Section III has announced the playoff bracket for softball.

Games will begin Monday and the championships will be played on Saturday, June 12.

All games will be hosted by the higher seed, including the finals.

Class AA

The lone local school in the AA playoffs are the fifth seeded Rome Free Academy Black Knights (6-7). RFA will travel to Baldwinsville at 5 p.m. Monday.

Baldwinsville beat RFA 22-3 on May 14. Despite the outcome, RFA turned in some good performances throughout the year behind solid offensive efforts from the likes of Maggie Closinski and Lily Ferrucci.

Class A

On Monday, New Hartford‘s seventh-seeded Spartans will host Carthage. Savannah Cole has paced New Hartford’s offense, which has scored double-digit runs in seven games.

Whitesboro (8-3) is the fourth seed, and will host East Syracuse Minoa on Tuesday.

Whitesboro has had an impressive season offensively led by Angie Cirasuolo and Juliana Pepperine. If the offense keeps up their blistering pace, the Warriors can surprise some teams this week.

Class B

The Class B bracket is loaded with talented teams. Undefeated Holland Patent, led by Hanna Rossi, earned the top seed and will take on Little Falls.

Jed Musch’s No. 3 Camden team a young team that emerged as a real threat this season. Freshman Brooke Musch and eigth grader Kendall Musch are two of the many players hitting over .400 for the Blue Devils this year.

Olivia Friend has set the tone offensively for No. 4 Oneida this year while Kerrigan Crysler has turned in elite level performances from the pitcher’s circle all year.

Perhaps a team that is being overlooked is seventh seeded Mt. Markham. The Mustangs are led by phenomenal pitching from Madison Clark who has a no hitter under her belt this season.

Class C

The Cooperstown Hawkeyes earned the No. 1 seed, the Westmoreland Bulldogs earned the sixth seed, Oriskany the eighth seed, Adirondack the 13th seed, Herkimer the 14th seed and West Canada Valley the 15th seed.

Cooperstown’s top-seeded Hawkeyes will host Weedsport in the first round on Monday. Kate Creppin and Danielle Seamon have been playing really well for Cooperstown and a big part of why the Hawkeyes earned the top seed.

For Westmoreland, they are paced by Samantha Ferguson. Ferguson has not only been an offensive threat all year, but she’s continuously led the way as a pitcher for the Bulldogs. Westmoreland will take on eleventh seeded Beaver River on Monday.

Oriskany will be at home for round one as they take on ninth seeded Waterville. Shannon Phelan has been the go to girl on offense for Oriskany this season. Juliet Tagliaferri has gotten done in the pitcher’s circle for the Redskins and has been one of the top offensive threats along with Phelan.

Class D

The Poland Tornadoes finished the year 8-4 and earned the second seed in Class D. On Tuesday, the Tornadoes will host the winner of the DeRuyter and LaFargeville game.

Poland has been consistent

High school football in Section III is set for a fall return for the 2021 season.

After COVID-19 canceled the fall high school football season last year and a shortened spring season was played, the tentative schedule approved by the section’s athletic council has things starting to get back to what looks like a more usual season. 

For some teams this will be the first time they strap up the pads in two years. Spring football was an option in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley, but not every program opted in. And, with all the COVID protocols, there wasn’t a postseason.

Back to action

The 2021 season is set to kick off on Friday, Sept. 3, according to the schedule. That is a week later than usual, but the same time the season was set to begin last year. Some teams will play games the first weekend while others may opt for scrimmages.

If teams opt to play a game that first weekend then they will bring their regular season game total up to eight, an increase from the usual seven game schedule.

The ninth week of the season will be the start of playoffs. That is set for Friday, Oct. 29.

Big-time matchups

A game that is always circled on the schedule is one of the oldest rivalries in high school football: Thomas R. Proctor and Rome Free Academy. That game is set to take place on Friday, Sept. 24 at RFA this season.

That weekend is packed with big games as the Whitesboro Warriors are scheduled take on the New Hartford Spartans and Frankfort-Schuyler is set to travel to Dolgeville to take on the Blue Devils.

More:Shaquille O’Neal, Sue Bird to announce Athlete of the Year at Mohawk Valley Sports Awards

More:Chipper Jones, T.J. Watt join growing list presenting at the Mohawk Valley High School Sports Awards

Class re-alignments

There’s a lot of movement along classes in the section for the 2021 season.

Class AA saw a shakeup as West Genesee dropped from AA to A. The switch to class A has re-aligned the divisions in class A. Class A American now consists of Auburn, Cristian Brothers Academy, East Syracuse Minoa, Fayetteville-Manlius, Jamesville-DeWitt and West Genesee and Class A National will consist of Carthage, Central Square, Fulton, Indian River and Whitesboro.

Class B will add Mexico from the independents this year. Class B now has three divisions, North, Central and West. Camden, Mexico and Oneida are in the North division. Central Valley Academy, Chittenango, New Hartford and Syracuse Tech are the Central division and Cortland, Homer, Marcellus and Westhill will play in the West division.

