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October 22, 2015 - 6:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Notre Dame, basketball, batavia.

Christina Volpe, who scored 23.5 points and 15.8 rebounds per game to help lead the 1999 Lady Irish to a 25-1 season and a state championship in 1999, has died at age 34 at home in South Carolina.

Volpe apparently succombed to cardiac arrest. The cause of her heart attack is unknown.

James Johnson, high school sports reporter for the D&C, has a lengthy and well-done story about Volpe posted this morning.

October 20, 2015 - 1:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations:

Starting on Wednesday (Oct. 21), Batavia Downs will move to a new, earlier post time of 6:15 p.m. for the remainder of the season. The only race date that will not start at that time is the final 1:15 matinee which will be held on Breeders Cup Saturday (Oct. 31).

Horsemen are advised to check the paddock and Lasix schedule for the new 6:15 starting time which is available on the Batavia Downs' Web site. They should also take note that all qualifying races for the rest of the meet will be held on Wednesdays at 4:45 p.m.

Racing fans coming to the track should take note that the gates will be open at 4:45 p.m. and the very popular Early Bird Daily Double (the bet that gives you $10 in gaming free-play when you wager $10 on the daily double) will be available in the Paddock Room only from 5-6 p.m.

With 45 days of racing completed, many great promotions have already been presented. But with 24 days of racing left, there is still much more fun yet to come.

Breeder’s Cup day (Oct. 31) will be one of the track’s biggest promotions of the entire year. Live harness racing starts at 1:15 and the races will be intermingled with each Breeder’s Cup event. The track will also offer a Breeder’s Cup Party package for only $20. Fans will receive a lunch buffet, a Breeders’ Cup program, a Batavia Downs program, an American Pharaoh T-shirt and $10 in gaming free-play. This is a $47 value.  

Also on Oct. 31, the track will present the “Diamond of a Day” give-away sponsored by TAG Jewelers ( Five customers will be chosen at random to pick one of five jewelry boxes. Four boxes will contain gold earrings worth $200 a pair and one box will contain a set of diamond earrings valued at $4,000.

Wednesday (Nov. 25) is the “second chance” Drew Monti bobblehead give-away. A limited amount of these remaining, very desirable collectibles will be distributed on a first come-first served basis to customers who swipe their card at Player’s Club and get a ticket. They will be distributed after the seventh race in the Paddock Room. Racing fans will also have the choice of selecting a Batavia Downs wine rack in the event the bobbleheads are gone. The Drew Monti bobbleheads are also sponsored by TAG Jewelers (

During the first two weekends of December, Batavia Downs will host the free $1,000 Pick-6 contest, sponsored by the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association. Fans can swipe their card at Player’s Club and get an official entry form.

Saturday (Dec. 5) is the first $500 leg. If no one selects all six winners, then Friday (Dec. 11) it goes to $1,000. If no one selects all six winners that night, then Saturday (Dec. 12) is a “must-pay” to the player(s) with the most winners selected out of six.

And finally, Friday (Dec. 11) is customer appreciation day. Everyone in attendance will receive free sandwiches from Subway of Batavia, free cake from BJ’s Wholesale of Batavia, free coffee and $1 programs.

The final live racing card of the season is on Saturday (Dec. 12).

October 17, 2015 - 11:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of Button Fly with driver Shawn McDonough, courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Since coming to Batavia Downs three starts ago, Button Fly had yet to taste victory after three narrow decisions. But class relief and post one worked wonders for him this week as he captured the $8,400 Open II pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 17).

After yielding the lead to Gold Star Spike (Drew Monti) at the eighth pole, Button Fly (Shawn McDonough) pulled and retook the lead by the quarter and never looked back. After putting the field to sleep in a stodgy :58 half, Button Fly paired :28.1 and :28.2 final panels en route to an easy two-length win in 1:54.3.

Sent off as the prohibitive 1-5 favorite, Button Fly ($2.40) captured his fifth win of the year and boosted his 2015 earnings to $40,285 for owners David Ball and Jerry Reinhart. Winning driver, Shawn McDonough, also conditions the 5-year-old Lis Mara gelding.

