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Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Hoops Preview: Notre Dame boys team will take scoring where they can create it

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, high school sports, Notre Dame, sports

This is a first of a series of team previews for boys and girls basketball for the 2014-15 season. We'll get to as many teams as we can for previews before the start of the season.  

The triangle offense. The New York Knicks have been struggling to learn it, Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone reminded his players at a recent practice, and they're a team of full-time, pro basketball players.

He doesn't expect his kids to master it, but a couple of key fundamentals could help a team that may not have a dominating scorer put a few more points on the board.

"We run just a small version of it," Rapone said. "High school students can't handle a real triangle. We don't have enough time to teach it. We concentrate on ball movement and body movement."

The triangle replaces traditional set plays. It relies on spacing and movement to create shot opportunities. With players spaced 10, 12, 15 feet apart and constant movement -- passes are preferred to dribbling, and every pass is accompanied by every offensive player changing their location on the floor -- the triangle tends to open holes and open players. (For more on the triangle, here's a recommended video).

Rapone thinks he has the talent on this team without a dominate big man to run a pretty lockdown defense. The key to winning is going to be transitions and getting open shooters.

"Defensively, we'll be fine, but we've got to make sure we score one more than the other guy, though," Rapone said.

One of Notre Dame's top scorers from last season, Josh Johnson, is back and Rapone hopes there are enough athletes on the team to step up and help distribute scoring opportunities. 

There are five seniors coming back from last season's Section V championship team and 11 juniors.

"Right now, we don't know who's going to start the first game," Rapone said. "Every day it looks like somebody different. We have 15 guys and I can make a case for any one of them."

Peter Daversa, Caleb Nellis, Dylan Fix, James Farmer, Tyler Prospero, C.J. Suozzi, Luca Zambito, Casey Midwick and Dakota Weidman all have the potential to make a difference on the squad.

Among them, however, isn't a kid more than 6' 3".

Size could be a problem, no matter who develops into a credible outside shooting threat.

"We're not going to be able to go inside for a lot of points, I don't think, but I hope I'm wrong, because the key to basketball is balance," Rapone said. "You want to establish one, then when they take that away, when they take the outside away, you go inside, when they take the inside away you go outside. You really need them both."

What Rapone sees as a tough schedule will include a home match against Le Roy, which will be the first time Mike Rapone has coached against brother and one-time assistant coach Rick Rapone.

"I hope he remembers that's his bench over there beause he's used to being on the otherside," Rapone said smiling.

The Le Roy game is at 6:30 p.m., Jan. 3. Rapone expects a full house.

The Fighting Irish kick off the season at home Dec. 11 against Oakfield-Alabama. Game time is 7 p.m.

 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Parents of Notre Dame student air complaints about son getting Mohawk shaved off at school

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, education, Notre Dame, schools

An administrator at Notre Dame High School was disciplined more than a month ago for reportedly shaving the head of a student who showed up to school one day sporting a Mowhawk-style haircut.

Vice Principal and Athletic Director Mike Rapone reportedly shaved the head of Lucus Hull in front of other students during homeroom period while in the cafeteria, according to his mother, Denise Hull.

She describes her son as "humiliated" by Rapone's actions and claims that Rapone violated the school's code of conduct by touching her son without permission.

The reprimand Rapone received, confirmed by letters to Hull by the school and the superintendent of the diocese's schools, doesn't go far enough, according to Hull. She wants Rapone terminated.

"Quite frankly, if what is on the code of conduct is correct, then Mr. Rapone has violated it and should be removed from his position with the school," Hull said in an e-mail to The Batavian.

The incident occurred in Sept. 23. Charles Hull wrote a lengthy letter to Principal Joseph Scanlan on Oct. 2 that made several points, including (but not limited to):

  • That while at the Camp Hough Freshman Retreat, Sept. 3-4, Lucas asked Rapone for permission to have a "buzzcut Mohawk style," and Rapone, Hull said, told Lucas he could try it for a day.
  • Lucas, Hull said, reviewed the school uniform policy and assured his parents the haircut was permitted. "Nothing was or is noted in the policy which strictly prohibits any type of Mohawk hairstyle," Hull wrote.
  • Lucus was given the option Sept. 23 to go home for a haircut (which is 12 miles away) or Rapone would cut his hair.
  • About 20 minutes later, Rapone returned to the homeroom, which was held in the cafeteria, and shaved the youth's hair in front of classmates.
  • Among the Hulls' complaints -- that the parents were not contacted about the issue before the Mohawk was shaved off.
  • The Hulls do not feel the public apology by Rapone was sufficient to assuage Lucas or his sister. They called it "damage control" and "less than sincere."

