By JOHN ANDERSON
As members of the Wellsville Lions softball team prepared to get on the bus and head to Long Island this morning, they were greeted by a familiar face, but not one they expected.
Wellsville Superintendent David Foster was behind the wheel, and he is taking the team to Islip to the hotel and then to the state semi-final game on Friday at 4 p.m.
That’s when the Section V Class B champion Wellsville Lions (21-1) take on the Section IX Class B champion Marlboro Dukes (18-2) on Field 3 at the Moriches Athletic Complex. The Wellsville Sun will be providing coverage with stories, photos and videos.
“I am doing my part to send off these ladies to have an excellent day and excellent weekend to bring home a state championship,” Foster said. “I’ve done it before, I do this frequently, sometimes, it’s just ‘all in.’ We will keep school going and get the girls there to win a state championship.”
It wasn’t that easy though.
After Wellsville defeated Iroquois, 15-5 in the Far West Regionals to advance to the state final four, getting a bus was the next priority. A chartered bus at this point would set taxpayers back $6,000 or more.
Wellsville Transportation Director David Giles along with Head Bus Driver Brigette Knight had to put their heads together. Giles spent an entire day working the phones and was able to secure a Salamanca City School bus for the trip.
The advantage? It has a bathroom in the back.
If you see a school bus driver in the district, thank them for this trip. Even if they are not driving to Long Island, the other drivers are hanging back to ensure students in two buildings and other sports, clubs and field trips make their destinations safe.
There is a sign and a bus in Island Park with an ad for bus drivers for the district, as schools face that need.
The softball team was grateful for the bus, the driver and the parents and other community members who were at the middle-high school (secondary school) at 5:30 a.m. to send them off.
To make sure the Lions got out of Wellsville safe, and for another cool moment, the Wellsville Volunteer Fire Department gave an escort to the town line. They probably could have used them more on the Cross Bronx Expressway or the Long Island Expressway, but that’s why you leave a day early!
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(The Wellsville Sun will have previews of all four teams in the Class B state final four and the Class D state final four. Our staff has interviewed players from Wellsville and from Friendship-Scio. We will have videos, interviews, photos and stories from the semi-finals and finals. If you would like to help sponsor this content, stories and videos, email email@example.com)