By Keith McShea
Last Wednesday, following Clarence's resounding Section VI Class AA championship victory over Williamsville North, senior pitcher Katrina Buczkowski was notified that she had been selected as the Prep Talk Player of the Year for softball.
Two days later, she pitched a perfect game to propel the Red Devils to the final four.
Thanks for making us look good, Katrina.
Buczkowski earned the distinction as our winner for an outstanding season -- not only in the circle, but at the plate -- for a Clarence team that was No. 1 in The News large school poll most of the season before rolling to the AA final.
Buczkowski is 20-1 this season including an 11-1 mark in ECIC I. She is 38-4 for her career. Entering the final, she had averaged 10 strikeouts per game (176 total) and just one walk per game while she had an ERA of 1.64.
At the plate, she had a .424 average heading into the AA final. She was second on the team with 28 hits; she was also second in RBIs and extra-base hits and first in doubles. Her hitting from the clean-up spot has been very clutch since many teams have walked Canisius College-bound Moriah Harris, who bats third. Harris has been walked more than 20 times this year, with more than 75 percent of them coming intentionally.
Katrina -- who will attend Division I Ramapo College in N.J. -- and Clarence aren't done yet. The Red Devils participate in the state final four on Saturday at South Glens Falls.
She talked about her award, season and future plans in a recent visit to PrepTalkTV.
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All Prep Talk Players of the Year will be honored at the inaugural Prep Talk Awards on June 16 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, featuring Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Reed and Janet Snyder of Kiss 98.5. The Prep Talk Awards will honor Prep Talk Players of the Year in more than 30 sports, along with the All-Western New York first teams in football and basketball.
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Our Countdown to the Prep Talk Awards will feature a different Prep Talk Player of the Year every day -- until the big night.
The list thus far: