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John Moriello's NYSSWA blog
Thursday, April 30, 2009: State association keeping close eye on swine flu; two schools close
   Leading off today: Preparation rather than panic.

   That's the road being taken by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association in light of the worsening swine flu outbreak that has shut down interscholastic sports in two states so far this week.

   "The staff and I are looking at our spring championships to be pro-active rather than reactive," NYSPHSAA Executive Director Nina Van Erk said this afternoon. "We're gathering the facts so that we can make informed decisions."

   The H1N1 (or "swine flu") outbreak is likely to be discussed at length tomorrow and Saturday at a regularly scheduled meeting of the NYPSHAA Executive Committee outside Syracuse, but Van Erk said the organization has not reached the point of needing to suspend schedules or change dates for its championship events. Officials in Texas and Alabama did just that this week, but those states conduct their championships earlier in the spring than New York does.

   Fabius-Pompey in Section 3 apparently became the first NYSPHSAA member to close down its school, calling off classes today and tomorrow. Maple Grove also announced this afternoon that classes and sports were being canceled through the weekend. In New York City, CHSAA member St. Francis Prep has been shut down all week after a number of students came down with flu-like symptoms.

   Van Erk has been monitoring those and other developments.

   "We will continue to keep the health and safety of our students as the top concern," she said while en route to the Executive Committee meeting. "We will take action as warranted."

   For the moment, preparation is the key. The state staff has assembled educational materials to distribute to member schools and Van Erk has also met with Todd Nelson, the NYSPHSAA assistant director who heads the safety committee.

   In addition, officials have begun studying agreements they have with facilities scheduled to host state tournaments early next month and checking on the availability of hotel rooms in case playoff dates need to be changed.

   I'd have paid to see it: Marvin Pawlowski hit a walkoff home run to the opposite field with two outs in the eighth inning to conclude a memorable pitchers duel and give Grand Island a 1-0 baseball victory over Kenmore East yesterday.

   Grand Island left-hander Joel Klock pitched a no-hitter with 18 strikeouts en route to the win, and Canisius-bound Scott Whitehead of Kenmore East threw a three-hitter with 19 strikeouts.

   "It was the most dominant pitching performance by two guys that Ive ever seen, Grand Island coach Dean Santario told The Buffalo News. "We figured it was going to be a great outing, and it might be a one-run game."

   All-around performance: Junior Jennifer Sansano pitched a perfect game with 18 strikeouts for Clarence in a 7-0 win over Hamburg in ECIC softball. Sansano helped herself with a pair of doubles as Clarence, ranked 11th in Class AA by the New York State Sportswriters Association, improved to 5-0.

   Coming up: Sunday games are rare, and Sunday games between top-five opponents are even rarer. But that's what's in store this weekend when No. 5 Penfield travels to No. 1 Baldwinsville in Class A girls lacrosse at 6 p.m.

   Penfield (8-0) dropped down to Monroe County Division II this spring, so the Patriots may have their hands full with a Bees squad (10-0) that ended West Genesee's 52-game winning streak this month.

   Extra points: Oneonta won only two of its first six baseball games this spring but has actually picked up the pace after coach Joe Hughes had to suspend several players April 20, The Daily Star reported.

   The Yellowjackets won their fourth straight game on Saturday, 17-7 over South Royalton (Vt.). Freshman Mike Caulkins, an emergency recall from the JVs, homered in his first varsity at-bat that jump-started a seven-run first inning. James Carson won his first varsity start, going four innings.

   Oneonta has come back to earth since and stands at 7-6 following yesterday's 20-3 loss to Windsor, which also beat the Yellowjackets on Tuesday.

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