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Saturday, May 28. 2016: Waverly golfer aces two holes in state qualifier

   Leading off today: Nick Grella drove in the winning run with a fourth-inning single as Aquinas defeated top-seeded Batavia 2-1 for the Section 5 Class A-2 baseball championship on Friday.

   Grella finished 2-for-3 at the plate. Max Swartz pitched and struck out five for the win.

   The victory advanced Aquinas to a state qualifier against Canandaigua, with the winner reaching the NYSPHSAA quarterfinals.

   Both Aquinas and Batavia were seeking to become just the third school in history to win Section 5 championships in football, boys basketball and baseball in the same school year. It was previously accomplished by Pittsford Mendon in 1982-83 and Aquinas in 2011-12.

   The Little Irish are four victories away from the team achievement of the year at the state level. They've already earned New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships this school year in football and basketball.

   If a vote were to be held for individual feat of the year, Gabriella Picco may have clinched the honor Thursday during the Section 4 girls state golf tournament qualifier.

   Picco, a 5-foot-1 12-year-old competing for Waverly, registered two holes-in-one in her round en route to qualifying for next month's NYSPHSAA championship.

   Starting play from the fifth hole in a shotgun start, she recorded her first ace at the 105-yard 15th hole with a pitching wedge.

   "I was shocked, but at the same time I knew that I needed to pull myself together because I made 7 (two holes before) that, so I thought I needed to get some more good holes and I should be fine," she told the Press & Sun-Bulletin. "I hit that really solid."

   There were more struggles in the round, and Picco arrived at her final hole of the day needing a birdie to break even. But she went one better at the 132-yard No. 4, using a 5-iron for her second ace of the day and a score of 98.

   "At the time I was in shock that at first I got one hole-in-one and then another hole-in-one. I was like, 'Wow,'" she said.

   Said Horseheads coach Ed Browning, who served as marker for the round: "I can live a thousand lifetimes and never see that again."

   By virtue of her 98, Picco will serve as an alternate for Section 4 next week at Bethpage State Park on Long Island. Her sisters Capria (medalist with an 89) and Gianna plus cousin Alex Tomasso also qualified.

   The "kicker" to the whole story? Picco capped off her day with a youth-league soccer game in Vestal. She assisted on two goals and was assessed a yellow card in a 5-1 win.

   More to come: I will be back later Saturday to recap a bunch more action from Friday and perhaps a note or two more from around the state if time allows.

   In the meantime, here are a few items to tide you over ...

   Residual fallout: The lengthy process than led to Maple Grove and Chautauqua Lake going their separate ways has resulted in a scheduling quirk in Section 6 football next fall. The combination of an odd number of teams and the fact that everyone else within easy reach had already locked in their Week 1 opponents will force Chautauqua Lake into waiting an extra four days to start.

   On Sept. 6, the Thunderbirds will host Eden/North Collins -- which will have already played Sept. 2. Four nights later, Chautauqua Lake plays its Week 2 game at Gowanda to


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  • get back into sync with the rest of Section 6.

       Tripped up by rulebook: Plano (Texas) Preston-wood baseball coach Todd Cash was suspended for the remainder of the postseason for unknowingly breaking a Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) rule by filming two opposing pitchers warming up last month.

       "It was a rules violation," Cash acknowledged. "The thing that was important to me was it was not an integrity issue. The intent was not there the way it all happened. That's what I cared about more than anything. But a rule's a rule, and the rule was broken. ... I honestly did not know the rule. It was one of the lowest points of my life to not to be able to coach my son (Ryan Cash) in his last game. It was tough, but a rule is a rule."

       The good news is that Prestonwood went on to win the championship.

       Concussion news: As The Buffalo News noted in its story this week, the prevailing philosophy on concussion recovery emphasizes near-total rest until symptoms subside. But a study being conducted at the University at Buffalo and in Winnipeg, is examining whether low-level exercise such as walking on a treadmill, helps the brain recover better than simple rest.

       The study began late last year and will continue through at least the end of 2016. Researchers are looking for a sample size of about 100 high school athletes, the paper reported.

       "We believe that low-level exercise actually improves the physiological brain dysfunction after concussion, improves mood and sleep, and begins a safe process of getting athletes back into shape after concussion," said Dr. John Leddy, director of the UB Concussion Management Clinic.

       The story cited two Section 6 athletes were back playing after three weeks in the treatment program, but individual recovery can vary. Leddy said he knows of no cases where the symptoms became worse under the experimental protocol.

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