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November 21, 2019 - 12:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

Photo: Lady London out front with driver Ray Fisher Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Just to prove last week’s 5-¾ length win was no fluke, Lady London moved up to the top class and wired the field again in the $12,500 Open I Handicap pace for fillies and mares at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Nov. 20).

Driver Ray Fisher Jr. was decisive in strategy and repeated last weeks script; he left strong with Lady London and called out every quarter. They went :28 to the quarter and :57.1 to the half with the field in single file, and then rolled to the three-quarters in 1:25.4 with Squeeze This (Billy Davis Jr.) following close in the pocket and the favored HP Sissy (Drew Monti) winging it first-over on the rim. 

Coming off the final bend HP Sissy stalled and Squeeze This popped the deuce and was in full flight coming for home. She made up ground all the way down the lane but despite her valiant attempt to close the gap, Squeeze This fell a nose short to Lady London who stayed tough and won in 1:56. 

It was the eighth win of the year for Lady London ($7.50) who has now earned $70,873 for owner VHF Racing. Sabrina Shaw is the trainer. 

In the $9,000 under-feature, Little Joke (Billy Davis Jr.) dropped from Open II company and looked impressive as the heavy favorite with a wire to wire 1-1/4 length victory in 1:57.1. The eighth win of the year for Little Joke ($2.40) pushed her earnings to $74,428 for owners Vogel and Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner. 

Ray Fisher Jr. and Denny Bucceri led all drivers on Wednesday with three wins each. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Nov. 22) with post time at 6 p.m.

November 20, 2019 - 2:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, notify, muckdogs.

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Major League Baseball should not end its affiliation with the Batavia Muckdogs, or any of the other 41 minor league teams reportedly on the chopping block without sitting down and listening to local community leaders and minor league executives, Sen. Charles Schumer said during a telephone press conference with Upstate news media today.

"This plan presents some real potential problems for New York State," Schumer said. "We don't know how real it is, but the newspaper reports are very disconcerting. So I am calling today on the MLB and Minor League Baseball to sit down and talk with the community leaders and with team owners to ensure that all the relevant parties can provide feedback and propose constructive solutions before any final decisions are made."

The proposal to eliminate or demote 42 minor league teams is potentially an issue for members of Congress to take up because Major League Baseball enjoys an exemption from the Sherman Anti-Trust Act based on a ruling by the Supreme Court in 1922. Congress has the power to overturn that exemption.

Responding to a question from The Batavian, Schumer declined to comment on how he might respond to any proposal to lift the exemption.

"As for the antitrust exemption, we all know it exists," Schumer said. "Let's see what Major League Baseball has to say. Let's see how quickly and willingly and cooperatively they are willing to sit down with us before we comment on that particular proposal."

The current proposal -- as leaked to The New York Times -- would move 42 teams currently affiliated with major league teams to an independent "Dream League." Schumer acknowledged that it's unclear what MLB means by a "Dream League."

Besides Batavia, teams listed as candidates to lose a major league affiliation are Binghamton, Auburn and Staten Island. Three New York teams -- the Tri-City Valleycats, Hudson Valley Renegades and Brooklyn Cyclones -- would be promoted to AA leagues. That proposal, Schumer noted, would mean the end of the New York Penn League, founded in Batavia 80 years ago.

Complicating matters for Batavia is that the Muckdogs are now owned by the New York Penn League.

For decades, the Muckdogs were owned by the community, run by the Genesee County Baseball Club with a volunteer board of directors. The team has been perpetually for sale for several years. If it ever were sold, some of the proceeds would be returned to the GCBC.  

Club President Brian Paris said last night that any proceeds from the sale would be used for the community's benefit.

So the Muckdogs are, in the true financial sense of the word, a community asset.

Attempts to reach Ben Hayes, NYPL president, to try and clarify how the MLB proposal might affect this community asset have been unsuccessful.

Schumer said the first order of business is getting MLB to listen to the concerns of the communities affected by this proposal. He is seeking a meeting with MLB Commissioner Rob Manafort, whom Schumer hopes will understand the concerns of Upstate communities because he's originally from Rome. 

Loss of the NYPL would be especially devastating for baseball fans in Upstate New York, Schumer said. The Dream League, whatever that might be, Schumer said, might be a sufficient attraction to make professional baseball viable in Upstate.

