Grand Island Sports News Page July-Dec. 2008
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Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted January 1, 2009

Brett Kern - 2008

   Brett Kern is featured in a
"12/20/08 Buffalo News" story by Allen Wilson. Scroll down.

Island Tennis Player Carolyn Schopp Ranked #1 - 2008

   According to the Sunday, December 21, 2008 edition of the Buffalo News, Carolyn Schopp of Grand Island, NY "is the area’s No. 1-ranked women’s tennis player for the second straight year. The 33-year-old lawyer for Fisher- Price won the Muny Open Singles and was a semifinalist in the UB summer tournament." See
"Carolyn Schopp/Buffalo News"for the story in Racket sports /By Charlie Garfinkel.

Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted December 18, 2008

Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted December 11, 2008

Carlee Conway Wins Classic USTA Jr. Tennis Tournament
   Moves up a Division and Earns First Tournament Win - 2008

Carlee Conway - Click photo for larger view

    Grand Island resident Carlee Conway, a seventh grader at St. Stephen School, won the Rochester Thanksgiving Classic USTA Jr. tennis tournament at the Girls 14 level on Saturday, November 29, 2008. The tournament was held at the Mendon Racquet and Pool Club in Pittsfield, NY. Players from across upstate New York participated in this USTA sponsored event. Carlee has been ranked as high as #32 in the Eastern Section of USTA Junior Tennis and # 1 in the Girls 12 level in the Upstate NY district for the past several months. With her upcoming birthday, she is moving into the Girls 14 level in January 2009. She won the East Aurora Rotary Club Tournament played at the Gow School in August. Then in October, she made her debut at the 14 level in the Syracuse Fall Red-Clay tournament, winning a berth in the finals at Sedgwick Tennis Club.
   Friday’s opening round opponent was Sienna Susko from Fayetteville, NY who defeated her in the Syracuse tournament finals six weeks ago. Conway came out with steady, aggressive and controlling ground strokes, moving Susko around the court. The match featured numerous rallies of more than 12 to 15 returns and took over two hours to complete. Capitalizing on her first serve placement, Conway won the first match 7-5; 7-5 against the determined Susko.
   Saturday morning's match was against Hailey Roth of Auburn, NY, the number one seeded player in the tournament. Roth, who is a freshman and plays on her high school varsity team, pushed Conway to three sets. Conway came to the net, hitting volleys for winners throughout the match. Conway won 6-3; 2-6; 6-2 in their two-hour match.
   Saturday afternoon's final match was against another high school player, Marie Black of Palmyra, NY who was seeded second in this tournament. Conway continued to ride a first-serve that Black found hard to handle at times. Conway also changed pace on ground strokes to further frustrate her opponent. Conway won the match in straight sets, 6-2; 6-3.
   Western New York was well represented in the Rochester Thanksgiving Classic with Williamsville’s Miranda Podlas winning the girls 18-year-old level, East Aurora’s Taylor Cole, winner of the Girls 16-year-old level and newcomer, Gabriella Kivovich of Williamsville, who won at the ten-year-old level.
   Carlee, the daughter of Margaret and Brendan Conway, began her tennis career at age six with prodding and coaching by St. Stephen’s teacher, Libby Ponton. She regularly attends lessons now at Sportsplex in North Tonawanda and is being coached by Tom LaPenna and Ross Nwachukwu.

Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted December 4, 2008

Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted November 27, 2008

Steve Kopf - 2008

Steve Kopf

    Steve Kopf, a senior at Niagara University, has been named 2008 Division l ITA All-Academic Scholar Athlete for the second straight year. In order to earn ITA Scholar-Athlete status a player must be a varsity letter winner, have a grade point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) for the current academic year, and have been enrolled at their present school for at least two semesters (including freshman thorough senior year). The ITA, Intercollegiate Tennis Association, is the governing body of collegiate tennis in the United States.

Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted November 20, 2008

Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted November 13, 2008

Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted November 7, 2008

Skater Taylor Firth - 2008

   Grand Island's Taylor Firth, skating in the North Atlantic Regional Championships on Tuesday, October 14, 2008, placed second in the Senior Ladies Program qualifying her for the Eastern Sectionals. Taylor's sister, Chelsea, also qualified for the Eastern Sectionals. See Taylor Firth for the October 15, 2008 story in the Post Journal.

Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted October 30, 2008

Allie Weiser Named East Coast Conference Goalkeeper Of The Week - 2008

    Allie Weiser, GIHS Class of 2008, is attending C.W. Post, of the East Coast Conference where she continues to play soccer. The East Coast Conference released its weekly report, naming Allie Goalkeeper of the Week for the first time this season. Allie, daughter of Trish and Ray Weiser, was a four-year starter as a goalie on the GIHS Girls Varsity Soccer Team. Her record 45 shutouts, and a record of 73-8-8 make her one of the Lady Vikings all time best goalies. See

Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted October 23, 2008

Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted October 16, 2008

Alicia Fisher - 2008

   ECC soccer: Both the women’s and men’s teams recorded shutouts against Niagara CCC. In women’s play, Alicia Fisher (Grand Island) set a school record with five goals in a 6-0 win. Alexa Wisel (Williamsville South) recorded the shutout. On the men’s side, Olwak Jenaroakin had the goals in a 2-0 win. Mike Schieber (Timon) made 18 saves in the win. (Niagara Gazette Report)

NU Diver Ian O’Rourke - 2008

   Sophomore diver Ian O’Rourke of Grand Island broke his own Niagara record Saturday, October 11, 2008 in the 1-meter event, totaling 480.00 points on 11 dives as the Purple Eagles opened the 2008-09 season at the Western New York Invitational. O’Rourke bested his previous score of 451.14. On the 3-meter board, O’Rourke also broke his record, finishing with 494.80, 53 points higher than his best score last season. (Niagara Gazette Report)

Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted October 9, 2008

Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted October 2, 2008

Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted September 25, 2008

Waterfowl Lottery In State Parks - 2008

   The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announces that lottery drawings for the first half of the Waterfowl Hunting Season will be held for blinds in Beaver Island, Fort Niagara, Joseph Davis, Wilson-Tuscarora, and Golden Hill State Parks. The drawings for the Beaver Island blinds, located along West River Parkway and Motor and Strawberry Islands, will take place in the Grand Island Community Center, in the Nike Base Park, 3278 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island, NY. See "Waterfowl Lottery for complete information.

Village Inn Open Draws 24 Golfers - September 2008

Photos by Ed Moore - Click photos for larger view

   Twenty-four golfers took part in the Village Inn Open golf tournament on Thursday, September 18, 2008 and later filled the Village Inn where they enjoyed fine food and friendship. MIke Carr and his staff were their usual polite servers. A big thank you from the golfers.
   Low Gross: Ron Ondrow 38 - Low Net - Ron Ondrow - 33
Team Low Net = 140
   Ron Ondrow - 33
Don Tranter - 35
Bob Zoellon - 36
John Vogel - 36
   Other Net Scores
Jack Hugill - 35
Tony Peters - 35
Wayne Anstett - 35
Dan Lynch Jr. - 36
Mike Hachee - 37
Dan Lynch Sr. - 37
Eric Reimann - 37
Gary Roesch - 38
Bill Winterfield - 38
Gary Scheitheir - 38
Gregg Solozzo - 38
Larry Furnia - 38
Dick Smith - 38
Hank Carroll - 38
Ed Moore - 39
Dave Dulak - 39
Mike Cutini - 39
Les Dumas - 40
Chaz Bulera - 41

Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted September 18, 2008

Island Lanes Results 2008

   See Bowling Results submitted September 11, 2008

Couple Becomes Bride and Groom On BLC Pier
Antique & Classic Boat Society Draws 150 Boats - September 2008

(left) Shenandoah; shown right is the "One Half," a boat, half restored, half finished!
Mary Stewart Photos - Click for larger view

(right photos) Cleveland, Ohio residents Dennis Naylon and Kathy Bradley said "I do" on the BLC dock.

