Local Matters

Community Sponsors


December 12, 2019 - 8:15am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Batavia HS, basketball, sports, batavia.


Twenty four-quarter points helped lift Batavia over Greece Athena for a 64-53 win Wednesday night.

Zach Gilebarto scored 21 points, Cam White, 16, Steve Silverling, 14, and Caeden White, 8.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

To view or purchase prints, click here.





December 11, 2019 - 1:10pm

Press release:

Corfu —The Pembroke Jr./Sr. High School Girls’ Basketball Team will host its ninth annual "Shooting For A Cure!" event versus Oakfield-Alabama at 7 p.m. on Jan. 16 at the high school gym, located at the corner of routes 5 and 77 (8717 Alleghany Road).

Admission is free.

The team asks that attendees make a donation of any amount as they enter the facility, and all donations go to Roswell Park to support cancer reearch efforts.

In addition to donations at the door, all proceeds from basket auctions, concession sales, apparel sales, and raffles for various big-ticket items also go to Roswell Park.

To date, "Shooting For A Cure!" has raised more than $119,000 and has become one of Roswell Park’s largest community-based fundraising events.

The event began nearly a decade ago when the team approached then Head Coach Mike Wilson with an idea; they wanted to show their support for Toni Funke, wife of this beloved coach and Pembroke teacher Ron Funke, in her battle against breast cancer.

They believed that by hosting a game in her honor, it would bring the community together to raise awareness and help fund cancer research at Roswell Park.

This season, the team hopes to raise another $30,000 to add to the nearly $120,000 the event has generated and donated since 2011.

Direct online donations are now being accepted in support of this year’s "Shooting For A Cure!" here.

In addition, the team is seeking donations from the community in the form of items to include in various raffles, as well as food, beverages, and merchandise that can be offered for sale during the event. Again, all of the proceeds will benefit cancer research at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The 2019-2020 "Shooting For A Cure!" donors list already contains many businesses and organizations, including: 26Shirts, ADPRO Sports, Buffalo Bandits, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Buttercrumbs Bakery, Clarence Deli, Dixon Ticonderoga, Genesee County YMCA, Hershey's Ice Cream, Holiday Valley, Linda's Family Diner, National Grid, Original Pizza Logs, Pesci's Pizza, Pillar Real Estate Investors, Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Terry Hills, Tim Hortons, Five Guys, Knockaround Sunglasses, Walt Disney World, Batavia's Original, Coca-Cola of Rochester, Crickler Vending, Fava Brothers Lawn Care Services, and Fenton's Produce.

Businesses and organizations wishing to make a donation for this year’s event should contact the fundraiser's coordinator Mike Wilson at the Pembroke school, by calling (716) 949-0523.

About Pembroke High School Girls Varsity Basketball Team: The Pembroke High School Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team is comprised of 11 young women. This season’s captains are Megan Conibear, Mackenna Johnson, Casey Wurtz, and Serene Calderón. The Lady Dragons are coached by Ron Funke and Guy Gabbey. The team colors are green, white, and black.

About Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center: All donations made to Roswell Park are managed by the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that ensures that every donation is put to the best possible use. The Alliance Foundation has been recognized numerous times for these efforts. For more information about giving, go to its website --Roswell Park -- and click “Donate.”

December 11, 2019 - 12:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs, UNY USHWA.

By Tim Bojarski, for UNY USHWA

In an era where mainstream media habitually overlooks harness racing in their day to day publications, two news outlets in New York State routinely include harness racing news in their sports pages and continue to promote the sport despite their counterparts failure to do so.

And the coverage given to the action at the track by the Batavia Daily News and The Batavian is why the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) will be presenting them with the 2019 President’s Award.

The Batavia Daily News is a print newspaper that was founded in 1878 and has been in operation ever since.Their circulation goes well beyond the confines of the City of Batavia and Genesee County, into several surrounding counties and also include Buffalo and Rochester.

Additionally the paper has a strong online presence (thedailynewsonline.com) to go along with its daily print publication and both cover Batavia and Genesee County in depth.

The Batavian (thebatavian.com) is an online-only news outlet that was launched in 2008. It is the first local, online-only news source for the City of Batavia and Genesee County and has become one of Genesee County's most popular internet news sites and provide local residents with news and information based mainly around Genesee County.

This outlet has a reputation of showing up at every major event in the city and posting timely firsthand reports and videos.

