school hitting display for the ages over the weekend at the Horizon National Tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz. In five games for Miami (Fla.) Gulliver Prep, Dunand went 10-for-12 with nine home runs, including going yard on all of his final eight swings.

   "I was just letting it happen," he told The Miami Herald. "I was seeing the ball very well. I just hit it and it kept going every time."

   Dunand, a senior who has committed to play at North Carolina State next fall, was named the MVP before the tournament even ended.

   "I've never seen anything like that," Gulliver Prep coach Javier Rodriguez said. "It looked like a video game at one point. It didn't matter what they were trying to throw at him, everything was gone."

   Stadium to be unveiled: Members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame are expected to attend the opening of the Maine-Endwell's impressive new baseball stadium Wednesday.

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   The ceremony will include a ribbon cutting, the unveiling of the stadium scoreboard, and official naming of the field, The Press & Sun-Bulletin reported.

   Thomas Tull, a 1988 graduate who is the chairman and CEO of Legendary Entertainment, and his wife, Alba, are benefactors of the $2.2 million project that also includes lighting for the nearby multi-sport stadium. Construction of the new synthetic-turf field, dugouts, press box and bleachers began in October 2013.

   Extra points: LaFayette became the second Section 3 school in a week to drop softball, citing a lack of players. Coach and AD Jerry Kelly said there were only eight players -- including five freshmen -- available for the season. Clinton canceled its season last week.

   The New York State Public High School Athletic Association State Public High School Athletic Association has announced a three-year partnership with New Balance in which the Boston-based shoe and apparel company will be an official official partner of the NYSPHSAA boys and girls tennis championships.

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