Island resident John Gast, whose Donzi won Best Classic Raceboat, is shown with brother Paul Gast and puppy, Maggie Rose Gast

Lora and Jenna Kaiser, daughters of Brian and Donna Kaiser
Kelly Gast Photos - click for larger view

   Early rain and overcast skies disappeared for at least part of the Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boat Society's annual boat show and Raceboat Reunion held Saturday, September 6 at the Buffalo Launch Club. The event brought out 150 boats.
   Cleveland, Ohio residents Dennis Naylon and Kathy Bradley, shown above, not only brought their beautifully restored red and white boat, "Last Dance," to the show. They were also married on the BlC pier during this year's event. See 9/6/08 Wedding At Boat Show

Nick Masiello Wins Peach Festival 5K - 2008

Nicholas Masiello - Click photo for larger view

   Nick Masiello, 15, won the 30th annual Peach Fest 5K race on Saturday, September 6th in Lewiston. He is the overall winner with a time of 17:34. Nick is a sophomore at Grand Island High School and runs varsity cross country and varsity track. He is the son of Jim and Annalea Masiello.

Village Inn Open Golf Tournament - Sept. 2008

   The Village Inn Open golf tournament takes place Thursday, September 18, 2008 at the Beaver Island Golf Course on Grand Island.
   In addition to nine holes of afternoon golf, golfers may enjoy a pre-tournament breakfast at 11 a.m. at the Village Inn. A post-tournament get-together with refreshments will follow at approximately 3:30 p.m., also at the Village Inn - good food, beer and pop at $5.
   For more information, contact Edward Moore, 773-3817.

Shannon Becker, 1st At State Fair - 2008

Click photo for larger view

   Shannon Becker, 15, riding "For Pete's Sake," won first place in Equitation on the Flat, Hunt Seat - Pony at the New York State Fair in August 2008. The Grand Island High School sophomore also won the following:
• 2nd Hunt Pleasure - Pony
• 2nd Hunter Hack - Pony
• 6th Hunter - Under Saddle - Pony
• 6th Equitation Over Fences - Pony
   Shannon, who rides at Hunter's Ridge in Lewiston and has been riding for 3 1/2 years, is the daughter of Patricia and Michael Becker of Stony Point Road.

Brett Kern On Denver Broncos Football Team - 2008

   See "8/30/08 Niagara Gazette story" by Nate Beutel.

Inboard Hydroplane Results - 2008

   The 2008 Summer Nationals for Inboard Hydroplanes were held in Celina, Ohio August 23-24. The winners of the 2.5 litre stock class were the team of Grand Island residents Greg Barker (owner) and Mark Johnson (driver), in the S-9 Rewinder. For more race information, see or
   In the Nationals, Dan Kanfoush, Niagara Falls, who is employed at Moore on Grand Island, won the 1 litre mod class in the Y-1 "Fast Eddy" owned by Jim Sechler from Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Shannon Driess - State Fair - August 2008

Click photos for larger view

   Shannon Driess competed at the State Fair and took 8th place in Hunter Under Saddle Pony and 5th place in Hunter Hack Pony-jumps and flat work. Pony division consisted of 30 or more riders throughout the State of New York. This was Shannon's and Sweet Guinness's first time competing together at the New York State Fair.    See Shannon Driess for previous successes.

Tryouts for 12U 2009 Grand Island Vipers - 2008

   Tryouts for 12U 2009 Grand Island Vipers will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on August 23, 2008 at Veterans Park Diamond #9 off of Bedell Road on Grand Island.
   Grand Island Vipers are an existing 12U team that will be in their second year of 12U Metro. Looking for 3 to 4 experienced players to fill roster. All positions are open. Team is planning on playing in 4 local tournaments next year and 1 out of state in Ohio. We will be involved in winter workouts and playing in the Salens Indoor Softball league come the first of the year. Due to local sponsors, cost should not exceed $300.00. For information contact, Dean Neff at 909-6106. Must be 12 and Under on Jan. 1, 2009.

Anthony Gugino Earns Black Belt - 2008

Anthony Gugino - click photo for larger view

   Anthony Gugino (right), a senior at Grand Island High School, passed his first degree Judo black belt test on August 10th at Brockport State. Anthony also won the silver medal for judo at last month's Empire State Games in the men's 161 lb. division. His father, Bill (left), also practices Judo and is a 3rd degree black belt.