Shawn McDonough had a very productive night, winning four races as a driver as well as two as a trainer. His driving wins included Red Clay ($2.70), Kruella ($3.80), Button Fly ($2.40) and Enzo Seelster ($17.00); the last two he also trains. Kevin Cummings scored a driving double as did Dave McNeight III. Trainer Dave McNeight Jr. conditioned two that visited the winner's enclosure.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 21) at a new, earlier post time of 6:15 p.m. This will be the post time for all evening cards for the remainder of the 2015 meet.

October 17, 2015 - 12:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, Le Roy, sports.


Le Roy finished out the regular season with a loss to Livonia, 28-22.

The Oatkan Knights will head into sectional play with a 4-3 record.

Nick Egeling carried the ball for 176 yards and a TD on 22 rushes. Dom Filio gained 54 yards and scored 11 carries. Josh Laurie had nine carries for 43 yards and a TD. He was 4-20 passing for 20 yards. Ryan Boyce had a 35-yard reception and Benny Piazza caught one for 34 yards.

Nate Flint had seven tackles, and with six each are Piazza, Egeling, Dave Englert and Laurie.

Also on Friday night:

  • Pembroke over CG Finney, 36-28
  • Attica, 34, Oakfield-Alabama, 21
  • Elba/Byron-Bergen, 35, Alexander, 32
  • Cuba/Rushford, 47, York/Pavilion, 22

Notre Dame hosts Holley today at 1:30 p.m.

Le Roy game photos by David Boyce.







October 17, 2015 - 8:28am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Batavia HS, sports, football.


A cold steady rain for three quarters of last night's football game did not effect the undefeated Batavia Blue Devils as they took control before halftime and finished with a 42-16 win over the home team Geneva Trojans.

Batavia battled a tough first quarter but came up leading 14-8 on a key play by freshman Ray Leach pictured above.


Dominic Mogavero scored on this handoff from senior quarterback Greg Mruczek.

Ryan Hogan caught a long pass from Mruczek where he scored a touchdown to make it 28-8 at halftime.


In the third quarter, both Batavia and Geneva added touchdowns within minutes of each other. However Batavia scored again late in the third quarter that eventually was the final 42-16.

Batavia finishes the season with a perfect 7-0 record and will play home this Friday at Vandetta Stadium at 7 p.m. versus Midlakes or Pal-Mac pending the results of today's games.


October 15, 2015 - 6:37pm


Pushing through adversity and not giving up on your goals are keys to success, said Brittany Salmon, Batavia native and one of the top-ranked speed skaters in the nation, while speaking this afternoon to students in the Girls on the Run program at Batavia Middle School.

Salmon always dreamed of being an Olympian, starting as an 8-year-old hockey player with the Batavia Ramparts. And though she went on to play Division I hockey at Princeton, she found she wasn't quite good enough make the Olympic hockey team. More as a chance to compete and have fun, she took up speed skating after college and a coach encouraged her to take a shot at making the U.S. Hockey Team.

She moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, and started training with the team, but then she suffered a series of injuries. She had two knee surgeries, a broken back and various tears and sprains of muscles and tendons. That kept her from physical training for two years.

She admitted to feeling discouraged, even depressed, and she thought about giving up speed skating.

"It's hard to keep motivated and keep pushing through when you can't do something that you love," she said.

Then she had a realization. If she couldn't prepare to compete physically, she could still prepare to compete mentally. She started reading books on competition and training, and mental preparation, and nutrition ,and started visualizing exercises.

"So, all the sudden, even though I'm injured, I'm still working towards my goal," Salmon said. "Even when roadblocks come up, there are ways to work around them. Even though you're injured now, maybe you can do sit ups. There's always a way around a roadblock."

By the time she returned to competition, she jumped from a top 16 skater, she said, to maybe a top six.

"After all that hard work of reading and visualizing, I got back on the ice," Salmon said. "I made Olympic trials. I didn't make the Olympic team. I'm bummed about that, but I made our World Cup Team and I earned my USA suit and I got to skate with all the Olympians and I got to race against all of the Olympians. I got my butt kicked, because they're so good. That was my first international race, but it was super cool and I'm so happy that pushed I through it and kept working toward my goals and didn't give up at all."




