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September 2, 2017 - 3:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.
 
Photo of Hitman Hill with driver Brett Miller.
 
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
 
The track standard of 1:53.2 for 2-year-old pacing geldings was lowered substantially on Friday night (Sept. 1) when Hitman Hill (American Ideal-Fox Valley Shaker) torched the Genesee County oval in 1:52.4 in the $106,000 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) at Batavia Downs. 
 
Leaving from post one in his $53,500 division, Hitman Hill (Brett Miller) shot right to the lead and dictated fractions that would put him in the record books. 
 
After stopping the clock at :27.3, :56.1 and 1:25.1, the only threat of the race came at the three-quarters when pocket-sitting Casual Cool (Drew Monti) pulled and advanced to within a neck. But Miller tapped the gas and Hitman Hill responded by pacing home in :27.3 to win by four lengths in 1:52.4 to set the new track record. 
 
The previous mark was held by Pointomygranson (Marcus Miller) who paced in 1:53.2 last year. 
 
"This colt, from the first time I sat behind him; I told (trainer) Chris Oakes the could be one of the best colts I've ever sat behind" said driver Brett Miller. "And I still feel that way."
 
Hitman Hill ($2.40) is now a perfect four for four this year and has earned $79,383 for his owners Tom Hill and Northfork Racing Stable. 
 
In the second $52,500 division, Jersey Jim (Artiscape-Jersey Pearl) matched his lifetime best clocking to score his third win of the year, two of which were in NYSS action. 
 
Jersey Jim (Jim Devaux) got away last as the heavily favored Paprike Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) led the way. But after Silver Arrow (John Macdonald) pushed the issue in the third quarter, Jersey Jim made a bold three-wide, three-quarter move and drew alongside Paprike Blue Chip at the head of the lane. From there he out-muscled the pace setter to the wire to win by a length in 1:54.1. 
 
Jersey Jim ($5.80) has now banked $62,933 in 2017 for owners Robert and Gail Sanders and trainer Perry Simser. 
 
There were also two $15,000 Excalsior A series contests on the card. 
 
In the first split, Real Rayenbow (So Surreal-R Reva Raye) won in 1:58.4 for Chuck Connor Jr. Real Rayenbow ($23.40) is owned by Janice Connor, Arden Homestead Stable and Crawford Farms Racing and is trained by Chuck Connor Jr. 
 
In the second leg, Major Sugar Rush (Art Major-Sugarcoated) registered a 1:56.2 victory for Ray Schnittker. Major Sugar Rush ($7.90) is owned by Ray Schnittker and Steve Arnold and is trained by Ray Schnittker. 
September 2, 2017 - 1:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, football, sports, news.

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Le Roy rallied in the second half Friday night to score three touchdowns and secure a season-opening victory over Dansville, 18-7.

The Oatkan Knights went into the half down 8-7 and then the Mustangs took their opening possession down to the two-yard line, were a Bryce Bordanaro recovered a Dansville fumble.

Le Roy marched 99 yards for a touchdown, taking the lead and the Mustangs never seriously challenged the Knights again.

Kyler LaCarte carried the ball 28 times for 149 yards and a TD.  QB Jake Hill was 10-13 for 144 yards and a TD.  Reece Tresco had two catches for 34 yards and a TD. T.Y. Williams had two receptions for 25 yards, and Gaven Cassidy nabbed three passes for 17 yards.

On defense, Luke Stella had seven tackles, including two for a loss, Tyler Rider had seven, Bryce Bordanaro, five, Jake Hill, five, and Reece Tresco, five.

In other Friday football action:

  • Oakfield-Alabama/Elba beats Perry/Mount Morris, 40-30.  OAE put up 27 first-half points in their season and home opener. Collin O'Halloran led the OAE team with 116 yards on the ground along with two touchdowns. Colton Dillon and Gage Dieterle added rushing touchdowns while Dillon and Ty Mott each had an interception returned for a touchdown. Justice Fanaro led the Yellowjacket offense to 23 fourth quarter points hooking up with Austin Croll for multiple touchdowns through the air. Fanaro finished the game 10-17 for 255 yards and 3 touchdowns while Croll had 249 all purpose yards and three touchdowns. 
  • Pembroke beat York/Pavilion, 48-24. Zach von Kramer rushed for 303 yards on 16 carries, scoring four times.
  • Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen fell to Bath, 24-20.
  • Notre Dame was shut out by Canisteo-Greenword, 45-0.

Le Roy photos by Ed Henry. 

Top photo, Jack Dempsey with the carry.

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Ty Williams.

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Reece Tresco with a seven-yard reception for a TD.

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Gavin Luckey with a reception.

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Kyler LaCarte with the ball.

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LaCarte scores.

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Post game, LaCarte.

September 2, 2017 - 12:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, soccer, Le Roy.

Press release:

The Le Roy Knights topped the Perry Yellowjackets 2-0 in the final of the Dansville Season Kickoff Tournament. Both of Le Roy's goals came during the first half.