"Both of these outlets have provided outstanding coverage to harness racing at Batavia Downs over the years but in 2019, gave unprecedented weeklong coverage to the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions that were held at Batavia Downs and produced record numbers for the track as well as noticeably increased revenue for the city itself that weekend by visiting participants," said Tim Bojarski, president of UNY USHWA.

"They both do an outstanding job for the community in general and the sport in particular. The coverage provided to harness racing by these fine news sources sets a standard that outlets in other cities should well take note of."

The Batavia Daily News and The Batavian will be presented their awards in the Purple Haze Winner’s Circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 14). Post time for the first race is 6 p.m.

The Batavian -- Video: The Night of Champions at Batavia Downs

December 10, 2019 - 2:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in rotary tournament, sports, basketball.


The Rotary Club Tournament returns to GCC on Jan. 2 and Jan. 3 with Batavia, Le Roy, Notre Dame, and Pembroke competing for the crown.

Game times are at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., each night.

Photo: Kiaya Condidorio, Le Roy, MacKenzie Reigle, Batavia, Montana Weidman, Notre Dame, McKenna Johnson, Pembroke.

Submitted photo and information.

December 10, 2019 - 2:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for UNY USHWA

James Carll Caradori has been in the harness racing business since 1968 and during his 51-years of participation has been very successful as an owner. 

However beyond that, he has always been an ambassador for the sport and his decades of dedication are the reason the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) are honoring him with the 2019 Good Guy award during the Night of Distinction at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 14).

Caradori raced horses in the 1970’s and 80’s under the stable name Jamison Acres and had a slew of local champions that included the great Free Chase, Delmer Wynwood, Prince Rapide N, Gi Gi Lamour, Pamela Wynwood and Count Adios A.

Fast forward to the modern era and Caradori has more recently campaigned horses like Rockstar Temper, Inthenameofjames and the 2017 Batavia Downs Pacer of the Meet, Focus Power. He is currently racing a stable of four at the Downs and is as active a participant as in any point of his career.

But to Caradori it’s more than just racing horses. He has always made it a practice of getting people involved in the sport by bringing friends and groups the the track, hosting family functions in the clubhouse, inviting people to come out for win pictures with his horses (even if he just met them) and is always ready to help with fund raisers and activities that are held at the track. 

Caradori is not only a good guy, he is a true friend of the sport.

James Caradori will receive his award in the Purple Haze Winner’s Circle at Batavia Downs between races on Saturday (Dec. 14). Post time for the first race is 6 p.m.

December 10, 2019 - 2:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Joseph "Joe" Beszczynski Jr., of Darien Center, passed away at the age of 89 on Nov. 29 after a long illness.

Beszczynski was born in Buffalo to the late Joseph and Anna (Krawczyk) Beszczynski Sr.

Although he worked construction, he eventually got involved in harness racing and ended up training and driving horses for more than 30 years. He competed at Batavia Downs and Vernon Downs for most of the year but would travel to Aurora Downs in the winter on the advice of his good friend Bob Altizer.

Beszczynski was first licensed to drive in 1962 and campaigned a stable of horses until 1993. During that time he amassed 154 wins and earned $316,747 in purses. His best year came in 1983 when he won 17 races. He raced horses of both gaits but one of this top horses was a trotter named St. Joesph, who was a 12-time winner during his career and was bred and owned by his wife, Helen.

When Beszczynski retired from racing he worked at Skyline Campground, which was near his home and also spent his time enjoying stock car racing.

Beszczynski is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Helen (Rustowicz); his children, Joe (Kate) Beszczynski III and Linda (David) Shoe; grandson, Joe (Janet) Beszczynski IV; and great-grandchildren, James, Abigail, and Destiny; siblings, Adele (the late Dan) Tybor, Gene (Edwina) Beszczynski, Dan (the late Cecilia) Beszczynski; many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his grandson, Timothy, and his brothers, Ray and Cy Beszczynski.

December 10, 2019 - 2:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, rookie travel 8U, 9U baseball.

Aces Baseball will hold tryouts for its 8U and 9U rookie travel baseball program at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4th, and at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 12th at their Depew facility, 3950 Broadway.

For more information or to register for a tryout, visit www.teamacesbaseball.com

For additional questions, contact Rich Wozniak at 716-681-3001 or [email protected].

