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August 24, 2016 - 3:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, batavia, Bulldawgs, blue devils.
Press release:
 
Tonight is the annual BLUE DEVIL EXPERIENCE night. The Mini Division Bulldawgs (8-9 year olds) will play against the Blue Devils varsity team under the lights.

 

Prior to the game, the kids will be allowed to go into the varsity locker room to hear Coach Brennan Briggs' pre-game speech and come out onto the field alongside the Devils.

Game time is at 7:15 p.m. at VanDetta Stadium in Batavia (Mini players are to arrive by 7 p.m.).

This will be the battle of champions ... as the defending 2015 NOFA Mini Division Champion Bulldawgs look to defend its 2-0 record vs. the TWO-time defending Section V Blue Devils.

Come out for an exciting game! GO BULLDAWGS!

August 24, 2016 - 3:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, pembroke, Arsenal Baseball.
Press release:

Arsenal Baseball is Western NY’s newest boys travel baseball program committed to bringing quality coaching and baseball to Genesee County and the surrounding areas.

The coaching staff at Arsenal Baseball is excited to announce try-outs from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27th at the Pembroke High School varsity baseball field for the 2016-2017 travel baseball season. 

Registration begins at 12:30 p.m.

For additional questions please contact Brett Willitt at [email protected]

August 24, 2016 - 11:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, oakfield-alabama, football, sports.

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Long a staple of the Genesee Region league, Elba and Byron-Bergen have parted ways, creating an opportunity for Elba and Oakfield-Alabama to create a new alliance.

It makes sense. The two communities share a youth football program, so the players grow up together and now they can continue that learning process together through the games that really count in high school.

Now comes the hard part of bringing two programs together on short notice. Elba's Head Coach Mike Cintorino and O-A Head Coach Brian Palone will share that role this year in the combined program. Home games will be split between the two schools and the team will wear the home uniform of whichever school is hosting that home game. On the road, they'll switch up the uniforms.

Next year, Cintorino said, no pun intended, the uniforms will become more uniform. There will be new colors and a new mascot.

This year, everybody's just got to get through the transition.

And the players are getting through it just fine, both coaches said. They're coming together, working hard and learning, even though it's a young team with lots of decisions to be made about who to play where.

One key decision is already made. Strong-armed freshman Colton Dylan will be behind center, taking snaps and running the offense.

"If we didn’t have the confidence in him we would probably find somebody else," Cintorino said. "He came out this summer and showed us right away — there were a few kids we were thinking about at the quarterback position, but the first time we came out for 7-on-7s and we watched him throw and watched him do what he can do, we just kind of looked at each other and said, ‘yup, that’s our guy.’ "

He's a freshman. He's got a lot to learn. He'll make mistakes and have his ups and downs, but Palone said he's shown he has the maturity to handle the process.

"He has a good cast around him, in coaches and players, to support him and help him become a better player," Palone said.

The offensive line is made up mostly of O-A players returning from last year and the receiving corps is anchored by experienced players from Elba, which will help put a good offense around Dylan, Palone said.

"Being a ninth-grader and being a leader to seniors is not an easy task," Cintorino said. "It’s not an easy task for an 11th-grader, so he’ll have to grow into that, but physically, he can do everything that we ask of him."

Palone and Cintorino are also growing into working with each other, they said. They both came into the GR the same year, so they know each other well, but they are molding together different styles and different strategies, but so far it's working well, they said.

"We're able to work together and help each other out," Palone said. "It's only going to make us better coaches, learning from each other and what we do. We’re both excited and looking forward to the challenge of working with each other and helping the kids out and becoming one program."

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August 23, 2016 - 1:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, sports, news, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

If you have ever attended live harness racing and realized you may be interested in becoming an active participant in America’s oldest organized sport, Batavia Downs is offering a new owner seminar at 3 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 10) in the Robert J. Kane Boardroom, located in the lower grandstand. It is being held in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association and the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State.

The program will include a two-and-a-half hour classroom presentation by representatives of the United States Trotting Association (USTA) and the Harness Horse Breeders of New York (HHBNYS) and will include guest trainers, drivers, owners and management from Batavia Downs Racetrack. Topics will include risk and reward, what it costs, choosing your horse, trainer and driver, and time will be allowed for questions and answers throughout the evening.

The package includes:

  • All needed classroom materials;
  • A hands-on tour of the paddock as horses prepare for the night's action;
  • Reserved seating in the clubhouse;
  • Dinner at the prime rib, crab leg and shrimp buffet;
  • A trip to the winner’s circle for a win picture after a race;
  • Membership to the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State;
  • $20 worth of free-play on the gaming floor;
  • and a free one-year subscription to the industry’s award-winning publication, "Hoof Beats Magazine."

