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December 7, 2017 - 4:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

Photo of Mydelight Bluechip with driver Ben Mc Neil.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The lake effect snows blew into Genesee County making Batavia Downs look like the North Pole and Mydelight Bluechip made like Rudolph and led all the way to win the $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace on the last Wednesday night (Dec. 6) of racing for the meet.

Mydelight Bluechip (Ben Mc Neil) was on a “take no prisoners” mission as she left and parked Little Joke (Billy Davis Jr.) and Voltina (Kevin Cummings) to the half in :56.3. As the race went on to the second circuit, Little Joke continued to apply the pressure but Voltina faded away, allowing Miss Irish Rose A (Larry Stalbaum) room to advance to the outside from sixth and move into a closer third position.

Moving through the last turn Mydelight Bluechip put away both of those challengers and led by two lengths. At that point it looked like she’d wrapped things up until Squeeze This (Drew Monti) and Hey Kobe (Shawn McDonough) came flying late, gobbling up ground in the stretch. But Mydelight Bluechip dug in and pulled out the win by a narrowing margin in 1:57.2.

Privately purchased on November 11 by Ellen Mc Neil, Mydelight Bluechip ($20.80) scored her first victory for her new owner and third of the year overall. The 5-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight is trained by John Mc Neil III, rounding out the Mc Neil trifecta in the race.

In the co-featured $8,000 distaff Open II, Sportsmuffler (Drew Monti) took the lead before the half and from there, left the rest of the field in her rear-view mirror as she pulled away to a seven-length win in 1:56.2. Owned by Lav Racing Stable and trained by Mike Carrubba, Sportsmuffler ($3.70) registered her 10th win of the year and pushed her earnings to $54,149 as a result.

Drew Monti was red hot on a cold night, winning four races on the card. Besides scoring with Sportsmuffler, Monti also won with Tymal Luckynpink (1:57.1, $5.50), Juxlivin My Dream (1:59.2, $10.20) and Hold On Tightly (2:02.3, $21.20). Monti actually won a fifth race with P L Hellcat in the tenth race but was disqualified and placed second for a Eurorail violation.

Open Water (Jim McNeight Jr.) who finished second in that tenth race was placed first and gave trainer Jim McNeight his 1,000th career training victory. McNeight’s training win total has earned $3,495,864 in purse money for his connections. McNeight also has 3,587 driving wins with an additional purse amount of $13,133,205 to go along.

In the Downs eleventh race, the heavily favored Heavenly Way (Ray Fisher Jr.) was soundly backed in the show pool and finished fourth in a five-horse wire photo. With Heavenly Way being off the board, it prompted eye-popping show payouts of $77.50, $108 and $264.

The driver's race just got a little more interesting after Wednesday night. Larry Stalbaum still leads with 122 wins and Ray Fisher Jr. is second with 119. But on the heels of his big performance, Drew Monti draws into a closer third with 116 wins, only six behind the leader with only four days of racing left in the 2017 meet.  

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 8) with post time set at 6 o'clock.

December 7, 2017 - 8:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, Le Roy.

Le Roy's boys basketball team moved to 2-0 on the season with a 69-30 win over Keshequa (0-3).

Canyon Roster 18 points, Luke Stella 12 points 5 rebounds 3 assists, Reece Tresco and T.Y. Williams 10 points each; Keshequa Nathan Ellinsworth, and Brysin Mellin – 8 points each

December 7, 2017 - 8:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, sports, basketball.

Press release:

The Genesee Community College women's basketball team may have dropped its contest to Jamestown, but if the team can start its next contest the way it finished against the Jayhawks they would be a hard team to beat.

The Cougars finished the game with an 11-2 run in a 26-point fourth quarter and although the last quarter was exceptional it was the first quarter that decided the game and allowed Jamestown to win 82-64. Aside from the first quarter, the rest of the game was a two-possession one with Genesee playing the Jayhawks even in the second half at 38 points each.

Rosalyn Sealey led the offensive fourth-quarter surge with 11 of her team-high 18 points. The team's lone sophomore finished the contest shooting 50 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free-throw line and added a team-high four assists.

Two other Cougars had double-digit point performances with Titilopemi Olusola adding 12 points and Reika Murota with 11. The latter converted three threes to account for most of her point production, while the former had a team-high four blocks.

Estella Anderson recorded eight rebounds and Chevaneese Millington registered five steals.

December 7, 2017 - 8:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, sports, basektball.

Press release:

The Genesee Community College men's basketball team started its game against Jamestown Community College with an 11-1 run and never looked back in a 99-92 win at Jamestown.

The Cougars coasted the rest of the way after its hot start having never trailed and maintained almost a 10-point lead throughout the contest even into the final minute of play.

Brian Fobbs and Jaheem Page accounted for nearly half of the team's points with the former netting a team-high 26 and the latter 22.

The pair recorded double-double performances with Fobbs adding a team-high 15 boards and Page 10. The Cougar starting five was just one-point shy of having all of its five starters with double-digit points.

Rahmel Thompson finished third in scoring with 18 and Brandon Peters added a team-high five assists.

December 7, 2017 - 8:32am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling, sports.


Just like the North wind that has brought about some wintery weather in our area, the BBA North team cooled off the BBA South to post yet another victory in the annual Karl Marth Cup competition.

The team of Medina and Albion area bowlers stormed back from an early deficit by dominating the Singles event and went on to defeat the team of Batavia-area bowlers, 64 ½-58 ½, on Saturday at Scopano’s Lanes in Oakfield.