"The New York Penn League short-season schedule has been ideal for New York baseball fans," Schumer said. "The games get started in mid-June after the colder spring weather; They last through the hot summer months when baseball's at its best, in my opinion."

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has also weighed into the debate defending baseball in Batavia, stating, "If you’re in Batavia or anywhere nearby, you love the Muckdogs. I’ve been to many of their games. I’ve thrown out opening pitches. My husband and I slip in there at least once or twice a year to catch a game, so it’s part of the identity of the community and especially these small towns. I mean Batavia has a lot going for it, but part of it is being associated with a Minor League Baseball team."

Photo: File photo by Jim Burns.

November 19, 2019 - 5:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, muckdogs, baseball, sports, notify.

It's early in the negotiations and officials with Minor League Baseball are working hard to save all the minor league ball clubs from the chopping block, a spokesman for Minor League Baseball said this evening.

"The game of baseball is just as important to Batavia and Auburn as it is in Charlotte or Indianapolis," said Jeff Lantz. "We want to see baseball grow and thrive and be a part of all of our communities."

He said it's unfortunate that word leaked that Major League Baseball floated a proposal to eliminate some minor league teams, and even more unfortunate that this week a list of teams MLB is proposing to be cut was leaked. Both Batavia and Auburn were on a list of New York Penn League clubs that could be scrapped if MLB is successful in reducing the number of minor league teams from 160 to 120.

"That's not good for anybody," Lantz said. "It's not good for Minor League Baseball. It's not good for the fans, and it's not good for the fans of Batavia and Auburn."

He said it's early in the process and MLB and its officials are meeting this week to negotiate. They'll meet again at the Winter Meetings in a couple of weeks to try and hammer out a deal.

"We'll find out their (MLB's) concerns," Lantz said. "I don't think there are any concerns that can't be addressed through negotiations and finding out the best way to go."

Asked if MLB holds all the cards, Lantz said, obviously, the Appalachian League (of) MLB owns all the franchises and can do with them as they please, but the rest of the teams have separate owners so their status does become a point of negotiation.

The Batavia Muckdogs are owned by the New York Penn League now, but the team's former owner, a community group -- Genesee County Baseball Club -- would receive a part of the proceeds if NYPL ever sold the club. If the club were sold and moved, members of the club have floated the idea of using the funds to start a baseball team in one of the leagues that provides summer baseball for college-level players.

Lantz referred questions about the team's ownership status and how that might play out in these negotiations to league president Ben Hayes.

The Batavian has been unable to reach Hayes although we've tried for the past couple of weeks.

General Manager Brendan Kelly said he was not authorized to talk about the status of the minor league clubs. We were also unable this evening to reach club President Brian Paris.

That said, Lantz confirmed, there will be a 2020 season for the Muckdogs in Batavia. The current contract between MiLB and MLB runs until Sept. 15, 2020.

"The good news is, that gives us 11 months to try to negotiate a deal," Lantz said.

Lantz said one thing that is helping the cause of Minor League Baseball is politicians speaking out to help save the teams in the communities they represent. He cited specifically a member of Congress from Massachusetts who got more than 100 other members of Congress to sign a petition to send to MLB asking MLB to protect these teams.

Sen. Charles Schumer has come out strongly in favor of keeping ball clubs in Batavia and Auburn.

“America’s favorite pastime should not become part of Upstate New York’s past," Schumer said. "It’s no secret that New York’s minor league teams are institutions within their communities, which is why I implore MLB to reconsider any such plans and will be reaching out to them directly to advocate for our New York teams."

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who along with her husband, Bill, is a big fan of the Muckdogs and has attended several games over the years, also sent out a couple of Tweets in support of protecting minor league teams in New York. In one, Hochul wrote, "Foul ball!? @MLB - please say this isn’t so. As the birthplace of baseball and home to the Baseball Hall of Fame, these teams are big economic drivers for our small towns and part of New York’s identity & culture."

UPDATE 8:25 p.m.: Genesee County Baseball Club President Brian Paris said he's had no conversations at this point with Ben Hayes or Minor League Baseball about the future of the Batavia Muckdogs, though he is mindful of the fact that the club has a financial stake in the outcome of negotiations. He noted that Major League Baseball enjoys an antitrust exemption, which could limit the leverage of ball club owners but, citing a Baseball America article, noted that terminating as many as 40 franchises could jeopardize baseball's always tenuous hold on its exemption (which is authorized by Congress). If the Muckdogs are ever sold, Paris noted, it's the intention of the club's board of directors that any proceeds from a sale (about half the value of the club, less operational losses sustained by the NYPL since the league took over) would be used to the benefit the community.

November 19, 2019 - 1:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

On Wednesday (Nov. 20) there is a carryover of $1,135 in the Pick-5 at Batavia Downs and a guaranteed pool of $4,000 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 Friday (Nov. 22) program.

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

November 18, 2019 - 8:41am
posted by Mike Pettinella in sports, Bowling.

Orleans County bowlers found a great deal of league success last week as three men posted perfect games at Medina Lanes and Oak Orchard Bowl.

All three 300 games were rolled on Thursday with Jacob Rosenbeck and Scott Allis finding perfection in the Firefighters League at Medina Lanes, and Robbie Hanks stringing 12 consecutive strikes in the Thursday Triples League at Oak Orchard Bowl.

Rosenbeck notched his first USBC-certified 300 on lanes 11-12 while Allis added to his long list of perfect games on lanes 9-10, both in the second game.

Hanks registered his fifth 300 game en route to a 752 series at his place of employment, Oak Orchard Bowl.

In the Sunday Rolloffs League at Medina Lanes, Alex Allis had a 290 game in a 752 series, and in the Wednesday Men's Handicap League at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen, Rodney Jopson posted a 279 game in a 757 series.

For more high league scores last week, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of this page.

Mike Pettinella's Pin Points column is scheduled for this Thursday, exclusively on The Batavian.

November 16, 2019 - 11:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

Photo: Tullow N and driver John Cummings Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Starting slow and finishing fast was a winning strategy for Tullow N, who posted a convincing victory in the $12,500 Open I Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on a very cold Saturday night (Nov. 16). 

I’m So Handsome (Billy Davis Jr.) took command early and led the single-file field to the half in :58.2. It was there that Tullow N (John Cummings Jr.) pulled first-over and motored up the outside as they made their way around the third turn. 

When they straightened out on the backside Tullow N was in full gear and paced right by the entire field, clearing by the three-quarters. Cummings then settled Tullow N and took a two-length lead into the last turn. In the stretch, the pocket-sitting I’m So Handsome and a three-wide Howmac Dancer (Renaldo Morales III) tried their best to reel-in the leader, but Tullow N was on a mission and won in-hand in 1:55.2.

The eighth win of the year for Tullow N ($9.60) pushed his earnings to $89,260 for the season. The Blindswitch Racing Stable owns the classy 8-year-old altered son of Mach Three-Tessa Bromac who is trained by Dave Russo.

(Photo of Carlos Danger in front with trainer/driver Ron Beback Jr.)

Despite coming off a very solid win in his last start, a jump in class shied bettors from backing Carlos Danger this week in the $10,000 Open III pace. But the game 6-year-old had the last laugh over the doubters after he went gate to wire in 1:56.3 at 10-1 for trainer/driver Ron Beback Jr. Carlos Danger ($23.40) is owned by Decker’s Corner Stable, Decker’s Gate Stable and Jo’s Get R Done Stable. 

Billy Davis Jr. was the top dash driver again on Saturday adding three more wins to his total. He now has 111 wins for the meet and has long locked-up the driving title for the meet as he is 32 wins ahead of the second place Jim Morrill Jr.

Drew Monti and Dave McNeight III also scored two wins apiece.

There was no winner in the Pick-5 wager on Saturday night and as a result, there is an $1,134 carryover and a $4,000 guaranteed pool in the Pick-5 wager on Wednesday evening (Nov. 20) when live racing resumes at Batavia Downs at 5 o'clock.

The guaranteed pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and that means free program pages of the Pick-5 races will be available on the USTA website beginning on Sunday (Nov. 17).

November 16, 2019 - 11:50am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Wheels A Turning in the forefront with driver Shawn McDonough.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Wheels A Turning scored a narrow come-from-behind win in the feature trot at Batavia Downs last week. This week she took control off the gate and provided the same outcome in the $12,500 Open I Handicap trot over a sloppy track at the Downs on Friday night (11-15). 

The feature field was scratched down to five and the lone mare, Wheels A Turning (Shawn McDonough) was the best off the gate, hitting the quarter in :30 flat. With no one applying any pressure, McDonough kept the fractions tepid; 1:00.4 to the half and 1:30 to three-quarters. 