The cost is only $30 for a single and $50 for a couple. Reservations should be made in advance but payment will be made at the door. There are several ways to register. There are links on both USTA and Batavia Downs Facebook pages or go to shop.ustrotting.com and click Prospective Owners Events. You can also e-mail [email protected] or call 877-800-8782, ext. 5555 or 585-343-375, ext. 6322.

This is your opportunity to own your own sports franchise and go from the grandstand to the winner’s circle with your winning horse. Purses have never been higher at many tracks in North America and there has never been a better time to get involved in all the fun and excitement of harness racing ownership than right now.

August 23, 2016 - 11:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, football, sports.

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The players are working hard, learning fast and Head Coach Brian Herdlein likes what he sees so far of the 2016 edition of the Le Roy Oatkan Knights.

The team has athleticism, he said, though several players are being asked to step into starting roles for the first time.

Josh Laurie returns to his #1 QB slot and the other offensive skill positions look strong, Herdlein said.

"if we can stay away from the injury bug, we should be solid at the skill positions, especially receiver; we’re pretty deep there," Herdlein said. "We’ve got a couple of solid running backs, then you add Josh in there, who can run and throw. He’s a duel threat, so I think we’ll be OK."

Defensively, the team loses Nick Eggling but adds speed and height with Dom Filio, Nate Flint, Bryce Bordonaro and Luke Stella.

The team's first home game will be played in Perry because of new construction (field house, concession stand and press box) at Hartwood Park, with the first actual home-home game coming in the fourth game of the season.

That odd schedule won't affect the team at all, Herdlein said. The players have known about the change all off-season, he said.

Le Roy will play Cal-Mum this year, the traditional archrival, at the end of the season.

It's always the Knights' goal to make the post-season and Herdlein thinks his young team has the talent to challenge for a Class C title.

"Right now, I think we’re taking all the right steps," Herdlein said. "The kids work hard every day. They’re willing to learn. That’s all we can ask."

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August 22, 2016 - 4:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in charity, Stafford, Madisonation, sports, golf.

Submitted photo of Ella Suhr; she and her family are the designated recipients of this year's "Madisonation" Golf Tournament proceeds.

Kevin Muckle, of Stafford, is continuing the fight against childhood cancer and has organized the sixth annual "Madisonation" Golf Tournament, which will be held at Hickory Ridge Golf Tournament this Sunday (Aug. 28).

Hickory Ridge Golf Resort and Country Club is located at 15816 Lynch Road in Holley.

The tournament's motto is "Never Give Up."

His family never did. Madison Marie Muckle was diagnosed just after her third birthday. She endured two and a half years of treatment and received her final round of chemo in April of 2013.

Today Kevin's 8-year-old daughter is cancer free. This thankful dad has spearheaded the tournament each year on her behalf and for other children battling acute lymphocytic leukemia and other children cancers.

Since the tournament began, recipients of the annual proceeds have included Golisano Children's Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and a local family with a 4-year-old daughter who is fighting the disease. More than $6,800 was raised for that family.

This year, proceeds will be donated to the family of Ella Suhr, who is about 8 months old and was diagnosed in March with primitive neuroectodermal tumor, a cancerous neural crest tumor that is extremely rare.

The funds raised on Sunday will help her parents with medical expenses, travel costs (to Tampa, Fla., and Rochester) and bills that continue to mount while they strive to save their baby girl's life. The parents, Joe and Maegan Suhr, are both local school teachers, and have been out of work since the diagnosis and will continue to be for the next several months.

"Please help us in our efforts to help Ella and her family beat this disease," Muckle said.

Sunday's event is a semi-competitive best ball tournament, with prizes awarded to the lowest men's, ladies, and mixed team scores.

The registration fee is $380 per foursome. Individual golfers seeking a team are $95 each. Those who wish to skip golf and just enjoy the banquet and fundraiser are just $30 each.

The tournament schedule is:

  • 8 a.m. -- Registration/check in begins
  • 9 a.m. -- Shotgun start
  • 2 p.m.-ish -- "The Cool Down"
  • 3 p.m. -- Presentations
  • 3:15 p.m. -- Dinner is served
  • 4 p.m. -- Guest Speaker: Ernie DiGregorio
  • 4:15 p.m. -- Raffles for prizes
  • 4:30 p.m. -- Check presentation to Suhr Family

Contact Kevin Muckle at (585) 300-7499 with any questions or to contribute or donate to the tournament and this cause. Any donations can be mailed to: Madisonation, 9206 Transit Road, Stafford, NY 14143.