The win avenges a 10-point loss to the South at Medina Lanes last year and makes it six victories in the past seven years for the North, which now leads the series, 14-10.

The competition is dedicated to the memory of the late Karl Marth, a standout tournament bowler in the old Batavia Bowling Association.

Led by Jim Foss’ 514 score for two games, the North shook off a 17-7 deficit in Doubles and an even 12-12 split in Baker Doubles to take 32 ½ out of a possible 48 points in the Singles event.

As a result, the North took a seven-point lead into the final event – Baker Team -- which was won by the South by a 14-13 score.

Foss earned the Scott Wright Memorial Outstanding Bowler Award for averaging 242 for his four individual games.

Also posting Singles’ wins for the North team were Mike Allis (417 for two games), Roger Allis (484), Rob Sease (413), Scott Gibson (434), Rich Culver (467), Jason Mahnke (418) and Hayden Allis (406).

Four South bowlers won their Singles matches – Paul Spiotta (416), Todd Mortellaro (416), Geoff Harloff (451) and Mickey Hyde (432).

Other members of the winning team were Scott Allis, Aaron Verheyn, Mike Lavender, Scott Shields and captain Tom Allis.

Scott Allis and Mahnke combined for a 968 score for two games in Doubles.

For the South, Dean Cadieux Jr. led the way with a 236 average, followed by Hyde’s 227. Other members were Brett Van Duser, captain Ed Doody, Jim Pursel, Steve O’Dell, Mike Pettinella, Gregg Wolff and Rick Saunders.

Photo at top -- BBA North team, winner of this year's Karl Marth Cup. Front from left, Jim Foss, Jason Mahnke, Mike Allis, Rob Sease, Scott Allis, Roger Allis; back, Rich Culver, Scott Gibson, Tom Allis, Hayden Allis, Aaron Verheyn, Mike Lavender.


The first of four Beat the Champ bowling shows from Mancuso Bowling Center will be televised this weekend on WBBZ-TV (MeTV). Telecasts are scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday and repeated at 11 p.m. Sunday.

This weekend’s show features champion John Danielewicz of Sanborn and challengers Josh Vogt of West Seneca, Dana Voytovich of Cheektowaga and Jeremy Zimmerman of Ransomville.

The second show (Dec. 16-17) will feature the champion from this weekend’s show against Dan Richbart of Clarence, Chuck Jagodzinski of Lancaster and Joseph Pohlman of East Amherst.

Batavians Rich Wagner and Rob Stefani, along with Brockport’s Chris Bardol, will be competing on the Dec. 23-24 telecast, and that will be followed by a youth doubles event featuring members of the Turnbull Heating Junior League on Dec. 30-31.


Sunday afternoon professional bowling returns to ESPN this Sunday (1 p.m.) with the USA vs. The World team competition -- an event that took place during last month’s PBA World Series of Bowling IX in Reno, Nev.

Representing the USA are Kyle Troup, Bill O’Neill, Ryan Ciminelli (of Cheektowaga), Tom Smallwood and Matt McNeil. PBA Hall of Famer Marshall Holman is the captain.

The World team, captained by England’s Stuart Williams, is comprised of Jason Belmonte of Australia, Jesper Svennson of Sweden, Dom Barrett of England, Thomas Larsen of Denmark and Rafiq Ismail of Malaysia.

Subsequent telecasts are the Chameleon and Shark Championships on Sunday, Dec. 17 beginning at 1 p.m.; the Cheetah and Scorpion Championships on Dec. 24 at 1 p.m.; PBA World Championship on Dec. 31 at 1 p.m. and the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals on Jan. 7 at 1 p.m.


The Rose Garden Bowl I team of Devon Zinter, Madelynn Pimm, Brooke Jarkiewicz and Michael Sardou holds a 2 ½ point lead over Batavia Strike Force after four sessions of the GR Youth Travel League.

The 13-team league resumes competition at 12:30 p.m. this Sunday at Mancuso Bowling Center.

Rose Garden I defeated Mount Morris, 15-4, in recent action at its home center, while Batavia Strike Force took 16 of 19 points against Rose Garden II.

Individually, Skylar Laesser of Batavia Strike Force led the boys with a 244 game and 685 series while Matt Hurlburt of Perry posted 267—683 and Josiah Yantz of Scopano’s Lanes had 279—624.

Paige Snook of Oak Orchard Bowl I led the girls with a 506 series, followed by Samantha Hyde of Le Roy Legion Lanes with 500 and Haylee Thornley of Batavia X Factor with 496.


Left-hander Dan Vick, arguably the top bowler in Rochester, captured his second career Rochester NY USBC Masters title on Sunday with a 279-191 win over Sam Capizzi Jr. at AMF Empire Lanes.

Vick defeated four bowlers in the step-ladder finals, including USBC Open Championships titlist Mike Rose Jr.

In a 60-and-Over Tour event on Nov. 26 at Pleasure Lanes in Hilton, four Genesee Region USBC bowlers cashed – Paul Spiotta and Fred Gravanda of Batavia, Al Vlietstra of Geneseo and Bob Hodgson of Medina.

Rick Jewell of Rochester won his second straight 60-and-Over Tour event.

The Genesee Region USBC has announced that the 64th GRUSBC Scratch Memorial Tournament will take place on Jan. 6-7 at Letchworth Pines in Portageville.

