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July 28, 2018 - 4:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, kickball, YMCA, Get Fit Program, news, batavia.

The YMCA is sponsoring a Kickball Tournament on Aug. 11 at the Batavia High School athletic fields to benefit the Healthy Children and Families Coalition.

Rain date is Sunday, Aug. 12.

Funds raised will assist the coalition in providing local families with the Y's Get Fit Program at no cost. 

There will be Family Teams of all ages playing, as well as Adult Teams for ages 16 and older.

Entry fee is $100 per team of eight to 10 players.

Deadline to register is Aug. 1.

Register by stopping by the YMCA at 209 E. Main St. in Batavia or by calling 344-1664.

On the day of the tournament, registration sign-in begins at 9 a.m. and kickoff is at 10. Batavia HS is located at 260 State St. in the City of Batavia.

Chicken BBQ will be available for $10, tickets presale or day of tournament. Buy presale tickets at the Batavia Youth Bureau, 12 MacArthur Drive, Batavia (Phone is 345-6470.).

July 28, 2018 - 11:41am
posted by Andy Helwig in muckdogs, baseball, sports.

The Muckdogs' woes continue as they dropped the sixth of their last seven games by losing 5-2 to Vermont in the first game of a three-game series against the Lake Monsters. Batavia’s bullpen surrendered a run in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. The Marlins 2014 second overall selection also made his Muckdogs’ debut from the bullpen in Friday’s game.

Vermont got on the board first in the bottom of the second inning when two runs came across the plate. The first was on a solo home run from Marcos Brito sent a shot over the right field wall to get the Lake Monsters on the board.

Batavia answered back in the top of the fourth inning. Jerar Encarnacion ripped his second double of the day, and he would come around to score on a Michael Donadio home run to left field, his fourth of the year. That home run knotted the game at 2-2, but would be the only runs Batavia scored in the contest.

The fifth, sixth and seventh innings saw runs cross the plate for the Lake Monsters. The Muckdogs fell victim to two unearned runs in those innings. The deciding run came against the Marlins’ second overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft, Tyler Kolek. He would get charged with the loss in the game despite the unearned run that scored on a wild pitch.

Batavia was hobbled by three errors in the game, and helped Vermont’s winning run to cross the plate. Batavia’s bullpen surrendered costly runs again late in the ballgame that put their chances of winning out of reach.

Game two of the series is on Saturday, a 6:05 p.m. first pitch at Centennial Field in Burlington.

July 27, 2018 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.


Batavia Downs started a trend in harness racing in New York in 1989 by creating a passing lane, which seemed like the right move at the time to give horses behind the leader a better chance to move into position.

But times change. Over the years, the passing lane came to give favorites an advantage so after Yonkers removed its passing lane and races suddenly became more competitive, Batavia Downs, for the 2018 season, decided the passing lane was, indeed, passé.

"Taking out the passing lane affects the race because there’s more movement in the race," said Todd Haight, GM of live racing for Batavia Downs. "Instead of horses staying at the rail and closing up the inside and never moving, the passing lane being gone, they have to move to the outside at some point, so you’re seeing more flow."

That makes for more exciting racing, Height said.

"You heard the track announcer few times tonight say three in, four out," Haight said. "Those are things he never said because very few horses ever left the rail because they were just lined up along the inside. Now they can’t do that."

Yonkers was the first track in New York to remove the passing lane and it's reduced the times the favorite wins the race by 9 percent.

That reduction increases the odds for race fans to place money-winning wagers.

A lot has changed at Batavia Downs, Haight said, since he first came to the track in the 1970s. Back then, Batavia Downs was just harness racing. There are now multiple restaurants, the sports bar Rush 34, video terminal gaming, and a hotel.

"This is a destination now," Haight said. "We are now a designation and you can see by the size of our crowd tonight on a Wednesday, I can guarantee you there were more people in our clubhouse tonight than in any track in the country. I can guarantee that. People are responding and that’s why we’re doing so well right now."

More changes are planned, including opening up 34 Rush to the track side of the main building.

The 11th race Wednesday night also had a touch of nostalgia. By the time the 11th race rolled around, the regular starters truck had developed a mechanical issue, so the track put into service the sedan it used in the 1980s. It was the same sedan that paced the legendary harness racing horse Niatross, with trainer and driver ‎Clint Galbraith.

"Many people think to this day, Niatross is the greatest harness horse of all time," Haight said. "Niatross set world record after world record."

Top photo: Step Beyond, winner of the 11th race on Wednesday. All photos are from the 11th race.






Video of Niatross racing at Batavia Downs, Sept. 6, 1980.

July 27, 2018 - 3:15am
posted by Steve Ognibene in sports, muckdogs, baseball.


The Muckdogs were just an out away from a second consecutive 5-4 win over the Staten Island Yankees on Thursday afternoon and they let the game slip away.

Batavia lost 6-5.