Visit the Madisonation website by clicking here.

August 22, 2016 - 12:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Robin J with driver Jim Marohn Jr.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

A heavy early rain dampened the track, but not the enthusiasm shown by the eight 2-year-old pacing fillies competing for one of the largest single purses ever offered at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 20). And when the all the moves were made, Robin J (Roll With Joe-Mommy Robin Q) saved her best one for last and captured the victory in the New York Sire Stake event.

Artrageous (Jim Morrill Jr.) left sharply for the lead and Robin J (Jim Marohn Jr.) settled in behind her as the field moved to the quarter in :28.3. Shortly after they passed that marker the outer flow set up with American Cheer (Billy Davis Jr.) coming first over and Pleasant Roll (Chris Lems) and Roaring To go (Kevin Cummings) following right behind.

At the three-quarter pole they fanned four across the track when Pleasant Roll tipped three wide and Roaring To Go went four abreast. Pleasant Roll took the lead from Artrageous by a half-length in the last turn, but Artrageous dug in and took it back before they hit the stretch. As they headed down the lane Artrageous was in the middle of the track trying to fight off Pleasant Roll when Marohn moved Robin J into the passing lane and powered by them both to take the win in 1:56.

“She was real good tonight, but I couldn’t have asked for a better trip. The way it set up and the way the race went; it was all about the trip” said Marohn after the race.

It was the fifth win in six lifetime starts for Robin J ($4.50) and the purse enhance her lifetime total to $131,605 for owner Ken Jacobs. Robin J is trained by Linda Toscano.

There were also four $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series on the program.

The first division was won by Megyn K (American Ideal-Fantasy Jet) in 1:58 for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Jean Drolet. Megyn K ($2.90) is owned by Stephen Schneider, William Siegel, Jay Lieberman and Karen Munk.

The second division went to Bullvillestephanie (Roll With Joe-Bullville Ana) in 1:57.4 for driver Ray Schnittker and trainer Steve Crevani. Bullvillestephanie ($11.40) is owned by Crevani Farms.

The third leg was won by Ann Hill (Rock N Roll Heaven-Taxi Fare Hanover) in 1:57.1 for driver Chris Lems and trainer Tony Alagna. Ann Hill ($3.30) is owned by Tom Hill.

The final split was taken by Pirinea’s Princess (Roll With Joe-Chant-a-nuka) in 1:59.1 for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Dennis Laterza. Pirinea’s Princess ($3.00) is owned by Latz A Luck Stable.

Jim Morrill Jr. scored four driving wins on the card that included three in stake action and one in the overnight featured $10,500 Open pace with Ron Burke’s multi-million dollar winner, Clear Vision (Western Hanover-Artistic Vision) in 1:53.4, wire to wire.

August 20, 2016 - 12:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Serendipitous and driver Ray Fisher Jr.)

By Tim Bojarski

There were two mares against the boys in the $10,000 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 19) and girl-power prevailed as Serendipitous, who was overlooked at 9-1, pulled out a wire to wire victory in a lifetime best time of 1:57.1.

Weekly leaver Lutetium (Todd Cummings) made a break off the gate which handed Serendipitous (Ray Fisher Jr.) the lead and with it, the mare took the field in post-position order to the half in :57.3. At the five-eighths, Noble Legend (Kevin Cummings) pulled first over and brought heavily favored J A T O (Mike Caprio) in tow and the pair motored up toward the front.  

That outer flow chased the leader to the three-quarter station in 1:27.1 without gaining much ground when J A T O pulled three wide in the last turn and started his solo assault. But when he actually drifted five-wide in the move, Serendipitous was able to maintain her lead in mid-stretch and fend off the pocket-sitting Winky’s Pride as well as the late rush by J A T O to win by a neck.

Winky’s Pride (Drew Monti), who was the other mare in the race, finished second and J A T O settled for third.

It was the sixth victory of the year for Serendipitous ($21.80) and the winner’s share of the purse padded her bank account to the tune of $33,267 for Guy Polillo Est. and trainer John Mungillo.

The secondary feature carded as the $8,500 Open II saw Kahoku ($7.70) avoid some early road trouble and go wire to wire in a fast 1:56.3 for driver Ron Beback Jr. The 8-year-old gelded son of SJ’s Caviar is trained by Mark Laidlaw for owners Colleen Girdlestone and Michael Gentner.

Batavia Downs leading dash driver Kevin Cummings had a driving triple on the night while Drew Monti doubled up.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs tonight (Aug. 20) with the first post set for 6:15. Saturday’s card features the NYSS 2-year-old pacing fillies going for $110,200 in race four on the card.