Rounding the far turn the pocket-sitting Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) and outside rusher Lougai (Ray Fisher Jr.) had the best shot for top honors and both were looking strong in pursuit. However under meaningful urging from McDonough, Wheels A Turning maintained her position and won by 1-¼ lengths in 2:00.1.

Wheels A Turning ($4.20) hit double-digit territory, scoring her 10th win of the year and hitting the $85,560 mark for purses. Allan Schmucker Jr. owns the mare that is trained by Sabrina Shaw.

(Above photo of Spoiler Alert with driver Renaldo Morales Jr.)

Despite his name, everyone apparently knew how this story would end in the $11,000 Open II Handicap trot as the heavy 3-5 favorite Spoiler Alert (Renaldo Morales Jr.) led every step of the way to score an impressive 1-½ length win in 1:59.3. Celebrating the eighth win of the year by Spoiler Alert ($3.20) were owner Jeffrey Hayes and trainer Misty Carey. 

Billy Davis Jr. remained hot and extended his already insurmountable dash win lead for the meet by winning four races on Friday. He now has 108 wins for the session. Renaldo Morales Jr. also had three wins in Friday. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on tonight (Nov. 16) at 6 o'clock.

November 14, 2019 - 11:47am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The severe winter storm that hit western New York over the last two days caused many cancellations in the area due to bad driving conditions. Even though we are one day removed from the brunt of the disturbance it’s impact left the track at Batavia Downs unsafe to race over and as a result, management decided to cancel live racing for Wednesday (Nov. 13). 

“Our first and foremost consideration at Batavia Downs is the safety of our horses, horsemen and horsewomen and after speaking with our drivers and trainers, it was a unanimous decision to cancel tonight’s card,” said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. 

Batavia Downs had a guaranteed pool of $6,000 in the Pick-5 wager on Wednesday and it was announced that the same guaranteed pool will be moved to Friday's card (Nov. 15) when live racing resumes. The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages will be available courtesy of Trackmaster on the USTA’s website starting tomorrow morning. 

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 (Nov. 16) program.

Post time on Friday (Nov. 15) is at 6 p.m.

November 13, 2019 - 5:11pm

Notre Dame High School held its 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame dinner and awards ceremony on Saturday (Nov. 9).

Above, from left, are Athletic Hall of Fame inductees Dick O'Connor -- Class of '64, John Dwyer*, Christopher Sabato -- Class of '97, Maureen Del Plato Braunscheidel -- Class of '98, Lou Cinquino** -- Class of '80, and Jennifer Sutherland Forsyth -- Class of '00.

*[John Dwyer represented his father Edward Dwyer, who was inducted as a Contributor, and John's daughter Amy Dwyer -- Class of '83, who was unable to attend.]

**[Lou Cinquino represented Sacramento Kings NBA Assistant Coach Bob Beyer -- Class of '80.]

Above are Notre Dame High School 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame Service Award recipients, from left, Patty Daansen, Dan Coughlin and Kris Coughlin.

Above are members of Notre Dame Wrestling Teams [1967 - 1968 - 1969] inductees.

Front row, from left: Rick Tepedino, John Sorenson, Tony Peca, Dave O'Connor, Bob Balbick, Mike Cinquino and Sal Cintorino.

Back row, from left: Dan O'Connor, Dave Jamalkowski, Tony Forti, Don Linsey, Tony Cinquino, Charlie Mullen, Ron Kelly and Bob Cline.

Not pictured: Dennis O'Connor, Bruce Briggs, Mike Carragher, Joe Chimino, Bill Fava, Bill Gear, Bill Johnson, Tim Lippold, Tom Murray, John Yanilk [Mgr.], Don Kelly* and Dave Dudek* [Deceased *].

Notre Dame Father -- Daughter Hall of Fame members Bill Sutherland -- Class of '67 [HOF 1995] and daughter Jennifer Sutherland Forsyth -- Class of '00, who was inducted into this year's Athletic Hall of Fame.

Bill and Jennifer are the first father - daughter inductee combo in the history of ND's Hall of Fame Inductions!

The four Darien Center O'Connor brothers are now ND Athletic Hall of Fame Members!

Congrats to brothers (from left) Dick -- Class of '64 [HOF '19], David -- Class of '67 [HOF '17], Dan -- Class of '69 [HOF '16], and Dennis -- Class of '72 [HOF '96] O'Connor!

For more information about the inductees, including school photos, bios and their achievements, click on the previous story here.