Evan Estes gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth to record the loss and drop his record to 0-2. It was his first blown save of the season.

The Muckdogs supplied hometown fans with plenty of offense, collecting a total of 10 hits. Brayan Hernandez, Demetrius Sims, Sean Reynolds, Denis Karas all had two hits. For times, one of those hits was a round-tripper and Hernandez scored three runs. Both Sims and Reynolds had two RBIs.

The Muckdogs now go on the road for six games, returning home Aug. 2 to take on Mahoning Valley.







July 26, 2018 - 6:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, Batavia Downs, sports.

(Wisdom Tree with driver Kevin Cummings.) Photos courtesy of Paul White.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The heavily favored Wisdom Tree (Betterthancheddar-Wisdom) displayed why everyone from the track handicapper to the bettors heavily endorsed her as she dominated the field in her division of the $120,400 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 3-year-old pacing fillies at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (July 25).

Wisdom Tree (Kevin Cummings) left for the lead but had to work hard for it; getting to the quarter in :27 flat. But once she cleared and settled in, the filly was in total control. Cummings backed the half off considerably before speeding up the proceedings up the backstretch, although no one was close enough to challenge. By the three-quarters Wisdom Tree had opened up a three-length advantage which she held as she cruised around the far turn and down the lane to win in 1:53, which was just one-fifth off the track record.

Cummings said after the race “That was pretty easy once she got to the front. I backed off the second quarter to :29.1 and it was pretty much over from there. I had to get after her in the third quarter because she was starting to go to sleep on me but around the last turn when I pulled the plugs, she responded well and was looking for horses because she was off by herself for most of the mile.”

It was the fourth win in her last five starts and eighth win of 2018 for Wisdom Tree ($2.70) who has now carded $215,785 for the year for owners Thomas Pollack and Jeffrey Cullipher. Ed Hart trains the winner.

Wisdom Tree was a $28,000 yearling purchase at the Lexington Select yearling sale and was bred by Winbak Farm.

(Alexis Faith with driver Jim Morrill Jr.)

Alexis Faith (American Ideal-Cannae Cammie) put in as impressive an effort in her division, but she did it from behind. Getting away sixth from post seven, Alexis Faith (Jim Morrill Jr.) watched from afar as Hurrikane Shorty (Jim Marohn Jr.) sped away with a loose lead in :27.1, :56 and 1:24.1. At that last station, Morrill was finally able to get his filly off the pylons from sixth and tipped three-deep into the last bend. She went from sixth to first during the arc of the turn and sped away to a two-length lead when they straightened out to win in 1:53.4.

"She was very good tonight; she's been good pretty much right along. She threw a clunker in her last start but we came to find out she was sick. So we have her healthy again and she's back. She made a big move three-wide tonight but she did the same thing at Yonkers two starts down, coming home in :27.1. Once she gets moving she's good," Morrill said.

It was the second win of the year for Alexis Faith ($6.60) but first of 2018 in the NYSS. The filly is owned by West Wins Stable, Jim Fielding, J. Robert Darrow and Kevin McKinlay and trained by Casie Coleman.

Alexis Faith was purchased at the Lexington Select yearling sale for $55,000 and was bred by Melvin Segal.

The third leg saw Ubettergo Go (Art Major-Ubetterthink Think) leave from post seven and tuck fourth at the eighth pole while Checkered Past (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Solitary (Jim Marohn Jr.) argued for the front. But halfway up the backside, her driver Mark Macdonald had her out and rolling and took the front by the quarter in :27.2. With the field in single file, Ubettergo Go slowed the pace and forced Apothic (Drew Monti) to advance an outer flow.

The field hit three-quarters in two rows with Ubettergo Go still calling the shots, but Apothic looked live and Checkered Past was ready to strike having gotten the perfect pocket trip to this point. At the head of the lane, Macdonald asked Ubettergo Go and she responded by opening up a two length lead and hitting the wire in first in 1:53.4.

"She went well. That was a bruising first quarter in :27.2 but she ended up pacing away anyway. She kind of stepped over a little shadow around the last turn there and it took her mind off her work for a minute, but then she just breezed her way home. She's a real nice filly," Macdonald said.

(Ubettergo Go with driver Mark Macdonald.)

Ubettergo Go ($4.40), in photo above, is owned by Blake Macintosh, Tony Basile, Reginald Petitpas and Ozzie Mackay and is trained by Blake Macintosh.

Ubettergo Go was a $13,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase and was bred by Concord Stud and Birnam Wood Farms.

There were also two $15,000 division of the Excel "A" series on the card.

The first division went to KJ's Justine (American Ideal-Day Blue Chip), winning gate to wire in 1:55.4. KJ's Justine ($6.10) was driven Jim Morrill Jr. for trainer Linda Toscano and owner Ken Jacobs.

The second division was won by Psychic Blue Chip (Art Major-All Spirit) who also led at every station in 1:56. Psychic Blue Chip ($9) was driven by Ray Fisher Jr. for trainer Joseph Skowyra and owners Jeffrey Clark and Vernon Cannon.