December 10, 2019 - 2:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Maryann Sarama-Luce was a pioneer in harness racing in Western New York as one of only a handful of female drivers who raced full time at Batavia Downs. And despite beating the odds more than just in a race, she not only met the challenges she faced in her role, she exceeded them and excelled in the sport for decades.

As a result of her place in the history of harness racing, the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) will posthumously present her with their Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday (Dec. 14) at Batavia Downs during the Night of Distinction awards ceremony.

Sarama-Luce passed away in July of 2011 at 73 years of age after a long battle with leukemia. She was introduced to the business when she met Danny Sarama in the late 1960s and from that point on, the two formed the successful Mardan Stable.

Their most memorable performer was the pacer You Devil You, who won 10 races in a row in 1976 while rising from a lowly claimer to an Open class pacer. In the early 1980s after separating from Danny, she continued on her own as both a trainer and a driver and had her best year in the bike in 1983 when she won 21 races. 

She ended her driving career in 1990 with 109 wins and $201,435 in earnings, but at that point she started training full time and continued to do so until her passing. As a conditioner she sent 107 horses to the winner’s circle and their efforts produced $334,835 in earnings. Some of the best horses she trained included Gold Bandit N, Top Dog Alex, Top Dog Nicholas, Easy L Bar and Guy Lee Debbie. 

After her passing, her son Carl and husband Richard have carried on with her stable.

“Harness racing was her number one priority and passion,” her daughter Lynette McGiveron said. “Her horses were the driving force behind her battle to recover. Even in her final days she worried more about her horses than herself.”

McGiveron continued “A passion of Maryann's was to have her mares bred and to raise the foals to race. She named them after her kids and grandchildren and had planned on doing so until every child and grandchild was named.

"The last foal to be born on her farm was 'Top Dog Morgan' named after her grandson. Unfortunately Mary Ann never got to see it in person. He was born the night she went into the hospital for her final stay.”

Sarama-Luce will join previous Lifetime Achievement award recipients Gaston Guindon, Fred Haslip, Ken Ball and Gerry Sarama in this honor. 

Sarama-Luce's family will be presented the award in the Purple Haze Winner’s Circle at Batavia Downs between races on Saturday evening (Dec. 14). Post time for the first race is 6 p.m.

December 8, 2019 - 1:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, elba, basketball.

Brynn Walczak scored 24 points Thursday to help the Lady Lancers to a 52-40 victory on the road over Grand Island.

Leah Bezon scored 14 and Taylor Augello added nine points. 

Bezon had 14 rebounds and Augello, 10.

As part of her 24-point night, Walczak hit seven three-point shots. Augello had four. She also had seven assists.

December 8, 2019 - 12:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

After racing at Northfield Park the last two weeks, Down On My Luck returned to Batavia Downs and his winning ways as he captured the $12,500 Open I Handicap pace on Saturday night (Dec. 7). 

Cultural Paradise (Billy Davis Jr.) took the lead from the pegs with the field following him in post position order. After going to the half is a very pedestrian :59.1,  driver Drew Monti tapped the gas and pulled the pocket, rocketing alongside and then past Cultural Paradise to take the lead at the three-quarters in 1:27.1. From there Down On My Luck strode out to a two length lead at the head of the stretch and won easily from there by 1-¾ lengths under the light in 1:55.1. 

It was the seventh win in only 10 starts at Batavia Downs and the 11th win of the year for Down On My Luck ($6.30) who is owned by Robert Woodburn and trained by Patrick Shepherd.

(Photo of Brunello N and driver Drew Monti in a dead heat with Lucky McTrucky and driver Dave McNeight III.)

The $11,000 Open II pace was an interesting affair after Brunello N (Drew Monti) and Lucky McTrucky (Dave McNeight III) battled for most of the second half of the mile and then paced side by side down to the wire where they stopped the clock simultaneously in 1:57.2, resulting in a dead heat. 

Brunello N ($2.30) got his third win of the year for owner Carl Monti and trainer Darrin Monti and Lucky McTrucky ($3) got his seventh win of 2019 for owner Tessa Roland and trainer JD Perrin.  

Monti ended up having a big night, scoring a Grand Slam Saturday. Besides the aforementioned Down On My Luck and Brunello N, Monti also won with Way To Go Fabio (2:00, $2.80) and Santana Beach (1:56.4, $21.40). 