Denise Hull contacted The Batavian, she said, because she felt Notre Dame had failed to address the situation adequately. 

She said she believes the board of directors, which she characterizes as made up primarily of sports boosters and former athletes, are unduly protecting a popular athletic director and successful basketball coach.

Her communications included copies of letters from the school and diocese and a copy of the student handbook.

The handbook, dated July 2014, clearly states "Outlandish hairstyles (e.g. Mohawks, wild colors, etc.)" are prohibited.

The letters clearly state that Rapone was reprimanded, that he and Scanlan must attend sensitivity training, and that the policy for dealing with such situations would be revised.

The letter from Charles Hull to Scanlan indicates that Rapone may have misunderstood the question from Lucas about a "buzzcut Mohawk."

"Mr. Rapone misunderstanding a question does not give him the right to humiliate Lucas," Charles Hull wrote.

Of course, a "buzzcut" and a "Mohawk" are two different styles of haircuts. One involves completely shaving the head, the other leaves a streak of hair down the middle of the scalp.

Denise Hull also said she believes the school is applying a double standard because there are students who have come to school with what might be considered "outlandish" hairstyles.  

We shared one specific complaint with Scanlan (we're avoiding being specific so as not to publicly drag another student into the issue) and Scanlan said, "that's a completely separate issue," but said he couldn't elaborate.

The Hulls also contacted Child Protective Services, which told them, Denise Hull said, this wasn't a CPS issue, and Batavia PD, which investigated and found insufficient evidence to sustain a charge of harassment.

Scanlan said he couldn't comment on a personnel matter. He e-mailed The Batavian the following statement authorized by the school's board of directors:

The incident in question occurred in September, and was promptly and appropriately addressed by the Notre Dame High School Board of Trustees and the school administration.

A student came to school with a mohawk haircut that violated the School’s dress code policy. After the student declined the opportunity to leave school to get his hair cut, the assistant principal cut the student’s hair in the student’s homeroom. The assistant principal has since apologized to the student, his parents, and the school community for his error in judgment in cutting the student's hair in the student’s homeroom before discussing the violation with the student’s parents.

Additionally, the School’s Board of Trustees recently amended to the School's student dress code policy to provide that parents will be consulted prior to any action if a similar situation arises in the future.

This action by the Board, coupled with the previous actions by the School's administration, has fully and thoroughly addressed this situation, and the School will have no further comment on this private matter.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 8:56 am

Lady Irish advance in regional volleyball tournament

post by Howard B. Owens in high school sports, Notre Dame, sports, volleyball

Photos and story by Bare Antolos.

The Notre Dame Girls Volleyball Team, powered by the support of their fans, came out and proved to be too much for previously undefeated Hammondsport, 3-1 (25-15, 25-12, 18-25 and 25-13) to move onto play against Honeoye Falls-Lima on Thursday at Cal-Mum in the regional finals.

The Lady Irish are the Class DDD champions for Section V.

Throughout the match, the Hammondsport girls seemed to be overwhelmed by the Notre Dame attack and unnerved by the vocal Notre Dame student body cheering section.

Despite not having a strong service match, the Notre Dame girls used a balance attack to mix up their sets and win rather easily. Notre Dame Coach Rhonda DiCasolo said that her team "played really, really well and is very proud" of the effort and is "really excited about Thursday at Cal-Mum."

Shea Norton led the way for the Lady Irish with 19 kills. Lindsay Bender had a strong match, finishing with 30 assists and 10 service points, including finishing out the match on a run of five serves to send Hammondsport home.

The Lady Irish received strong contributions from Mary Bernadette Bochicchio who set the tone early in the first game, running out a string of five service points (nine total for the match) to open up a lead that Hammondsport could not recover from. Rebecca Krenzer lead the way with 15 service points with Olivia Marchese contributing 12 digs and Emma Francis, who seemed to be involved in all parts of the match, finished with 10 digs and 12 service points in the all around team effort.

Thursday's match against Honeoye Falls-Lima should be another difficult match for the Lady Irish and provide the Notre Dame students another opportunity to be help lift their team to victory!

