Niagara Gazette

Sports

June 24, 2013

Niagara Falls' Toni Polk named Gazette Player of the Year

Niagara Gazette — By any measure, Toni Polk had one heckuva season.

The Niagara Falls sophomore hit .611 and accounted for 57 runs — 29 scored and 28 knocked in. But it wasn’t the grand slam in a two-run win over Kenmore West that she remembers most fondly, nor was it one of her five games with five-plus runs accounted for.

Polk said her favorite moment was teammate Jerri Ann Orfano’s two-out, walk-off home run in a 5-4 win over rival Niagara-Wheatfield, a play Niagara Falls coach Martha Amoretti remembers quite well.

“We were in position (to score down one in the seventh),” Amoretti recalled. “Stephanie (Bielec) got on with no outs, and we had Amanda (Boyle) bunt. But Stephanie got thrown out trying to go from first to third for the double play. Toni came up with two outs, and I told her to just get on, and she did. She didn’t try killing it and tying the game herself, she just got on, and Jerri Ann took the first pitch she saw over the fence.”

For harnessing the natural ability that has made her an All-Niagara Frontier League athlete in three different sports, and for being the offensive catalyst on one of the highest-scoring teams in Western New York, Polk has been named the Niagara Gazette’s 2013 Softball Player of the Year.

The honor is the latest for Polk in a year full of them. During the fall, she was named first team All-NFL in volleyball, where she’s been a varsity starter since she was in eighth grade. She followed that by making second team all-league in basketball, where she plays guard. In addition to the first-team softball award, she was named the NFL Player of the Year, as voted on by the coaches.

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