Perry played a much better second half led by strong performances from Cameron Campbell on defense and Michael John Grover on offense. Thad Grierson made 11 saves in net. Perry continues non-league play away against Byron-Bergen/Elba on Tuesday, September 5 at 6:30 pm.

September 1, 2017 - 11:19am
posted by alex brasky in Le Roy, football, sports.

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Several high school football mergers have hit the area over the past several years. But, remaining as one of the few holdouts, Le Roy has been holding on to a tradition they’ve built over many years and is anticipating a return to glory sooner rather than later.

Season Outlook

Following a 3-4 finish a season ago, Le Roy is looking to a new cast of characters in order to restore this program as a championship contender. Equipped with 13 seniors, the Knights should have little trouble equaling their opponents experience level each week during the regular season.

What remains to be seen in LR is whether or not this new crop of seniors has what it takes to lead their team on a Section V Playoff run.

It’s tough for me to nail down exactly what to expect from this group, but with Week 1 just one day away – judgement day is coming.

The Knights will benefit from a much-lighter schedule than they had in 2016, with Livonia remaining as the one true Titan on their 2017 slate. The other six games sitting in front of Le Roy are all winnable – giving them a chance to put their best foot forward during the regular season.

As is the case with many local teams.

The merger between the LCAA and GRAA has made things much simpler for the teams in the surrounding regions, making this season one of the most-highly anticipated campaigns in recent memory.

Key Matchups

Week 3 – Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen

The Knights and Raiders endured an overtime battle for the ages last season, with the Raiders turning out the victor. Will this year be different?

Week 4 – Avon

Avon is historically tough and will likely present a difficult challenge for Le Roy in the middle of their schedule. 

Week 5 – Notre Dame

An old-time rivalry returns to the fold in 2017.

Week 6 – Livonia

Livonia has finished within the top-4 in Section V Class B for several seasons in a row. This is going to be a tough matchup for Le Roy. 

Key Players

Bryce Bordonaro (OL/DL)

Bryce is a strong force inside for the Le Roy offensive line, and also serves as one of the team’s leaders. 

Tyler Rider (OL/DL)

Tyler is another big man in the middle for the Knights, and another team leader. 

Luke Stella (RB/LB)

Luke will play a major role in the team’s success this season as a well-sized running back and linebacker. 

Cole Biggins (WR/DB)

Cole has flown under the radar in the past, but his performance this season might be too much to ignore for future opponents. 

Gaven Cassidy (WR/DB)

Gaven provides the Le Roy offense with solid athleticism along the outside of an offense which features a sophomore quarterback. 

Coach’s Quote

“We expect to be competitive in every game we play this season,” said Le Roy Head Coach Brian Herdlein. “Our team speed should be a strength for us this season.

"Our newcomers with the help of the returning players are filling the positions open from graduation last season nicely. We hope to be more of a factor in the postseason this year.”

September 1, 2017 - 11:11am
posted by alex brasky in football, sports, oakfield-alabama, elba.

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Oakfield-Alabama/Elba is in its second season as a merged program and has a load of senior leadership, which they hope will carry them to a resurgent season in 2017.

Season Outlook

Although I have placed O-A/E at the bottom of my Preseason Power Rankings, the potential of this team to rise in the ranks, and finish the season in contention – is strong. They finished 1-7 a year ago and anticipate a better finish this year.

OA/E not only returns their starting quarterback, but also have numerous names coming back along the line of scrimmage, and a strong stable of backs – who served as backups last season. This year, it will be the O-A/E skill players’ time to shine and lead their team out of the depths of despair.

It can take a few years for a newly merged program to come together and reach their full potential. This year, in my mind, will serve as a stepping stone toward that end.

Key Matchups

Week 2 – Notre Dame

The Irish are an old-time rival of both Oakfield and Elba. Both sides will get up for this game. 

Week 5 – Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen

Byron-Bergen was previously merged with Elba before the Lancers began their relationship with Oakfield. Does any bad blood remain between the two sides?

Week 6 – Holley

Another winnable game for O-A/E.

Key Players

Colton Dillon (QB)

Colton is going into his second year under center for O-A/E, but has been learning a new system as he prepares for Week 1. He will be important for this team if they hope to achieve success.

Gage Dieterle (RB/LB)

Gage has been given a more important role this season as the team’s starting RB.

John Igoe (OL/DL)

John will help anchor a senior-laden line.

Cam Smith (OL/DL)

Cam will also help anchor the defensive and offensive trenches for O-A/E. 

Coach’s Quote

“The O-A/E Football Team looks to make vast improvements in their second year of the new merger,” said Head Coach Mike Cintorino. “With new systems being installed on both sides of the ball and significant buy in from the athletes, the program looks to once again compete for a league title and find their way back to sectionals.

"Although this is a very young team, many of the players have varsity experience and will look to utilize that throughout the season. Now being part of the Livingston-Genesee Region Conference will provide a good test for the O-A/E Football team while holding on to the many rivarlies of the old Genesee Region.”

September 1, 2017 - 11:04am
posted by alex brasky in football, sports, Notre Dame.