More photos after the jump:

Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Notre Dame falls to Attica 40-15

post by Howard B. Owens in Attica, football, high school sports, Notre Dame, sports

The Fighting Irish of 2014 may not be the champion caliber squad of recent seasons, but Notre Dame is still the team other teams love to beat.

Today's proof: Fresh off its fifth touchdown through the middle of the third quarter, with the score 33-7, the Attica Blue Devils chose to squib and onside kick.

"It's a big rivalry," said Attica Head Coach Rob Cusmano.m"It's been a rivalry for years with Attica and Notre Dame. Last year was for the league title, and this year, they've got a couple of losses, but still, you throw those records right out the window and you just keep going after it."

It was a hard fought game, even when Attica seemed to have it well in hand. Coaches on both benches tried constantly to get referees to see things their way, pointing out holds, clips and chop blocks, and disclaiming guilt when flags were thrown against their own players.

It got so hot at one point, Attica was flagged for a 15-yard penalty.

The first quarter gave little indication of where this game was going, ending at a 0-0 tie.

Cusmano said the Blue Devils made some adjustments, which enabled them to pull away from ND.

"We couldn't run between the tackles, so we needed to get outside," Cusmano said. "We got outside a few times and that made the difference."

With the score 14-0 and two minutes left in the half, Notre Dame Head Coach Rick Mancuso decided to go to the air in the hopes of a quick score before intermission.

QB Joe Zickl completed a couple of passes. There was the ember of a drive glowing when he tried to hit a receiver just beyond the line of scrimmage. The receiver reached high and tipped the ball. It fell into the hands of Alex Piechocki, who sprinted to the end zone, giving Attica a 21-0 lead.

Another drive early in the second half was reversed into a Blue Devils score on a touch down.

Cusmano gave credit to scouting and film study for the picks.

"We knew their routes and our guys did a great job stepping in front of the ball and a couple of those went for touchdowns, and I attribute that to them watching a lot of film and doing their homework," Cusmano said.

Receiver Levi Snyder said the win, after a slow start, showed the team's character.

"We had to fight a little adversity at first," Snyder said. "We came in here, got a little rattled, but stuck together as a team and stuck it out. We got the win. That's all that's important right now."

Senior Derek Walker said it was exciting, a big deal to beat the Irish.

"It's huge," he said, "because nobody really likes Notre Dame."

The victory clinched the Genesee Region title for Attica, who will take a 6-0 record into next week's game against Oakfield-Alabama (3-3).

The Blue Devils said they didn't want to look past next week's game, but Cusmano conceded, the Class C post-season is going to be tough.

First week matchups haven't been determined yet, but Bath, Le Roy and Attica have all secured spots in sectionals. The fourth team in the playoffs could be Dansville, East Rochester or Elba/Byron-Bergen.

"It's very, very tough," Cusmano said. "I saw Le Roy last night and they're a very tough team and Bath is a good ball team, plus you throw Dansville in there, throw East Rochester in there, it's a very, very, very good class."

Even so, Cusmano is hardly throwing in the towel.

"We're getting healthier," Cusmano said. "One game at a time. We're thinking Oakfield. But I like our shot."

For Attica, Damian Marchetti was eight for 13 passing for 80 yards. He had eight carries for 74 yards and a TD. He also kicked five PATs. Jake Strzelec rushed for 89 yards on 25 carries and scored twice. Derek Walker had four receptions for 48 yards and a TD. Besides the interception return for a touchdown, Alex Piechocki also rushed for a score. Kyle Zawadzki had an interception return for a TD. Levi Snyder had two interceptions.

For Notre Dame, Joe Zickl was 15 for 31 passing for 159 yards and two TD. He was picked six times. On the ground, only Spencer Misiak had positive yardage, with one yard gained on one carry. C.J. Suozzi caught five passes for 45 yards. Josh Johnson had two TD receptions and gained 37 yards. Casey Midwick had four receptions for 31 yards. Joe Zickl had 10 tackles. Jack Sutherland, six. Peter Daversa had a sack.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 11:52 am

Former Notre Dame runner wins MAAC athlete of the week honors

post by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, sports

Press release:

Canisius College’s Jeffrey Antolos was named the MAAC Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week, while Rider University’s Emily Ritter earned the MAAC Women's Cross Country Runner of the week.