Antique & Classic Boat Show Just Around The Corner - 2008

   The 31st annual Antique Boat Show takes place on Saturday, September 6, 2008 at the Buffalo Launch Club, 503 East River Road, Grand Island, NY. See links below for complete information.
"Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boats"
"Shuffle Off To Buffalo"
"The Vintage Hydroplanes"
"Boat Race Reunion - Speedboats"

Shannon Driess - Niag. Co. Jr. Fair Grand Champion - July 2008

Click photos for larger view

   Eleven-year-old Shannon Driess of Grand Island competed at the Niagara County Fair on July 30. She entered competitions in several classes in the English Division, taking 1st place in Junior English Trail and 1st place in Pony English Pleasure. Shannon also won several 5th, 4th, and 2nd place ribbons. At the end of the show, Shannon received a medal for Niagara County Jr. Fair Grand Champion.
   Her competition activities in several 4-H English riding events throughout the summer qualified her to compete at the State Fair in Syracuse the end of August.
   Shannon is the daughter of Scott and Michelle Driess and a member of the Blue Ribbon Riders/4-H. She will entered the sixth grade at Veronica E. Connor Middle School in September.

The Dream Season - GI 12U Vipers - July 2008

(left) Rosie Russell, Jessica Amsdill, Melissa Gibson, Ashley Colan, Ciara Alcorn, Cassie Oursler, Captain Annie Corrao, Carlee Conway, and Julia Kelly. Missing : Courtney Collignon and Lexi Kalinowski . Coaches : Kelly Alcorn, Brendan Conway, Joe Amsdill

   August 5, 2008 . . . The Metro Girls Softball League (MGSL) 12U Champion Grand Island Vipers went a perfect 12-0 during the league’s regular season and capped that off with a playoff championship going 4-0. The girls’ dedication and hard work paid off. They began gearing up for the season way back in January by taking part in a winter league sponsored by the Lancaster Metro Softball Organization which was held weekly inside Sahlens Sports Park, where they learned teamwork and practiced fundamentals which helped throughout the summer months.
   "I had the privilege of coaching not only a team of fabulous athletes, but a group of kind, sweet, considerate young ladies. They have been together for 3-4 years now and their bond as sisters will never be broken. It’s with great pride and my honor that I present MGSL’s best, the 2008 Champs, the Grand Island 12u Vipers!" Coach Joe Amsdill said.
   Special thanks to: Lancaster Coach John Raab for organizing winter softball league, GI Modified Coach Art Meaney for all the time and effort he put into our girls, Linda Tufillaro and the GI parks & recreation crew for the wonderfully groomed fields, Hoppie, our pitching coach, and Joe Henderson for all his help and tenacity building a softball program on Grand Island that we can be proud of. And finally a big thanks to my Viper parents, whose dedication to our girls is unmatched anywhere.

"The Masters" Golf Tourney Results - 2008

220 and over champs - click for larger view

Masters Commitment Award Winners - click for larger view

Viking Football Special Achievement Award Winners - click for larger view

Overall Champs - click for larger view

    "The Masters" 3rd annual Memorial Golf Tournament was held July 28, 2008 at Beaver Island State Park Course. The Results follow:
Masters Champions
Overall - Ben Meyer, Nick Zicardi, Craig Stegemann, Matt Donahoe (Score - 56)
Under 219 - Jeff Fancher, Dave Malcolm, Don Crosby, Keith Anderson (Score - 61)
220 and Over - Bill Riffel, Bill Stuckwisch, John Faller, Tom Hoolihan (Score - 73)
Closest to Pin
John Sirianni (11’2”)
Bob Fick (3’6”)
Closest to Helmet
Gilman Clarke (10’6”)
Putting Contest
Terry Mc Donnell
Masters Commitment Award Winners
Armand Cacciatore
Viking Football Special Achievement Award
The McDonnell Family (Mike, Terry, Bob, Scott, Sean)

Pezzino, Raepple Sisters Win Gold at State Games - 2008

"Buffalo News - July 28 - Gold Medals"