Qualifying squads are set for noon and 3 p.m. on Jan. 6 and 10 a.m. on Jan. 4. Semifinals and finals will follow the 10 a.m. squad. The entry fee is $55 and first place, based on 80 entries, is $1,000.

To enter, send an email to [email protected] or call 585-861-0404.

For a list of other local tournaments in December and January, scroll down to the Nov. 24 Pin Points column.

December 6, 2017 - 10:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Notre Dame, basketball.

In girls basketball Tuesday, Notre Dame beat Albion 38-27. 

  • Morgan Rhodes 11 points 5 steals
  • Stevie Wilcox 10 points 5 rebounds
  • Callie McCulley 9 points 8 blocks
  • Margret Sutherland 6 points 8 rebounds
December 5, 2017 - 3:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, Batavia Downs, sports.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

As a result of no winning ticket once again on Saturday (Dec. 2), Batavia Downs will offer a $2,500 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool when racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 6) at the oldest lighted harness track in America.

The Pick-5 is a 50-cent base wager that begins in race one and runs through race five. There is no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners the entire pool (minus takeout) will be carried over to the next Pick-5 pool. 

Wednesday’s guaranteed pool is part of the USTA’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages courtesy of Trackmaster are available on the USTA’s website.

This link will take you directly to those program pages.

Post time for the first race Wednesday is 5 p.m.

December 4, 2017 - 11:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, sports, basketball.

Press release:

The Genesee Community College women's basketball team trailed host Villa Maria by just a couple scores at the half, but the Vikings out-scored the Cougars by eight in the second half to take the contest 76-62 Dec. 2.

The Cougars continue to run into hot teams after losing their last start to Monroe, who left Batavia with an eight-game winning streak. The Vikings had won four of its last five before hosting Genesee.

The game started well for Genesee as the Cougars built a seven-point lead and had the edge for most of the first quarter. The Vikings responded and took a six-point lead into the break. The game's shooting percentages were similar except at the charity strip where the Cougars missed out on a dozen points.

TaLia Burgess led the team in scoring with 15, but Jasmine Holmes had the double-double with 10 points and 11 boards. Titilopemi Olusola was the third Cougar to reach double-digit points with 12.

Estella Anderson was solid under the boards with a team-high 14 rebounds, while Burgess added eight and Olusola five. Burgess also had a pair of blocks and Rosalyn Sealey recorded a team-high four assists.

December 3, 2017 - 2:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, Batavia Downs, sports.

Photo of Chumlee A with driver Larry Stalbaum.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

In a performance that could only be described as overwhelming, Chumlee A made a bold backside move after being parked out from the start to win by as many as he wanted in the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 2).

Major Trick (Kevin Cummings), Lucky McTrucky (Drew Monti) and Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum) all left the gate and wanted to cut the mile, but only one could do it. So Major Trick grabbed the pylons and parked out Lucky McTrucky while Chumlee A settled in second-over in the outer flow. The top two horses fought tooth, fang and claw through swift early fractions of :27.1 and :55.4 and neither one would relent.

With the same leading order headed around turn three, Stalbaum tired of following and tipped Chumlee A three-deep past the five-eighths pole as the group motored up the backside and by the three-quarters cleared, and the route was on. Chumlee A was in overdrive and opened up distance between himself and the rest of the field with every stride. Stalbaum sat chilly from the top of the lane home as Chumlee A continued to pour it on of his own volition, eventually ending the six-length route in 1:54.

It was the third straight win both in North America and at Batavia Downs for Chumlee A ($3.20) and it established a new lifetime mark for the Somebeachsomewhere progeny. Chumlee A is owned by Mark Jakubik and Kim Asher, who also does the training.

The $9,000 co-featured Open II Pace went to Heaven Rocks (Ron Beback Jr.) who toured the facility on the front end unfettered from start to finish, winning by a gapped five lengths in 1:53.3. Heaven Rocks ($5.70) sixth win of the season was also a new lifetime mark for the 5-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven that is owned by William Emmons and trained by James Clouser Jr.  

Larry Stalbaum, Ray Fisher Jr. and Ron Beback Jr. all has two wins on the night.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Dec. 6) at 5 p.m. when the early Pick-5 wager will carry a guaranteed pool of $2,500. Please note that it will be the last Wednesday of the year as racing will only be held on Friday (Dec. 15) and Saturday (Dec. 16) the final week of the meet.

December 2, 2017 - 5:11pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Parks, Recreation & Forestry has partnered with the Batavia Kiwanis Club to extend hours for ice skating on Fridays at the DeWitt Recreation Area! The hours will be extended till 7:30 p.m. beginning Dec. 29 until mid-March.

A true community effort continues to make it all happen with the City of Batavia Fire Department initially filling the rink with water, the Town of Oakfield Highway Department providing outdoor lighting, and Cedar Street Rentals assisting with keeping the ice surface clear of snow. Use of the rink is FREE and available at posted times.

DeWitt Recreation Area is located at 115 Cedar St. in Batavia. The outdoor rink is not monitored by staff during posted hours nor are skates provided. Skate at your own risk.

This beautiful community skating area is constructed and maintained by volunteers and staff, so we ask for your help in keeping it safe and clean for all to enjoy. Please stay off the ice on warm days and respect the “closed for maintenance” signs. Keeping off the ice when it is warm will ensure a quick reopening of the rink when the weather turns cold again!

