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Tuesday, April 5, 2016: Orchard Park's Tundo relinquishes lacrosse job

   Leading off today: Longtime Orchard Park coach Gene Tundo has traded in his varsity lacrosse duties to coach the boys modified program, The Buffalo News reported Tuesday.

   Tundo, who began coaching in 1984, ranks sixth in state history with 543 wins. He coached the Quakers to their 23rd Section 6 championship in 25 years last May.

   Tundo indicated family reasons played a role in his decision, but he will remain head coach for the football program. He also is coaching girls track this spring.

   Longtime assistant Larry Catalano has taken over as the head lacrosse coach.

   "I know the program is in great hands with Larry and will continue to do well," Tundo told the paper. "I'll miss this group of kids. They're incredible. That's the hardest thing, to say goodbye to those kids."

   Heading to Augusta: Former New Hartford standout Derek Bard will be in the field for The Masters on Thursday.

   "To accomplish one of my dreams and one of my goals I had when I was just a little kid growing up and starting to play is kind of surreal," he told the Newport News (Va.) Daily News. "I can't wait to get down there."

   The University of Virginia junior qualified for the prestigious event by finishing second last August in the United States Amateur championship.

   Bard, a five-time state tournament qualifier while competing for New Hartford, played two practice rounds at Augusta just before Thanksgiving and one early last month to learn his way around one of the world's most famous courses.

   "Everyone who's seen (the course) on TV, and then actually been there, says TV doesn't do it justice," Bard said. "When you actually go there in real life, you can kind of tell how undulating the course is and how hilly it is. On TV, it looks relatively flat. I mean, you get there and there's so many elevation changes from hole to hole, and even on the same hole, so that was the first thing that really stuck out to me."

   Bard will have his 18-year-old brother Alec serving as his caddie this week.

   At the 2013 NYSPHSAA championships, Alec Bard placed second and Derek Bard tied for fifth over 36 holes. Derek Bard won the tournament by five strokes a year earlier as a junior and booked top-10 finishes the two prior years.

   Girls basketball reminder: The response from helpers around the state has been strong once again, but I'm still short on feedback from a few precincts as I get ready to start editing the 2016 girls basketball all-state team.

   The deadline for media, weekly rankings helpers and league/sectional officials to submit all-area teams or league all-stars is April 10. You can send your material to jmoriello@yahoo.com.

  
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   Fun story of the day: Palm Bay (Fla.) Heritage High baseball coach Rob Querry put a simple proposition in front of his players this spring: Win 14 games and you can name my baby.

   With the team sitting at 13 wins with five games to play, the writer of "The Sandlot" made a surprise visit to chime in with support for Benny Smalls Querry.

   Screenwriter David Mickey Evans heard the team chose its name from two of his characters from the beloved baseball film: Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez and Scotty Smalls. Evans and his wife Stacey visited the team Monday before its 4-0 loss to nearby Bayside High.

   "I guess I've had some small contribution in naming his new son. I guess he can call me Uncle Dave now," Evans joked. "That someone would actually name one of their children after a character in my movie ... it's definitely one for the ages. This has never happened before."

   Julia Querry is due to give birth late this summer.

   "I can't believe you're here," she said in greeting Evans. "This is amazing!"


  
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