McQuaid’s state baseball title tops list of Catholic schools’ wins
Whether the setting was a baseball diamond, golf course or track, athletes from McQuaid Jesuit High School came up winners just about everywhere they competed this spring.
The Knights brought home a state baseball title, as well as Section 5 team crowns in boys’ track and golf, to lead a parade of major accomplishments by Catholic high schools in the diocese. Also winning a sectional title was the Elmira Notre Dame boys’ tennis team, while sectional runner-up finishes were recorded by Bishop Kearney softball, Our Lady of Mercy girls’ track and Kearney boys’ track. In addition, Catholic-school track stars brought home several individual sectional titles, with a girls’ relay from Aquinas Institute earning a state title.
Knights pitching ace Hunter Walsh was at his best when the stakes were highest, throwing a no-hitter for a 5-0 win over Shenendahowa of Section 2 in the state Class AA final. The title game was played June 15 at Union-Endicott High School near Binghamton.
McQuaid gradually pulled away to win its first-ever state crown, scoring two runs in the second inning, one in the third and two in the fourth. Meanwhile, Walsh was nearly perfect, allowing only a sixth-inning walk as his team finished its dream season with a 24-2 record.
The Knights had earned a spot in the title game by gutting out a pair of one-run victories. McQuaid won 2-1 over Frontier of Section 6 in quarterfinal play June 8, scoring both its runs in the sixth inning and getting a complete game from Walsh. In the Class AA semifinal, played June 14, the Knights gained a 4-3 victory over Suffern of Section 1 as Ryan O’Mara went the distance and was backed by runs in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings for a 4-1 lead.
McQuaid’s collection of fresh hardware also includes the Section 5 Class AA trophy. The Knights, seeded No. 1, earned its sectional with a 7-1 win over No. 2 Penfield in the title game June 1. McQuaid got all the runs it needed in the first inning by scoring twice, and Walsh turned in a complete game. Previous sectional wins were 1-0 over No. 9 Fairport in quarterfinal play May 28, with Walsh pitching a three-hit shutout and the Knights getting the game’s lone run in the sixth inning; and 5-2 over No. 4 Hilton in a May 30 semifinal as O’Mara was the winning pitcher and drove in two runs as well.
More McQuaid titles
In track, the Knights rolled to the Section 5 Class A title May 24, piling up 147 points and nearly doubling second-place Greece Arcadia’s 77.5 total. First-place finishers for the Knights were Abel Hagos in the 1600- and 3,200-meter runs, Andrew Passero in the 400 run, Sam Perozzi in the 400 hurdles, Patrick Larkin in the high jump, Quinn Bergeron in the discus and the 3,200 relay. Hagos went on to top Division 1 in the 1,600 and 3,200 at the state-qualifier competition May 31. Also placing first in Division 1 was the 1,600 relay team. At the state championships, which took place June 7-8, top McQuaid finishers were Hagos, who finished fifth in Division 1 and seventh overall in the 1,600; and the 1,600 relay, which placed ninth in Division 1.
On the golf course, the Knights won the Section 5 Class A team title May 24, amassing 297 strokes to ease past second-place Victor’s 308 total. McQuaid’s Alex Zurat was the medalist, shooting a one-over-par 72; teammate Phil Minnehan had 73, the day’s second-best total; and Max Dragon and Jack Bailey each came in at 76. In individual Section 5 competition, Zurat was co-medalist with a two-day total of 147, shooting 75 at the Class A tournament May 18 and an even-par 72 in the state qualifier two days later. In addition, Minnehan shot a one-under-par 71 at sectionals to finish as co-medalist. His 79 at the state qualifier gave him a 150 total, good for third place; while Dragon also made states by shooting 77-75-152 to place fourth. At the state event June 2-3, Zurat was the top golfer from Section 5 by shooting 72-78-150 to claim sixth place. Minnehan went 77-74-151 to tie for seventh.
• Aquinas Institute track had some big finishes at the state meet, none bigger than the first-place showing in the girls’ Division 2 400-meter relay. The quartet of A’zhyia Clemons, Oomarie Diggs, Jenai Youmans and Nia Williams-Matthews posted a time of 48.75 seconds, eclipsing second-place Bronxville of Section 1, which came in at :48.97. The relay finished sixth overall. It was a particularly successful weekend for Williams-Matthews, who ended up second in Division 2 in the triple jump and third in Division 2 in the long jump. Also at the state championships, AQ’s Nile Colson placed 11th in Division 2 in the boys’ 400 run. Earlier in the post-season, at the Section 5 Class B meet May 25, Williams-Matthews won the 100, long jump and triple jump, and the 400 relay also placed first. For the boys, Colson won 400 and Gabriel Giannini was first in the pole vault. At the state qualifier, AQ racked up four first places in Division 2: Williams-Matthews in the long and triple jumps, Diggs in the 200 and the 400 relay.
• Elmira Notre Dame boys’ tennis captured the Section 5 Class C/D title for the first time since 2008. Although none of the singles or doubles entrants won sectional titles of their own, the Crusaders still won sectionals by accumulating the most points from advancing through their respective rounds. Along with the sectional title, ND went undefeated in the Interscholastic Athletic Conference play by finishing with a 10-0 league record, winning the IAC tournament and ending up 11-0 overall. Earning IAC titles were Derek Tsang, at first singles; Pat Finnerty, second singles; Victor Tsang, third singles; Declan Sharma, fourth singles; Andrew Finnerty/John Booth, first doubles; and Rocco Scarseletta/Brandon Sun, second doubles.
• Bishop Kearney softball finished as runner-up in Section 5 Class A1. The Kings, seeded No. 2, started out with a 9-1 win over No. 7 Greece Athena May 24 as junior pitcher Emily Phelan advanced to fourth place on the all-time state strikeout list that day; she ranks second all-time in Section 5. BK went on to a 7-0 semifinal victory over No. 3 Irondequoit May 30 behind a three-hitter and 18 strikeouts from Phelan. However, the Kings were edged in the final by top-seeded Brighton, 4-3, May 31 as they fell just short of a third straight sectional title. BK finished up its 2019 season with a 14-5 record.
• Our Lady of Mercy track achieved a second-place finish at the Section 5 Class A championships May 24. The Monarchs were led by first-place finishes from Meredith McGee in both the shot put and discus, as well as the 3,200 relay.
• Bishop Kearney track got a second-place showing from its boys’ team at the Section 5 Class D meet May 25 as Evan Stevely won the 200 and 400, Jahlique Johnson captured the 100 and the 400 relay also placed first. Meanwhile, the BK girls finished third in Class D as Lilly Wellman placed first in the high jump. She went on to place fourth in that event in Division 2 at states.
• Elmira Notre Dame track, competing at the Section 4 Class C meet May 22, was led by Alyssa Walker, who won the girls’ 800-meter run. At states, she recorded a 10th-place showing in the 800 in Division 2.