July 26, 2018 - 1:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, baseball, sports.


The Batavia Muckdogs snapped a four-game skid Wednesday night against the Staten Island Yankees with a 5-4 win.

Michael Donadio had three hits for the home team, scored a run and drove in a run. Denis Karas had two hits and scored to runs. The winning pitcher was the second one into the game, Peyton Culbertson, who entered the game with a 3-2 lead and scattered five hits over three innings without giving up a run. He's now 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA. C.J. Carter, who alternates a 3/4 release with a sidearm delivery, picked up his first save, pitching an inning and a third, striking out three without allowing a base runner.

Top photo: Umpire Matt Whipple jumps to avoid an errant throw by catcher Pablo Garcia, who scrambled to recover a wild pitch by Elkin Alcala, seen jumping to avoid a sliding score by Yankees Jesus Bastidas in the top of the eighth inning. Next to photos, Sean Reynolds with a stolen base in the bottom of the eighth inning.




Elkin Alcala.


Pablo Garcia attempts a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the seventh. The ball rolled foul, well down the third-base line. He would later single to left in the at-bat.


C.J. Carter with his sidearm delivery.

July 25, 2018 - 1:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, baseball, sports.


The Muckdogs could manage only three hits and one run Tuesday night to open a three-game series against the Staten Island Yankees.

The home team lost 7-1 with Alberto Guerrero (2-2, 2.72 era), who gave up four runs, two earned, in the first four frames, taking the loss.

Batavia will try again against the Yankees farm team at 7:05 tonight and they'll wrap up the series tomorrow at 11:05 a.m.







July 24, 2018 - 4:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, baseball, Team New Era, tryouts.

Team New Era will hold 2019 summer team tryouts for ages 10 thru 17 starting July 30th thru Aug. 4th.

Age as of 4/30/2019

Ages 9 thru 12: Monday July 30th at 5 p.m. at Garnet Park in Amherst (66 Garnet Road)

Ages 13 thru 15: Tuesday July 31st at 5 p.m. at Losson Park #6 in Cheektowaga (500 Losson Road)

16U and 17U Showcase: Wednesday Aug. 1st at 5 p.m. at Losson Park #6 in Cheektowaga (500 Losson Road)

For those unable to attend: Ages 12 and under -- Saturday Aug. 4th at 10 a.m. at our Depew facility (3950 Broadway); and ages 13 thru 17 - Saturday Aug. 4th at 1 p.m. at our Depew facility (3950 Broadway).

In the event of rain for outdoor tryouts, tryouts will be moved to our indoor facility at 3950 Broadway (10 minutes away)

For more information or to register see www.teamnewerabaseball.com or contact Rich Wozniak at 716-681-3001.

July 24, 2018 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

For the second time in as many racing days, a band of state-bred sisters will be invading Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (July 25) when the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) 3-year-old pacing fillies go postward to compete in three divisions for a total purse of $120,400.

NYSS divisions go in races one, five and seven with post time for the first race at 5 p.m.

Headlining the pool of 22 participants is Wisdom Tree (Betterthancheddar-Wisdom) who will be competing in the $39,900 third division. This filly is not only tearing up the NYSS this year; she is also racing large on the Grand Circuit.

Besides winning three New York events so far, Wisdom Tree also won the $142,000 Nadia Lobell at Hoosier Park on July 6, setting a new lifetime mark and track record of 1:49.4 in the process. A week later she drew post 12 in the 1-1/8th mile $191,800 Mistletoe Shallee at the Meadowlands and finished a strong closing fourth behind the winner Kissin In The Sand after being parked out over half a mile in the distance race timed in 2:04.1.

Wisdom Tree ranks high in stats among all 3-year-old pacing fillies in North America. For the year so far she is the third richest ($195,835), fourth fastest (1:49.4) and fifth winningest (seven) against all her rivals. In the NYSS she is the highest point-getter, has the most wins and has earned the most money.

Trainer Ed Hart has called on Kevin Cummings to drive the 8-5 early favorite Wisdom Tree who will leave from post six.

In the first $39,900 division Ubettergo Go (Art Major-Ubetterthink) started the year strong, winning back-to-back NYSS events. She then qualified for the $315,400 final of the Fan Hanover at Mohawk Raceway where fast early fractions caught up to her late and saw her finish seven lengths behind the winner. She was given a 26 day rest after that start and looked fresh finishing second by a head in 1:52.2 in a NYSS event at Vernon Downs. Now after another 11 day break, she looks like the one to beat.

Trainer Blake Macintosh has Mark Macdonald in the bike behind Ubettergo Go who starts from post seven at 5-2.

The main competition looks to be Solitary (American Ideal-Lonesome Day) who moves up from Excel “A” action at Vernon where she finished a strong second in 1:52.1 and Apothic (Art Major-Permafrost) who paced in 1:51.3 finishing third in a NYSS race at Vernon as well. Both mares are still looking for their first NYSS win.