October 15, 2015 - 12:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Wicked Elphaba with reinsman Ray Fisher Jr.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Wicked Elphaba started slow but finished strong to take the $10,000 Open mares pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 14).

Wicked Elphaba (Ray Fisher Jr.) quickly found herself with a ten-length deficit when Aurora Borealis (Kirk Desmond), Seascape Hanover (John Cummings Jr.) and Country Delight (Jack Flanigen) all battled for the lead in a brisk :27.1 quarter. From there, Seascape Hanover took the front and cut the mile while leaving Country Delight hung out to dry.

As the group passed the half and moved towards five-eighths, Fisher pulled Wicked Elphaba and brushed strongly up the backside. At the three-quarter pole, Wicked Elphaba tipped three-deep around the fading Country Delight, drew even with the front-running Seascape Hanover, and then flew by to take the lead. The mare paced away down the lane to win by three lengths in 1:56.  

It was the fifth win of the year for Wicked Elphaba ($9.20) and the first in the top class for distaff pacers at this meet. The winners share pushed her 2015 earnings to $25,873 for owner Tanah Merah Farms. The 5-year-old Western Terror mare is trained by Ryan Swift.

Drew Monti had a grand slam on Wednesday night, taking pictures with Climate Hanover ($2.80), Missevil ($9.70), R T Lange ($32.20) and Diditagain Hanover ($26.00). Shawn McDonough and Dave McNeight III both had doubles on the card as well.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Oct. 16) at 6:35 p.m.

October 13, 2015 - 10:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, volleyball, sports, Dig Pink.


The Oakfield-Alabama Volleyball Team hosted its fifth annual Dig Pink fundraiser tonight in a match against Kendall. Over the past four years, the team has raised more than $4,000 to support breast cancer research.




October 13, 2015 - 7:47pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in sports, GCC, volleyball.
The Genesee Community College women's volleyball team took care of visiting Niagara County Community College on Tuesday night in three straight sets, winning 25-16, 25-22 and 25-14. GCC jumped in front taking 12 of the first 15 points to open the match. The Thunderwolves battled back to within three at 16-13, but Genesee pulled away to take a 1-0 lead with Yu Shimizu serving to the final five points in the opening set.   The Cougars trailed for the only time of the night at 15-14 in the second set before Kristi Knutson was on serve for six consecutive points to put GCC back in front for good. 8-4 was as close as the third and final set got as the Cougars won going away to earn their 24th victory of the season. Shimizu ended the night with 11 assists and three aces, Knutson added eight aces, four assists and two kills, Amanda Modesto tallied four kills, Hayley White had six digs and one ace, Cheyla Downing finished with four kills and Nina DiFante totaled four blocks and three kills. Genesee (24-7-2) will return to action on Thursday night on the road at Finger Lakes CC. Match time is set for 6 p.m.
October 13, 2015 - 1:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Pictured from left: Mary Bucceri, Sara Tenney and Rock Vinci. Photo courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Although it was Columbus Day at Batavia Downs, it was Groundhog Day for Rock Vinci. That is because Vinci won the special Italian-American drivers race (known as the Christopher Columbus Pace) for the second year in a row, in the identical time as last year and with another bombs-away payoff.

Vinci left with his horse, the 12-1 Bruener, before giving way to 102-1 Put It In Gear (Denny Bucceri). Past three-eighths, the prohibitive 1-9 favorite, Feets Of Magic (Drew Monti), pulled to try and take the lead from Put It In Gear. But while those two jousted until the top of the stretch, Vinci snuck Bruener up the pylons and won going away in 1:58.2. The winner paid $26.20.

Last year, Vinci won the "race for the cannolis" with Windsong Destroyer off a similar two-hole trip, also in 1:58.2 and returned a healthy $16.80.

Aside from the gratitude of owner Joe Kilburg, trainer JD Perrin and his driving percentage of the purse, Vinci was also presented with a half dozen gourmet cannolis in the winners's circle and gets to retain his bragging rights for another year.

October 11, 2015 - 4:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Run for the Acorns, 5K, sports, Bethany, Genesee County Park.