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Last season, the Irish suffered their first losing campaign in 11 years, and return in 2017 hoping for more out of their new leadership class.

Season Outlook

It’s no secret that ND Football took a major step back last season, and it would be incredibly disappointing for fans of the Fighting Irish to be forced to watch their team go through yet another dismal campaign. For, the ND Faithful is not used to watching its football team struggle through Divisional and even non-Divisional matchups.

In 2017, however, the Irish are hoping to ‘Wake Up the Echoes’ and restore the winning tradition of ND Football.

They feature a returning starting quarterback but welcome a load of talent coming up from the JV squad, which leaves this new-look squad with the expectation of making progress and climbing the ladder – beginning with the first step on Opening Night vs Canisteo-Greenwood.

Aside from C-G, all of ND’s 2017 opponents are from the newly-merged LCAA/GRAA League, with Le Roy serving as the only other non-Divisional matchup on their schedule. This merger has been a win for all involved, including the Irish who I believe will benefit from a more-familiar slate.

Key Matchups

Week 2 – Oakfield-Alabama/Elba

Notre Dame is ranked above O-A/E in my Preseason Power Rankings. If they hope to gain any traction within their Division, they must win this game. 

Week 4 – Holley

The Irish will be out for revenge in this game. 

Week 5 – Le Roy

This old-school rivalry comes back in 2017 with each side matching up well with one another.

Key Players

Brendin Klotzbach (QB/LB)

Brendin returns to lead the Irish offense during his senior season. He has the athleticism and arm strength to get the job done.

Eddy Skalny (OL/DL)

Eddy will provide leadership for a young ND offensive line.

Coach’s Quote

“This group of young men have been working very hard,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Rick Mancuso. ”And with the leadership of the senior class, we have progressed a little quicker than we anticipated.

"We have a good mix of seasoned players, plus talented newcomers. After enduring the programs first losing season last year in the last 11 years, this team has shown the work ethic it will take to get back on the competitive path.”

August 31, 2017 - 12:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, Batavia Downs, sports.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Only 11 New York bred 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers will visit America’s oldest lighted harness track this year to compete for the $106,000 in purses available in the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS), but the quality over-rides the quantity that will race at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 1). 

The first $53,500 six-horse division goes in race three and features the undefeated Hitman Hill and Casual Cool.

Hitman Hill (American Ideal-Fox Valley Shaker) got a late start this year but he has made the most of his outings, winning three out of three so far this season. Starting and winning in the Excelsior A level, Hitman Hill moved up to the NYSS quickly and torched a lifetime best 1:50.4 over a sloppy track at Vernon Downs in only his second lifetime start. He has since won at Yonkers in 1:53.2 and very much looks like a speed horse to be reckoned with.

Hitman Hill has drawn post one for trainer Chris Oakes and the western New York native has assigned Brett Miller line duty for the night. The track odds maker has him pegged at 6-5.

Casual Cool (American Ideal-Sight To See) is almost perfect this year, winning four out of five starts; all in NYSS action. The horse has raced well on both big and small tracks and over wet and dry surfaces. His lifetime best came at Vernon Downs as well, where he won handily in 1:52.2 with a wicked :26.3 final quarter. He is also the highest money earner in this race with $80,303 already in the bank.

Trainer Linda Toscano has put the Downs leading driver Drew Monti in the bike behind Casual Cool for this outing and they will depart from post three at 3-1.

In the second $52,500 five-horse split that is carded as race four features three horses that are firing on all cylinders right now.

Paprike Blue Chip (Roll With Joe-Bliss N Vinegar) has won two out of four NYSS events including tying his lifetime best effort of 1:54.2 at Yonkers Raceway last week. The gelding has not missed the board in five starts, boasts the highest earnings of this group ($68,048) and doesn’t seem to mind who drives him.

This week Jim Morrill Jr., who won with him at Saratoga Raceway on August 8, is back in the bike for trainer John Butenschoen and they will start the race from post three at 8-5.

Jersey Jim (Artiscape-Jersey Pearl) has overcome an early season breaking problem and blossomed into a fleet-footed flyer. After taking his mark of 1:54.1 at Saratoga, Jersey Jim finished second off a trip at Vernon Downs in 1:50.4 behind Hitman Hill, pacing his mile in 1:51.3. Last week at Yonkers he overcame a slow start from post seven to close quickly and finish third and this short field plays right into his closing style.

Jersey Jim gets his regular driver Jim Devaux again and they will leave from post five at 9-5 for trainer Perry Simser.  

My Delight (Betterthancheddar-Kg Delight) hasn’t won since breaking his maiden in an overnight event in July, but he also hasn’t missed the board in any of his NYSS starts either. He’s shown the ability to leave but seems just as content to travel off a trip. He figures to get a good journey here and will be in a close stalking position to make a play at the end of the mile.

Trainer Homer Hochstetler has called upon Bret Miller to steer this week and they have drawn post two and are the early third choice at 5-2.