See the parks website here for full rules and details.

Rink Hours:

Public Skate:
(Sticks and pucks are prohibited on the ice during public skate.)

  • Monday, Wednesday, Saturday -- 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Thursday -- 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Friday (beginning Dec. 29) -- 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Stick & Puck:

Tuesday, Thursday 2 to 4 p.m.​ (No figure skating during Stick & Puck time.)

    For more information visit our website here, or contact Shannon Morley at [email protected] or (585) 344-1122.

    December 2, 2017 - 4:20pm
    posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.
    Fox Valley Veto with driver Billy Davis Jr.
    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
    Challenged for almost the entire mile, Fox Valley Veto took on all comers and went wire to wire to capture the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot at Batavia Downs on Friday evening (Dec.1)
    Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) and Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) both wanted the front and they went at it hot and heavy off the gate. Fox Valley Veto cleared and then held Lutetium at bay outside to the half in a quick :57.2.
    Past the five-eighths Lutetium rightfully packed it in and Fox Valley Veto opened up a three length advantage when he hit the three-quarters in 1:27.2. But during the third quarter, Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) had motored up from the back of the pack and was closing quickly on the leader. 
    At the top of the stretch Empire Earl N was full of trot and looked like he was going to blow right on by. But Fox Valley Veto had the will and held his ground, toughing-out the win in 1:58. 
    It was the third win in five starts at Batavia Downs for Fox Valley Veto ($4) who is owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice is the trainer.  
    In the $8,000 Open II trot, I Want Kandy (Drew Monti) left and tucked behind Kahoku (Kevin Cummings) who cut 7/8th's of the mile before Monti pulled and trotted right on by to win by a length in 1:58.2. 
    It was the first win in two Batavia Downs starts for I Want Kandy ($6.30) and the eighth win of the season overall. Darrin Monti trains the winner that is owned by Carl Monti.  
    There was an accident in the first turn of the night's seventh race when Catherine's diamond (Ray Fisher Jr.) took a bad step and went down and Madd Hoss Jackson (Larry Stalbaum) couldn't get around her and hooked bikes. Stalbaum became unseated but both horses were immediately controlled by their drivers and taken safely to the outside of the track as the race progressed. 
    Both horses were unhurt and both Fisher and Stalbaum drove the remainder of their mounts. 
    Stalbaum maintained his Batavia Downs dash driving lead as he won two races on the card (both came after the incident in the seventh race) while the second place Ray Fisher Jr. scored the hat trick. Currently at the meet Stalbaum has 119 wins, Fisher has 117 and Drew Monti has 111. 
    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on tonight (Dec. 2) with post time at 6 o'clock.
    November 30, 2017 - 4:55pm
    posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

    As the weather gets cold Voltina gets hot and she proved it by winning the $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (Nov. 29), which was her third victory in her last five starts in the top class.

    Voltina (Kevin Cummings) fired off the gate and took the lead with lightning speed. Squeeze This (Billy Davis Jr.) also left from post seven but took a quarter mile to clear. As soon as she did, Voltina came right back to grab the front and that was all she wrote.

    As Voltina took the field to the half in :57.2 and three-quarters in 1:26, she scoffed at minor challenges from Hey Kobe (Shawn McDonough) and Who Says That (Ray Fisher Jr.) and kept to her task around the final turn. As they headed down the lane Cummings was flailing the lines and opened up a two-length advantage with Voltina looking lively. But one last test came from Mydelight Bluechip (Ben Mcniel) who shook loose in the passing lane and came with a rush. However Voltina was stout and hung on to win by a length in 1:55.2.

    Having the best year of her life, Voltina ($8.20) scored her eighth victory of 2017 and bolstered her wallet to $69,456. The 7-year-old daughter of Allamerican Native is owned by CHS Racing LLC and is trained by Anthony Cummings.

    In the co-featured $8,000 distaff Open II, Little Joke (Billy Davis Jr.) took back and followed quick early fractions before pulling second-over at the half behind America Ferrera (Kevin Cummings) and eventually overtook her at the top of the stretch and pulled away to a six length romp in a 1:55.

    Now two for two since arriving at the Downs, Little Joke ($6.00) has eight wins and $51,435 on the year for owners Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner.

    Driver Kevin Cummings who continues to be the hottest driver on the grounds at Batavia, scored four more wins on Wednesday night. Besides taking the feature with Voltina, he also won with Fie Fy Fo (1:57.1, $9.70), Our Last Photo (2:00.1, $3.20) and Goldstar Thumper (1:57.3, $53).

    In the last 10 cards of racing at Batavia, Cummings has won 28 races and now has 102 wins for the meet. He currently sits in fourth place for dash wins behind Larry Stalbaum (117), Ray Fisher Jr. (114) and Drew Monti (110) and with seven nights of racing left, has a legitimate shot at the driving title.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Dec. 1) at 6 p.m.

    November 30, 2017 - 8:55am
    posted by Mike Pettinella in news, sports, Bowling, Beat The Champ.


    The Beat the Champ TV show cast and production crew rolled into Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia on Wednesday to tape four shows that will run in December, two of which featured local adult and youth standouts.

    Family, friends, longtime bowlers, fans of the WBBZ-TV (MeTV) telecast and interested observers turned out to watch the competition on lanes 19-20.