More than 200 runners and walkers were in County Park this morning for the annual Run for the ACORNS 5K and 10K races. Organizers were pleased with the Fall-perfect weather.












October 11, 2015 - 1:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Sent off at 12-1, the lightly regarded Phil Your Boots made believers out of those doubters as he overcame a huge deficit at the half to win the $9,500 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 10).

Off the wings, Cobble Beach (John Cummings Jr.) and Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) both left in search of forward positioning. Jokerman (Jim McNeight), who had the pole, let Cobble Beach go while seating Fireyourguns. After all grabbed a spot, the single-file pack tripped the quarter in :28.4 and the half in :56.1. At this point, eventual winner Phil Your Boots (Drew Monti) was sitting last, 10-lengths off the lead behind a drifting and gapped Bakken (Ray Fisher Jr.).

Monti got his charge around the lagging horse and quickly caught the field. When Button Fly (Shawn McDonough) started an outer-flow, Phil Your Boots followed second-over as they reached the three-quarters in 1:26.1. At the top of the stretch, Cobble Beach packed it in but Fireyourguns still looked strong. Undaunted, Phil Your Boots tipped three-deep and put on a ferocious charge to just nose-out Fireyourguns in 1:54.2.

It was the tenth win of the year for Phil Your Boots ($26.00) including six out of his last eight. And the winner’s share of the purse inflated his 2015 earnings to $43,750 for owner Lou Frascella. Carl Smith trains the winner.   

Drew Monti scored a driving triple Saturday, winning with Phil Your Boots ($26.00), Rockstar Temper ($3.40) and The Battle Begins ($3.60) while Kevin Cummings, Shawn McDonough and Jim McNeight all registered driving doubles.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday (Oct. 12) with a special Columbus Day matinee card that gets under way at 1:15.

October 10, 2015 - 11:45am
posted by James Burns in sports, Batavia HS, homecoming, football.


Batavia High School Blue Devils contributed quite a bit to the spirit of Homecoming Week with a 54 to 0 win over Wayne Central. The score says it all defense and offence came to play and they did! From the opening drive to the last, a nearly overflowing Vendetta Stadium saw continuous action from turnovers, stops and scoring.

There were, however, a few fouls that could have caused Batavia some trouble if they were not completely dominant for the entire game. More pictures of the game here









October 10, 2015 - 11:36am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Tequila Haze with reinsman Jim McNeight, courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

In as definitive a manner as could be displayed, Tequila Haze ($11.20) led at all stations en route to capturing the $7,700 Open II trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Oct. 9).

While weekly regulars Lutetium and BZ Glide were not in the race, Tequila Haze (Jim McNeight) took full advantage of the opportunity and used his gait speed to power to the front off the gate and take immediate command of the race. Enjoying a loose-length lead, McNeight took the field through fractions of :29.2, :59.3 and 1:28.3 before raising the lines and giving Tequila Haze his head around the last turn.

With some rocking and knocking encouragement down the lane, Tequila Haze held strong and hit the wire in front in 1:58. Keystone Wild Card (Drew Monti) was second and Studio City (Dave McNeight III) was third.

It was the fourth win of the year for the 4-year-old gelded son of Muscle Mass and it raised his seasonal earnings to $33,399 for owners Michael Ventura and James McNeight Jr.

Shawn McDonough scored a driving triple of Friday’s card while Jack Flanigen and Ray Fisher Jr. both had doubles.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 10) with post time for the first race set at 6:35.

October 10, 2015 - 8:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Le Roy.


Perhaps the outcome of Friday night's 50th Le Roy vs. Cal-Mum matchup would have been very different if not for an interception deep in Le Roy territory by Reece Tresco. The Red Raiders seemed to be on an unstoppable, inevitable march toward a touchdown.

The Oatkan Knights were unable to move the ball on its set of downs and a poor punt gave Cal-Mum great field position, but the exchange seemed to give the Le Roy defense a chance to reset itself and the best Cal-Mum could muster was a field goal.

Cal-Mum never even sniffed the goal line the rest of the game and Le Roy waltzed away with a 28-3 victory.

Livingston County divisional realignment almost prevented this 50th meeting and without extrodinary efforts in the coming years, it could be the last time these two long-standing and storied rivals meet on the gridiron.