August 20, 2016 - 11:06am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Don Carroll Race, 5K, batavia, sports, Don Carroll.

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The 35th Annual Donald R. Carroll Toys for Kids 5K Run/Fun Walk was this morning at a new starting point Kibbe Park on Oakland Street Batavia. 

Many local sponsors helped support the event, Beth and Brian Kemp of T-Shirts Etc. were directors of today's race.

There were 72 participants. The winner was Eric Boyce pictured below with a time of 17.50. Other top-five finishers are: second place -- Zak Jantki, 18:05; third place --Mike Richenburg, 18:08; fourth place -- Kevin Sheehan, 18:15; and fifth place -- Andy Cowan 19:22.

Top woman was Kimberly Mills, with a time of 19:44.

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August 19, 2016 - 10:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Cancer Assistance, sports, golf, news.

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Genesee Cancer Assistance held its annual golf tournament fundraiser at Batavia County Club today and with the support of numerous volunteers, the nonprofit hosted a couple hundred golfers and bocce ball players.

One of the features of the tournament this year was a floating green challenge -- a small green floating in the middle of a lake. If a golfer could land a ball on the green -- at $5 a try, he or she could win a new driver. If nobody made it, each entrant would have a chance to win through a drawing. No word on who the winner was yet.

Joe Gerace, a stalwart among Genesee Cancer Assistance volunteers, insisted on working the tournament, as he usually does, as a marshal. He's pictured below with Peter Guppenberger, who came within feet of hitting the floating green with his shot above.

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August 19, 2016 - 1:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Robin J, courtesy of Fotowon.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

There is $110,200 up for grabs in the 2-year-old pacing filly division of the New York Sire Stakes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 20) but it’s being competed for all in one race. In a rare instance, only eight of the 43 2-year-old pacing fillies that have started in NYSS competition this year have entered the top level this week and they will go postward in race four.

The $110,200 one-race payoff is one of the most lucrative purses ever offered at Batavia Downs behind the all-time record of $286,756 that was distributed in the 1988 Breder's Crown.

Robin J (Roll With Joe-Mommy Robin Q) has been made the prohibitive 8-5 morning line choice on the strength of four wins in five lifetime starts and all were in stake competition. Last week, Robin J went wire to wire in the Geers Stake at Tioga Downs and registered the victory in 1:54, with a last quarter in an eye-popping :26.3, and in doing so set a new lifetime mark. She can race on point or off the pace and that makes her a double threat.

Jim Marohn Jr. makes an infrequent appearance at Batavia Downs to drive Robin J for trainer Linda Toscano and leaves from post two.

Challenging will be Artrageous (Art Major-In Deep Thought) who is a two-time winner this year, most recently in NYSS action at Saratoga Raceway where she won cutting the mile in 1:55.4, her career best. It’s interesting to note Artrageous defeated Robin J in that contest. The filly was race timed in 1:52.4 at Vernon Downs last week in a third place finish and hasn’t been off the board this year in five tries.

Jim Morrill Jr. takes the reins for trainer Andrew Stafford and departs the gate from post one.

Pleasant Roll (Roll With Joe-Pleasant But Bad) has only one win this year but has shown tremendous growth over her last two starts. After dropping down to the Excelsior A level two weeks ago, Pleasant Roll destroyed her field and won by six lengths in a lifetime best 1:53.3. She then followed that effort up with a second place finish in 1:53 in the Geers Stake at Tioga after being parked out for a good part of the mile. Her division time and her personal clocking of 1:53.3 were both faster than Robin J’s race that day.

Chris Lems is in the bike for trainer Julie Miller and will leave from post five.

There are also four $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A Series on the card and they will provide some outstanding wagering opportunities.

The first division (Race 2) has Megyn K (American Ideal-Fantasy Jet) listed as the 2-1 morning line choice from post five for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Jean Drolet.

The second division (Race 3) features the Blake Macintosh-trained entry of Takeyourbreathaway (Rock N roll Heaven-Leave Em Gasping) with Billy Davis Jr. aboard from post two and Clear Idea (American Ideal-Glass Maker) with Drew Monti at the lines from post eight, pegged as the 5-2 handicappers selection.

The third division (Race 6) has trainer Tony Alagna’s Ann Hill (Rock N Roll Heaven-Taxi Fare Hanover) listed at 5-2 for driver Chris Lems who will leave from post five.

And the final division (Race 7) has seen Opaline Blue Chip named the 5-2 early favorite for trainer Richard Ringler and local driving favorite Kevin Cummings, who starts from post five.

Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

August 18, 2016 - 1:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of My Tallia Ideal with driver Dave McNeight III.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

My Tallia Ideal ($5.50) let her foes do the heavy lifting for the first half of the race and then proceeded to pick up the pieces for an easy victory in the $9,500 mares open pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 17).

Wanna Rock N Roll (Todd Cummings), Jann Down (Jack Flanigen) and V’la Faire (Wade Tomaszewski) went three-wide around the first turn and then up the backside, scorching a :27.2 quarter in the process. V’la Faire finally claimed the lead and led the girls to the half.

My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) pulled first-over in advance of that station and floated outside the leader as they went around the clubhouse turn. When they straightened up the backside, McNeight let out the lines and his mare responded in kind. Clearing by the three-quarter pole in 1:26.3, My Tallia Ideal proceeded to stride away from the rest of the field and opened up a four-length lead by the time she stopped the timer in 1:54.3, pacing her last quarter in :28 flat.

Who Says That (Drew Monti) rallied strong to be second and a very game V’la Faire hung on for third.

It was the second win in three Batavia downs starts for My Tallia Ideal, both of which were in the top company. The 6-year-old daughter of Western Ideal has now earned $38,775 in 2016 for owners Peter Kibler, Kenneth Owczarczak and Courtney McNeight. Dave McNeight Jr. does the training.

Wins came in multiples for many horsemen on Wednesday night. Drivers Dave McNeight III and Ray Fisher Jr. both had triples while Drew Monti and Kevin Cummings chimed in with doubles. On the training side, Dave McNeight Jr. and Angelo Nappo each sent two horses to the winner's enclosure for photos.

Racing resumes on Friday night (Aug. 19) at Batavia Downs with the first post set for 6:15.

August 18, 2016 - 8:01am

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The 9th Annual Chapin Charity Golf Tournament was played on Aug. 13th at Terry Hills Golf Course in support of this year's charity: The Disabled American Veterans-Transportation Network. All the proceeds raised were donated to the charity.

Although for the first time in the history of the event the weather conditions were less than perfect, the tournament was very enjoyable.

The tournament started off with a military honor guard accompanying bugler, Frankie Panepinto, playing the “National Anthem" in honor of our veterans. 

A record number of 204 golfers participated in the outing, which is quite an increase from the first event with 44 golfers! Each golfer received a gift bag full of snacks and items to start off the tournament, donated by Chapin. The Disabled American Veterans-Transportation Network donated a pound of coffee to each participant and mugs, while helping pass out all the goodies. 

Everyone, including volunteers, received lunch tickets before the tournament. Players were encouraged to enter the putting contest at the practice green. For the last three years, Max Pies Furniture has donated a lounge chair for the winner of this contest. Local resident Derek Ellis won the chair.

Everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner at the awards banquet catered by Terry Hills following the tournament. Assemblyman Steve Hawley began the awards banquet with a presentation on the 9th annual Patriots Trip to Washington, D.C. Chapin followed up with a contribution to assist the veterans' fund for the trip.

The event recognized four categories this year as winners: The Chapin Division, the Business Division, Mixed Division and Female Division. Each player received a nice prize package. The Chapin Division winners’ names will be placed on a “Stanley Cup” style trophy and all other winners received commemorative plaques. Every player received a prize with a $25 value. Along with the prizes Chapin presented each player with a Made in USA, 3X5 American flag. No one walks away unhappy or empty handed.

Unfortunately there were no winners for the HOLE-IN-ONES offered on hole #7 by Toyota of Batavia (Corolla), hole #12 by Ken Barrett Chevrolet/Cadillac (Cruze), and hole #25 by Castilone Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep (Jeep Renegade). A very special thanks goes out to the dealerships for their continued support for the tournament.

The big winner was the Disabled American Veterans-Transportation Network and this year’s funds raised reached a new record. More than $10,300 was raised to benefit the DAV. The Disabled American Veterans-Transportation Network still needs support. 

Please contact Doug Titus, coordinator at the DAV. [email protected]. Phone: (585) 297-1170.

Chapin International is very proud to host this event each year. Next year it will be held on Aug. 12. Mark the calendar! Due to the continued growth, space will be limited.  Contact Norm Hubbard, Golf Tournament director, to become a sponsor or answer any questions, [email protected] or 585-343-3140, ext. 3018.

Check out the pictures of this year’s event. Go to www.chapincharitygolf.com. Special thanks to the volunteers and photographers Mike Freeman, Scott Gimbrone and Lori Kramer.