There are also two $15,000 Excelsior A series events on the program that will go as races six and seven.

Post time for the first race is 6 p.m.

August 31, 2017 - 12:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

Classy Lane Rose, driven by Drew Monti, pulls ahead.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Classy Lane Rose has been a shrinking violet with the Batavia Downs winner’s circle this meet having not won in four starts here. But the mare was in full bloom on Wednesday (Aug. 30) as she went gate to wire in convincing style to win the $9,500 Fillies and Mares Open pace.

Classy Lane Rose (Drew Monti) left with the gate and the field willingly settled in post-position order behind her. After letting her intentions be known, she then tempered her speed to the half, backing it down to :58 flat. No one made a move until the three-eighths pole when Susie’s Delight (Ray Fisher Jr.) came first-up and brought Kruella (Shawn McDonough) along with her.

Monti kept the challengers at bay, speeding up the third panel to :28.1 and from there the race was won. Despite horses fanning four-wide around the final turn, Classy Lane Rose was in full stride and paced home in a crisp :27.4 to win by a length.

Now with $60,300 in the bank on the strength of six wins this year, Classy Lane Rose ($3.30) is owned by Carl Monti and trained by Darrin Monti.

The co-feature $8,000 distaff Open II field was shortened to five starters after two late scratches and as a result, Mean Pauline (Shawn McDonough) got a perfect pocket trip behind the point-mare Hot Patootie (Larry Stalbaum) and then shot through the lightning lane to win by a length in 1:55.2.

It was the fifth win of the year for Mean Pauline ($11.80) and owner Harry Wortzman. McDonough also trains the winner.  

Drivers Drew Monti, Larry Stalbaum and Ray Fisher Jr. all had two wins on the card. Trainer Kim Asher also scored two victories on Wednesday evening.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Sept. 1) with post time at 6 p.m. Friday’s card features the $106,000 NYSS for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings.

August 30, 2017 - 3:26pm
posted by alex brasky in football, sports, pembroke.

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Pembroke Football has had a rough go of things in recent years, but 2017 could be the season where we see them finally break out. With a familiar face making the move to Dragons’ head coach, and many experienced athletes returning to the roster, Pembroke is working toward a level of success which hasn’t been seen from this program in quite some time.

Season Outlook

Former head coach, and 2016 assistant Justin Loeber has returned to the helm of the Dragons’ program and has also welcomed back another former Pembroke head coach, and Greater Buffalo Sports HOFer, Dick Diminuco as offensive coordinator. The rapport between these two has already been built – dating back to Diminuco’s time spent as HC – and it is Loeber’s belief that their working relationship will translate to a smooth transition on the field.

In addition to two familiar faces on the sidelines, Pembroke returns a QB who has previously run Diminuco’s offense, and return a RB who led the GR in rushing yards a season ago. A young offensive line may provide a bit of growing pains for this offense to begin the year, but expect their experience in the backfield to carry them through October – and into the Section V postseason.

I believe in this team this year, more-so than I ever have before. Their Divisional schedule has remained the same, and their non-Divisional games are both winnable. If the Dragons can take care of business, they should prove me right in 2017.

Key Matchups

Week 1 – York/Pavilion

The Golden Knights are a big, strong team who will test the Dragons’ young offensive line immediately to begin the season. 

Week 2 – Alexander

The Trojans won the GR League Title last season, and will be a tough out once again in 2017.

Week 5 – Geneseo

I have heard good things about Geneseo during the preseason. This will be another non-Divisional test for the Dragons. 

Week 6 – Attica

Attica is my preseason pick to win the Division, giving this game in Week 6 the potential to be a very big game for Pembroke. 

Key Players

Reid Miano (QB/DB)

Reid returns for his third season under center for the Dragons, and leads an offense which has plenty of experienced talent behind him. 

Zach von Kramer (RB/DB)

Zach returns as the GR League’s leading rusher, and will be out to defend his rushing title in 2017.

Damion Ramirez (OL/LB)

Damion is the most-experienced of the Pembroke lineman, and will have to do his best to bring the younger guys along throughout the year. 

Brandon Kowalski (WR/DB)

Brandon is a steady contributor for Pembroke on both sides of the ball. His stats may not show it, but he is a vital piece to this team this season. 

Jarrod Carrow (TE/DL)

Jarrod is another returning athlete for the Dragons who is due for a breakout year. 

Coach’s Quote

“What I learned my first (stint as head coach), was that I was so unprepared to take the job,” began second-time Pembroke HC Justin Loeber a few weeks ago. “Coach Diminuco came in, I had two years to work with him, and he showed me how to really practice, and get the most out of our kids. I feel much more-prepared my second-time around.”

Things are finally looking up for Pembroke Football. Stay tuned for what could be a big year.

August 29, 2017 - 5:58pm
posted by alex brasky in alexander, football, sports, news.

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Alexander won their first-ever Section V Football Title last season, but enter 2017 needing several new faces to fill roles left empty by the graduation of the Class of 2016. The tradition of Championship-level success was solidified last year for the Trojans, and it will be up to this group to carry the torch forward into the future.