Nick Egeling and Josh Laurie led the team on both offense and defense. Egeling carried the ball 15 times for 85 yards, had one reception for 15 yards, and on defense had six tackles and an interception he returned for a touchdown that gave Le Roy its first lead. Laurie was 5-7 pasing for 159 yards and three TDs. He also rushed for 15 yards on seven carries. He had four tackles and an interception on defense.

Nate Flint's two receptions in the game, for 137 yards, accounted for two of Laurie's TD passes. The other went to Ryan Boyce on a 20-yard catch and run, giving Boyce his first score of the season (top photo).

Justin DiFalco had seven tackles, including a sack. Anthony Natrigo had five tackles. Luke Hogle had a fumble recovery to go with three tackles. 

Also on Friday night:

  • Batavia won its homecoming match up over Wayne Central, 54-0. More coverage in a separate post later.
  • Attica and Notre Dame went deep into the second quarter with a scoreless tie, before Alex Piechocki scored on an 11-yard run to give Attica a 6-0 half-time lead. With 14 more points in the third quarter, a fourth-quarter rally wasn't enough to save the Fighting Irish, who lost 20-13. Connor Logsdon was 9-15 passing for 116 yards and a TD and an interception. Jack Sutherland rushed for 105 yards and a TD on 19 carries. Luca Zambito and C.J. Suozzi each had three catches, with Zambito gaining 53 yards and scoring a TD and Suozzi going for 42 yards. Sutherland and Suozzi each had nine tackles, Logsdon five and a half, and Etan Ozborne and Caleb Wolcott, four apiece.
  • Alexander beat Pembroke, 40-7. Jake Wozniak gained 165 yards on 13 rushes and scored three times. Zach Jasen gained 30 yards and scored on three carries. Jared Browne was 4-6 passing for 57 yards and a TD. Dustin Schmeider had a TD reception of three yards. Derrick Busch had 54 yards on three receptions. Busch also came up big on defense with three interceptions for 140 return yards, including a 65-yard pick six. He also had a fumble recovery.
  • Avon beat York/Pavilion 26-14.





Le Roy and Cal-Mum also clashed at halftime in flag football action.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

October 9, 2015 - 5:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, football, sports.


It's a big night for prep football, with Notre Dame (4-1) and Attica (4-1) battling in Attica in a game that could determine the Genesee Region title, Batavia hosting Wayne Central on homecoming night, and the biggest rivilary in WNY sports, Le Roy and Cal-Mum renews in Caledonia.

Perhaps this week's action will produce another Player of the Week, as last week did when Pembroke's Zach Von Kramer was named Section V's Defensive Player of the Week (#7 above in a game against Notre Dame). 

Pembroke hosts Alexander tonight.

Tomorrow, Elba/Byron-Bergen is at home against C.G. Finney and Oakfield-Alabama travels to Holley.

October 8, 2015 - 2:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, bergen.

This Saturday (10/10) there will be a Disc Golf Tournament to celebrate the grand opening of a Disc Golf Course in Bergen's Hartland Park (62 S. Lake Ave.).

It starts at 9:30 a.m. and will go to about 1 p.m.

Also across the street in Hickory Park will be the debut of Family Shenanigans, which is a fun event for the whole family starting at 1 p.m. --

October 8, 2015 - 1:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Country Delight with driver Jack Flanigen, courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Two divisions of $7,700 Open II pacing mares headlined the card at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 7) with eleven ladies going postward.

The better of the two contests turned out to be the second when Country Delight ($5) took a pocket trip en route to winning the seventh race by a long length.

Memumsnotnice (Kevin Cummings) got away sharply as Country Delight (Jack Flanigen) tucked in behind her as the only leaver in the race. From there, Cummings led the field through fractions of :28, :58.2 and 1:27 before they circled the far turn.

At the top of the stretch it appeared as if Memumsnotnice had the race won, but Flanigen shooed Country Delight into the passing lane where she accelerated past the leader to win in 1:55.4.

It was the ninth win of the year for the 5-year-old American Ideal mare who has now earned $57,473 in purses this year for owner James Frandsen. Country Delight is trained by James Clouser Jr.

