Leading off today:
If thy handed out awards for tough-luck losses, Jeff Belge
would probably be the leader in the clubhouse for the postseason this spring.
Belge struck out 21 batters Saturday, but his Syracuse East baseball team was eliminated by top-seeded West Genesee 2-1 Saturday in the Section 3 Class AA baseball quarterfinals.
The sophomore lefty worked eight innings but was pulled after striking out a combined eight batters in the sixth through eighth innings, The Post-Standard reported.
"We had a conversation about whether to send Jeff out for the eighth inning, but he was actually getting stronger as the game went on," Syracuse East coach Mike Meola told the paper.
Finally, Belge, who walked three and allowed four hits, was removed in the ninth, and the Wildcats pushed across the winning run.
All-state basketball: Any of a dozen players could have been selected for the five first team sports on the girls Class AA all-state basketball team, which is an indication of why co-players of the year were selected.
Senior Bianca Cuevas of Nazareth and junior Boogie Brozozski of Long Island Lutheran were selected as the co-recipients of the honor by the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports over the weekend.
In Class A, Tappan Zee senior Kristen McLaughlin was named player of the year.
The full all-state teams can be viewed here. Honors in Classes B, C and D were announced last week.
Boys lacrosse: The brutal churn at or near the top of the state Class A rankings will continue for another week as we head down the stretch. No. 2 Smithtown West was the latest of many top-five squads to be beaten.
Trevor Bovich scored three goals to lead ninth-ranked West Islip to an 8-7 upset of Smithtown West in the Section 11 semifinals on Friday. Bovich scored a key goal late in the third quarter to give the Lions a 7-5 lead and tacked on another later for an 8-6 advantage.
West Islip -- 12-6 with a pair of double-OT losses and a setback to No. 3 Chaminade -- will play Smithtown East in the sectional final Wednesday.
Brackets update: All of the NYSPHSAA sectional champions or finalists have now been determined as we edge closer to the state tournament beginning this week.
You can catch up on playoff scores here courtesy of New York State Sportswriters Association handyman Steve Grandin. In addition, here's how the state tournament brackets shape up.
I'm pulling a 9-to-5 shift on this lovely holiday (but at least I get to do so from home), after which I hope to start making a dent in the girls lacrosse, baseball and softball brackets.