Class C has no new additions, but they did lose Hannibal and Jordan-Elbridge. Both of those programs are now independents.

Adirondack makes the move from 8-man to class D this year. With this move, the 8-man league has re-aligned from their class C and class D divisions to a North-West division and South-East division. North-West will consist of

The two men, both from Senegal, were reported by other visitors on April 30 for having ignored a “no crossing” sign and climbed onto a part of the wall beyond Watchtower 20, which is still being redeveloped.

In a statement on the official Mutianyu Great Wall WeChat account, the operator said much of the wall in this area is unstable and in need of repair. “From a safety point of view, the Wild Great Wall is steep and the bricks are loose, so if you are not careful, you will get lost or get injured,” the statement said. “It is never suitable for climbing and walking.”

The operator called on visitors to respect and protect the ancient structure, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

After learning of the two men’s behavior, it said, the operator “immediately took corresponding measures, using the ticketing system and monitoring system to locate the information of the two tourists and put them on the ‘blacklist,’ restricting their eligibility to purchase tickets.”

The paper said that the topic went viral on Weibo, China’s equivalent to Twitter, quoting one user as commenting “whether they are Chinese or foreigners, they should be treated equally if they violate the regulations.”

The Great Wall is one of China’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing more than 10 million visitors a year prior to the pandemic. Even last year, more than 48,000 people visited per day during the country’s Golden Week holiday in October.
Despite the dire warnings about doing so, many people do in fact hike the undeveloped sections of the structure, with Lonely Planet having even released a guide to doing so, published in association with the China National Tourist Office, to the “Great Wall’s most spectacular wild hikes.”

The Mutianyu section of the wall sits about 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of central Beijing, and is one of the most well-preserved and popular sections of the monument to visit, though not as heavily trafficked as Badaling, the closest accessible part of the wall to the Chinese capital.

“It also must be pointed out that many unrestored sections of the Great Wall are not technically open to the public, though rarely policed,” the guide notes. “In fact, wild hiking on the Great Wall is quite common, with local tour companies running guided treks, some of them overnight.”

NEWBURGH – The fortunes for Middletown football have changed greatly over the past two months.

Coach Tim Strenfel was not optimistic that the spring season would even be played, with all the concerns from officials about the high-risk nature of playing football in the midst of the COVID pandemic.

“I’m not getting anybody’s hopes up,’’ he told his players, “because every time that I got my hopes up, we sort of got shot down.’’

Football eventually got the go-ahead, and his tune changed.

“I was like, wow, if we get six games in, guys, we will be so blessed,’’ Strenfel said.

The Middies have done one better, likely assuring themselves a seventh game and berth in the Section 9 Class AA “championship’’ game, with a stirring 22-14 victory at Newburgh Free Academy on Friday night.

Among the Class AA hierarchy (all with one division loss), Middletown beat Newburgh, which beat Monroe-Woodbury, which beat Middletown in overtime on March 26. Barring any changes in past tie-breaking procedures, point differential in head-to-head meetings will come into play in a three-way tie, with Newburgh at plus-13, Middletown at plus-5 and Monroe-Woodbury at minus-18 – that would set up another NFA-Middletown clash on April 23 or 24.

PHOTO GALLERY:Newburgh v. Monroe-Woodbury football

“I told these guys, I didn’t think we were going to play a game this year,’’ said Strenfel, whose team plays Class A leader Port Jervis in Friday’s Erie Bell game, “and now, essentially, we have three championship games in a row.’’

Middletown took advantage of four Newburgh turnovers, and scored twice in the fourth quarter to earn the win. Jermaine McCray caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Dalton Howell, just over the fingertips of a Newburgh defender, early in the fourth quarter. And Justin Sandoval booted a 24-yard field goal with 2:45 to play for the 22-14 lead.

Middletown's Dalton Howell throws the ball against a pass rush from Newburgh Free Academy. Howell completed 10 throws for 154 yards. ALLYSE PULLIAM/For the Times Herald-Record

Still, Newburgh mounted one more threat in an attempt to tie. NFA quarterback Amarri Tice completed three intermediate passes, quickly moving the Goldbacks to the Middletown 13. He ran 3 yards on a keeper, but dropped the next snap for a loss of 2 yards. Tice scrambled 9 yards to the Middletown 6, setting up a fourth down-and-three call. NFA coach Bill Bianco said Tice had three options on the final play but ended up throwing the ball to an empty spot in the end zone, allowing Middletown to take over and take a knee to kill the clock.

Strenfel said he and defensive coordinator Chris Conklin inserted a defensive package to take away prime receiver threat xxx Johnson, using defender Zion Roberts. The Middletown defensive line contributed stifled the inside run threats and had solid pass rushing. Tice completed nine of 16 throws for 118 yards.

WEEK FOUR:Newburgh proves dominant in shutout win over Monroe-Woodbury

WEEK THREE:Newburgh Free Academy rolls past replacement opponent Mamaroneck

“Sloppy” was the way Bianco described the game, with the uncharacteristic turnovers and a bevy of penalties.

“It’s tough to chase those turnovers,’’ Bianco said.