Submission by Norm Hubbard -- Tournament chair, and photos by Michael Freeman.

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August 16, 2016 - 4:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, sports, baseball, muckdogs.

Press release: 

Due to rain and wet field conditions during three separate road games, the Muckdogs will now be making those games up at Dwyer Stadium. 

The game in Mahoning Valley on Thursday, Aug. 11th, was postponed due to rain. This game will be made up as part of a double header on Wednesday, Aug. 17th. The teams will play two seven-inning games, with the first game starting at 5:05 p.m. Gates will open at 4 p.m.

The second makeup game will occur versus the Auburn Doubledays on Sunday, Sept. 4th, starting at 2:05 p.m. Gates will open at 1 p.m. The first game will be the conclusion of a suspended game that began Saturday, Aug. 13th, in Auburn. The game will begin in the bottom of the third inning with the score tied at zero, as it was when the game was postponed. The game is scheduled to be a nine inning game and will be followed by Sunday’s regularly scheduled contest, which will be seven innings. 

The final makeup game will take place versus Auburn on Monday, Sept. 5th. This is to make up the game that was postponed due to wet field conditions in Auburn on Sunday, Aug. 14th. Once again, the teams will play two seven-inning games, with the first game starting at 1:05 p.m. Gates will open at noon.

August 16, 2016 - 11:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, news, Batavia HS, batavia.

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It's August, and Batavia High School Coach Brennan Briggs couldn't be happier. He's got his team right where he wants them, preparing for another football season.

“We’re enthused to be playing football again," said the Blue Devil's head coach. “We back on the gridiron and we love it. We’re excited to be out on the practice field at Van Detta."

Typically, this time of year, Briggs is taciturn about his team's chances in the upcoming season. This August, he isn't mincing words. He's raising expectations for his young players, many of whom are replacing starters that helped Batavia win consecutive Section V championships.

"We need to stay the course, keep the expectations high," Briggs said. "Even though we're young, it doesn't mean we can't go out there and compete for our third title in a row. They need to set the bar high. They have the ability to win a section championship. We've just got to make sure we enjoy the journey and make sure we're getting better every week."

The heart of any offense is the quarterback and with Greg Mruczek's graduation, that opens the position for the 2016 season. Senior Jerry Reinhart has the inside track, but he's got some competition for the slot. Junior Chandler Baker has a chance to win the job.

"Baker is a fantastic athlete and he's pushing Jerry," Briggs said. "He's done a great job. It makes for a great, healthy competition for both guys to compete for the spot. Regardless of who gets the spot, both would make fantastic QBs and both are fantastic receivers. Their athleticism will have an impact, one that is notable on Friday nights."

Both have good arms and can run, Briggs said. Reinhart has a little more experience after backing up Mruczek last season.  

The offensive line is young and several guys are competing for starting positions, but it will be anchored by the experience of Anthony "Butchy" Ray.

On defense, Briggs said the Blue Devils will have bulk on the line and athleticism on the outside, led by Eric Davis and Sam Marble. 

"They're athletic on the ends, so we might be able to get creative with those guys out there," Briggs said. "We might be able to unleash them a bit, which is good if they make sure they know what their number one responsibility is and buy totally into the system. It will give us a different look."

Last year's team was notable for the tight-knit, family-like culture of the team. The young guys aren't quite there yet, but Briggs thinks with time they will get there. It will help with the resilience they'll need to call upon on Friday nights.

"We have a positive group of kids and I'm excited about what they can do," Briggs said.

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August 15, 2016 - 1:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of Goosebumb Hanover with driver Jim Morrill Jr.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Despite the oppressive humidity at post time, victory in the $119,300 New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies was no sweat for Goosebump Hanover and Non Stick at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 13).

Goosebump Hanover (RC Royalty-Good Common Cents) took a wait-and-see approach in the first $59,100 division as Jim Morrill Jr. took back to last while Lindylicious (Kevin Cummings), Swinging Royalty (Chris Lems) and Earn Your Wings (Charlie Norris) accounted for three lead changes before the half that was reached in :58.2.

At that station, Earn your Wings was on top by two when Morrill pulled Goosebump Hanover to follow the live cover of Lindylicious, who had made a move at five eighths. Morrill followed the outer flow until it stalled and then swung three-wide at the top of the far turn and started pouring on the speed. When they hit the straightaway, Goosebump Hanover was in full-stride and scored a one length victory in 1:58.

After the race, driver Jim Morrill Jr. spoke glowingly of his filly. “The race set up perfectly for her with the fast half. But when I tipped her and asked her for more, she trotted strong to the wire.”