Solitary leaves from post one for driver Jim Marohn Jr. and trainer Nick Surick and Apothic starts next to her in post two with trainer Mark Harder calling on Drew Monti to drive.

The second division goes for $40,600 and has Alexis Faith (American Ideal-Cannae Cammie) listed as the 5-2 morning line choice. Alexis Faith has yet to win a NYSS event this year after being the 2-year-old champion in 2017, but she has finished second on two occasions. Like Ubettergo Go, Alexis Faith also raced in the Fan Hanover final and fared a bit better. After cutting three-quarters of the mile and having an open lead at the head of the stretch, Alexis Faith ended up fourth by only two lengths in 1:50.4.

Arguing for the purse will be Presto Blue Chip (American Ideal-Cantor’s Daughter) who just got beat at Vernon in 1:52.2 in her last start in NYSS action and Jewels Forreal (So Surreal-Dandy’s Jewel) who took a lifetime mark of 1:51 at Tioga Downs in the $23,500 Geers Stake on June 29.

Drew Monti drives Presto Blue Chip from post two for trainer Jeffrey Smith and Jewels Forreal has the services of Matt Kakaley from post six for trainer Ron Burke.

There are also two $15,000 division of the Excel “A” series in races two and three and one $6,800 division of Excel “B” in race 11.

July 24, 2018 - 3:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of Conway Kellyanne and driver Charlie Norris courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Three $36,567 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 2-year-old trotting fillies were contested under rainy conditions on opening night at Batavia Downs Monday evening (July 23), but the weather didn’t deter the girls from going some impressive miles throughout the night.

Conway Kellyanne (Conway Hall-Pacific Centerfold) won the fastest heat and she did it very convincingly. After dropping in third off the gate, Conway Kellyanne (Charlie Norris) pulled past the eighth pole and rolled up the outside to take the lead from Safe Word (Jeff Gregory) at the quarter. She cleared, hit the pylons and the race was basically over.

Conway Kellyanne continued to lead unchallenged until the top of the stretch when Safe Word pulled the pocket to make a rush. But the attempt was to no avail as Conway Kellyanne opened up three at the wire in an easy 1:59.4 victory.

Conway Kellyanne ($4.20) is owned by Carrie Norris, Acadia Farms and G & B Racing and is trained by her driver, Charlie Norris.

The first division was won by Quincy Blue Chip (Chapter Seven-Sirenuse) who was parked to the quarter in :30.2 before taking the lead, but when she cleared it was for good. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. grabbed leather in the middle half maintaining an open length advantage. Around the last turn Quincy Blue Chip was given her head and she stepped the final panel in :29.1, drawing off to a two length win in 2:01.2.

Quincy Blue chip ($2.70) is owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. and is trained by Garth Dowse.

And the final split was taken by Winndevie (Credit Winner-Vida De Vie) in a thrilling finish. Water Lily Hanover (Ake Svanstedt) went down the road, hitting the half in 1:00 over the off track with the heavily favored Amal Hall (Andy Miller) right on her back. After passing the three-eighths, Liquorstoreblues (Jim Morrill Jr.) pulled from fourth and Winndevie (Trond Smedshammer) followed along. As they rolled up, Amal Hall pulled from second in front of both of them and the outside group moved forward.

When these three hit the head of the lane they fanned across the track. It was Amal Hall on the pylons, Liquorstoreblues in the middle and Winndevie three-wide and farthest back. Amal Hall looked like she was the best but Winndevie flew past Liquorstoreblues and caught the leader right at the wire to win in 2:00.1.

Winndevie ($6.20) is now undefeated lifetime after scoring her third win in a row for Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stable and trainer Trond Smedshammer.

There were also three divisions of the $15,000 Excel “A” series on Monday.

The first leg was won by Lifetime Credit (Credit Winner-Mariah De Vie) in a lifetime best 2:01.3. Lifetime Credit was driven by John Stark Jr. for owner by Robert Messing and trainer Maureen Salino.

The second division went to Beautiful Brenda (Credit Winner-Yankeedoodlecandy) who registered her first lifetime win in 2:03.3. Beautiful Brenda ($4.10) was driven by Scott Zeron for owners Rick, Joe and Johnny Stable, The Camel Club Stable and Bettola Stables Inc. Rick Zeron trains the winner.

And the final grouping was bested by Jumalay Mass (Muscle Mass-Acoustic Hanover) who also went a lifetime best 2:02.4. Owned by Erv Miller, Joe Faraldo and George Golemes and trained by Erv Miller, Jumalay Mass returned $3.40.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (July 25) at 5 p.m.

July 23, 2018 - 6:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

As the Standardbreds gather for the start of the 72nd season of racing at the oldest lighted harness track in America this evening (July 23), Batavia Downs celebrates the opening by hosting three $36,567 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 2-year-old trotting fillies.