In the first division, Infrontigo Hanover (Jim McNeight) went to go in front immediately at the start and maintained that position the entire mile, hanging on to beat the pocket-sitting 1-9 favorite, Climate Hanover (Drew Monti) by a mere nose in 1:57.

It was the fifth win of 2015 for Infrontigo Hanover who now has $50,444 in the bank for the year. The 7-year-old Western Hanover mare is trained by Bob Gruber, who co-owns with Summer Wind Stable of NY.

Driver John Cummings Jr. was on fire Wednesday, winning five races on the card. He took his picture with LG’s Pride ($65.50), Seascape Hanover ($5.10), Voltina ($10.80), Hawaiian Joe ($4.60) and Regal Beau ($4.60). Sean McDonough and Jack Flanigen each had driving doubles.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night with the first post set to go at 6:35.

October 7, 2015 - 8:03am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Batavia HS, volleyball, sports, Notre Dame.


In a rare volleyball matchup, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Batavia Blue Devils met on Batavia's home court Tuesday night as part of the school's homecoming week events. In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Batavia squad wore purple socks and headbands.

At first the two teams played nearly even score early on, then Notre dame pulled away to take a 17-12 lead. Batavia took a timeout and settled down, but were soon down eight points and lost by a final of 25-18. 


The second set was a little different. Batavia took the lead early and went up 8-7, with the two teams swapping leads throughout the match. Batavia held on for the win 25-22.

Batavia’s Head Coach Jeremy Mettler said “I challenged them to play harder defense and more aggressive serving and they stepped it up in game two, which led us to victory."


In the third set Batavia rallied early going up 4-1 but then Notre Dame went on a hot streak scoring the next six points. Batavia took a time out. Mettler talked with his team about a few fundamentals and encouraged his players to relax and just play volleyball.

Notre Dame Head Coach Rhonda DiCasolo, with more than 40 years experience coaching, told her players to stop giving away points, get their serves over and not let the crowd get to them. Notre Dame held the lead by eight points most of the set, eventually winning 25-16.



Down two sets to one, Batavia needed a win in the fourth set and never gave in. Down by four early, they rallied and tied the score at six apiece. DiCasolo told her squad to settle down.

"Our passing had to get closer to Mary Cate so she can run the offense," DiCasolo said. "We ran a couple plays that were effective, sparked them to get back on track and started going back to the hitting. I told them to stop the tipping.

"We picked it up. They were scrappy. They were taking everything we were giving them, so I told them to go with our power hitters, Shea Norton, Becca Krenzer and Taylor DiMartino."

Notre Dame took the lead and led the middle of the set and was up 19-15 when Batavia called time out.  

Mettler said Notre Dame is a good team. Mettler told his team to play hard, work hard and hit their target with their passes.

Batavia battled, but Notre Dame held the lead and eventually won 25-17 to take the night three sets to one.


"Tonight’s crowd was awesome on both schools that brought tons of kids out to support their schools," Mettler said. "It was one of the most fun games I have coached in the Batavia High gymnasium. We missed a couple crucial serves here and there in the fourth set.

"Notre Dame played well and they didn’t let up. We kept swinging at them and attacked. We didn’t give up and we fought to the end."



Batavia’s stats:

Tessa Engel -- 15 digs, seven kills & two aces

Taylor Stefaniak -- six digs, 12 kills & two aces

Maddie McCulley -- 10 digs, two kills & 18 assists

Courtnee Yasses -- six aces

Notre Dame's stats:

Shea Norton -- 27 kills, six digs

Mary Cate Miceli -- 28 assists, 13 digs

Rebecca Krenzer -- eight kills

Lexi Gerhardy -- nine digs, five kills

Batavia’s record is now 6-7 and the team plays its next game at home today vs. Greece Olympia. Notre Dame improves to 10-1 and plays away tomorrow at Holley.

For more photos visit to: Steve Ognibene Photography

October 4, 2015 - 12:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Atta Boy with reinsman Jim Morrill Jr., courtesy Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

The marquee event at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 3) was the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace. But history and outstanding performances in other races combined to provided a show that those in attendance won’t soon forget.