Other horsemen having multiple successes during the evening included Denny Bucceri, who scored the driving hat trick along with Jim McNeight Jr. and Renaldo Morales III, who each had two driving wins. Trainers Jim McNeight and Steve Andzel also both sent out two stable members to victory. 

With no winner in the Pick-5 wager on Saturday, there is a $1,164 carryover and a $3,500 guaranteed pool for the Pick-5 wager on Friday (Dec. 13) when racing resumes at Batavia Downs.

The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and as such, there will be free program pages available on the USTA’s website on Wednesday morning (Dec. 11). Post time for Friday (Dec. 13) is at 6 p.m.

December 7, 2019 - 11:56am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Fox Valley Veto out front with driver Billy Davis Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

With no more Wednesday racing this year at Batavia Downs, the top distaff pace joined the weekly featured trot on Friday night (Dec. 6) with one race providing an upset and the other satisfying the chalk bettors.

In the $12,500 Open I Handicap trot, Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) settled in fourth off the gate and watched as Chuckabuck (Drew Monti) made a break and Alert Hanover (Jim McNeight Jr.) overtook Empire Earl N (Mike Caprio) for the lead at the quarter pole. After all that action sorted itself out, Davis pulled Veto off the pegs at the three-eighths pole and motored to the top by the half in 1:00.2.

As the race progressed onto the second circuit, Wheels A Turning (Shawn McDonough) came calling on the outside and matched strides with Fox Valley Veto up the backside, around the far turn and into the stretch. The battle continued down the lane until Fox Valley Veto slammed the door at the light, winning by one-half length in 1:58.3 at 15-1 .

It was the 11th win of the year for Fox Valley Veto ($33.40) and owners Vogel and Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner.

(Photo of Lady London with reinsman Ray Fisher Jr.)

Then in the $12,500 Open I Handicap pace of fillies and mares, Lady London (Ray Fisher Jr.) drifted fourth on the outside for the first eighth of a mile before she made a quick rush for the lead at the quarter in :28.2. From there the race was history.

Lady London opened up a 1-&frac12 length lead by the half in :58.3 and extended it to four at the three-quarters in 1:26.4. With no one even close as she sprinted around the last turn, Lady London jogged home wrapped up like a Christmas present to win by 6-½ lengths in 1:56.

It was the third win in the last four starts for Lady London ($5.40) and owner VHF Racing. Sabrina Shaw is the trainer.

Eight participating horse people had multiple win performances on Friday night. Drivers Billy Davis Jr. and Drew Monti led the way with three wins each on the card while Shawn McDonough and John Cummings Jr. both won two. And trainers Sabrina Shaw, Maria Rice, Jim Tronolone and Dave Russo all sent two stablemembers to the winner’s enclosure for photographs.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 7) with post time at 6 p.m.

December 7, 2019 - 11:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, basketball, sports, batavia.


Batavia couldn't quite close the gap at the end Friday night in their home opener against Honeoye Falls-Lima, falling 59-57.

Zach Bilebarto had a big game for the Blue Devils, scoring 25 points while hitting seven three-point shots. Caden White hit three three-pointers and finished with 13 points. Camden White scored 10 points and had eight rebounds.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

To view or purchase prints, click here.






December 6, 2019 - 12:19pm

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer recently sat down with President of Minor League Baseball (MiLB) Pat O’Conner, and owner of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, John Hughes, to hear out their concerns about Major League Baseball’s (MLB) reported proposal to restructure the minor leagues and dramatically reduce or significantly restructure a number of Upstate franchises that share an affiliation with an MLB club.

The group also discussed ways to alter the plan to reduce its potentially harmful impacts in New York. Additionally, last week, Schumer spoke with Brian Paris, president of the Genesee County Baseball Club — the community ownership group of the Batavia Muckdogs — to hear out his concerns, as well.

“I was so pleased to have MiLB President Pat O’Conner and John Hughes, owner of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, down to my office in Washington to talk through the MLB’s troubling plan to restructure the minor leagues and strike teams across Upstate New York out of their major league affiliations," Schumer said.

"The conversation was positive and we all agreed that we must work in lock-step to keep minor league baseball sewn into the very fabric of our state, as it has been since World War II. Before finalizing its plans, MLB must continue its discussions with local leaders, stakeholders and MiLB with the goal of reworking this plan and preventing New York from being left in the dust. MLB threw Upstate New York a biting curveball here, but we are looking to foul it off and get a better pitch to hit.”