Goosebump Hanover ($10.40) is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable, LLC, J&T Silva Stables, LLC, Crawford Farms, LLC, and Joseph DiScala Jr.

(Photo of Non Stick with trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt.)

In the second $60,200 leg, Non Stick (Lucky Chucky-Meucci Madness) took no prisoners as trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt left immediately and worked his way to the lead by the quarter in :29 flat. Open Access (Charlie Norris), who left behind Non Stick, was pressuring her on the outside at that point but made a break in the turn and that allowed the leader a :30.4 breather in the second panel.

Approaching the five eighths pole, post time favorite Fad Finance (Jim Morrill Jr.) pulled from third and drafted outside of Non Stick up the backside. But as soon as the pair hit the final turn, Morrill gave the filly her head and Fad finance surged a length ahead of Non Stick. However the tables turned quickly when they straightened out in the lane as Non Stick came back on and pulled away to an easy two-length win in 1:58.2.

Non Stick ($5.60) is owned by Ake Svanstedt, Inc., and Little E, LLC.

There were also three $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card and two of them showed up the headliners by just missing the track record for 3-year-old trotting fillies by a fifth of a second (Cowgirl Hall, Bouncing Bax-1:57.2).

The first division was won by Wendy’s Girl (Lucky Chucky-East Creek Wendy) who was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. in 1:57.3. Wendy’s Girl ($2.80) is trained by Tracy Brainard for owners Howard Taylor and Edwin Gold.

The second leg was won by Dazzling Dollars (Cash Hall-Designed To Dazzle) who was also driven by Jim Morrill Jr. and was also timed in 1:57.3. Dazzling Dollars ($3.30) is trained by Trond Smedshammer for owner Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stable.

The third split was captured by Hullaba Lulu (RC Royalty-Lulu Pernilla) who was teamed by his trainer, John Stark Jr. in 1:58.2. Hullaba Lulu ($16.20) is owned by the estate of Edmund Smith, Daniel Giannuzzi, James Giannuzzi and Carol Wink.  

Jim Morrill Jr. had a driving triple on the card while Dave McNeight III won with two.

August 13, 2016 - 1:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of J A T O with driver Mike Caprio, courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

J A T O is an acronym for jet-assisted take-off and given the style of his racing, there has probably never been a more aptly named horse. At Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 12), J A T O (Mike Caprio) turned on the jets from last and flew home to capture the $10,000 Open trotting feature in the fastest trotting mile of the meet.

Lutetium (Todd Cummings) took his familiar position up front as he left from post six and dictated the fractions. He went to the half in :57.2 with a two-length lead before anyone made a move. As they motored up the backside, Lutetium then opened up a four-length lead and was beginning to look like a winner, but Mike Caprio pulled J A T O from last and made a very strong three-wide move.

When the field reached three quarters in 1:26.3, J A T O had moved into second and cut Lutetium’s lead in half and when they hit the top of the stretch, it was all over; J A T O simply trotted away to a length victory in 1:57.2. Lutetium hung on for second and Noble Legend (Kevin Cummings) closed well for third.

It was the third win in nine starts for J A T O ($3.80) and it pushed the 4-year-old gelded son of Big Apple Deli’s bankroll to $35,075 for 2016. The time of 1:57.2 was a seasonal mark for the winner.

J A T O is trained by Alana Caprio for owners Margaret Butler and Amy Butler.

Kevin Cummings scored a driving triple and that pushed him into second place among the local driver colony for dash wins, now with 15. Drew Monti and Todd Cummings both had doubles on the card as well. 

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on tonight (Aug. 13) with two legs of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies on the card. Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

August 12, 2016 - 1:43pm

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Police chiefs from throughout Western New York are in Batavia today for a golf tournament at Terry Hills.

The gathering of the Western New York Association of Chiefs of Police is a social event and networking opportunity, said Batavia PD's Chief Shawn Heubusch, who helped organize the tournament.

Pictured are Doug Richardson, Rob Ruffner, John Applebee, Bobby Lapidus, playing as a foursome, along with organizers Pete Hoffmeister, left, chief in Warsaw, Heubusch, second from right, and Pete Hoffmeister, far right, chief of Arcade.

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August 12, 2016 - 1:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, muckdogs, baseball, batavia, news, buffalo bills, Ray Bentley.

Press release:

The Batavia Muckdogs today announced that former Buffalo Bills linebacker Ray Bentley will sign autographs at Dwyer Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 21st, when the Muckdogs battle the West Virginia Black Bears at 4:05 p.m.