Season Outlook

The Trojans face a steep challenge right out of the gate, as 2016 state-ranked Bolivar-Richburg will host the Trojans -- who have few easy matchups this season. However, I believe what they return at running back and on defense should be enough to carry them to another big year. Currently, they sit as the #4 team in my HS Football Power Rankings, just behind longtime rival Attica.

While I expect Alexander to finish within the Top 2 or 3 in their Division, come Sectional time they will have to prove themselves to be a Title contender once again. Absent from this group are many of the leaders of the Trojans' 2016 Championship team, and new voices must fill the void in order to get this team to remain as a Class D Titan.

Lucky for them, it's as steady as she goes when it comes to their head coach, as Tim Sawyer is back for yet another season in the Green and Gold. He has done a solid job surrounding himself with good people and has produced a winner in Alexander. His leadership should allow for a seamless transition into 2017.

Key Matchups

Week 1 -- Bolivar-Richburg

Bolivar-Richburg was a strong team a season ago, and will likely be a tough out in 2017 as well. Alexander opens with a tough matchup on the road. 

Week 2  -- Pembroke

The Dragons could surprise this year as they have the 2016 GR League leading rusher returning to their backfield, accompanied by a three-year varsity QB. This alone should provide Pembroke with a chance to overcome the Trojans in Week 4. 

Week 4 -- Attica

Attica is my preseason pick to win the Division Title. If Alexander can knock off the Blue Devils for the second-straight season, it will likely be the Trojans who instead hoist the trophy at season's end. 

Key Players

Jake Jasen Jr. (C/MLB)

Jake is a second-year varsity starter and is the anchor of the Trojans' young offensive line. He is also a solid run defender on defense.

Erik Scharlau (DE/TE)

Erik recorded 7 sacks last season at defensive end, and will also serve as a big target at tight end, as the Trojans have a young QB this season entering his first year under center.

Chris McClinic (RB/DB)

Chris ran for over 500 yards last season as a sophomore behind a senior RB, but this year things will open up for him to extend his presence in the backfield for the Trojans. 

Job Smith (LB/FB)

Job is a tremendously physical player who his coaches expect will provide great leadership on both sides of the ball. 

Mitch Gordon (LB/FB)

Mitch led Alexander in tackles a season ago and will be big out of the backfield for his team this season as well. 

Coach's Quote

"As a coach, I am excited about the challenge this season," said Alexander HC Tim Sawyer upon our discussion last week. "I am pleased with the development and the work ethic of the players in our program. I believe if we all do our jobs to the best of our abilities, we will have a chance to win every week. I am fortunate to have a tremendous coaching staff at both the JV and Varsity level."

Alexander has a reputation to uphold as a Section V contender. Can they keep the ball rolling?

Stay tuned.

August 29, 2017 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia bulldawgs, Batavia HS, sports, football, news, batavia.

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The Batavia Blue Devils hosted the Batavia Bull Dawgs at Van Detta Stadium on Monday night for its annual Blue Devils Experience.

That's when the young players get a chance to gather for a pre-game prep-talk in the Blue Devils' locker room, run through the tunnel onto Woodward Field, warm up with the varsity squad and then play a game against the defending Section V champions.

Batavia opens its season at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse on Sunday. For ticket information, click here.

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August 28, 2017 - 4:53pm
posted by alex brasky in sports, football, Batavia HS, batavia, news.

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The run which the Batavia Football team has put together throughout the past three seasons has been nothing short of historic. After years of dormancy, the Blue Devils are now coming off of three-straight Section V Class B Titles, and are the favorite to win their fourth in a row in 2017.

Season Outlook

In an attempt to ramp-up their regular season schedule, Batavia has gone outside of the box and scheduled teams which they hope will provide them with a steeper challenge than their 2016 slate -- in order to better prepare themselves for the postseason, where they've fallen just short of the State Final Four in each of their three Championship seasons.

However, upon researching each of their 2017 opponents, it seems as if the Blue Devils effort to do so may be all for naught - as they are likely to be favored to win many, if not all 7 of their regular season games. 

Although they come into this year sporting a new quarterback under center, the experience which they possess at almost every other position on the field will help ease any growing pains their signal caller may experience. In addition, Batavia head coach Brennan Briggs has proven himself to be one of the top-coaches throughout Section V, and his ability to game plan, and make halftime adjustments has been what has put his team over the edge since his first year at the helm. 

When it's all said and done, I truly believe we will see Batavia win their fourth-straight Sectional Title. They remain as the best team in their classification, and from my perspective, it will take a miracle of sorts to knock them off as Champion. However, the real question is -- can this team get to the Carrier Dome for the State Final Four?

Time will tell.  

Key Matchups

Week 2 -- Aquinas 

Aquinas isn't necessarily the team who is a favorite to win a State Title every year, and enter 2017 under new leadership. With that being said, I expect the Lil' Irish to be one of the stronger teams on Batavia's schedule this year - and could push the Blue Devils to the brink of defeat. 

