By Indrek Kongats
“Take me out to the ball game” was coined over 109 years ago and is still going strong, sung loud and proud at each and every baseball game across the nation.
Spring arrived at 6:29 a.m. March 20 as the sure sign that the baseball and softball seasons are once again upon us. The New York Yankees already top the Spring Season MLB American League standings at 18-6. MLB regular season starts Sunday, April 2 and baseball fans will be glued to their television sets to take in the action.
Fortunately, ECS baseball fans can get a jump start over the Yankees fans as the Section VI Class D regular season starts this Saturday, March 25 for the Eagles.
The boys’ Varsity baseball team will play their first game at St. Bonaventure, taking on their league rivals, the Sherman Wildcats at 11 a.m. The Eagles’ first home game will be played on Thursday, March 30, against the neighboring Randolph Cardinals at 4:30 p.m.
The ECS baseball team hopes to improve upon their 6-13 2016 season with returning players to watch, the likes of RJ Alvarez, Cad Boldt, Griffin Chudy,
Justin Grinols and Evan Palmatier, familiar names from the basketball season. The Eagles are once again coached by Chris Mendell, a notable baseball star in his own right. Coach Mendell played for Division I St. Bonaventure University and is still in the Bonnies’ record books, tied for 3 rd in all-time single season (1991) winning percentage as a pitcher with an outstanding .800 average.
The Eagles hope to make a push in 2017 to return to a level of play that dominated the league from 2001 -2007 being a top 10 team in the state. The last time ECS won the Sectional Championship was in 2002. Time to throw some heat boys!
The Lady Eagles softball team is about to start as well, but will not play at home until Thursday, April 20 when they take on the Pine Valley Panthers at 4:30 p.m.
The Lady Eagles are coached by Matt Finn and they look to improve upon their 3-14 record from 2016. Evie Cortez, another familiar name from the basketball season, will most likely throw out the first pitch of the season. Other lady hoopsters joining Cortez in swapping their sneakers for cleats are Jenna Aldrich, Marissa Hamilton, Emmalea Erlandson, Alyssa Przywara, Halie Mowery and Shelby Imhoff.
Many local softball stars have gone onto play college ball and are also within sight of fans playing for both St. Bonaventure University and Hilbert College. For the Bonnies, already 23 games into their season, No. 99 sophomore Brittany Fair hails from Hinsdale, NY having played for Cuba-Rushford high school where she batted .611. The Lady Bonnies are 7-16 overall and will play their first home game on
Saturday, April 1 against La Salle. The 6-7 men’s baseball team will take on the UB Bulls at home on Tuesday, March 28 at Fred Handler Park. Hilbert College in Hamburg has two local softball stars, No. 21 freshman Nateal Papasergi from Allegany-Limestone and No. 24 freshman Kaitlyn Snayczuk from West Valley. The Lady Hawks are 6-6 overall and will play their first home game of the season Friday, March 24 against Elmira College. This will be a double header with the first game starting at 3 p.m. followed at 5 p.m. for the second.
In other ECS sports, keep your eye on the weather as golf season is also upon us. The Ellicottville Central School Golf Team will take to the links on Monday, April 3 at 3:30. The team will take on Randolph Central School at the Cardinal Hills Golf Course in Randolph.
Additionally, the ECS Track and Field and Trap Teams are getting under way. Stay tuned to the Ellicottville Times and as their information and 2017 schedules get posted. In the meantime, as you can see, there are plenty of reasons to take someone or just yourself ‘to a ball game’ be it baseball, softball or golf!