Section III’s athletes are going after state championships this week, from boys lacrosse in Pittsford to baseball in Binghamton to girls lacrosse at Cortland to softball at Queensbury to track and field at Middletown to girls golf at Delhi.
They do so amid a year where, everywhere you look, from the college to professional ranks, local athletes are seizing their moments in the spotlight and shining brightly.
Maybe the Pittsburgh Pirates will finally have a winning season after 20 straight campaigns below .500. If so, they’ll directly thank Jason Grilli, the pride of Baldwinsville, who has turned into one of MLB’s best closers after a lot of starts and stops in a journeyman career.
Unlike Grilli, Patrick Corbin isn’t waiting to be a star. Not yet 24, Corbin was, six seasons ago, toiling for Cicero-North Syracuse, and many had high expectations for him.
Few, though, could have imagined that Corbin would get to the majors at 22 for Arizona, and that a year later the left-hander would emerge as the ace of the first-place Diamondbacks, starting 8-0 and making a case for getting a start next month at the All-Star Game in Queens.
Perhaps Corbin got a hold of the same formula that has propelled fellow C-NS alum Breanna Stewart to greatness everywhere she has gone, from state and Federation Class AA basketball titles for the Northstars to multiple gold medals for Team USA in various international tournaments.
And that was before Stewart went to Connecticut, where as a true freshman she started big, slumped in the middle, and then roared through March and early April, leading the Huskies as the difference-maker to yet another NCAA title and ending up as Most Outstanding Player. Is it too much to expect Stewart to win three more titles? She’s that good.
And so is Kara Cannizzaro, though unlike Stewart, the Cazenovia High School grad needed to wait until her senior year at Chapel Hill to deliver a long-awaited national championship to North Carolina.