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Saturday, June 14, 2014: NYSPHSAA baseball semifinal start times pushed back

   Leading off today: Never mind "left on base." The key statistic of today's scheduled NYSPHSAA baseball final fours across the Binghamton area could be "inches of rain."

   Heavy downpours across the Southern Tier on Friday caused the New York State Public High School Athletic Association to push back scheduled start times for the semifinals in four classes. Consequently, play in Classes A, B, C and D will now begin at noon. The second semifinal in each class will begin at 2:45, and finals are set for 5:30 p.m. The Class AA schedule is unchanged.

   PSAL action: Three months after capturing the boys basketball title, Cardozo won the PSAL Class A baseball championship on Thursday at Yankee Stadium by beating Tottenville 3-1.

   In the top of seventh, Cardozo loaded the bases on a walk, a throwing error and a base hit. Winning pitcher Keith Rogers lined a single for one run, and another came home when a throw to complete a potential double play sailed into left field.

   Burke Catholic update: Section 9 has tabbed a law firm to conduct its own probe into alleged recruiting violations in the John S. Burke Catholic boys basketball program, The Times Herald-Record reported.

   This comes after a strongly worded letter from Burke's lawyer denied the allegations made last month in another law firm's report commissioned by five area school districts. The Burke response to Section 9 then triggered an angry rebuttal from the law firm Bond, Schoeneck and King, which did the initial investigation.

   "There are allegations and, right now, they haven't been proven," Bob Thabet, executive director of Section 9, told the newspaper. "But Burke's denial hasn't been enough to refute them. We have a 'he said, she said.' Our attorney is authorized to do whatever he has to during the investigation. He can talk to witnesses and get depositions. He will explore everything and get a clearer picture of what has transpired."

   Thabet said the Section 9 investigation will likely be concluded by the end of the summer and the findings will be brought to the Section 9 athletic council.

   Burke Catholic had until June 6 to respond to the allegations that assistant coach Bobby Rahn used his AAU team, the B.C. Eagles, to improperly recruit players to the school. Upon seeing that response, Howard Miller of the law firm hired by the five districts, attacked allegations made by Burke attorney Peter Torncello of the Albany law

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    firm Jackson Lewis LLP, who did not respond to the paper's calls seeking comment.

       "The primary thrust of Burke Catholic's response is that the districts submitted their complaint with the primary intent to smear the reputation of Burke Catholic and is not verified, and is based on double and triple hearsay," the paper reported Miller wrote. "First, the complaint was filed on behalf of five school districts. The very notion that the professional educators in these districts felt that they had nothing better to do with their time then to 'smear' one specific private school is insulting and not worthy of being dignified."

       Miller also wrote: "Burke's qualifications as a school are not the issue here. The districts are concerned that Burke targeted select elite athletes attending Orange County public schools for improper recruitment."

       Moving up: John A. Coleman Catholic's boys basketball team, which played for a 2014 NYSPHSAA Class D championship, will compete in Class C next winter.

       The Section 9 athletic council approved the recommendation of its non-public school reclassification committee on Thursday, The Times Herald-Record reported. Coleman has won seven of the last eight sectional Class D titles and lost in the state championship game in 2010, 2011 and 2014.

       "I understand it's left up to the section, but it confuses me," Coleman coach John Funk told the paper. "I guess it's because we have been up to Glens Falls a bunch of years and we are private school. But we have all homegrown kids from Kingston. I think it's a little bit discriminatory against our students. But we're just going to go up to Class C."

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