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Grand Island’s Brian Brink, right, collides with Joe Oliverio but makes the catch.
Mark Mulville/Buffalo News

06/05/09 06:55 AM


Offensive onslaught powers Grand Island


Thanks to an impressive display of offense, Grand Island’s long wait for a sectional championship is finally over.

The Vikings won their first Section VI Class A baseball championship in nearly 30 years by pounding out 12 hits and scoring runs in every inning except the first in a 10-3 victory over Albion on Thursday night at Coca-Cola Field. Grand Island’s last sectional championship was 1980 and this was the school’s first appearance in the title game since 1985.

“Sectional wise, baseball might be the hardest thing to win,” said Grand Island coach Dean Santorio, who was a junior on the 1985 team that lost to Jamestown in the sectional final. “Baseball is a funny game and you could win or lose based on who you face on the mound and how you hit that day so we’re very proud of these guys.”

The third-seeded Vikings were seeded first a year ago but got upset by Cheektowaga.

Nick Kellner, Chris Podlucky and Ben Tomkins had two hits each for the Vikings with Kellner, the leadoff man, contributing three RBIs.

“We knew they had a good offense and we knew we had to put some runs on the board,” Santorio said. “Sometimes when you’re streaky like we are you have to find a way to string some hits together.”

That’s exactly what the Vikings did. After going scoreless in the first inning, Grand Island broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the third, three more in the fourth, two in the fifth and one more in the sixth.

That was more than enough run support for Tomkins, the starting pitcher, who allowed just two earned runs.

“The bats came out today and that helped me tremendously,” Tomkins said.

Albion coach Gary Mannella said after the game that the 2010 season will likely be his last. He loses only two seniors from a team that finished 21-2. Grand Island moves on to face the Section V winner in Batavia on Monday.