Week 5 -- Bishop Kearney

Also entering the season under a new head coach, the Kings lost a bunch from their 2016 Class C Championship squad. However, they do have an experienced quarterback under center and the new HC which they have brought in has a reputation for success. 

Week 6 -- Wilson

Wilson has given Batavia the most trouble of any of their opponents in recent seasons  - most recently pushing them in what finished as a 12-6 victory for the Blue Devils last season. This year, I expect they will give the Devils another tough game. 

Key Players

Ray Leach (RB/LB)

Ray finished as a first-team All-State selection last season and may be the best player in Section V this season. He will be tough for any opponent to stop this season. 

Butch Ray (OL/DL)

Butch was also a first-team All-State selection in 2016 and is the definition of an unstoppable force on the line of scrimmage. He, like Leach, is one of the top-players in Section V this season. 

Chandler Baker (QB)

Chandler comes equipped with elite arm strength and could provide the Devils' passing game with a boost this season. In addition, his athleticism is top-tier which makes him a dual threat in this offense. 

Coach's Quote

"We have a very young team this season," began Batavia HC Brennan Briggs upon our preseason discussion. "We should get better as the season progresses and the younger members become more comfortable with their role."

"It is always tough to replace your QB as well as other key members of a football team," continued Briggs. "But the 2017 football team is looking to put their stamp on the Batavia Football program. We have a lot of guys in new positions, but they are coming along. The goal is to go 1-0, and get better every day. We have some very difficult games along the journey, but our hope is it will prepare us for a solid post-season run."

Alex Brasky is Editor and Publisher of Batavia's Best.

August 28, 2017 - 3:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

Photo of Tito and driver Andy Miller.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Two divisions of New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings vying for $107,000 in purse money highlighted the Sunday afternoon (Aug. 27) card at Batavia Downs and a live crowd of 3,500 was on hand to watch the proceedings.

In the first $53,500 division, Tito (Andy Miller) left from post one and took an undisputed lead right off the gate. After going a moderate 1:01.3 to the half, the heavily favored My Lindy Winner (Jim Morrill Jr.) came first-up and delivered some moderate pressure to the front-runner. But Tito was up to the task and buzzed home in a quick :56.4 back-half to win easily by two-lengths in 1:58.2.

It was the first career win for Tito (7.20) and thus the time was a new lifetime mark. The time was also only one-fifth of a second off the track record for 2-year-old trotting colts.

Tito, who is by Muscle Mass out of Stonebridge Encore (Angus Hall), is owned by Anthony Lombardi, George Golemes and Louis Willinger and is trained by Erv Miller.

(Photo of Clive Bigsby with driver Chris Lems.)

In the second $53,500 split, Clive Bigsby (Chris Lems) used the exact same game plan. After taking the lead from post one, Lems backed off the fractions to 1:01.2 while three horses broke behind him. He continued to grab leather up the backside with no challengers in sight and gave Clive Bigsby his head for the last quarter where he trotted home in :28.4 to an easy three-length win in 1:59.1.

The win puts him in a first place tie in points (200) with Fourth Dimension as the top horse in his NYSS division. Fourth Dimension did not enter this week’s NYSS race.

Clive Bigsby ($3.10) now has five wins in seven starts this year and an impressive bank of $93,562. The progeny of Muscle Mass out of Northern Flare (Angus Hall) is owned by the Winters Racing Stable and George Ducharme, who also trains the colt.

There were also two $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior series on the card.

The first group was bested by Dewey Hava Winner (Deweycheatumnhowe-Kosher Winner) who scored a half-length decision in 2:00.4 for trainer/driver Ray Schnittker. Dewey Hava Winner ($4.10) is owned by Eric Taddeo.

The second set went to If Not Why Not (Muscle Mass-Amazing Grace) after a good late brush off a pocket-trip in 2:01.1 for Phil Fluet. If Not Why Not ($10) is owned by Michael Polansky and is trained by Dave Spagnola.

August 28, 2017 - 8:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Wiener Dog Race, sports, news.

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Press release:

Ruby, a 3-year-old dachshund making her first lifetime start, defeated nine other wiener dogs on Sunday (Aug. 27) en route to winning the 2017 Batavia Downs Dachshund Dash, sponsored by Genesee Feeds of Batavia.

History has shown that a dog racing for the first time normally doesn’t perform as well as dogs that have raced in previous years. But that wasn’t the case on Sunday when Ruby, who is owned by Patrick Gorman, of Buffalo, served notice with an electrifying heat victory believed to be the fastest win ever at Batavia.

In the final she took the lead soon after the start and cruised to victory.

“She stays fit by swimming,” said her owner Gorman. “She loves to fetch so that’s why we entered her.”

For her efforts her owner takes home $135 in Batavia Downs Gaming Free Play and two clubhouse buffet tickets.

Finishing second was Maximus for owner Carrie Marseglia while Martin for owner Christine Baker was third.