Last month, news reports revealed that MLB is planning to take 42 teams that are currently affiliated with Major League teams and strip those organizations of their affiliations and reassign them to compete in a newly formed, lower-caliber league, called the Dream League.

Reports indicate that MLB’s current proposal would eliminate the Major League affiliations of four teams across New York State: the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Batavia Muckdogs, Auburn Doubledays and Staten Island Yankees — and drastically alter the business plans of the Tri-City Valleycats, Hudson Valley Renegades and Brooklyn Cyclones.

During the meeting, Schumer heard out MiLB’s and the Rumble Ponies’ serious concerns with the plan, and vowed to do whatever he could to maintain minor league baseball’s strong presence in Upstate New York.

This November, after learning of the proposal, Schumer immediately wrote to MLB to express his serious concerns, push the league to stop playing hardball and sit down with local stakeholders to discuss the plan and search for constructive solutions that would maintain minor league baseball’s strong presence in Upstate New York.

In the time since, MLB met with representatives of MiLB and team owners to talk about the plan in further detail. Schumer is now urging those conversations to continue and for the parties to figure out a way to prevent the Upstate minor league teams from losing their major league affiliations.

December 5, 2019 - 3:06pm

Photo: Byron-Bergen Player of the Year honorees (l-r) Bryce Yockel, Maddie Farnsworth, Kelsey Fuller and Sam Pringle.

Submitted photo and press release from Gretchen Spittler, Byron-Bergen Communications Specialist.

BERGEN -- Congratulations to our Genesee Region and Section V Class C Players of the Year. Four Byron-Bergen athletes were selected by sport-specific committees of coaches and league officials from a pool of all of the players on all of the teams within these divisions.

“These are incredible honors,” said Athletic Director Rich Hannan. “These athletes were chosen fromhundreds of candidates. They stood out for their talent, hard work, and unending dedication.”

  • Bryce Yockel was voted Offensive Football Player of the Year for Section V Class C;
  • Kelsey Fuller was voted Genesee Region and Section V Class C1 Girls Soccer Player of the Year;
  • Sam Pringle was voted Genesee Region Boys Soccer Player of the Year;
  • Maddie Farnsworth voted Genesee Region and Section V Class C Girls Volleyball Player of the Year.

Congratulations also to Coach Kenneth Rogoyski, who was named Genesee Region Boys Soccer Coach of the Year; Coach Wayne Hill, who was named Genesee Region and Section V Class C Girls Soccer Coach of the Year; and Coach Cindy D’Errico, who was named Genesee Region and Section V Class C Volleyball Coach of the Year.

December 5, 2019 - 2:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

On Friday (Dec. 6) there is a carryover of $868 in the Pick-5 at Batavia Downs and a guaranteed pool of $3,000 has been announced for the Pick-5 wager that day.

The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages are available courtesy of Trackmaster on the USTA’s website or by direct download by clicking here

The Pick-5 wager begins in race one and runs through race five. It is a 50-cent base wager and if all five winners aren’t selected, the carryover amount will move to the Saturday (Dec. 7) program.

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

December 5, 2019 - 12:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, elba.

The Elba Lady Lancers beat Albion in Albion on Tuesday 52-38.

Brynn Walczak scored 19 points. Lauryn Engle scored 14 points, hitting three three-point baskets. Leah Bezon scored 12 points.

Walczak also had 10 rebounds. Bezon had five assists.

Honesty Little scored 10 points for Albion, Kendall Derisley, 9.

December 4, 2019 - 2:18pm

Press releases:

The Batavia Muckdogs today praised the newly created Save Minor League Baseball Task Force that has been organized by members of Congress to prevent Major League Baseball (MLB) from eliminating 42 minor league franchises, nearly one quarter of all minor league teams around the country.

“We appreciate the support of Rep. Lori Trahan (D.-Massachusetts), David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and the members of the task force in standing up for Minor League Baseball and speaking out against MLB’s effort cast off thousands of jobs, reduce affordable, family-friendly entertainment and undermine grassroots support for our great game,” said Muckdogs General Manager Brendan Kelly.

The Batavia Muckdogs have been identified as one of the 42 franchises facing elimination under the MLB proposal.

Minor league teams are vital to the social and economic lives of millions of Americans; they support scores of local businesses and jobs, provide accessible entertainment, help promote tourism spending and donate tens of millions of dollars in charitable contributions.

