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Monday, May 11, 2015: Valhalla wins Morabito championship in extra innings

   Leading off today: Valhalla won back-to-back games in extra innings Sunday to earn the championship in the 16-school James "Ace" Morabito Memorial Softball Tournament in Herkimer.

   The Vikings, who had only 10 players available, defeated Port Jervis 3-1 in eight innings in the semifinals and beat Iroquois 6-2 in the final.

   In the first game, Isabella Riguzzi broke a 1-1 tie in the eighth inning with a two-run single. Alyssa Dolan earned the complete-game win. In the second game, Brandi Coon went 2-for-4 including a bases-clearing double in the eighth inning. Sydni Holtz pitched seven innings, gave up one earned run and earned her 50th career win.

   Iroquois had two runners on base in the eighth with one out but was unable to pull off a rally.

   Kaylie Dymek, who went 4-for-5, was named the tournament's MVP.

   Iroquois reached the final with a 1-0 win over Valley Central on a five-hitter by Amanda Metz, who threw her third straight shutout and drove in the decisive run.

   Chiefs eighth-grader Olivia Simon went a combined 5-for-7 in Sunday's games.

   Rowing: Results for the weekend's New York State Scholastic Rowing Championships in Saratoga can be found here.

   On the move: Guard Terrence Samuel, who played a key role as a freshman on UConn's 2014 NCAA men's basketball championship squad, asked for and received his release from the program last week.

   Samuel, an all-state selection at South Shore in 2013 who was Jim Calhoun's last recruit before retiring, started eight games and averaged 20.4 minutes and 3.6 points this past season. His ratio of just 55 assists to 47 turnovers and shaky outside shooting made him expendable for the Huskies, who are expecting Jalen Adams to play significant minutes as a freshman.

   "Terrence has been a player who has always given his best on the court and in the classroom," coach Kevin Ollie said in a statement. "We thank him for his contributions to the program and wish him good luck and much success in his future endeavors."

   Ex-Webster coach dies: Former Webster Thomas girls basketball coach Randy Grassel died Thursday at the age of 62, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

   Grassel, who founded the Eastside Basketball Association program for girls, coached the Thomas varsity for five seasons through 2013, winning a school-record 15 games in his final year.

   "Women's basketball lost a great, great friend," Thomas AD Scott Morrison said. "He was always very well-prepared, a student of the game. He knew everything about the other team. I can't emphasize enough the

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passion he had for girls basketball."

   Extra points: As far as senior pranks go, the one on the baseball diamond in Franklin, Ohio, over the weekend is probably pretty harmless.

   "I got a call from our parks and recreation guy saying that we might have to cancel the doubleheader," Athletic Director Brian Bales said. "The weather was beautiful out, so I asked him what for. He told me there was a 25-foot tree planted between home plate and the pitcher's mound."

   The tree had to be hauled out on a trailer, and MaxPreps reported its whereabouts are unknown.

   "I've seen a lot of pranks but that's a new one," Bales said. "I'm going to look into it, and there will be consequences."

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