Getting the biggest roar of the crowd was former champion, also named Rudy. Now a 14-year-old, the legendary Dachshund who was unbeatable in 2005 and 2006 made the final but was unplaced.

“It was a remarkable afternoon,” Director of Marketing Ryan Hasenauer said. “Every year Family Fun day gets bigger and better and we look forward to doing it all again next year.”

With New York Sire Stakes, Family fun Day and the Wiener dog races, local racing fans and families came out in force on a perfect summer afternoon. Track officials estimated the live crowd to be 3,500.

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August 27, 2017 - 5:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.
Photo of Rockin In Heaven with driver Jim Morrill Jr.
 
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs 
 
It was much like a walk in the park for visiting Mohawk Raceway regular Rockin In Heaven as he went gate to wire without issue in the $10,000 Open Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 26).
 
Driver Jim Morrill Jr. left decisively with Rockin In Heaven and gained a lead he would not relinquish. While touring the facility with the best view, he took his competitors to the half in :56.1 before getting it in gear in the second half. 
 
With For A Bettor Time (Kevin Cummings) sitting behind him Rockin In Heaven was challenged by Believe This Bob (Drew Monti) moving to the three-quarters. But Morrill let him out a notch and posted a :27.4 third quarter to keep everyone in check. From there he swelled up and motored down the lane to a handy victory in 1:52.1, which was the fastest pacing mile of the 2017 meet. 
 
It was the fourth win in 15 starts for Rockin In Heaven ($4.80) and it pushed his earnings for the year to $57,819. The 5-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven is owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Douglas Polley, Francois Lecomte and Gordon McComb. Dr. Moore trains Rockin In Heaven. 
 
In the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace, Show Stopping (Kevin Cummings) pulled first-over at the five-eighths and paced stride for stride with the front-running Lucky McTrucky (Jim Morrill Jr.), eventually out-duelling him at the wire to win by a nose in 1:53.4, equalling his seasonal mark. 
 
Show Stopping ($26.60) is owned by Resiliant Racing Stable and trained by Rose Russo. 
 
The Downs leading driver Drew Monti had a grand slam on Saturday night while Jim Morrill Jr., Kevin Cummings and Ron Beback Jr. each had two wins apiece. 
 
Batavia Downs had a very special guest visit the track on Saturday. 2012 Olympic women's pole vault gold medalist Jenn Suhr was in the clubhouse enjoying the races. Suhr, who is also a 15-time U.S. National champion and holder of several women's pole vaulting records, most recently won a gold medal in the 2016 World championships in Portland, Ore.
August 27, 2017 - 2:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, Batavia Cheerleading, schools, sports.

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Batavia High School cheerleaders have been conducting a car wash today on West Main Street, at Ziebert's next to Beverly's Florist. The car wash continues until 3 p.m.

Reader submitted photo and info.

August 26, 2017 - 2:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

A big day of racing is on tap at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 27) and the featured events are two $53,000 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings. With perfect weather forecast and speedy competition scheduled to appear, the track record for this division is almost certain to go down.

The first $53,500 division is in race one and has My Lindy Winner (Credit Winner-My Lady Lindy) slated as the 6-5 favorite.

My Lindy Winner has made only two starts in his lifetime and they couldn’t have been more opposite. His first in July at Monticello Raceway was over before it began as he made a break at the gate. His second 11 days ago at Saratoga Raceway was historic.

Getting away fourth from post two, My Lindy Winner (Jim Morrill Jr.) stayed put most of the mile before tipping three-wide at the top of the stretch. From there he trotted past the front-running Purpose Blue Chip (Dan Daley) and first-over Clive Bigsby (Jason Bartlett) to win by almost two-lengths in 1:56.4.

The time was a lifetime mark for My Lindy Winner but it was also a new track record at Saratoga Raceway for age, gender and gait and also made it the fastest trotting mile for a 2-year-old trotting colt on a half-mile track in North America this year.  

My Lindy Winner has drawn post three, has Jim Morrill Jr. back in the bike and looks to be another solid contender from the Tracy Brainard stable.

Challenging the favorite will be The Veteran (Muscle Mass-Tequila Slammer) who also raced at Saratoga his last start. In an earlier division of the NYSS, The Veteran got away third and tracked closely the whole mile as the top NYSS point-earner for this group, Fourth Dimension (Brian Sears) went gate to wire in 1:57; which for a short time was the new track record. The Veteran finished third and also trotted below the former Spa mark.

With two wins in four starts this year, The Veteran has one NYSS win to his credit and $29,645 in his bank account as a result. He will leave from post two for trainer George Ducharme who has assigned Chris Lems line-duty this week. He is 2-1 morning line.

In the second $53,500 split that is carded as race four, Clive Bigsby (Muscle Mass-Northern Flare) tries for his fifth win of the year and gets the nod as the odd-makers choice.

Clive Bigsby finished second last week at Saratoga to My Lindy Winner’s record effort after leaving for position and then coming first-over at the half. From there he was parked the rest of the mile and provided live cover for the eventual winner. He still finished second after a very gutty effort.