“With this proposal, MLB is willing to break the hearts of dozens of communities across the country,” Kelly said. “We are going to resist this plan and are gratified that so many in Congress are willing to join with us.”


WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, Dec. 3 Representatives Lori Trahan (D-MA), David McKinley (R-WV), Max Rose (D- NY), and Mike Simpson (R-ID) announced the official formation of the bipartisan Save Minor League Baseball Task Force.

At the group’s inaugural meeting, interested Members heard from Minor League Baseball (MiLB) President Pat O’Conner and several Minor League team owners. The group discussed strategy to continue the momentum on this urgent issue.

The Save Minor League Baseball Task Force will advocate on behalf of the communities that stand to be mostharmed by MLB’s plan to eliminate 42 minor league franchises. They will closely monitor ongoing negotiationsbetween MLB and MiLB as well as discuss potential legislative action if and when such a remedy becomes necessary.

“I am proud to launch this important Task Force with my co-chairs; Representatives McKinley, Rose, and Simpson," said Congresswoman Trahan. "Together along with our colleagues we will make perfectly clear that Congress is ready to defend ourcommunities, which stand to lose out in MLB’s proposal to slash the number of Minor League teams. The Lowell Spinners and other minor league teams across the United States provide critical economic and cultural benefits to the communities they call home, and Congress must have a voice in this conversation,”

"Baseball is America’s pastime, and minor league teams have a major impact on small communities across our country,” said Congressman McKinley. “While we understand the MLB has concerns: the idea that doingaway with 42 teams is the only solution is not reasonable. We look forward to working with MiLB and MLB tofind a compromise that will preserve affiliated baseball in these cities.”

“Major League Baseball can look at all the ‘sabermetrics’ it wants, but what they don’t understand is the serious impact that losing these baseball teams will have on our communities,” said Congressman Rose. “You won’t see it in any formula, but my colleagues and I have all seen the impact teams like the Staten IslandYankees can have on the faces of the children who show up at the ballpark every year. I’m proud to join this effort to urge the MLB to reconsider.”

“Baseball is America’s pastime and that pastime should not be exclusive to a select number of cities," said Congressman Simpson. "Minor League Baseball is at the heart of many small and rural cities in our country. To deprive those communities of baseball would not only deny them access to our national heritage, but it would also harm local economies that depend on minor league baseball organizations. I am proud to join my colleagues in starting this task force toensure baseball stays vibrant in communities like Idaho Falls and Boise."

A statement from MiLB: "Minor League Baseball values the support of Representatives Trahan, McKinley, Rose and Simpson and the entire Task Force for America’s pastime and for recognizing our positive contributions to their communities andlocal economies as well as dozens of others across the country. While it is our hope to negotiate a fair agreement with MLB, the overwhelming support from elected officials on both sides of the aisle, at all levels ofgovernment, has been tremendous and shows that baseball helps to unite our nation."

The formation of this task force follows a Trahan-McKinley led bipartisan effort along with 104 of their colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to urge MLB to abandon its plan to eliminate 42 Minor League teams.

December 4, 2019 - 11:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, Lions Tournament, Batavia Lions Club.


The annual Peter Arras Lions Basketball Tournament tips off at 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 27 at Genesee Community College with Roy Hart, Attica, Elba, Oakfield-Alabama, Notre Dame, Perry, Le Roy, and Batavia high schools competing for large school and small school trophies.

  • Roy Hart and Attica play the first game at 3:30 p.m.
  • Elba vs. O-A is at 5:15 p.m.
  • Perry vs Notre Dame at 7 p.m.
  • Le Roy vs. BHS, at 8:45 p.m. 

The championship games are Dec. 30, with consolidation games at 3:30 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. The small school championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the large school championship game at 9 p.m.

Submitted photo and information.

Photo: front row -- Aiden Johnson, O-A, Bryce Reigle, Batavia, Joey Burdick, O-A, Reed Albee, Roy Hart; back row -- Franic Bisceglie, Attica, Michael Hockey, Perry, Grant Gilligan, Le Roy, Colton Dillion, Elba.

December 1, 2019 - 8:15pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in sports.

An Albion resident's first 800 series and a Batavian's eighth 300 game share the headlines this week in league bowling action across the Genesee Region.

