Aquinas, DeSales claim championships - Catholic Courier
McQuaid catcher Trey West reaches to tag Victor baserunner Jake Redding in the fifth inning of the Section Five Class AA baseball championship May 31 at Frontier Field. McQuaid catcher Trey West reaches to tag Victor baserunner Jake Redding in the fifth inning of the Section Five Class AA baseball championship May 31 at Frontier Field.

Aquinas, DeSales claim championships

Aquinas Institute’s baseball team stumbled into the post-season with a 7-12 record — not the stuff of a championship contender.

 The odds also were questionable for Geneva DeSales softball based on recent history: The Saints hadn’t won a sectional in 16 years.

But in the end, AQ and DeSales were the only baseball or softball teams among Catholic high schools in the diocese to gain sectional titles. Their performances highlighted a strong overall sectional run that saw eight of the 10 squads reach their respective Final Fours, with six making the finals.

Aquinas baseball

Aquinas won the Section 5 Class BB tournament with a 4-2 victory over Penn Yan on June 2. The sixth-seeded Little Irish bested the top-seeded Mustangs as Tom Mastrodonato threw a three-hitter with nine strikeouts. AQ scored twice in the fifth inning to go ahead for good, 3-2.

DeSales’ earlier sectional wins were 9-0 over No. 8 Canaseraga in quarterfinal play on May 24 behind Alyssa Durette’s five-hitter, and 14-2 over No. 5 Bradford in a semifinal on May 30 that featured a seven-run sixth inning.

The Saints’ season was halted in the state Class D qualifier on June 2 by Batavia Notre Dame, 11-1. DeSales finished with a 20-3 record.

DeSales softball

The top-seeded Saints gutted out a 3-2 win in nine innings over No. 2 Belfast in the Section 5 Class D2 title game played May 31. Caroline McCulloch scored the deciding run on an infield grounder by Rachel Ficcaglia. DeSales had tied the game with two outs in the seventh to force extra innings as Erin Guinan — who had homered in the first inning — singled in McCulloch with the tying run.

DeSales’ earlier sectional wins were 9-0 over No. 8 Canaseraga in quarterfinal play on May 24 behind Alyssa Durette’s five-hitter, and 14-2 over No. 5 Bradford in a semifinal on May 30 that featured a seven-run sixth inning.

The Saints’ season was halted in the state Class D qualifier on June 2 by Batavia Notre Dame, 11-1. DeSales finished with a 20-3 record.

More highlights

DeSales baseball, seeded No. 2 in Section 5 Class D, scored a 4-3 semifinal win over No. 3 Whitesville in 11 innings on May 30 as Mike Cragg nailed an inside-the-park home run with two outs in the bottom of the 11th. The Saints had reached the final by defeating No. 7 Lima Christian on May 25. Their season was stopped in the Class D title game on June 2 by No. 1 Webster Christian, 3-0, with all three runs coming in the first inning. The Saints’ final record was 12-7.

Aquinas softball, seeded No. 4 in Section 5 Class B1, won 15-0 over No. 8 Hornell in a May 30 semifinal contest behind a perfect game by Lexi Haley, who recorded 12 strikeouts while retiring all 21 batters she faced. That was preceded by a 10-0 quarterfinal win over No. 5 Livonia on May 25 as Haley came within one out of a perfect game. Aquinas fell to No. 2 Penn Yan, 4-2, in the May 31 championship contest in a rematch of last year’s final won by the Little Irish. AQ finished with a 13-8 record.

Our Lady of Mercy softball, seeded No. 3 in Section 5 Class A, won 10-0 over No. 2 Honeoye Falls-Lima in the semifinals on May 30 with a 15-hit assault. Earlier sectional wins were 16-0 in the first round over No. 14 Greece Olympia on May 23, with all runs coming in the first two innings; and 12-8 in quarterfinal play over No. 6 Pittsford Sutherland on May 26 as Theresa Clancy had a homer and four RBI. The Monarchs then fell to No. 1 Pittsford Mendon, 5-3, in the final on May 31 by allowing three sixth-inning runs that erased a 3-2 lead. Mercy ended at 17-6.

McQuaid Jesuit baseball, seeded No. 2 in Section 5 Class AA, rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat No. 6 Greece Athena, 5-4, in semifinal play on May 30. John Capone came home with the winning run on a bases-loaded walk to Griffin Hester. One round earlier, the Knights were 18-1 winners over No. 10 Canandaigua on May 25 as Trey West went 4-for-4 with a home run and five RBI. McQuaid then lost by a 10-4 count to top-seeded Victor, the defending champion, in the title matchup on May 31 to finish with a 17-6 record.

Elmira Notre Dame softball, the No. 1 seed in Section 4 Class C, reached the Final Four with a 3-1 quarterfinal win over No. 8 Newark Valley on May 30 as Olivia May threw a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts. The Crusaders were halted in the next day’s semifinal round by No. 4 Greene, 7-2, to finish the season with a 19-3 record. ND was the state’s top-ranked Class C team as well as defending state champion, having gone a perfect 26-0 last year.

Bishop Kearney baseball also reached its sectional Final Four. The seventh-seeded Kings won 10-0 over No. 10 Dundee/Bradford in the Section 5 Class CCC first round on May 21 as Corey Mastrella yielded one hit over five innings, and 3-0 over No. 2 Pembroke in a May 23 quarterfinal as Ryan Key pitched a two-hitter with nine strikeouts. BK then lost 7-2 to No. 11 Wiliamson in the May 25 semifinals. The Kings’ final record was 11-9.

Elmira Notre Dame baseball, despite being knocked out of the Section 4 Class C playoffs with a 7-5 first-round loss to No. 12 Newfield on May 22, still had a nice year by finishing with a 10-7 mark and earning the No. 5 sectional seed.

Bishop Kearney softball, the No. 5 seed in Section Class C1, was a 5-0 winner over No. 12 Holley on May 22 as Lexy Rivera went 3-for-3. BK then dropped a 2-1 decision to No. 4 Le Roy in quarterfinal play on May 24. Kearney’s final record was 12-8.

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