Niagara Gazette — Folks from around here continue to make their marks on diamonds large and small, near and far. Here’s a partial roster as what Base Paths calls “The Season” winds down:
• Native North Tonawandan Shelly Hoerner has been named head softball coach at Georgia Tech, one of the country’s premiere programs, after eight years of success at lower-profile College of Charleston. At Canisius College in the mid-90s, she played for teams that went 61-21.
• Past and present NFHS Wolverines Andrew DeWitt, Joe Colosi, Corey Paige and Tom Kline helped the Meridian Titans advance in the All American Baseball Assn. nationals in Johnstown, PA’s, Point Park. Buffalo-area teams are frequently two-and-through here, but the Titans fought their way into the fourth round. DeWitt served up 82 pitches in six innings, left with a lead, took a no decision, a sharp outing in a venue where the left field fence is so close, a right-hander might almost scrape his knuckles on it.
• Niagara-Wheatfield’s Nikki Jacobs was a hit in Binghamton long before President Obama got there, with a fine all-round performance in a softball showcase, and launched a 240-foot home run in another showcase in New Haven, in addition to providing the pivot on a double play, a truly rate feat for a catcher.
• Grand Islander Neal DeMartin helped lead the U Diesel team into the final round of the National Amateur Baseball Federation Tournament in Battle Creek, MI. Niagara Falls played host to the event last year, with considerable success, but difficulties in recruiting volunteer help convinced promoter (and Diesel manager) Paul Wolf that it was best to let it go.
• Wolverine Mike Colosi won an All-Tournament slot at last weekend’s showcase in North Collins, along with Greg Nicolia of Grand Island, Josh Kneeland of Newfane and Lockport’s Charlie Sobieraski. The Southern Erie County village has a turf-based layout that would make any community proud.
• Gazette Softball Player of the Year Toni Polk has had a transcontinental summer with the Gold Coast Hurricanes of Fort Lauderdale, FL, which finished, among other things, ninth in a 64-team tournament in Huntington Beach, CA. Wow. When Base Paths was her age he called five miles a road trip; that was about as far as his bicycle would go.
And finally, this, ver batim, from Base Paths of April 1, no foolin’ – “Bisons miss playoffs by two games, largely due to late call-ups.” The rest of the predictions had all the accuracy of the Weather Channel. Watch this space for next week’s full confession.Doug Smith offers his thoughts on the national pastime with Base Paths every Monday during baseball season. Email him at email@example.com.