For the year, Clive Bigsby has four wins out of six starts and has $66,812 in earnings. He is also the second leading NYSS point-earner this year in his division behind Fourth Dimension. He has drawn post one for trainer George Ducharme and is listed at 8-5. Chris Lems will be in the bike.

Also looking formidable in the race is Rich Uncle (Credit Winner-Royal Assets) who made an unfortunate break last week. Racing in a NYSS division at Saratoga, Rich Uncle left sharply off the gate and took a bad step in the first turn just as he was getting ready to drop in third. Prior to that he put in a stellar effort at Yonkers where he finished third in a 1:57 mile and the start before that, a NYSS win at Monticello where he was used twice during the mile.

Rich Uncle is trained by Ron Burke who has Jim Morrill Jr. up to drive. The pair will leave from post six and have been tabbed at 3-1 morning line.

The track record for 2-year-old trotting colts at Batavia Downs is 1:58.1, which oddly enough was the same time of the former track record at Saratoga Raceway.

Post time for the first race on Sunday is 1:15 p.m.

August 26, 2017 - 2:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

Photo of Barn Winner with driver Kevin Cummings.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

After spending most of his summer racing the New York fair circuit, Barn Winner made a rare night time pari-mutuel appearance and went home victorious in the $10,000 Open Handicap trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 25).

It seemed way too easy. Barn Winner (Kevin Cummings) left from post one and yielded the lead to Lutetium (John Cummings Jr.) in the first turn and from there he just had to sit and wait. Lutetium took the group through fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:27 before he started showing signs of fatigue.

At the top of the far turn, Cummings pulled Barn Winner and he trotted right on by the leader and just kept on going. BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) came flying late outside and Corleone Hall (Drew Monti) found room up the passing lane, but Barn Winner held them at bay and won by a length in 1:57.1.

It was the eighth win in 17 starts this year for Barn Winner ($7.80) and it provided him with a new lifetime mark as well. Now boasting earnings of $30,980 for 2017, Barn Winner is owned by Steve and Nancy Pratt and is trained by Steve Pratt.

In the co-featured $8,000 Open II trot, Egosnattitudes (Larry Stalbaum) came from sixth and made a bold three-wide move at three-quarters to sweep the field and catch the front-running Nobel Legend (Ray Fisher Jr.) by a neck to win in 1:56.4. Egosnattitudes ($13.00) is owned by Graham Grace Stables LLC and is trained by Kim Asher.

Kevin Cummings and Larry Stalbaum both had driving hat tricks on Friday while Drew Monti captured two races of his own. Joe Skowyra had a training triple with Angelo Nappo garnerning two training wins as well.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs tonight (Aug. 26) with the first race post set at 6 p.m.

August 26, 2017 - 2:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

Photo of Barn Winner with driver Kevin Cummings.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

After spending most of his summer racing the New York fair circuit, Barn Winner made a rare night time pari-mutuel appearance and went home victorious in the $10,000 Open Handicap trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 25).

It seemed way too easy. Barn Winner (Kevin Cummings) left from post one and yielded the lead to Lutetium (John Cummings Jr.) in the first turn and from there he just had to sit and wait. Lutetium took the group through fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:27 before he started showing signs of fatigue.

At the top of the far turn, Cummings pulled Barn Winner and he trotted right on by the leader and just kept on going. BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) came flying late outside and Corleone Hall (Drew Monti) found room up the passing lane, but Barn Winner held them at bay and won by a length in 1:57.1.

It was the eighth win in 17 starts this year for Barn Winner ($7.80) and it provided him with a new lifetime mark as well. Now boasting earnings of $30,980 for 2017, Barn Winner is owned by Steve and Nancy Pratt and is trained by Steve Pratt.

In the co-featured $8,000 Open II trot, Egosnattitudes (Larry Stalbaum) came from sixth and made a bold three-wide move at three-quarters to sweep the field and catch the front-running Nobel Legend (Ray Fisher Jr.) by a neck to win in 1:56.4. Egosnattitudes ($13.00) is owned by Graham Grace Stables LLC and is trained by Kim Asher.

Kevin Cummings and Larry Stalbaum both had driving hat tricks on Friday while Drew Monti captured two races of his own. Joe Skowyra had a training triple with Angelo Nappo garnerning two training wins as well.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs tonight (Aug. 26) with the first race post set at 6 p.m.

August 25, 2017 - 6:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in little league, batavia, sports, baseball.

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The Batavia Green Team won the championship of a special four-week summer league that just completed the short season.

Jamarion Richardson, first row, Landon Santini; Preston Tobolski, Mac Wormley, Cooper Hamilton, Kyle Porter, Brady Mazur; Gavin Lawlis, Connor Scott, Alex Johnson, Alex DiFilippo; Assistant Coach Dave Scott, Head Coach Brenden von Kramer, Assistant Coach Tom Porter, Assistant Coach Chris Ball.

Not pictured, Nolan Ball and Kylan Ball.

Photo and info submitted by Tricia DiFilippo.

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