    Batavians Rich Wagner and Rob Stefani – who registered a 300 game in league play earlier this week – along with Brockport’s Chris Bardol (owner of The North Pole Restaurant in Batavia) competed on the third show and eight youth bowlers from the Turnbull Heating Junior League at Mancuso’s participated in a Doubles event on the fourth show (see photo below).

    The Wagner-Bardol-Stefani show will be telecast at 4 p.m. Dec. 23 (repeated at 11 p.m. Dec. 24) and the youth special will be telecast at the same times on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31.

    All of the seven other bowlers in the regular shows were from the Buffalo area – reigning champ John Danielwicz, and qualifiers Josh Vogt, Dana Voytovich, Jeremy Zimmerman, Dan Richbart, Chuck Jagodzinski and Joseph Pohlman.

    The first two shows will air on Dec. 9-10 and Dec. 16-17.

    (Note: The Batavian will report the results of the matches after each show is televised).

    The size of the audience grew as the show with the local bowlers neared its starting time, around 2 p.m.

    For Tim Shanks of Elba, a former league bowler, seeing all the TV lights, cameras and set was an eye-opener.

    “This is much more than I figured,” said Shanks, who said he watches the show regularly. “I’m happy the show is on again; it brings back memories of the old Beat the Champ. And I’m just glad that it’s so close to home.”

    Beat the Champ airs from 12 different bowling centers, mostly in the Buffalo area, throughout the year, with four shows each month from a particular center.

    Stars of the show are commentator Paul Peck, analyst Sue Nawojski and scorekeeper/host Janelle Sabin. Mike Pettinella, New York State USBC association manager and bowling writer for The Batavian, joined Peck and Nawojski as a commentator on the Wagner-Stefani-Bardol show.

    Qualifiers for the show took place on Nov. 11-12, with the top nine bowlers making the TV show – bowlers 1-3 on the first show, 4-6 on the second show and 7-9 on the third show. Coincidentally, Wagner, Bardol and Stefani finished in seventh through ninth place, and as a result, were grouped on the same telecast.

    This was the second straight appearance for Wagner, who earned $250 last year, and Bardol, who competed in a coed doubles special event.

    Photo at top -- Rich Wagner, left, talks with Chris Bardol as Rob Stefani poses for some still photos prior to their Beat the Champ TV show at Mancuso Bowling Center on Wednesday afternoon.







    Photos under the story -- The crowd included Rich Wagner's father, Rich, in the front row, and family and friends; Bardol is interviewed for post-production purposes by Sue Nawojski; longtime Batavian Tom Stokes (in red sweater and wearing an autographed French Connection Sabres hat) posed for a photo with Nawojski, Paul Peck and Janelle Sabin; local competitors Rich Wagner, Chris Bardol and Rob Stefani; youth participants James Townsend, Corinne Saluste, Emma Miller, Samantha Balbi, Benjamin Sputore, Tara Clattenburg, Skylar Laesser and Sam Miller; the on-air cast opening the youth special show. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

    November 28, 2017 - 3:02pm
    posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

    As a result of no winning ticket once again on Saturday (Nov. 25), Batavia Downs will offer a $3,500 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool when racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 29) at the oldest lighted harness track in America. The actual carryover is $1,225.

    The Pick-5 is a 50-cent base wager that begins in race one and runs through race five. There is no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners the entire pool (minus takeout) will be carried over to the next Pick-5 pool.

    Wednesday’s guaranteed pool will once again be part of the USTA’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages courtesy of Trackmaster are available on the USTA’s website.

    To access the free program pages click here


    Post time for the first race Wednesday is 5 p.m.

    November 27, 2017 - 2:41pm
    posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.
    Photo of Itsonlyrocknroll A with driver Larry Stalbaum.
    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs 
    Batavia Downs leading driver Larry Stalbaum is nicknamed "The Bomber" for his propensity of winning with long shots. Stalbaum lived up to his moniker on Saturday night (Nov. 25) when he escaped the consciousness of the betting public and got home first with 14-1 shot Itsonlyrocknroll A in the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace. 
    It was a mad dash off the gate as Hardts Or Bettor (Ray Fisher Jr.), Littlebitaclass (Billy Davis Jr.) And Focus Power (Drew Monti) all battled for the lead. Focus Power tucked in third and Hardts Or Bettor parked out Littlebitaclass for the remainder of the contest. The pair paced in tandem in :26.4 and :56.1 when Littlebitaclass wore down past the five-eighths.
    At that station Jimi Wind Ricks (John Cummings Jr.) tipped three-wide around him and approached the leader by three-quarters in 1:25.2. But Hardts Or Bettor was still not done as he rebuffed that challenge as well and rounded the last turn looking like he might be the best. But Itsonlyrocknroll A, who had been drafting fourth behind all the early action, made his way into the passing lane at the head of the stretch and from there wore down Hardts Or Bettor to won by a length in 1:54.2. 
    It was the 13th win of the year for Itsonlyrocknroll A ($30) and it pushed his earnings for 2017 to $80,785. Owned by his driver, Itsonlyrocknroll A is trained by Kim Asher. 
    The Stalbaum/Asher team also captured the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace in the very next race with recent Austrailian stable addition, Chumlee A. 
    Stalbaum was second at the quarter with Chumlee A but came quick at that station and led the remainder of the race. After getting to the half in :57.2, Stalbaum turned on the jets and sped the third quarter to :28.3, putting some distance between himself and the rest of the field. From there Chumlee A  was wrapped-up and won by as many as he wanted to in 1:55.1. 
    It was the second win in two North American starts for Chumlee A ($2.60) who is owned by Mark Jakubik and his trainer, Kim Asher. 
    For the night the Stalbaum/Asher duo combined for four winners on the card, making their respective meet-leading driver and trainer leads even more secure. 
    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 29) with post time at 5 o'clock.
    November 24, 2017 - 10:29pm
    posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

    Photo of Dragin The Wagon with driver Billy Davis Jr.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

    In his last trip to Batavia Downs three weeks ago, Dragin The Wagon won handily wire to wire in 1:56.1. After two starts at Yonkers he returned to the Genesee County oval for a curtain call as the star of the show once again as he won the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot on Friday night (Nov. 24).