The NYSS events are carded in races two, four and six with post time for the card set at 6 p.m.

The first event has Quincy Blue Chip (Chapter Seven-Sirenuse) listed as the 8-5 morning line choice and she certainly looks the part. After winning her first lifetime start wire to wire over an off track at Yonkers Raceway on July 3, Quincy Blue Chip just got beat a neck in her second outing at Buffalo Raceway but still knocked two-full seconds off her initial clocking, being timed in 1:59.

Quincy Blue Chip will leave from post four with driver Jim Morrill Jr. for trainer Garth Dowse.

Gobi Princess (Muscle Mass-Mrs. D) made a break in her career debut at Yonkers but still finished fifth despite the trip. In her last start at Buffalo she minded her manners and was rated well along the pylons to finish a strong second, closing at the wire. She will be a major competitor from post one and should get a perfect trip from there.

Trainer Annette Lorentzon has Scott Zeron in the bike behind Gobi Princess and they are listed at 7-2.

In the second split, Safe Word (Credit Winner-Fifty Shades) is coming in off a two-race win streak and has improved with each start all year. After finishing second in her first outing at Monticello Raceway, she proceeded to win at Yonkers by a head and then win again at Buffalo by almost five-lengths. She is currently tied with Amal Hall as the top point getter in the series and also leads all her divisional peers for earnings.

It’s a Batavia Downs home-coming for Jeff Gregory who trains and drives Safe Word and will leave from post one at 9-5.

The horse to watch in this race is Conway Kellyanne (Conway Hall-Pacific Centerfold) who seemed to really blossom in her second lifetime start on July 3 at Yonkers. She left, cut the mile and cruised to a very fast 1:58.1 win, which was a lifetime mark for her and the fastest of four heats at the Hilltop that night. Her connections did not race her in the third leg at Buffalo so she does come in 20 days between starts. Look for her to use her speed to get forwardly placed and take her best shot late.

Charlie Norris trains and drives Conway Kellyanne who will start from post four at 7-2.

The final leg is headlined by Amal Hall (Credit Winner-Arabella Hall) who is coming into the race red hot. She won her first NYSS start at Monticello then finished second to Conway Kellyanne in 1:58.2 at Yonkers. Her last outing at Buffalo was not only another win; it was a 1:59 lifetime mark for her and a new track record for age, gender and gait by a full second. She will be a stalking force from inside with her late brush.

Amal Hall will leave from post two at 2-1 for Team Orange Crush: Julie Miller doing the training and Andy Miller in the bike.

Winndevie (Credit Winner-Vida De Vie) comes into this event batting .1000 in the NYSS. She has two starts (at Monticello and Yonkers), two wins and has displayed two different styles of racing. She closed in :28.4 in both of her wins and dropped almost three full seconds off her win time between the two outings. She currently sits third in the point standings right behind Amal Hall and Safe Word and is poised to move forward.

Trond Smedshammer both trains and drives Winndevie who starts from post five at 5-2.

There is an upset minded filly in the race named Sensibility (Muscle Mass-Twin B Sensation). She has yet to win a NYSS event but hasn’t missed the board either, finishing second twice and third once. She has dropped a full second in three consecutive starts and has closed in :28.2 her last two trys which is faster than anyone in the race besides Amal Hall.

Sensibility is trained by George Ducharme and will be driven from post six at 4-1 by Scott Zeron.

There are also four $15,000 Excel “A” series trots on the card that go as races one, five, seven and nine and two Excel “B” series trots in races three, eight and 10.

July 23, 2018 - 6:13pm

The 17th annual Batavia Blue Devil Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner will be held at Terry Hills Restaurant and Banquet Facility on Saturday, Oct. 20.

This event is sponsored by the Batavia Coaches Association. Tickets are $30 per dinner and are available at the Athletic Directors Office at Batavia High School after Sept. 1.

Social Hour begins at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 then the induction ceremony.

Here are this year's inductees:

  • Coleen Tooley Oleski -- Class of 1965
  • Steve Frieday -- Class of 1968
  • Rich Anderson -- Class of 1976
  • Michele Smith Jones -- Class of 1982
  • Gerry Carmichael -- 1983-2018
  • Jon Sanfratello -- Class of 1992
  • Ice Devils Hockey Team -- 1994-1995

For more information, please call 343-2480, ext. 2003.

July 23, 2018 - 3:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, batavia.


Batavia High School's football Head Coach Brennan Briggs ran a football camp last week and 40 young players turned out to learn more about the game. Current Blue Devils staff, along with former and current players, assisted with the camp.

Submitted photo.

July 22, 2018 - 4:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tractor Pull, fair, news, sports.


Saturday was tractor pull day at the Genesee County Fair.











July 22, 2018 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ricky Palermo, news, sports, soccer, batavia.


More than 90 children from age 4 to age 8 turned out at the Batavia Sports Park on Friday for Ricky Palermo's annual soccer clinic.