On Monday, 31-year-old right-hander Brandon Gurnsey posted games of 276-279-257 for an 812 series in the Sneezy's Monday Night League at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion.

It is the first USBC-certified 800 series for Gurnsey, who eclipsed his previous high series of 789. A league bowler for the past nine years, the big effort on lanes 7-8 improved his average to 220.

Gurnsey, a bus mechanic for the Spencerport School District, registered 29 strikes for his Brooklyn Bombers team -- 10 in game one (with the front seven strikes), 11 in game two (with the front nine strikes before leaving a 4-pin) and eight in game three.

He said he wasn't sure if he still had a chance for the 800 late in the third game.

"I asked a teammate if I could still get it (800) since I'm not the greatest at keeping score while I'm bowling," Gurnsey said. "He said I needed a double in the 10th, which put a little more pressure on me."

Gurnsey struck on the first ball in the 10th and then finished with an eight count and spare.

"I was kind of upsest because I thought I missed it," he said.

His frustration quickly turned to joy when he learned that he, indeed, did hit 812, having received some incorrect information from his buddy.

While Gurnsey recorded an 800 series without the benefit of a 300 game (his high game is 290), Batavian Rob Stefani posted his eighth USBC-certified perfect game but just missed out on his first 800.

Bowling on lanes 5-6 in the G&W Vending League on Tuesday night at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen, the 35-year-old righty opened with 12 straight strikes for the 300.

"I caught a break in the eighth frame with a Brooklyn strike, and then after the 11th strike, I saw (fellow bowler) Chris Bardol videotaping me, so that made it a little more nerve-wracking," Stefani said. "I never had one on video before."

He came through despite the distraction and went on to roll 227 and 259 for a 786 series -- six pins less than his all-time high of 792. He entered the night with a 219 average.

"Once I shot the 300, I started thinking about an 800," said Stefani, an employee of the Federal Detention Facility in Batavia. "But the second game hurt me."

Although he fell short of the 800, Stefani said he had a great week -- both indoors and outdoors.

"I bagged a 10-point buck on Wednesday while hunting in Alexander and thought, 'Now all I need to do is shoot a 300,' " he said.

For a list of high scores, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of this page.

December 1, 2019 - 1:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Sir Pugsley with driver Drew Monti in the lead.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Sir Pugsley took full advantage of a rare inside post, a favorable trip and a failed favorite to light up the tote board in the $12,500 Open I Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 30). 

Driver Drew Monti tucked Sir Pugsley in second behind last weeks winner Howmac Dancer (Renaldo Morales III) going to the quarter as the heavy favorite Crocketts Cullen N (Larry Stalbaum) failed to negotiated the first turn and made a break as a result. Stalbaum gathered his 1-9 shot back together and rushed up the rim to pull close to the leader and remained there for the rest of the mile. 

The top three horses continued to pace in that order -- Howmac Dancer on top, Sir Pugsley in the hole and Crocketts Cullen N on the outside -- to the half in :57 and three-quarters in 1:25.4. When they rounded the last turn and headed into the stretch, Crocketts Cullen N faded just enough to allow Monti to extract Sir Pugsley off the pegs and he came out with a full head of steam and mowed down Howmac Dancer in deep stretch to win by a length in 1:55.2.

It was the seventh win of the year and third of the meet at Batavia Downs for Sir Pugsley ($18.80) who has now earned $88,270 this year for owner Robert Woodburn. Patrick Shepherd trains the winner. 

In the co-featured $11,000 Open II Handicap, Rise Up Now (Shawn McDonough) tripped-out behind the front-running Brunello N (Drew Monti) for over 7/8ths of a mile before popping the deuce mid-stretch and brushing to the lead at the beam to win in 1:56.2. 

It was the fifth win of the year for Rise Up Now ($34.80) who is owned and trained by Steve Andzel. 

Driver Shawn McDonough continued his hot streak in the bike winning three more races on Saturday and he rewarded his backers with premium mutuels with all three. His longshots included Dark Horse ($44.60), the aforementioned Rise Up Now and Willey Bite ($26.40). In the last three nights McDonough has won seven races. 

Also on Saturday night drivers Ray Fisher Jr. and Renaldo Morales III each scored two wins. Trainers Ryan Swift, Joe Skowyra and Steve Andzel all had two wins apiece as well. 

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Dec. 6) with post time at 6 p.m.

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