    Dragin The Wagon (Billy Davis Jr.) went right to the front and opened a gapped lead that would only get bigger. After grabbing leather to the half in :58.4 on a two-length advantage, Davis gave Dragin The Wagon his head while motoring up the backside and that is where he started to pull away. Two lengths turned into four at the three-quarters, six lengths at the top of the lane and eight lengths at the wire where he stopped the clock in 1:56.3 as the rest of the field could only watch from afar.

    It was the seventh win of the year for Dragin The Wagon ($3.50) who now has earned $70,168 for owners Cary, David and Michael Cantelon. The 7-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall is trained by Jeff Byron.

    In the co-featured $8,500 Open II Trot, Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) also went coast to coast by a gapped margin to win his seventh race of the year under wraps in 1:58. Colleen Girdlestone owns Lutetium ($4.30) who has now bankrolled $44,355 for the year. The winner of 58 races lifetime is trained by Priscilla Mooney.    

    Kevin Cummings led all drivers on Friday with four wins on the card. Over the last eight nights of racing at Batavia Downs Cummings has also led all drivers in wins with 22 over that period, finishing first in 25 percent of his starts. Once well out of the dash competition earlier this year, Cummings is now a closing fourth and definitely in the conversation for one of the top three spots. 

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday evening (Nov. 25) with post time at 6 o'clock.

    November 24, 2017 - 7:53am
    posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling, sports.

    Three Genesee Region USBC members, including Batavian Rich Wagner for a second straight year, have qualified to appear on the Beat the Champ TV show, a regular Saturday afternoon feature on WBBZ-TV (MeTV).

    Wagner, who made $250 on the show in 2016, will be joined by fellow Batavian Rob Stefani and Rochester resident Chris Bardol (owner of the North Pole Restaurant in Batavia) on the third of four shows being taped on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia.

    The public is invited to watch the taping, which starts around 10 a.m., free of charge.

    Ironically, Wagner, Stefani and Bardol qualified in the seventh through ninth positions this year, and all will appear on the same show – along with the reigning champion, who will be determined from the first two shows.  The Wagner-Stefani-Bardol show will be televised at 4 p.m. Dec. 23 (repeated at 11 p.m. Dec. 24).

    The first two shows feature Buffalo-area competitors – Josh Vogt, Dana Voytovich and Jeremy Zimmerman and the champion (to be aired on Dec. 9-10) and Dan Richbart, Chuck Jagodzinski and Joseph Pohlman and the champion (to be aired on Dec. 16-17).

    Youth bowlers from the Turnbull Heating Junior League at Mancuso's will compete in a doubles event on the fourth show, which also will be the last show taped on Nov. 29. Selected to participate are Emma Miller, James Townsend, Tara Clattenburg, Skylar Laesser, Corinne Saluste, Sam Miller, Samantha Balbi and Benjamin Sputore.

    While the show provides a certain amount of publicity for Mancuso Bowling Center, center management can’t be happy about the number of bowlers who competed in the eight qualifying squads. There were only 63 entries this year, 40 less than last year.

    The way it is set up, the bowling center receives only $8 per $30 entry, the rest going for the $1,400 in prize money paid out on the shows. For this year, Mancuso’s fell short of that $1,400 mark by $14.

    And that doesn’t take into consideration the $6,000 that is put up by the participating bowling centers for production costs.

    I applaud the proprietor, Rick Mancuso, for taking part but unless WBBZ-TV implements some changes that benefit the bowling centers, I wouldn’t blame him for opting out next year.



    They call him “Mr. 900” and “Johnny Pins” for his remarkable achievement – a USBC-certified 900 series in 2012 – and now they can call him “champion” of the 10th annual Triple O Mechanical Handicap Singles Tournament at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen.

    John Martorella Sr. of Rochester, proprietor of Domm Brothers bowling center, defeated Frank Jarkiewicz of Byron, 222-207, in the title match to take the $400 first prize on Nov. 12.

    (Photo -- Tom Sardou, left, Rose Garden Bowl proprietor; Martorella and Jarkiewicz).

    Martorella qualified 13th with a 695 series – the top 16 out of 41 entries advanced to the eliminator-style finals – and followed that with games of 244, 246 and 257 to reach the championship match.

    Jarkiewicz was the ninth-best qualifier with 715, and then rolled 221, 249 and 261 (receiving four pins handicap each game) to reach the final match.  He earned $200 for his efforts.

    Other cashers were John Merriweather of Rochester and Brian Hall of Macedon, $100 each; Kevin Gray Sr. of Honeoye Falls, Kai Clark of Rochester, Jeff Dewar of Rochester and Laurie Morgante of Bergen, $60 apiece; and Harris Busmire of Bergen, Pat Brick of Buffalo, Rob Stefani of Batavia, and Rochester residents Scott Prince, Don Perrault, Peter Pilaroscia, Caycee Landers and Scott Dingman, $45 each.