November 12, 2019 - 12:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

On Wednesday (Nov. 13) there is a carryover of $2,343 in the Pick-5 at Batavia Downs and a guaranteed pool of $6,000 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 Friday (Nov. 15) program.

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

November 11, 2019 - 11:47am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo: Howmac Dancer out in front with driver Denny Bucceri.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

After winning his way up through the non-winner ranks, Howmac Dancer scored a major upset in his first top class $12,500 Open Handicap pace victory at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (11-9). 

There was a mad rush off the gate with Major Authority (Wade Tomaszewski) parking out Mr. Euroman (Billy Davis Jr.) and Tullow N (John Cummings Jr.) two and three deep to the quarter in :27.3. With everyone finally taking a seat, Major Authority kept rolling to the half in :55.3. 

At that point Howmac Dancer (Denny Bucceri) pulled from mid-pack, moved smartly up the backstretch and took command by the three-quarters in 1:25. Rounding the far turn, Howmac Dancer had a gapped advantage but still had to withstand a late rush from Black Is Back (Dave McNeight III) and Race Me Rocky (Shawn McDonough) which he did to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:55.1. 

It was the fifth win in seven Batavia starts and seventh win of the season for Howmac Dancer ($42) who is owned by Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi and trained by Jim Clouser Jr. 

The $11,000 Open II Handicap pace went to Cultural Paradise (Renaldo Morales III) who led every step of the way en route to his third win in his last four starts and fourth win of the season, timed in 1:56.3. Don Rothfuss trains for owner Howard Ouriel.

The biggest win mutuel of the year was paid out on Saturday after 74-1 shot Raylan Givens (Billy Davis Jr.) rallied late in the fourth race to win by a neck in 1:56.2. The Brittney Ohol owned and trained gelding returned $151 for the win and sparked a $946.00 exacta (7-3), $1,447 trifecta (7-3-1) and $5,175 superfecta (7-3-1-8). 

Drew Monti and Denny Bucceri led all drivers on Saturday with three wins while trainers Don Rothfuss and Mike Ohol won two races apiece.

There was no winner in the Pick-5 wager again on Saturday and as a result there is a $2,343 carry-over and Batavia Downs will be offering a guaranteed pool of $6,000 for the pick-5 wager on Wednesday (Nov. 13) when live racing resumes at 5 p.m.

The pool will be part of the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and as such, there will be free program page available on the USTA’s website starting on Sunday morning.

November 11, 2019 - 9:44am
posted by Mike Pettinella in sports, Bowling.

Talk about making up for lost time!

Out of action since the beginning of the season due to a partial left knee replacement, Medina's Jim Foss erupted for an 823 series on Sunday (Nov. 10) in the Sunday Rolloffs League at Medina Lanes.

The 57-year-old right-hander and 2019 inductee into the Genesee Region USBC Hall of Fame posted games of 258-267-298 while substituting in the singles league. It was just his fourth league series as he is coming back from the April 30 surgery.

Bowling on three different pairs per the league format, Foss, co-manager at Medina Lanes, started with at least six strikes in all three games, stretching the string to 11 in the last game before leaving the 4-8 on his last ball.

Still, the 823 is his high series, eclipsing his previous best of 815.

Elsewhere around the Genesee Region, Matt Balduf stayed hot in the Toyota of Batavia Thursday night league at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia with a 299 game and 766. The previous week. Baluf recorded a 300 game and 768 series.

At Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion, Reid Cole rolled a 299 game and Robbie Hanks registered a 763 series to lead the way.

For more high scores from the past week, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of this page.

November 10, 2019 - 12:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Le Roy, football.

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The Oatkan Knights went into their Class C sectional title matchup with Letchworth/Warsaw ranked #1 and on the hunt for a record-setting 16th title in program history.

They had beat L/W earlier this year but as the saying goes, it's hard to beat the same team twice in a season.

L/W grabbed the title with a 26-6 win.

Andrew Englerth (top photo) carried the ball 23 times for 114 yards and scored Le Roy's lone touchdown. Kyler LaCarte rushed for 109 yards on 24 carries.

Photos by Jim Burns. The Batavian's sideline coverage authorized by Section V Athletics.

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November 9, 2019 - 8:54am
posted by James Burns in sports, Section V, Le Roy, byron, bergen, Girls volleyball.