In the main event, Atta Boy Dan led at every post en route to a three-length victory in the 13th annual Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace.

Off the gate, Atta Boy Dan (Jim Morrill Jr.) rebuffed early challenges from Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) and Doctor Butch (Jim Marohn Jr.) and seated them both past the eighth pole. Then after the field followed in single file to a :27.4 quarter, Morrill backed off the half to :56.3 and took full control of the race.

Royal Heart (Drew Monti) started an outer flow into the clubhouse turn and had Aslan (Sean McDonough) in tow, but no one got closer than two-lengths before they hit the head of the stretch. From there, Fireyourguns pulled the pocket for one last shot but Atta Boy Dan, pacing his last quarter in :27.4, was just too good and pulled away to an easy win in 1:52.1.

Fireyourguns hung on to be second and Aslan came up to be third.

“I had a smooth journey to the half and as soon as I called on him, he was on cruise right to the wire. That was a good horse (Fireyourguns) sitting on my back and I was a little worried about him, but mine felt pretty good too. I wish I could have a Burke horse off the rail every year in this race,” said winning driver Jim Morrill Jr.

It was the 16th victory of the year for Atta Boy Dan ($2.30) and the winner’s share boosted his earning to $222,757 in 2015 for owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi.

Atta Boy Dan was just part of the story for Jim Morrill Jr. on Saturday night as he won seven races out of the 11 he had on the card. Combine those with a second and third he also had and Morrill posted an amazing .717 UDR for the evening.

The all-time pacing track record of 1:51.1 was not broken in the race; however trotting history was made instead.

(Lutetium with reinsman John Cummings Jr., courtesy of Paul White.)

Lutetium got back to his front-running comfort zone and destroyed the field in the $12,500 Brian Schroeder Memorial Trot.

In a late driver change, John Cummings Jr. was tapped to steer Lutetium and wasted no time earning his keep. When prohibitive betting favorite, Tall Cotton made a break in the first turn, Cummings rushed Lutetium away and opened up a gap of as much as 15 lengths between himself and the rest of the field through fractions of :27.1, :55.4 and 1:25.1 before scooting home to a six-length victory in 1:55.2.

The winning time broke the existing track record of 1:56 for aged trotting geldings that was co-held by Lutetium and Second Hand News, both who set that mark in 2014.

“They said he hasn’t been leaving well lately, so I scored him down fast. Once he got the front in the race; the more I grabbed him, the more he went on. I was a passenger,” said Cummings Jr.

It was the ninth win of the year for Lutetium and it pushed his bank account to $68,886 for owner Colleen Girdlestone and trainer Mark Laidlaw. Overlooked at 10-1, Lutetium returned $22.60.

This was just one of three wins for John Cummings Jr., who scored the hat trick on the night.

There were also two, $50,000 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) consolation events on the card for 2-year-old colts and geldings and also fillies.

The boy’s division was won by Southern Palms (RC Royalty-Pacific Elegance) in 1:59.2. The post-time favorite went wire to wire and won by four-lengths. It was the first career win for Southern Palms ($4.40) who is trained by Erv Miller for owners Ronald Michelon and Anthony Lombardi.  

After the race, winning driver Jim Marohn Jr. said “Erv (Miller) tipped me off that he was a handful tonight; and he was!”

The distaff leg went to Royal Surprise (RC Royalty-Miss Conway), also in 1:59.2. After getting away fourth, the filly tipped three-deep at three-quarters and pulled away to a two-length win. It was also the first career win for Royal Surprise ($6.50) who is trained by Dan Daley for owners Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford, Richard Lombardo and Michael White.

“She was good the whole mile and when I asked her, she just trotted away. She was good tonight,” said winning driver Jim Morrill Jr.

There was a huge crowd on hand Saturday night and the fans both in the stands and watching remotely, were putting some money through the windows. The total handle was up 15 percent this year, versus Kane night of 2014.

The Paddock Room and enclosed grandstand were very crowded and the clubhouse was sold out once again. There were so many people in line to receive their free Kane Pace T-shirt, it took over two races to distribute the goods.

Racing will reconvene at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 7) for a 12-race program that will commence at 6:35.




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