This was the 15th year Palermo hosted the clinic.

"It grows a little bit every year and that's exciting," Palermo said.

The clinic helps raise awareness about spinal injury, Palermo said, and shows the kids that even a person with a spinal injury can still do things.



July 22, 2018 - 12:51pm
posted by Andy Helwig in muckdogs, sports, baseball.

Five runs that crossed the plate in the last two innings for Mahoning Valley would prove to be too much for the Muckdogs to overcome in a 7-3 loss to the division-leading Scrappers.

Mahoning Valley got an early jump on Humberto Mejia on Saturday. They picked up two runs in the first inning. Two of the first three batters came around to score. Tyler Freeman continued his tear of NYPL pitching with a triple after one out. He was scored by a Mitch Reeves' double, one of Reeves four hits in the game. Hosea Nelson, who had a home run in game one of the series drove in the second run to give the Scrappers a 2-0 cushion before Batavia even got to bat.

Batavia answered with their first runs of the game in the bottom of the second inning. Albert Guaimaro hit a triple with one out, his first of two in the game. Then a two-out single from Denis Karas scored him to cut the Scrappers’ lead in half after the second.

Both pitchers locked in a pitchers’ duel until the tie was broken in the eighth inning with bullpen pitchers on the mound. Batavia and Mahoning Valley scored two runs each in their half of the inning to bat. The Scrappers rally started with two outs in the top half of the frame. Reeves notched his fourth hit of the game and Nelson got on by reaching on a throwing error. Angel Lopez hit the clutch two-run single to make it a 4-1 game after the top of the inning.

The bottom of the eighth saw the Muckdogs answer with their two runs from an RBI single from Sean Reynolds. His base knock brought in one run, and the second came on a throwing error to the plate that cut the deficit to just one run.

The 4-3 lead in the ninth for the visitors swelled by three more runs, all coming with two outs. Jose Fermin singled home Michael Tinsley, and after a botched foul pop-up on a miscommunication, two more scored on a Freeman single and a wild pitch.

Batavia then went down in order in the bottom of the ninth, giving Mahoning Valley the game and the series W. The final game of the series before the league off day is today at 1:05.

July 19, 2018 - 5:29pm

Press release:

The Genesee County STOP-DWI and Youth Bureau are having their Annual Night at the Ballpark on Wednesday, July 25th at Dwyer Stadium.

The first 250 youth under 16 can get in free if they contact the Youth Bureau at 344-3960 to reserve tickets for the event.

Youth can come to the Youth Bureau to pick the tickets up or we will take their information and they can pick them up at the box office.

There will also be free Muckbucks to the first 60 youth, and more than 500 prizes and giveaways on hand. There will also be two bikes from Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle given away, one for a boy and one for a girl.

There will be educational booths on hand, including one with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office with child ID kits. A juggler will be on hand as well for the kids’ entertainment.

Genesee County’s #1 crime fighting K-9 will be there to assist with the first pitch!

All of this is made possible from our wonderful sponsors and contributors: GCASA, Genesee County Sheriff’s Association, Kiwanis Club of Batavia, United States Gypsum Co., Batavia Lions Club, City of Batavia Police Benevolent Association, The Original Red Osier Landmark Restaurant, Western New York Association of Chiefs of Police, Gerace Realty, Polish Falcons, Tops Friendly Markets, Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, and Alex’s Place.

Gates open at 6 p.m. and the game starts at 7:05.

July 19, 2018 - 1:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Batavia Downs state-of-the-art control room courtesy of Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

As the doors swing open for the start of the 72nd season of live harness racing at Batavia Downs on Monday (July 23), patrons, horsemen and horsewomen will see a multitude of changes made by the track to improve the racing product and enhance the wagering value.

The 2018 racing session features 70 dates, including seven matinees that all start at 1:15 p.m. Monday and Wednesday evening post times are 5 p.m. with Friday and Saturday night races beginning at 6 o'clock. There are four twilight Saturday programs during the season on Sept. 8, Oct. 6, Nov.17 and Dec 15 with a 4:45 p.m. post.

Those racing at the Downs this year will be greeted by $600,000 worth of paddock improvements including a new barn that will house two additional races. It was constructed adjacent to the existing four-race paddock and across from the 16-stall wash barn and finished off with fresh blacktop. The new layout of the complex will allow for six races to be in the paddock at one time and provide uncluttered ease of bathing for horses that are done racing.

Fans viewing the races on the monitors in the stands or via simulcast will enjoy an enhanced video product thanks to a brand new audio/visual studio that will broadcast everything in full digital video. The state-of-the-art control room will make the Batavia Downs signal and programming the best the track has ever offered and make the races easier and more enjoyable to watch.

Another change that will be noticeable from both sides of the fence is the passing lane has been removed from the home stretch of the track. Batavia Downs has had a passing lane since 1989 and during that time the track has seen the bias toward inside posts go up dramatically. So in an attempt to create more early movement making outside posts more bettable and decrease the amount of winning favorites, this change was implemented.