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Top seed Byron–Bergen Bees faced the number two Le Roy Knights in Section V Class C Girls Volleyball Championship in Avon Friday night.

In the first match, Le Roy seemed to dominate and was threatening to upset the perennial favorite Bees. As the match ended, with the teams swapping the lead with every position, the Bees came out on top.  

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In the second match, the Bees controlled the Knights and led the entire match for a Bees' win.

In the third march, the Knights rallied back and won. 

The fourth Match was all Bees. They went to work and easily finished off the Knights to win the series. 

Byron–Bergen won 3 to1 for the sectional championship.  

Congratulations to both teams for terrific winning seasons. 

The Batavian's coverage of sectional play is authorized by Section V Athletics. 

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November 9, 2019 - 12:17am
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, Batavia Downs, sports.

Photo of Wheels A Turning leading with driver Denny Bucceri.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

A class drop spelled victory for Wheels A Turning who moved down from Open I company on Friday night (Nov. 8) to win the $11,000 Open II trotting feature at Batavia Downs.

Getting away fourth, Wheels A Turning (Denny Bucceri) watched in wait while the only other mare in the race, CR Blazin Beauty (John Cummings Jr.), grabbed the lead and set the tone. They went to the half in :58 flat before Bucceri pulled Wheels A Turning first-over and started to march for the front. 

CR Blazing Beauty maintained command of her lead but Wheels A Turning was trotting alongside within a length at the three-quarters, around the turn and into the stretch. As they moved down the lane the two trotted stride for stride to the wire until Wheels A Turning gained a slight advantage and won by a neck in 1:57.3.

It was the ninth win of the year for Wheels A Turning ($6.10) who has now earned $79,310 in purses in 2019. Allan Schmucker Jr. owns the 5-year-old daughter of Mr. Cantab-Free Wheeling that is trained by Sabrina Shaw. 

The Downs leading driver, Billy Davis Jr., Shawn McDonough and Renaldo Morales III all had three winners during the evening on Friday. That pushed Davis’s win total for the meet to 103 wins ,which is a commanding 24 tallies ahead of Jim Morrill Jr. who sits in second place. Patrick Shepherd led all trainers with two wins on Friday, putting him at 25 wins and catapulting him into third place behind the leading Jim Clouser Jr. (42) and Maria Rice (33), who each scored one win on Friday.   

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 9) with post time at 6 o'clock.

November 7, 2019 - 5:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, Batavia Downs, sports.

Photo of Protect Blue Chip in the lead with driver Billy Davis Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

A pair of distaff Open paces topped the card on Wednesday night (Nov. 6) at Batavia Downs and fittingly, both winners came from barns of female trainers. 

In the $12,500 Open I Handicap for fillies and mares, Protect Blue Chip (Billy Davis Jr.) got away fifth while Blue Bell Bonnie (Dave McNeight III) and HP Sissy (Drew Monti) battled for front supremacy in a speedy :27.2. Davis pulled first-over with Protect Blue Chip and brought Gia’s Surreal (John Cummings Jr.) in the flow. 

Positions grew tight as the race reached three-quarters in 1:25.3 with the top four horses pacing in a bunch and it didn’t get any easier down the lane. With a mad rush to the wire, from the pylons out was Blue Bell Bonnie, HP Sissy, Protect Blue Chip and Gia’s Surreal all within a head of each other until Protect Blue Chip got the slightest advantage to win by a nose in a blanket finish on a cold night in 1:54.4. 

It was the seventh win of the year and a new seasonal mark for Protect Blue Chip ($18.00) who is owned by Vogel and Wags Nags Stable, Jack Rice and Adelphi Bloodstock. Maria Rice trains the winner. 

Then in the $11,000 Open II Handicap for fillies and mares, Lady London (Ray Fisher Jr.) went a mile that could have gotten her the top prize in the main event. After leaving sharply from post four in :27.1, Lady London led at every station by a gapped advantage that grew as the race progressed. After hitting three-quarters in 1:24.1, Fisher let Lady London pace home of her own volition and she stretched out to a 5-3/4 length win at the wire in 1:54.1. 

It was also the seventh win of the year for Lady London ($5.30) who is owned by VHF Racing and trained by Sabrina Shaw, who had a training double on the card. 

John Cummings Jr. and Billy Davis Jr. were the hot drivers on Wednesday, each scoring a hat trick of victories. Kevin Cummings joined Shaw in the trainer ranks with two wins on Wednesday as well. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Nov. 8) with post time at 6 p.m.