    Former Cheektowaga resident Liz Johnson, arguably the greatest professional women bowler ever, has become the second woman to win a Professional Bowlers Association Tour title.

    The 43-year-old right-hander defeated Anthony Pepe of Elmhurst, N.Y., 220-206, last Saturday at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., to win the PBA Chameleon Championship – one of the several tournaments conducted as part of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX.

    The finals will be broadcast at 1 p.m. Dec. 17 on ESPN.

    Johnson, who now resides in Illinois, joins Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., who won the 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions, as the only women to capture titles on the PBA Tour.

    Her reaction, as reported by a PBA publicist, was one of jubilation.

     “It feels absolutely amazing,” said Johnson, who also finished 14th in the PBA World Championship this week in Reno. “It’s officially one of the best bowling days of my life and probably the icing on the cake as far as my career goes. I’ve been very lucky to have the career that I’ve had. I never thought having the chance to win a PBA title would come when it did. It’s been an awesome journey.”

    With the victory and its $20,000 first prize, Johnson added to her remarkable 2017. This year, she has three PWBA titles (two majors), including her sixth U.S. Women’s Open and the Go Bowling PWBA Players Championship, a third consecutive PWBA Player of the Year award and the 2017 PBA Chameleon Championship.

    Here are the finalists of the other WSOB tournaments (all of which have been completed but won’t be televised until later):

    PBA Shark Championship, 2 p.m., Dec. 17 – Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash.; Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla.; Richie Teece, England; Charlie Brown Jr., Grandville, Mich.

    PBA Cheetah Championship, 1 p.m. Dec. 24 – Sam Cooley, Australia; Thomas Larsen, Denmark; Jesper Svensson, Sweden; Jason Belmonte, Australia.

    Pepsi PBA Scorpion Championship, 2 p.m. Dec. 24 – Jason Belmonte, Australia; EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind.; Shawn Maldonado, Houston; Brandon Novak, Chillicothe, Ohio.

    PBA World Championship, 1 p.m. Dec. 31 – 1, Jesper Svensson, Sweden; 2, Jason Belmonte, Australia;  Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y.; 4, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C.; 5, Matt Sanders, Evansville, Ind.

    World Bowling Tour Finals, 1 p.m. Jan. 7 – Men, Svensson, Belmonte, Kent; Women, Diana Zavjalova of Latvia, Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., and Malaysia’s Shalin Zulki.


    The 24th installment of the Karl Marth Cup series pitting bowlers from the north and south parts of the old Batavia Bowling Association takes place at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2 at Scopano’s Lanes in Oakfield.

    Last year, the South team won, ending a five-year winning streak for the North, which leads the series, 13-10. Competition takes place in Doubles, Singles, Baker-style Doubles and Baker-style Team.

    The public is invited to watch.

    Team rosters are as follows:

    North -- Scott Allis, Roger Allis, Aaron Verheyn, Scott Shields, Scott Gibson, Mike Lavender, Rob Sease, Jim Foss, Richard Culver, Jason Mahnke, Hayden Allis, Mike Allis and non-playing captain Tom Allis.

    South – Dean Cadieux Jr., captain Ed Doody, Geoff Harloff, Mickey Hyde, Todd Mortellaro, Steve O’Dell, Mike Pettinella, Jim Pursel, Rick Saunders, Paul Spiotta, Brett Van Duser and Gregg Wolff.


    Tournaments over the next several weeks:

    -- Sunday, Nov. 26: 60-and-Over Tour, Pleasure Lanes, Hilton. Open to bowlers 60 and over, the scratch tournament gets under way at noon. The entry fee is $40 and walk-ins are permitted.

    -- Saturday, Dec. 9 – Scratch Doubles, Legion Lanes, Le Roy. Squad times are at 11:45 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. with two-game qualifiers followed by the top eight teams advancing to head-to-head match play. First place is $800, based on 36 entries, and the entry fee is $70. Call 716-474-7960 to enter.

    -- Saturday, Dec. 16: “Blind Draw” Doubles, Medina Lanes. Participants will draw for their partners; bowling one squad starting at 4 p.m. Handicap is based on 90 percent of 220. The top teams (number depending upon entries) will advance to match play. Call 585-318-4474 to sign up.

    -- Saturday, Jan. 6: 6th annual Scott Whittier Memorial, Oak Orchard Bowl, Albion. Squads are at 1, 3, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. for this three-person, handicap no-tap tournament conducted to benefit the Scott Whittier Scholarship Foundation. First place is $600; entry fee is $60 per team. Call 585-589-6900 to sign up.

    November 22, 2017 - 10:06pm
    posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

    Photo of Squeeze This with driver Billy Davis Jr.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

    A heady drive by Billy Davis Jr. conserved effort for Squeeze This both early and late in the mile before he let her lunge down the lightning lane and capture the $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (Nov. 22).

    Voltina (Kevin Cummings) went back to her penchant of cutting the race; firing hard off the gate to take early command. She yielded briefly to Exotic Beach (Larry Stalbaum) at the quarter, but retook the front by the three-eighths pole. As they motored past the half in :57.3, Squeeze This came first up from sixth and dropped fortuitously into the two-hole in front of the now-gapping Exotic Beach and was sitting right on Voltina’s back.

