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Sunday, May 17, 2015: Saratoga dismisses coach of 15-5 baseball team

   Leading off today: Saratoga Springs varsity baseball coach Dean Bailey was relieved of his duties Friday by the school district, which named assistant Rich Lofink to run the team in the upcoming Section 2 tournament.

   Capital District media reported Bailey was replaced following an investigation into allegations of violations of the school district's coaching handbook. He remains in his position as a high school social studies teacher.

   The district announced the action in a press release.

   "The Saratoga Springs City School District maintains high standards regarding the professional and respectful behavior of all staff and students," the statement said. "Therefore, following the investigation, it was determined that Coach Bailey addressed the team in a manner and tone that did not meet the standard of professionalism expected from our coaching staff."

   The team finished is 15-5 after beating Schuylerville 4-3 on Friday under Lofink, a former Blue Streaks head coach, in a Coaches vs. Cancer event that raised more than $6,000.

   Big day (again) for Brown: Amsterdam senior Izaiah Brown won the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races and anchored the triumphant 1,600 relay en route to being named outstanding performer of the Eddy Games for the fourth time.

   The relay win wrapped up the team title for Amsterdam in the 75th annual meet.

   "The 4-by-4 means a lot to our team, but the team competition was close," Brown told The Times Union. "This (the meet) has always been a milestone, ever since my freshman year. It has become the ideal meet to get to."

   Aviana Goode of Bayshore was selected the meet's outstanding female athlete after pulling off a 100 hurdles/high jump double.

   Cool story of the weekend: Charlotte Brown, a blind high school senior at Rains High in Emory, Texas, cleared 11 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault to earn a bronze medal in her division of the state meet.

   She was joined on the awards podium by her service dog Vador.

   "If I could send a message to anybody, it's not about pole vaulting and it's not about track. It's about finding something that makes you happy despite whatever obstacles are in your way," she said.

   Brown developed cataracts when she was 16 weeks old but had functional vision until about age 11. By 2013, she still had pinhole vision but couldn't see color or distinguish shape from shadow. While not faced with total darkness, her mother described what remains as a "jigsaw puzzle" of mixed up shades of light and dark.

   Brown, in her sixth year of vaulting, competes by counting the seven steps of her left foot on her approach, listening for beeper placed on the mat that tells her when to plant the pole and push up.

   "I don't how many people could do that," state champ Sydney King said. "Her story, she's what keeps me going when things aren't going right for me."

   Clarification: A thank you goes out to Section 7 cross country coordinator Brian Kiely, who pointed out a glitch in an item I wrote last week (and have now corrected). The state record for boys high school two-milers that Mike Brannigan broke last week did in fact belong to Josh McDougall. But when McDougall set the mark at the Adidas Outdoor Nationals in 2004, he was a home-school student running independently rather than representing Peru High.

   If you're considering genuine high school-only marks, I think Brannigan probably erased the 1978 mark of St.

  
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Anthony's John Gregorek (8:50.7) with his 3,200 meters time of 8:42.92. I'll try digging around a little bit more.

   Productivity milestone: Rye Neck senior Diana King earned a pair of wins and drove in her 100th career run at the Panthers' tournament Saturday. She struck out 11 in a 6-1 win over North Salem, then homered and drove in three runs in the 9-2 championship win vs. Pelham.

   Stepping up to help: Buffalo restaurateur and philanthropist Russell Salvatore has donated $300,000 to the Lancaster High sports facilities project fund, The Buffalo News reported.

   The campaign, dubbed "Change the Game," aims to raise $1 million toward construction of a multi-purpose turf field and the expansion of the fieldhouse.

   "I don't know what to say. Life is funny. I know you guys have had ups and downs," Salvatore, 82, told a Lancaster crowd in reference to its recent mascot controversy. "Life is good to me, and I feel it's important to give $300,000 to kick off the campaign."

   Salvatore's donation comes just days before what is expected to be a divisive vote for two school board seats, a nearly $100 million budget and the $57.3 million capital project. The capital project allocates $7.7 million to athletics and music facilities, including the field and fieldhouse expansion -- but that component won't be funded until the $1 million in local contributions is hit.

   "I'm here just to help a little bit. I wish I could do $1 million," Salvatore joked. "I've gotta raise my prices a little tonight, but I don't want to raise 'em that much."

   The Lancaster school board is expected to vote on June 8 to name the fieldhouse after Salvatore.

   Care to help? We ended publication of the New York State Sportswriters Association newsletter in the summer of 2012. Most of the membership fee up until then went toward the 46-50 newsletters per year, but what was left after printing and postage helped defray other expenses.

   Now, online ads cover the expense of providing rankings, news and reference material to readers of NewYorkSportswriters.org and its related sites such as RoadToSyracuse.com, which has allowed us to drop the membership fee.

   If you enjoy our content and feel inclined to help, we do maintain a page that allows contributions via PayPal transfers and encourage you to check it out.


  
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