Canisius sophomore Jeffrey Antolos came up huge for the Golden Griffins this weekend, leading the Canisius men’s cross country team to a first place finish in the 35th Annual National Catholic Championships. The event took place on Friday, Sep. 19 at the University of Notre Dame. Antolos was the top finisher for the Blue and Gold, recording a time of 25:07.84 in the five-mile race, good enough for third place in the event. Antolos led the Griffs squad to the team’s only first place victory in the Championships in school history. The highest previous finish for the Griffs was a second place finish in 2002, the closest the team came to winning the Championships until this year. Antolos improved greatly from his 2013 season finish in the National Catholics when the Warsaw, N.Y. finished in 30th with a time of 26:23.

Ritter finished first overall among 171 runners at the Monmouth Invitational, covering the 3.1 mile Holmdel Park course in 18:34.2. It marked the second time in as many race this year that Ritter was the overall winner.

The 2014 MAAC Cross Country Championships will be held on Friday, October 31st at Holmdel Park, Holmdel N.J.

Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Notre Dame's first win knocks Elba/BB off unbeaten path

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, elba, football, high school sports, Notre Dame, sports

One team enters the game 2-0, the other is 0-2. Who do you think is going to win?

It's fair to say, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish upset the Elba/Byron-Bergen Lancers on Saturday with a 15-8 win at home.

The Irish struggled in the first two weeks of the season against Oakfield-Alabama and Alexander. It was looking like it might be a long season for Head Coach Rick Mancuso and his squad.

Meanwhile, the Lancers crushed Pembroke and Holley.

But as Elba's Mike Cintorino said after beating Holley last week, when it comes to matches between the Lancers and Notre Dame in any sport, you can throw the win-loss records out the window. These teams grapple no matter what the expectations.

Mancuso downplayed the rivalry after the win, however. A win is a win, and Notre Dame very much needed a win.

"This is more about us coming together as a team and playing the game and getting our first victory," Mancuso said. "That's really what it was about."

Mancuso credited a defense that held Elba/BB to 148 yards total offense, but what made the difference was an offense that showed it could move the ball effectively.

Take away a couple of turnovers and some mental error penalties and the final score might have been more lopsided than a victory just eked out.

The big difference, Mancuso said, was the offensive line.

"We've got a lot of young guys along the line," Mancuso said. "They may be juniors, but they don't have a lot of varsity experience. I really think they're starting to understand it. They're starting to click. They're working really, really hard. We saw it in practice this week. It started coming together. We're happy with where we're at, but we've got a lot of work to do."

Joe Zickl replaced and injured Connor Logsdon at QB and was six for 10 passing for 67 yards and a TD. Josh Johnson caught that TD pass (top photo) to give the Irish the lead in the third quarter.

Peter Daversa rushed for 84 yards and a TD on 15 carries.

Johnson had three receptions for 32 yards. Jack Sutherland carried the ball nine times for 33 yards.

For the Lancers, Garrett Chapell was 11 for 23 passing for 75 yards. Steele Truax rushed for 70 yards and a TD on 16 attempts. Mike Shanley had three catches for 23 yards and John Hochmuth gained 20 yards on three receptions.

Jack Sutherland had 10.5 tackles for Notre Dame. Johnson had six and Casey Midwick had five. 

Hunter Taylor and Truax each had five tackles for the Lancers. Taylor also had a sack.

Someday, your sons are going to be all grown up and you're going to wish you had some quality photos of them on the gridiron. To purchase prints, click here. Proceeds help improve The Batavian's photography.

Saturday, September 6, 2014 at 11:44 pm

Hornets savor win over Notre Dame after years of frustration

NOTE: The information we were given about how long it's been since O-A beat ND was wrong.

It's been nearly 20 years since Oakfield-Alabama beat Notre Dame, and after holding on for a 16-13 win against the Fighting Irish on their home turf, Hornet players celebrated like they had just won a sectional title.

"It feels great," said wide receiver Reice Woodward, a sophomore starting his first game on varsity. "We haven't beaten Notre Dame in a long time and we're starting the streak now."

With seconds left on the clock and Notre Dame in possession of the ball well into O-A territory, a Hornet's victory was far from assured. Then Woodward scooped up a Josh Johnson fumble and Hornet's captain Allen Chatt jumped high in the air, knowing at long last, a win was a cinch.

"With everything my team has been through this pre-season, and my being on the squad since eighth grade and losing to Notre Dame every year, I can't explain it," Chatt said. "It's the best feeling ever."