“This year we’ve made some changes that we feel will help the horsemen and bettors alike,” said Todd Haight, director/general manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. “The new paddock will make the transition from race to race much easier for our participants and removing the passing lane should add some value for our gamblers. We look forward to getting underway and expect and exciting season of racing."

The schedule looks to provide some of the best competition the track has seen and the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) will be the centerpiece of it. Eight divisions of state-breds will visit the Downs and there will be $800,000 (est.) up for grabs for the participating horses.

Then on Friday Sept. 21, all eight NYSS final consolation races will be held at the Downs with an additional $320,000 to be doled out.

That same night the Downs two signature races will be held. The $15,000 Brian Schroeder Memorial trot and $15,000 Duke Dranichek Memorial pace will feature some of the best Open talent around, including the richest pacer of all time.

Trainer Ron Burke has marked his calendar and said the $7.5 million-dollar man/100-win wonder, Foiled Again is scheduled to compete in the Dranichek pace. Foiled Again has won three $50,000 Kane Memorials in Batavia along with two Saturday night Opens. He likes the track and he’s coming back for a farewell appearance before his mandatory retirement at the end of the year.

"September 9th is the 30th anniversary of Batavia Downs hosting the Breeders Crown and the card we have on tap for September 21 this year rivals that historic night for purses and competition," Haight said, "and to have Foiled Again here on top of it makes it a real draw for Western New York.” 

The very next night (Saturday Sept.22) the very popular racing under saddle or "RUS" will return for the third year with horses and riders from New York RUS. They will attempt to break the track record that was set in 2016 when they made their first appearance at the track.

The driving colony will be filled with familiar faces but with last year’s dash title winner Larry Stalbaum not returning, a new champion will be crowned in December.

Drew Monti, who is Western New York’s leading dash driver this year, will be in the mix along with Shawn Gray, Kevin Cummings, Ray Fisher Jr., Jim Morrill Jr., Billy Davis Jr. and John Cummings Jr. to name a few.

On the conditioning side, last year’s leading trainer Kim Asher will be back but with a reduced stable. That will open the door for the red hot James Clouser Jr. and three-time best Batavia conditioner JD Perrin to vie for top honors.

Also competing at the Downs this meet will be 18-year-old Riley Asher-Stalbaum who began her training career earlier this year. She has made an instant impact among area trainers with a sparkling Universal Training Rating (UTR) of .428.

Once again the fans will enjoy a plethora of promotions this year and as always, there will be something for everyone on tap.

As has been the norm for many years, racing programs will be free on opening night and the first Saturday of the meet to welcome back our racing fans and each program contains a valuable free play coupon redeemable on the gaming floor.

Sunday July 29 and every Sunday in August is Dollar Days at the Downs. Fans can enjoy dollar drafts, sodas and hot dogs on the apron.

On Saturday Aug. 4, 10 lucky fans will win a stay at the beautiful new Batavia Downs Hotel which is connected to the race track and gaming floor.

One lucky fan will win a $3,000 diamond pendant on Saturday Aug. 11 during a jewelry night giveaway sponsored by TAG Jewelers.

On Saturday Aug.25, 10 lucky patrons will win $100 gift certificates to the Spa at Artemis in Downtown Batavia.

Family Fun Days and the Wiener Dog Races will return on Sunday Aug. 26. The day includes free activities of all kinds for the kids. Then after the live racing is finished, the wiener dogs will hit the track for the main event. Genesee Feeds of Batavia is the official sponsor of this event.

The traditional Driver’s Bike Race will return for the 40th year on Labor Day (Sept. 3). Eight of the Down’s favorite drivers will be pedaling bicycles from the top of the turn to the wire. Eight fans who select the winning driver will win the bikes used in the race. Labor Day also features the annual chicken barbecue.

For information on racing or promotions log onto www.bataviadownsgaming.com .

Bottom photo, courtesy of Batavia Downs: New paddocks are part of the improvements made at Batavia Downs this year.


July 18, 2018 - 5:15pm

Photo: Top golfers in the Arc of Genesee Orleans 42nd Annual Lullo Memorial Tournament include, from left, Mark State, Tina Lambert, Bruce Briggs, Karen Percarsi and Bill Kusmierski. Not pictured is winner Paul Barton, who scored 81.

Submitted photos and press release:

Golfers, tennis players and bocce players were urged to stay hydrated as Arc of Genesee Orleans 42nd Annual Lullo Memorial Tournament kicked off Monday at Stafford Country Club.

“It was one of our hottest days ever – just sweltering,” said Arc’s Sandy Konfederath, who has helped coordinate the tournament since 1993. “The biggest challenge was keeping our beverages iced at four key areas at the course. Our volunteers are amazing!”

The 2018 charity event included 102 golfers, with 39 people playing bocce and 12 in the tennis division.