November 4, 2019 - 9:37am
posted by Mike Pettinella in sports, Bowling.

The first USBC-certified* 700 series for a Batavia youth bowler and a ninth USBC-certified perfect game by a South Byron adult league bowler highlighted this past week’s action around the Genesee Region.tony_sprague.jpg

Tony Sprague (photo at right), a 17-year-old senior at Batavia High School, posted a sparkling 752 series while participating in the Turnbull Heating Junior League at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia.

Sprague, a lean right-hander, registered games of 236-258-258 using a Storm IQ Tour Emerald ball to eclipse his previous high series of 694.

He said he used more of a “swing” shot than normal, standing left and launching the ball to the outside boards to consistently hit the 1-3 pocket. He also felt some added pressure toward the end of the set.

“I was pretty calm the first two games but I knew I was getting close (to the 700 mark), so I got a little nervous,” he said.

He kept it together very well, however, to raise his league average to 203. He also has a 201 average in the Rochester Youth Travel League, with a 276 game last week at Empire Lanes to his credit. In that game, he started with nine strikes before leaving a 4-pin.

Balduf finished with a 300 game for a 768 series in the Toyota of Batavia Thursday League at Mancuso’s.

The 51-year-old righty had a 299 on Oct. 26 in the Handicap Bracket Challenge Tournament at Mancuso’s (more on that event in Mike Pettinella’s Pin Points column this Thursday).

At Livingston Lanes in Geneseo, Scott Culp of Honeoye Falls added to his lengthy list of honor scores with 290—823 in the Monday Ontario-Livingston League.

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

*(United States Bowling Congress)

November 3, 2019 - 12:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, sports, volleyball.

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The Le Roy volleyball team has a shot at a sectional championship this week after beating Holley in a semifinal match on Saturday.

The Knights are now 17-2 and will face Wellsville at 5 p.m., Wednesday, at East Rochester High School.

Photos and info from Tim McArdle.

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November 3, 2019 - 10:53am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo: Down On My Luck with driver Drew Monti.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The formidable team of owner Robert Woodburn, trainer Patrick Shepherd and driver Drew Monti struck again in prime time to win both feature races on Saturday night (Nov. 2) at Batavia Downs. 

In the $12,500 Open I Handicap pace, Down On My Luck scored his sixth win in only eight starts at Batavia Downs this year after he made a second-over move past the half, took over the lead from the front-running Howmac Dancer (Ray Fisher Jr.) at the top of the stretch and then held off a late rush by Tullow N (John Cummings Jr.) to win by a nose in 1:55.3. 

It was the 10th win overall this year for Down On My Luck ($3.50) who now has $63,492 on the card in 2019. 

Then in the $11,000 Open II Handicap pace, Sir Pugsley left from his assigned seven post and dropped in third by the quarter. But he was out and rolling early moving up to second by the half, taking over the lead from China Dream (Billy Davis Jr.) at the three-quarters and then clearing and pulling away down the lane to win by a wrapped-up 3-1/4 lengths in 1:55.3.

It was the sixth win of the year for Sir Pugsley ($3.00) and pushed his bank to $81,020. 

Monti ended up the leading driver on the night, scoring a total of four wins and three seconds during the card. Besides Down On My Luck and Sir Pugsley, Monti also won with In Runaway Bay N (1:55.3, $8.10) and Brunello N (1:55.1, $3.60).  

Billy Davis Jr. also finished the night strong getting a natural hat trick in the final three races. 

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 6) with post time at 5 o'clock.

November 3, 2019 - 10:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, sports, football.

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The Oatkan Knights are heading to a Class C championship game after beating East Rochester/Gananda 35-14 on Saturday.

Kyler LaCarte was 7-12 passing for 170 yards and three TDs, with one interception.  He also rushed for 54 yards on six attempts and scored a TD.

 

Andrew Englerth rushed 10 times for 21 yards and a TD. Jake Hill, Chase Bordonaro, and Nate Andrews each had a TD reception.

Cole Rauscher led the defense with 12 tackles. Alex Panepento and Zach Vanderhoof each had nine and Jake Hill had seven.

Both of the Bombers' TDs came late in the game after the Knights had pulled many of their starters.

Le Roy will face Warsaw in for the Class C championship at 5 p.m., Saturday, at the College at Brockport.

Photos by Jim Burns

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