Prior to throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, Bentley will sign autographs from 3 to 3:45 p.m. Bentley will then sign again from 4:10 to 5 p.m.

Bentley is also the author of a series of children’s books about the characters Darby the Dinosaur and Bubba Gator. In addition to Bentley’s autograph signing, the first 150 kids 10 and under will also receive a free copy of the book “Darby’s Christmas Adventure.”

Bentley spent six seasons with the Bills (1986-1991), including two of the four historic consecutive Super Bowl appearances. After suffering an injury with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1992, Ray retired from professional football. Once retired, Ray became a radio show talk host in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., on WOOD 1340 AM, as well as a play by play announcer on FOX for the NFL. In 2000, he became the Head Coach and General Manager of the Buffalo Destroyers, an Arena Football League team. After resigning in 2003, he made his way back to the television screen, becoming a color analyst for ESPN college football games, the job he still holds today.

For tickets, call the Muckdogs box office at (585) 343-5454, ext. 1005.

August 12, 2016 - 12:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of Non Stick courtesy of Fotowon.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

When the 3-year-old trotting filly division of the New York Sire Stakes rolls into Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 13), three of the top six richest distaff sophomore trotters of 2016 will be on hand to compete for the $119,300 in purses being offered. 

In the first $60,200 leg that is carded as race three, Non Stick (Lucky Chucky-Meucci Madness) comes in with $158,332 bankrolled this year on the strength of a win in the $225,000 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) at Vernon Downs on Sunday (June 19) in a career best 1:54 time. Those earnings rank her fourth among all 3-year-old trotting fillies in North America.

Last week at Yonkers Raceway, Non Stick was a beaten 1-5 favorite after making an uncharacteristic break for driver Daniel Dube while on the lead in the last turn. But the filly drew well again here and will look to make amends this week.

Non Stick is the 2-1 morning line favorite and will start from post two. Trainer Ake Svanstedt takes back the reins and will do the driving here.

Fad Finance (Credit Winner-Armbro Vanity) is more than a formidable foe and comes in boasting three straight NYSS victories. On Sunday (July 24) Fad Finance finished third in the $140,000 Zweig Memorial trot at Vernon Downs, beaten by Flowers N Songs and Woman’s Will who both competed in the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations at the Meadowlands on Saturday (July 30).

Fad Finance has four wins this year, is the leading point-getter in her division of the NYSS and has $141,806 banked, putting her sixth in North America in earnings for age, sex and gait. The filly is picked second and listed at 5-2 morning line and will once again get the services of Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike.

Race four is the second $59,100 division and Swinging Royalty (RC Royalty-Swing Anna Cash) comes in with a very impressive resume. After finishing second to Non Stick in the EBC, Swinging Royalty scorched the Vernon Downs oval in an overnight event in 1:54.1, winning by 15 lengths and registering a new lifetime mark. The filly then backed that up with her first NYSS win the week after at Tioga Downs.

Swinging Royalty is the third highest point-getter in her division and her $142,147 in earning this year has her ranked fifth among all 3-year-old trotting fillies in North America.

Trainer George Ducharme has Chris Lems back in the bike after a two-week hiatus and he will leave from post six at 2-1. Lems has been aboard for all four lifetime wins by Swinging Royalty.  

Goosebump Hanover (RC Royalty-Good Common Cents) had a slow start this year before winning the $27,690 Tompkins trot at Tioga in July. However her subsequent two outings may have been considered less than expected. So trainer Ron Burke added Lasix for her last start at Yonkers and that could make a difference this week.

Jim Morrill Jr. will steer again this week and leave from post 5 at 3-1.

Earn Your Wings (Credit Winner-Southwind Serena) put in a stellar effort at Yonkers last week, winning from post eight in 1:57. After leaving in :28.2, Earn your Wings yielded the lead to heavy favorite Non Stick and then sat in the pocket. Non Stick made a break before the stretch and Earn Your Wings took it from there, scoring a length victory at 30-1.

With three wins this year and just under $100,000 accumulated, Earn Your Wings drew post two and trainer Annette Lorentzon has called on Mark MacDonald to pilot this week.

There are also three divisions of the $15,000 Excelsior A series carded as races five through seven and all look like solid wagering opportunities.

Wendy’s Girl (Lucky Chucky-East Creek Wendy) is the 8-5 choice in race five for trainer Tracy Brainard and driver Jim Morrill Jr., Winky’s Gal (RC Royalty-Tessel) is the 5-2 favorite in race six for driver Chris Lems and trainer James Weidman and Outsidecourt (Conway Court-Getaway Cheyenne) is the 2-1 morning line in race seven for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Gary Messenger.

Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

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