Vipers Win N. Buffalo Tournament - July 2008

   July 23, 2008 . . . The rain shortened the North Buffalo Tournament this past weekend. The Vipers came out on top, edging out the North Buffalo team in round robin play Saturday, July 19. Both teams went 3-0 on Saturday, so it came down to runs against! GI held their opponents to just 10 runs total, while North Buffalo gave up 15, giving the Vipers the Tournament Championship. It was no easy matter getting to 3 - 0. Our girls faced stiff opposition from squads from EMW, GI RED, and Amherst.
   In the first game versus a formidable EMW team, our girls were down but not out. GI down by 3 runs going into the bottom of the 7th and final inning rallied to tie the game at 5 with an amazing display of hitting by the girls! After the GI coach recovered from near heart failure, the game continued into the 8th inning where the international rule was used (start the inning with a runner on 2nd, no outs) . It's very difficult to keep a team from scoring when the international rule is used. However, catcher Ashley Colan was up to the task. EMW called for a steal, Ashley promptly put the first out on the board with what I consider the finest throw a 12-year-old catcher has ever made. The runner was tagged out 3 feet from the bag by Shortstop Julia Kelly. Up in the bottom of the 8th, Courtney Collignon comes up to the plate, after GI's international rule runner was sacrificed to 3rd base by Cassie Oursler. Courtney drove a beautiful hit off the first pitch to the gap in left-center, securing the win for GI 6-5. Rosie Russell Pitched all 8 innings. This win was a true team effort.
   The second game, Saturday morning was against Grand Island Red. Great effort by both teams, Grand Island Blue edged their younger sisters in this one. The play of the game came from Jessica Amsdill. Jessy, playing second base, charged a fading line drive, grabbed it at her shoe tops, and raced to second sliding into the base just beating the runner back to the bag for a highlight reel double play. Ciara Alcorn pitched a complete game. Lexi Kalinoswski went 3-for-3 with 2 singles and a double.
   The third game featured a fine display of hitting in the first inning. The girls had 11 hits in a row and scored 10 runs in the first inning and cruised to a comfortable win. The highlight of the game was a barehanded play by shortstop Julia Kelly. Cassie Oursler and Rosie Russell combined for the win.
   Our Captain and First Batter Annie Corrao batted an incredible .875 for the tournament! What a leadoff batter .. Melissa Gibson, who broke her finger in the first game was there to cheer her team on. Get better soon, we need ya!
Congratulation Girls!

Northtowns Thunder - Girls' Premier Soccer Tryouts - July 2008

   The Northtowns Thunder, a NY State Cup Finalist girls’ premier soccer team, is holding open tryouts for their 2008-2009 U15 team. Age appropriate girls from any area are welcome to tryout from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 5 at North Tonawanda Middle School and Sunday, August 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Wendelville Fire Hall park on Campbell Blvd. in Pendleton. For more information call either 417-6549 or 692-6079. Islanders currently on the roster include Steph Senn, Katlyn Holt, Jenna Lee, Jodi Lee, and Amanda Cinelli.

Mitchell Cancilla - Future Soccer Star - 2008

Mitchell Cancilla - click photo for larger view

   At his first time at Olympic Development Region I Camp, 13-year-old, Mitchell Cancilla from Grand Island was selected to attend the Region I ODP Call Back Camp in Kutztown, PA, making the Regional Team. He was also identified as one of the Top 20 players and was invited to attend the U. S. Soccer’s Under-14 National Indentification Camp held in Massachusetts this August. Region I Camp was a very competitive atmosphere that taught many life skills. He competed against and became friends with some of the finest regional players from other areas of the country. It has made Mitchell look at his soccer career with new eyes and enthusiasm. A Connor Middle School student, he is the son of Mitch and Rosary Cancilla.

WNYWPLGA Championship - July 2008

    WNYWPLGA CHAMPIONSHIP at Sheridan AA: Low gross: Lindley Bowen (Sheridan) 79, Low net: Sue Schottke (Brighton) 70; A: Low gross: Shirley Hett (Brighton) 91, Low net: Marybeth Glatz (Elma) 73; B: Low gross: Marian Reo (Sheridan) 100, Low net: Carol Meehan (Elma) 71; C: Low gross: Marilyn Burak (Grand Island) 102, Low net: Carol Garito (Grand Island) 69; D: Low gross: Jen Simpson (Sheridan) 108, Low net: Nancy LoTempio (Audubon) 71.

