CINCINNATI, Ohio - Thad Johnson is starting to find his stroke at St. Bonaventure.
Though the Frewsburg Central School graduate got off to a slow start at the beginning of the season, the all-time New York state high school hits leader has been on a tear of late, hitting .454 with a pair of runs scored and two RBIs for the Bonnies over the past four games.
The freshman enjoyed his best game of the still-young season on Friday afternoon in the Atlantic 10 opener against Xavier.
Despite suffering a loss - the Bonnies have now lost their A10 season opener in five straight seasons - Johnson was one of just two players to record multiple hits as he connected on two hits in four at-bats. One of those hits, a two-out, two-strike single up the middle in the third inning, drove in a pair of runs.
Prior to this most recent outing, the Frewsburg native went 2-for-2 with a run in the first game of a doubleheader with Rider in North Carolina on March 16 and in an earlier contest went 2-for-3 with a run against South Dakota State.
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Along with Johnson, a number of other area natives are making important contributions for the St. Bonaventure baseball squad as well.
Connor Grey (Frewsburg/Frewsburg), a 6-foot, 170-pound pitcher, has been strong in relief. In 9 innings pitched, the right-hander sports a 2.89 earned-run average, having allowed just three earned runs while fanning four.
Thad Johnson's older brother, Asa Johnson (Jamestown/Frewsburg), meanwhile, owns a similarly solid 3.54 ERA. The junior starter has hurled 20 innings, striking out 11.
His most impressive outing was on March 17, when he outdueled the Rider starting pitcher. During that game - it was a 2-1 victory for St. Bonaventure - Johnson went eight innings, struck out four, walked one and allowed just a single run.
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The stellar softball career of Fredonia native and former Lady Hillbillie Katie Bartkowiak continues at Fredonia State.
Already the school's all-time leader in batting average (.429), slugging percentage (.592), on-base percentage (.477), and hit-by-pitches (26), the senior is within striking distance of reaching the top of the list in home runs, runs scored and stolen bases.
In fact, all three of those records could fall in the very near future.
Ranked third entering the season in career round-trippers (the leader has nine), Bartkowiak drilled the eighth homer of her career during Fredonia State's 4-2 victory over Elmhurst.
During those contests (Fredonia State opened the season with an 11-1 win over Ne England College) she also swiped her 48th and 49th bases (putting her just three behind the all-time leader Heather Mercer, who has 52) and scored four runs (improving her total to 91, which is 37 short of the record).
Also contributing in the victories was former Post-Journal softball player of the year Cherise Gunnell (Falconer/Falconer), who is hitting .500 with three runs scored, a double, a home run - which she hit against New England College - and five RBIs.
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Erin Kling (Jamestown/Jamestown) broke another school record on Saturday for the California University of Pennsylvania women's track and field team.
Kling, competing in the 3,000 meters during the Early Bird Meet at Adamson Stadium, broke one of the programs' oldest records when she crossed the finish line in 10:28.76, breaking Gwen VanDine's previous mark that was set in 1984 by nearly five-tenths of a second.
This record comes after Kling had already reset a pair of her own records in both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter races during the indoor track season.
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Sophomore Kyle Morse (Jamestown/Southwestern) and senior Joseph Tingue (South Dayton/Pine Valley) tossed a combined two innings to help shut the door on UMass Dartmouth in the Fredonia State Blue Devils' season-opening baseball victory on Thursday, 9-8.
A day later, Frewsburg alumnus Kyle Grey made his first appearance of the season a successful one. The junior went three innings, surrendered one hit, one walk and no runs while fanning three in the nightcap of a doubleheader with Plattsburgh State.
Fredonia State, currently 2-2 this season, will square off once again against Plattsburgh State at noon today in Winter Haven, Fla.