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Sunday, June 15, 2014: Eden rallies in semi, wins title with no-hitter

   Leading off today: Eden saved its best dramatic flair for the final day of season, scoring walk-off victories in bother the Class B semifinals and championship game to earn its first NYSPHSAA softball championship Saturday.

   Raiders sophomore Jill Murray spun a 13-strikeout no-hitter in the title game and scored on classmate Hayley Kobie's two-strike, walk-off single to right center in the bottom of the eighth to down Solvay 1-0. Murray started the rally by singling to left with two outs and nobody on.

   Earlier in the day in South Glens Falls, Eden rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the seventh to beat Center Moriches 4-3, with Murray picking up the win with two-plus innings of relief work.

   "It's amazing just knowing we're the first team in Eden to win for softball," Murray told The Buffalo News. "All the teams here are great. We just stuck together the whole time."

   "This feels surreal," said Carly Nasca, who drove in the winning run in the semifinal with a squeeze bunt. "Even coming to states is amazing and even bringing home the title is even more surreal."

   Kobie finished the doubleheader 4-for-8, including 3-for-4 in the final.

   "Their pitcher did a great job," Solvay coach Phil Merrill told The Post-Standard. "She kept us off balance and really controlled the game. She really shut us down, something I didn't think could happen to this team. We're so good of hitters, one through nine. But she did her job. She did an outstanding job."

   More Sec. 6 success: Williamsville South rallied past Troy for a 7-6 win in the Class A softball semifinals, then routed Sayville 21-4 for the championship.

   Senior catcher Stephanie Tirone drove in six runs with a homer, two doubles and a single in the championship game.

   It gave the Billies their fourth state championship but their first since the death of Gerry Gentner, who coached the 2000, 2004 and 2006 squads. He lost his battle with cancer in January 2012.

   "My dad, I know he is smiling down on us," third-year coach Julie Murphy, Gentner's daughter, told The Buffalo News. "Obviously I wish he were here to celebrate with us. I know he'd be so proud of the program, the girls and the coaching staff."

   The last two weeks of the season were one wild affair after another for Williamsville South. In the Section 6 final, the Billies overcame a 4-0 deficit with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to win 6-4 on Bri Clark's walk-off, three-run home run. In the state quarterfinals, they blew a six-run lead in the final inning before going extra innings to beat Geneva 8-7.

   Against Troy, Williamsville South fell behind 6-2 after 2½ innings and rallied to win on Maddie Clark's run-scoring grounder in the seventh inning.

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       The Billies fell behind 2-0 in the final, but a nine-run third inning started the rout.

       Other softball finals: Athletic director Jason Humiston took over coaching the softball team after Fort Ann won last year's NYSPHSAA Class D crown. There was no falloff in performance or results this spring as the Cardinals downed Heuvelton 8-2 for their 18th straight win and second straight championship.

       "There's a lot of pressure, a lot of expectations," Humiston told The Times Union. "I told the girls, 'We've got all the tools to do it; we've just got to be mentally focused and get through some adversity.'"

       That adversity arrived in the semifinals, where Fort Ann had to rally from a 4-1 deficit vs. Deposit in the sixth inning. Molly Bailey and Kaleigh Foran each produced two-run singles in a four-run rally for a 7-5 triumph.

       In the Class AA final, Victoria Bova's diving catch with the bases loaded preserved East Meadow's 3-1 win over Liverpool. It gave the Jets their first championship.

       In the Class C final, Elmira Heights Edison defeated Greenwich, playing in the state final four for the fourth consecutive season, 6-2.

       Corning coach resigns: Kim McNaney, who coached Corning lacrosse teams to 16 straight appearances in the state tournament, has stepped down to spend more time watching her sons' games.

       "My kids are getting older and I just don't want to have regrets," McNaney told The Leader. "I've already missed so much. I just don't want to have that (regret). I want to be able to be there for them. It's stressful, but my kids -- that's the main reason."

       McNaney led the Corning district team to Section 4 titles in each of the first three seasons. Before that, she coached Corning East to 13 consecutive appearances in the state tournament and six trips to the semifinals.

       More to come: I'll recap Saturday's baseball as well as some other news a bit later today.

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