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Saturday, May 2, 2015: A softball duel and a baseball mismatch

   Leading off today: If "A Tale of Two Cities" was such a great literary work, why did the publisher go 135 years without selling a single copy of the book on Amazon.com?

   OK, that's unfair since Charles Dickens wrote it in 1859 and Amazon.com wasn't founded until 1994. Still, he should have saved the "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" opening line for Friday on diamonds across New York.

   First the good, which was in fact exceptionally good.

   A fabulous pitcher's duel between Cooperstown's Maria Noto and Hamilton's Rebecca Rogers concluded when sophomore shortstop Ginger Miller blasted a two-run home run to right field in the bottom of the 10th to give the host Hawkeyes a 2-1 softball victory.

   Cooperstown is ranked fifth in the state in Class C this week. Hamilton is the top-ranked Class D team. (Full rankings)

   Noto won her ninth straight game this spring by striking out 20 batters (matching a career high) and walking one in the course of a two-hitter. Rogers, a senior heading to the University of Rhode Island in the fall, fanned 23, walked two and allowed four hits.

   Noto allowed a run on two sacrifice bunts in the top of the 10th, which began with a runner on second base under the international tiebreaker rule. Miller, however, won the game in the bottom of the frame with her two-out homer to right field on the unfenced field.

   "I've never seen a ball go that far before," Cooperstown coach Dave Bliss told The Daily Star. "It would have crossed any fence if there was one there. She was coming home when the relay person was just getting the throw."

   At the other extreme of the drama scale comes the bad to which I alluded above -- a baseball game that will be exhibit No. 1 the next time someone makes a push for a mandatory mercy rule in New York.

   Maple Grove pounded out 47 hits and walloped Panama 47-0. Jonah Tanner went 8-for-10 at the plate, setting a presumed NYSPHSAA record for hits in a game.

   Tanner was also the winning pitcher, throwing a two-hitter, walking three and striking out 13.

   Brandon Reagle of Maple Grove went 7-for-8 at the plate and Matt Roach was 6-for-9 with three doubles.

   For what it's worth, some of Panama's losses earlier this season have been by scores of 32-10, 15-0 and 24-0.

   Caught in the draft: Even though New York struggles to send two dozen graduating seniors per year into the ranks of major-college football, it's not like we don't have a player or two taken in the NFL Draft each spring.

   Still, what happened with the 61st pick of the draft on Friday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stepped up to the podium was about as unconventional as it gets in the NFL ranks. Ali Marpet, an offensive lineman at Division III Hobart College by way of Hastings High, became the 19th Division III prospect to be selected since 1990. He went 28 spots higher than any of his predecessors.

   You can read more about Marpet, second-team all-state in Class C as a Hastings senior, in a pre-draft feature in The Journal News.

   On the move: Best wishes to a couple of scholastic reporters moving on to new endeavors.

   After nearly two decades there, Justin Rodriguez of The Times Herald-Record worked his final day at the paper Friday and will begin his duties as the communications and media relations assistant to Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus this month.

   Meanwhile, Brett Hudson's final day at The Post-Star will be May 13. Hudson has accepted a position with The News-Star in Monroe, La.

   Decisions, decisions: Sayville sophomore Jack Coan is already verbally committed to Notre Dame for lacrosse, but new options are opening up for him.

  
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   Coan, the first team all-state quarterback in Class A last fall, picked up his first FBS scholarship offer Wednesday courtesy of the University of Miami (Fla.).

   "I sent (video) to every school in the Big 10, the ACC, almost every school in the SEC, the Pac 10," Sayville coach Rob Hoss told MSG Varsity. "I was throwing it up against the wall and seeing what happens."

   Rutgers, Boston College, Maryland and Penn State had previously shown interest, but Miami offensive coordinator James Coley raised the stakes by flying up from Florida to take a look. Hoss said Coley indicated Coan is the only QB in the Northeast he's looking at, and the offer came after a brief throwing session.

   "It's pretty cool, pretty special," Coan said. "I didn't know I was going to get an offer today. That's pretty crazy."

   Coan set Long Island single-season records for touchdowns (40) and passing yards (3,431) as a sophomore.

   Following up: There was no proposal to be voted on, and it wouldn't have passed even if had been put to a vote. But New York's high school hockey coaches brought a new perspective on an old issue to Friday's NYSPHSAA Executive Committee Meeting in Troy.

   The coaches are pushing to add four games to hockey's regular season. Other sports have made similar pleas in recent years, usually with the argument that it's time to return to formats that were in place before cuts made early in the Great Recession.

   The hockey coaches, though, cite another reason. Their pitch to the Executive Committee said hockey is in the unique position of having to go head-to-head with other organizations whose season mirrors the November through March high school season. The reasoning goes that high schools cannot retain the top talent when junior leagues can offer more lengthy schedules.

   Though sympathetic, I wasn't really ready to buy into the logic until the coaches added an interesting financial element to their case. With so few programs across the state having genuine hockey facilities of their own, nearly everyone has to rent ice for practice and games.

   Adding in bus transportation and officiating as expenses, but acknowledging income in the form of tickets sold to fans, doesn't it start to make more sense to have two teams split ice rental for a game than pay for it separately for a practice four more times per season?

   You have to admit there might be some merit to what they're proposing. Time will tell if the idea goes anywhere.


  
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