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Thursday, May 21, 2015: McKenney returning to sidelines as Grimes coach

   Leading off today: Bob McKenney, who coached Jamesville-DeWitt to five NYSPHSAA boys basketball championships before being dismissed in March, was introduced as the new coach at Bishop Grimes on Thursday.

   McKenney, 57, replaces Kevin Haven, who resigned after three seasons is now the coach at Phoenix. He won more than 500 games while coaching in Vermont and New York.

   McKenney, who teaches at Grimes, was asked to resign March 10 after the Red Rams played in the sectional finals two days earlier. He issued a statement March 26 saying he was never told why he was let go.

   Double trouble: Penn Yan girls lacrosse teammates Courtney Lafler and Heather Conklin reached an identical milestone -- 200 career goals -- during Tuesday's 19-4 win over Mynderse in the Section 5 tournament.

   Brie Yonge piled up 11 points on four goals and seven assists. Lafler (four assists) and Conklin (two assists) netted four goals apiece to reach 200 on the nose.

   One for the thumb: Lancaster senior Chelsea Dantonio won a playoff Wednesday at Gowanda Country Club, giving her five Section 6 girls golf championships.

   She defeated Southwestern junior Marissa DelMonaco on the third playoff hole after they matched 2-over-par 74s in regulation. DelMonaco held a four-stroke lead over Dantonio after the front nine.

   "I've never been in a playoff before," Dantonio told The Buffalo News. "I was like shaking and thinking, 'OK, you've just got to breathe. Nice, slow swing.' Because when you get nervous you tend to get quicker and if you swing quick, you're gonna pull it. It's going to go all over."

   Dantonio will play at Division I Winthrop next year.

   Bizarre baseball twist: Jake Agnos of Haymarket (Va.) Battlefield High tied a state record by striking out 21 straight batters -- and his name is never going to make it into the record book

   Battlefield had to forfeit its 6-1 victory over Osbourn Park in the Conference 8 tournament semifinals Monday because Agnos exceeded the maximum number of innings. Virginia rules limit pitchers to 14 innings in a week, and Agnos had thrown eight innings in a game in his previous outing.

   After giving up a leadoff home run, Agnos fanned 21 straight batters. The junior needed just 94 pitches overall and struck out the side on nine pitches an amazing three times.

   "I remember asking myself if I was going to let one missed pitch dictate my entire outing," Agnos said. "From then on I went pitch by pitch focusing on getting ahead and staying ahead, and it seemed as the game progressed I just got more into a groove and wasn't going to let up."

   Osbourn Park AD Keith Laine said parents brought the violation to his attention. Laine checked with the VHSL, which verified the infraction.

   "Everybody feels sorry about the situation," Laine said. "This is not the way you want a game to go."

  
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   Said Agnos: "Looking back I don't think that my team and I will ever forget what happened Monday night and wouldn't want it any other way."

   More about pitchers: With the postseason here, The Journal News recently ran a story about handling pitchers, reminding "old-schoolers" that times have changed.

   "A lot of thing have changed," said Mamaroneck senior Kumar Nambiar, a lefty heading to Yale in the fall. "Things with pregame routines, in-game routines, and postgame routines have definitely gotten more intense in the past decade. Things like (resistance) band work, icing and running have all become more popular. During games, more emphasis has been placed on pitch counts, as well as the change-up instead of the breaking balls, like curveballs and sliders. Postgame routines have changed, too, in the sense that pitchers are now required to run and ice right after they pitch."

   Often overlooked is the assortment of pitches being thrown nowadays. The old fastball/curve/change-up arsenal usually doesn't hold up well anymore; cutters, sinkers and sliders have joined the mix.

   "They throw more off-speed stuff instead of just trying to blow it by you," Eastchester coach Dom Cecere said. "I think before it was mostly fastball, and when they got ahead, they might throw a breaker. I've seen a lot of guys that pitch backwards. Usually, years ago, first, second and third inning, you weren't going to show your arsenal. These kids today aren't afraid to use all of their pitches."

   And, this being the postseason, there's still the age-old question: Do you save your ace for the championship game or do you use him early in the week to get to the final?

   "A lot depends on the matchup a team draws in the first round," North Rockland coach Joe Sottile said. "But a coach would be second-guessing himself the whole offseason if he loses in the first round without starting his ace."


  
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