    As the group passed three-quarters, Hey Kobe (Ray Fisher Jr.) who had drafted up behind Squeeze This was now second on the outside and pushing the issue with the frontrunner all the way around the turn. At the top of the lane Hey Kobe made her way by Voltina who was visibly tiring, Aritzia Hanover (Drew Monti) was flying three-deep around Hey Kobe and Squeeze This, well, squeezed into the passing lane and was pacing up a storm by the pylons. When they hit the wire Squeeze This scored a head victory in 1:56.2 over Aritzia Hanover who was another head in front of Hey Kobe who finished third.

    It was the seventh win of the year for Squeeze This ($14.20) and the win pushed her earnings to $54,866 for owner Garth Betchel. Jim Graham trains the 5-year-old daughter of Allamerican Native.

    In the $8,000 distaff Open II, America Ferrera (Kevin Cummings) turned a two-hole trip behind Sarah Cola (Billy Davis Jr.) into a 1:56.3 seasonal best win. Owned by Henry Conradt, America Ferrera ($32.40) is trained by Mike Ohol.

    The USTA Strategic Wagering Program guaranteed pool of $12,500 on the early Pick-5 wager turned out to be a boon for the night’s handle. Aided by longshots America Ferrera ($32.40) and Tinker Taxi ($80), the $2 early Pick-5 combination of 4-2-2-4-7 paid $21,020 on the strength of $18,340 new money bet. The night’s first race handled the most money ever wagered on a single race at Batavia Downs since OTB reopened it in 2002 and the overall handle for the night was up 27 percent over the same date last year with two less races on the card.

    “It was a great night at the windows for Batavia Downs on Wednesday,” said Todd Haight, director/general manager of Live Racing. “We would like to thank the USTA and Chris Schick for partnering with us on the Strategic Wagering Program tonight and also Trackmaster for providing the free program pages that enhanced everyone’s handicapping enjoyment.”

    Kevin Cummings remains hot and led all drivers again tonight winning three races on the card.

    Batavia Downs would like to wish all our fans and patrons a very Happy Thanksgiving and look forward to seeing everyone back at the track when live racing resumes on Friday (Nov. 24) at 6 p.m.

    November 22, 2017 - 2:18pm
    posted by Mike Pettinella in news, sports, Bowling.


    Batavian Paul Spiotta became only the second bowler to win a GRUSBC Masters and Senior Masters title when he captured the 12th annual Genesee Region USBC Senior Masters tournament on Nov. 11 at Medina Lanes.

    The 60-year-old right-hander defeated 50-year-old lefty Mike Johnson, also of Batavia, in an exciting final match, winning a ninth and 10th frame roll-off, 59-40, after both bowlers put up scores of 246.


    Mike Pettinella’s Pin Points column will appear on Friday this week.


    Spiotta strung four strikes before leaving one pin on his final ball, forcing Johnson to get three strikes to win. Johnson got the first two -- the second one on the cross -- before leaving a solid 7 pin, setting up the roll-off.

    In "overtime," after Johnson spared, Spiotta delivered three straight strikes to come away victorious.

    Spiotta said he was “very focused” throughout the tournament, and noted that his carry got better after the qualifying round.

    “I had a nice line to the pocket but I was also tripping a few 4-pins when needed plus I had a crossover strike and a cave-in strike that really helped,” he said.

    After he and Johnson tied, all Spiotta thought about was coming up with strikes in the roll-off.

    “All I knew was that if I could keep striking, I’d win and that’s what happened,” he said. “Hats off to Mike Johnson in his first Senior Masters, he really bowled very well down the stretch.”

    The victory was worth $260 for Spiotta, a former GRUSBC association president, who averaged 226 for his seven games -- qualifying 10th with 630 before posting 485 for two games in the second round and 223 for his one game in the third round.

    He also won a free entry into the GRUSBC Masters in February and a plaque from Joe’s Awards & Trophies. The event drew 41 entrants.

    Johnson earned $150 for placing second while Jim Foss of Medina won $100 for placing third. Johnson defeated Foss, 267-192, in the first game of the three-bowler stepladder finals to earn the right to face top-seeded Spiotta.

    Jim Pursel of Batavia, Rick Saunders of Batavia and Phil Schepis of Medina finished in the fourth through sixth spots, winning $70 each, while Bill Logan of Albion, Fred Gravanda of Batavia, Bob Hodgson of Medina, Scott Shields of Batavia, John Wolff of Batavia and Joe Trigilio of Attica also cashed.

    Spiotta joins Gravanda, his cousin, as the only Masters and Senior Masters champions.

    For complete tournament statistics, go to

    Photo at top - Paul Spiotta and Mike Johnson.

    November 21, 2017 - 2:09pm
    posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

    As a result of no winning ticket once again on Saturday, Batavia Downs will offer a guaranteed pool of $12,500 for the early Pick-5 when racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 22) at the oldest lighted harness track in America. The actual carryover is $7,270.

    This is the largest guaranteed pool ever offered at Batavia Downs. 

    The Pick-5 is a 50-cent base wager that begins in race one and runs through race five. There is no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners the entire pool (minus takeout) will be carried over to the next pool.

    Wednesday’s guaranteed pool will once again be part of the USTA’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages courtesy of Trackmaster are available on the USTA’s website.

    You can access those free program pages by clicking here.

    Post time for the first race Wednesday is 5 p.m.


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