The first half of the game was all Oakfield-Alabama. The Hornet's defensive line was pushing around the smaller Irish offense seemingly at will. QB Connor Logsdon tasted turf several times. Fans and coaches kept yelling for him to throw the ball away, throw the ball away. After a play where a wall of white jerseys descended on him, the 5' 9" Logsdon yelled that he couldn't see anything over the line.

The Hornets would have ended the half up by four touchdowns instead of just two, except for wide open receivers twice dropping catchable balls.

It was looking like it was going to be a long afternoon -- if not a long season -- for Coach Rick Mancuso and his squad.

Then Logsdon, from deep in Irish territory completed a pass. RB Peter Daversa gained some ground and the Irish got another reception down field.

It was starting to look like a drive, then a short little run that ended in an apparent fumble (ND's coaches insisted the whistle had already blown, but to no avail) was recovered by the Hornets.

Whatever adjustments Mancuso made, they seemed to stick in the second half. Logsdon played with more confidence, feeling less pressure from O-A's defensive line, and Notre Dame showed it could move the ball down field

"We got a little flat right before the half," said O-A's Head Coach Brian Palone. "And Notre Dame did a great job of making adjustments."

Palone said his team has developed a new defense this season, and he expected the defense to struggle and the offense to do well, but the opposite happened he said. It was really the defense that won the game, so he was proud of his team in that regard, and at how hard they worked to protect their lead even as the team struggled in the second half.

"The way we ended the game here shows a lot about their character and never giving up," Palone said. "We had the lead the whole time, but momentum shifted over to Notre Dame the whole second half and I felt like our defense really stepped it up."

Senior linebacker Casey Arnold said the win was a real team effort. 

"The defensive line couldn't have been better," Arnold said. "We played as a team. We flew to the ball. I'm really proud of this team."

Chatt said all along, he's thought this year's Hornet's squad is something special, but nothing is more special than coming out on top against Notre Dame to open the season.

"I have a good feeling about this squad," Chatt said. "They're 27, 28, whatever we have, strong. They come down with the pads, loading the balls on the bus, whatever it is that needs to be done. I'm as proud as I can be about these guys today. Nothing tastes sweeter than to beat Notre Dame."

Chatt was 12 for 31 passing for 166 yards with two TDs and two INTs. Woodward led the receivers with two catches for 66 yards, including a 56-yard TD reception. He had one fumble recovery. Sal Schwabble had one catch for 41 yards. Ryan Emery, two for 30 yards, and Trent Stack, two for 26.

On defense, Jon Harris had one sack and 10 tackles. Schwable had eight tackles and a sack. Jacob Natalizia had two interceptions.

We didn't receive stats for Notre Dame.

UPDATE: Notre Dame stats: Peter Daversa, 18 carries, 76 yards, 1 TD; Jack Sutherland, 15 carries, 37 yards; Joe Zickl, 3 receptions, 27 yards, 1 TD; C.J. Souzzi, three receptions, 26 yards; Zickl, 8.5 tackles; Souzzi, five tackles; Ethan Osborne, sack.

Touchdown, Joe Zickl.

Appearances can be deceiving. Despite a great effort by O-A's Ryan Emery, Casey Midwick did catch this pass for Notre Dame.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Football Preview: Young players already experienced in winning move into key roles at Notre Dame

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, Notre Dame, sports

 

With each turn of a new generation of football players at Norte Dame, Head Coach Rick Mancuso usually finds a way to mold the young players into a winning unit.

Mancuso, of course, stops short of making any predictions for the Fighting Irish in 2014, but he does say he has a good group of young men who have been working hard and putting in the time to get ready for another season.

"Last year, our JV team had a successful season, so they're coming in and they had a lot of experience last year towards the end," Mancuso said. "We pulled up some kids for sections who got some playing time, which is a big advantage for them. Hopefully, we can keep them motivated and learning every day."

The offense will now be in the hands of junior Connor Logsdon, who led that JV squad last year to its undefeated season.

He steps into the shoes of record-setting QB Tim McCulley, but Mancuso said Logsdon is now his own man with his own offense to run.

"We're not asking him to fill anybody's shoes," Mancuso said. "We're asking him to execute the offense and do what he can do. Everybody's got to do their 1/11th."

Not much about the offensive scheme will change from recent seasons. Notre Dame will run and it will pass and work at setting up scoring opportunities.