River Oaks Ladies Invitational - July 2008

   The 2008 River Oaks Ladies Invitational - Christmas In July - begins at 7 a.m. Friday, July 25 with a continental breakfast. The day's schedule follows:
7:30 a.m - Clinic
8 a.m - Shotgun Start
1:30 p.m. - Christmas Dinner
Awards to Follow.
   The River Oaks Ladies are looking for hole sponsor ($50 per hole). Prize donations would also be appreciated. Raffle proceeds to benefit Pittsburgh Childrens Hospital - transplant division - in honor of little Island resident Olivia Williams.
Roz Bartholomay - 773-2155
Barbara Conrad - 773-4792
Barb Bonura - 283-3656
Roxanne Williams - 773-7140

Vipers Finish Perfect Season - Playoffs Next - July 2008

   Our Grand Island 12 U Vipers just completed the perfect season going 12-0 in Western New York's Metro Travel Softball League - and posting 142 runs with only 36 runs against.
   As their coach, I'd like to thank and congratulate the girls for a hard fought, successful year. I am blessed to be a part of your lives. I'd also like to thank my coaches, Brendan Conway, Greg Voyzey, and Kelly Alcorn. Through your hours upon hours of effort, these girls have turned into excellent young softball players, Thanks gang! Finally, to my parents, thanks for putting up with me pushing your girls as hard as I do. Without you, we wouldn't be playing softball.
   Your GI Vipers! Jessica Amsdill, Ciara Alcorn, Lexi Kalinowski, Cassie Oursler, Courtney Collignon, Carlee Conway, Melissa Gibson, Julia Kelly, Rosie Russell, Ashley Colan, and our captain Annie Corrao.
   We still have the playoffs to compete in. We will be at home throughout the playoffs as the result of going 12-0. Go get'um girls !
   PS. I almost forgot, Big thanks to Joneen Corrao for all the fantastic photos, Cindy Gibson for being our treasurer and Cindy Kalinowski for the fabulous softball bags!

Vipers Red Squeezes The Gamblers!!! - July 2008

    The girls 12U Grand Island Vipers Red needed a squeeze bunt in the bottom of the seventh to secure their fourth win in their last 5 games. With the score tied, bottom of the seventh, runners on second and third and no outs, Leah Geis bunted down third base as Grace Scherrer raced to home avoiding the tag from the Gamblers catcher and touched home plate just in time to give the home town Vipers the win. Scherrer who was 3 for 3 with two singles and a double, scored twice for the Vipers in leading her team to victory. Emily Edwards who was standing on second at the time had two hits along with Jillian Sheehan. Vipers were leading defensely by their left handed ace Jillian Sheehan who allowed only 7 hits, and stuck out 10 Gamblers over seven innnings. Brittany Little, Jenna Neff, Kristy Kalman and Geis all scored runs for the Vipers. Grand Island native Marrisa Ruffalo pitched seven strong innings allowing only 7 hits, striking out 7 batters for the Gamblers in a losing effort. The Vipers who have been on a tear since midseason have wins against Wheatfield Hurricans, Clarance Red Devils West Seneca Magic and the Gamblers in their last 5 contests.

Cayuga Gambler's Rolls Snakes Against 12U Vipers - July 2008

Lexi "The Howitzer" Kalinowski - Click photo for larger view.

   July 9, 2008 . . . Grand Island took their perfect season (9-0) into Cayuga (8-1) on Sunday, July 6, 2008 in the scorching heat. Heat or no heat the Vipers came out with a 6-1 victory with a sound beating of the Gamblers. Defense was the name of the game Sunday and the Vipers' outfield was up for the task. Left fielder Courtney Collignon caught a fly out and stopped any extra base attempt with perfect fielding. Ciara Alcorn, Centerfield, was a vacuum and captained the outfield expertly. The play of the game came from Lexi "The Howitzer" Kalinowski. Early in the match, Lexi made a Circus catch in right field, running down and coming up with a ball fading towards the line. Then in the bottom of the 7th, Cayuga was challenging with runners on first and second. Lexi, in perfect position to back up the first baseman, picked up a misplayed ball in short right field and threw a B-B to home plate punching out a Gambler trying to score from second for the second out of the inning, effectively ending any thought of a rally by the Gamblers. Rosie Russell pitched another complete game recording 6 strikeouts on 2 hits.

12U Grand Island Vipers Girls Softball Advances to Semi-Finals - June 2008

click photos for larger view.