In golf play, Paul Barton’s 81 earned him top honors in the low gross category followed by Mark State with 82 and Jan Witkowski, 83. Tina Lambert, a longtime tournament supporter, shot a 93 winning low gross for women.

In low net, Bruce Briggs placed first with a 62. Also placing were Paul Mayer, 65; Greg Strauss, 66 and Terry Sprow, 67. Low net for women went to Karen Percarsi, 72 and Bill Kusmierski won with 71 in the blind bogey classification.

This year’s hole-in-one prize on 8 was a 2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited, courtesy of Castilone Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. Unfortunately, no one shot an ace to drive away with the vehicle.

In other on the course contests, Jesse Luxon won longest drive on 7 and Bob Gorenflo, closest to the line on 15. In the closest to the pin contests, Nathan Schreib won a golf bag, courtesy of C.H. Wright on 8 (7’4”); Sam Serpe earned first prize on 12 (3’ 3 ½”) with Zach Fuller second (5’ 11”) and Ed Shultz third (11’8”). Greg Strauss won a Schwinn bicycle, donated by Adam Miller Toy & Bike in the top prize on 14 (13’1”).


In bocce, Tracy Sutherland, Lucine Kauffman and Fran Porpiglia, the only three-person team beat nine other four-person teams to come out on top.


On the tennis courts, first place team honors went to Steve Clemm and Jerry Reinhart. Second place team went to Steve Rumery and Marjorie Fulmer. Jerry Reinhart also earned top score in the tennis division.


Gold sponsors were Turnbull Heating & Air-Conditioning, Graham Corporation, MTE Turf Equipment Solutions/Tom & Lynn Houseknecht, Relph Benefit Advisors and Tompkins Bank of Castile /Insurance Agencies/ Financial Advisors. Silver sponsors were: The Batavia Daily News, Yasses Trucking & Construction. The Bonadio Group, Alan & Cathy Barcomb, Hoffman, Hanafin & Associates, In Memory of Ralph Houseknecht Sr., Castilone Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Parkview Health Services, Genesee Valley PennySaver and The Insurance Center.

Also supporting the event were nine golf sponsors, three tennis sponsors, six bocce sponsors, five cart sponsors and nine friend of Arc sponsors.

Door prizes, silent auction and basket raffle items were donated by dozens of area businesses and community members. The winner of the $1,000 cash drawing was Ken Degnan with ticket number 11853.

Funds raised benefit programs and services for people with disabilities served by Arc of Genesee Orleans. The tournament is named in memory of Danny Lullo, a local businessman who came up with the idea to hold a tournament to benefit Arc programs and services for people with disabilities in our community. The tournament is the longest-running charity event at the local private country club.


Ed Carney is the event chairman. Deb Fischer chairs bocce and Peggy Lamb chairs tennis.

Below photo below: The only three-person bocce team won in the Arc of Genesee Orleans 42nd Annual Lullo Memorial Tournament. From left, Tracy Sutherland, Lucine Kauffman and Fran Porpiglia beat out nine other four-person teams to win the bocce tournament.

July 18, 2018 - 4:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Notre Dame, news, sports, football.


It's been a busy football summer for Mason Randall, who will be a junior at Notre Dame High School this year.

He's established himself as a legitimate contender for a Division 1 roster spot.

Last month, he was number one, with the highest score of all lineman, participating at the sections 5 and 6 NYS High School Football Coaches Association Combine held at Fairport High School.

That earned him an invitation to the “Elite Showcase,” held at Ithaca College this past weekend, where he showed off his skills along with 250 of the state's best high school football players.

His father, Doug Randall, said the combine went really well:

The coaches from the colleges and high schools were very positive and offered a lot of tips and advice to the young men including the importance of their high school grades. 

The participants were broken up into smaller specialty groups to work with various college coaches. They were warmed up and given instruction and demonstration in proper technique and then they put those instructions to use in someone on one competition.

At the end of the showcase, the students were given the opportunity to meet one on one with all the coaches and ask questions about the different programs and schools in hopes of cultivating an invitation to play for them. 

Notre Dame's incoming Head Coach Joe Zambito said he's very fortunate to be taking over a team with a player like Mason on it, along with a group of linemen who are all impressive in size and ability.

"We have a really good line coming back Mason is a great student-athlete," Zambito said. "He’s unbelievable to coach and I’m lucky enough that in my first year I get to coach guys like him."

He said Mason's showing at the combines is really impressive.

"He beat some guys who already have Division I scholarships," Zambito said. "It goes to show you how hard he’s worked in the off-season to get himself in shape and in place to become an elite lineman, not only in GR but in New York State.

Mason said it feels great to get the recognition he's received and earning a D1 scholarship is one of his football dreams.

"Division I highest level," Mason said. "I’ve always loved football. My dad’s always loved football and everybody else in my family. Nobody in my family has ever gone D1. I had a couple of grandfathers go D2, but it would be so great to be able to go D1."

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