"Unless you've got all the horses up front, you can't run the offense one way or the other," Mancuso said. "We're going to mix it up. We'll pretty much run the offense we've been running right along. We won't be spread as much as we were. We'll be spread sometimes, but we've got the full confidence in this team being able to execute what we put in."

The Irish are coming off a 6-2 season that ended jarringly with a 28-0 loss to Alexander in the first round of Class D sectional play. 

Notre Dame opens the season at home against Oakfield-Alabama on Sept. 6 at 1:30 p.m.

"We've got a great group of guys," Mancuso said. "I think everybody is going to do their best to make the team successful."

Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Notre Dame out of sync in state championship semi-final in Binghamton

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, high school sports, Notre Dame, sports

Things really didn't go Notre Dame's way in what turned out to be the baseball team's final game of the season.

Nobody wanted it to end this way, with a 7-1 loss to Smithtown Christian in the Class D semi-final game for the state championship, but Coach Mike Rapone said he told his players to hold their heads high.

"I tried to joke with them that if I told you the first day of practice that, 'you know what, we're going to lose in the state semi's,' I think you might have signed up for it," Rapone said.

Starting pitcher Alec Covel agreed. Clearly pained by the loss, he said he still recognized the Fighting Irish accomplished a lot this year, more than they might have thought possible at the start of the season.

"It's been fun," Covel said, not at all sounding like it has been fun. "I'm going to tell my kids about it someday. It's something to look back to."

Covel clearly had a reason to be disappointed. The ace of the staff, and a big reason Notre Dame made it this far, Covel struggled with his control all afternoon.

He walked the first two batters he faced. Both would score, because of throwing errors, even as Covel recorded all three outs in the inning on Ks.

"I was battling the whole time, pitching from behind and it showed," Covel said.

After the top of the first, Covel went with a coach into the bullpen to throw more.

"I was working on a drill to get over my front side," Covel said. "The mound was flatter than usual and I couldn't get over my front side and I was leaving pitches up."

Catcher Andrew Mullen said he thought Smithtown's hitters did a good job of not letting Covel establish a rhythm.

"The took their time in there, like any good team would," Mullen said. "I think that shook him up and then after that, things really didn't go our way, so he couldn't get comfortable."

Mullen thought Smithtown's starter, Jack Palma, who threw a complete game, threw harder than pitchers Notre Dame has faced recently, but he wasn't unhittable.

In fact, Notre Dame put a lot of balls into play, just not too many of them were hit hard or turned into hits.

"Anything in the infield they would chew up and it was an out for them," Mullen said. "That definitely helped them."

Rapone said Palma wasn't at all overpowering.

"All he threw was a fastball and a change up, but he was keeping us off balance," Rapone said. "We only hit the ball hard but a few times, so you've got to give him credit. Whatever he was doing was working."

Even though Covel walked four, he struck out six and Rapone said he pitched well enough that Smithtown should not have been able to put seven runs on the board.

"If we made some plays behind him, it's a lot closer game," Rapone said. "But they're a good baseball team. They didn't make too many mistakes. They were patient at the plate. They didn't help us out with anything, and we threw the ball around a little bit, misplayed a ball in the outfield we probably should have caught, and that's what happens. When you get to this level, the team that executes better wins. They executed better, so they won."

A team that has been relaxed all year may have found it a little harder to get loose for such a big game, Rapone said.

"I was surprised that, as loose a group as this has been all year, they were a little tight before the game, and then they started playing that way," Rapone said. "I think if we could have gotten out of the first inning, as we probably should have, without giving up anything, maybe we would have relaxed a little bit."

Mullen agreed with Rapone's assessment.

"We were a little nervous coming into this," Mullen said. "It was a lot of pressure on us. We had been really relaxed to this point, but I think being in the final four finally caught up to us. I think a little bit of nerves got to us, and he (Palma) was a good pitcher."

In the final, Smithtown beat Hancock 7-3 to take the state's Class D title.

We'll have a slideshow of more photos available in the morning.

Notre Dame supporters, reminder, it would be a big help with the expense of this coverage if you joined The Batavian Club.

Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 3:10 pm

Notre Dame drops first-round game in baseball state championship

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, high school sport, Notre Dame, sports

Smithtown Christian celebrated a first-round victory over the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame this afternoon at Broome Community College in Binghamton. Smithtown won 7-1, eliminating Notre Dame from the state championship series.

We'll have a game story and photos later (long drive back to Batavia before I can work on it).

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