   July 8, 2008 . . . The GI girls softball team competed in the West Seneca Girls Softball tournament the weekend of June 27-29th. They advanced to the semi-finals with a 4-1 record before the tournament was canceled due to the downpours later Sunday afternoon. Teams from Western NY, Syracuse, Rochester and Pittsburgh, PA completed the 16-team field. The GI team began play on Friday night against the WNY Sting Gold team. They dug themselves into a hole early in the game and found themselves down 5-0 in the third inning. Their bats started to come alive led by Cassie Oursler who hit a shot out of the park for her first-ever over-the-fence home run. It measured over 230 feet. Julia Kelly had two doubles as the team finished the game with a final score loss of 10-5. Errors proved costly in this one.
   Saturday morning’s opponent was the Lancaster-Depew Heat. With Rosie Russell on the mound, GI rebounded defensively with only two errors the whole game. Carlee Conway made two nice catches in center field while Ashley Colon threw two runners out from behind the plate. GI finished with ten hits, winning the game 9-2. Russell finished with 6 strike-outs over the seven innings of work.
   The Vipers second opponent on Saturday was the Amherst Lightning. Courtney Colligan hit an inside the park home-run in the first inning to set the tone early. The GI bats pounded out singles and doubles through-out the game with Ashley Colon and Mellissa Gibson leading the way. The game featured an unbelievable over the back catch in shallow left field by short-stop Julia Kelly who then threw a frozen-robe to first-base to double-off the runner. Even the umpire behind the plate could not believe the athletic play made by Julia, commenting that we might see that one on ESPN Sports Center! GI pitched by committee with Oursler, Alcorn and Russell each seeing time on the mound. The final score was another Viper win, 8-5.
   Sunday morning, they faced the Cayuga team from Niagara Falls and wasted no time in securing a lead. In the first inning, Grand Island had six consecutive hits and scored five runs before being retired. Once again, Oursler hit a shot to left field that one-hopped into the fence for a stand-up double. The score at the end of two innings was 8-0 GI. Annie Corraro, who is always a threat to bunt, ripped a triple down the left field line in the second inning as the Cayuga team was playing her to bunt. Team defense played a role as Cayuga was held to five runs, led by outstanding play at second by Jessie Amsdill and Lexi Kolinowski in left field. Once again, GI pitched by committee with Oursler, Alcorn and Russell each seeing time on the mound. Amsdill had a 2-run RBI late in the game to advance GI to a win by the mercy-rule 13-5.
   Sunday afternoon’s game pitted the very dominant Diamond Girls team against GI. Ciara Alcorn used all of her various pitches to keep the Diamond Girls off balance as she threw a complete seven inning game without giving up a walk. She contributed at a critical time of the game with a two-run opposite field single to push GI to a seven to three lead in the fifth. Mellissa Gibson was hit twice by pitches, yet scored both times hobbling across the plate. The Vipers were very selective at the plate, earning 8 base-on-balls and stymieing the hard-throwing ability of the two Diamond girls pitchers. Annie Corrao led the team with three base-on-balls after running the count full twice. They had to take speed off their pitches to get in on the plate and that led to GI getting critical hits to advance runners. Ashley Colon contributed with two hits while being solid at catcher. Defensively, Courtney Colligan made a great play from left field, playing a hit down the line and throwing a dart to second base to catch the runner. Jessie Amsdill applied the tag, making it look routine! The defense stepped up big in this game with Julia Kelly having 8 put-outs from short-stop and Carlee Conway making a great catch in the left-center gap in the last inning to prevent any comeback. Grand Island won the game 9-3 while committing no errors and earning a spot in the semi-finals.
   At the start of the semi-final game, GI faced the Evolution team from Pittsburgh for their third game on Sunday, However, it was rained out and the balance of the tournament was canceled due to the inclimate weather. The weekend turned out to be a great success with the Grand Island Vipers positioning themselves as one of the better teams in Western NY. They were solid at the plate averaging nine hits per game while minimizing errors after their first game. Pitching was very solid and few opponents made attempts to steal with the throwing ability of Colon behind the plate. They remain undefeated in the Metro League with an 8-0 record as of games played thru 7-02-08.

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