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January 31, 2021 - 6:53pm
posted by Press Release in sports, Bowling.

Press release from Genesee Region USBC:

A little more than 14 months after recording his first United States Bowling Congress-certified 800 series, Albion resident Brandon Gurnsey has a 300 game to go along with it.

Gurnsey, a 32-year-old right-hander, rolled games of 201-300-221 for a 722 series this week on lanes 9-10 in the Sneezy's Monday Night League at his hometown bowling center, Oak Orchard Bowl.

It was on Nov. 25, 2019 when Gurnsey, a bus mechanic for the Spencerport Central School District, posted an 812 series at Oak Orchard Bowl with games of 276-279-257.

In Monday's action, he said he moved a few boards right on the approach after the opening 201, placing his Roto-Grip Halo ball between the second and third arrows. He proceeded to guide the next 11 balls to the pocket for strikes before tugging the 12th shot and coming up high.

"I could hear people in the background who were videotaping (the last frame) on their phones yell out, 'Oh no,' " Gurnsey said, realizing that he pulled the ball left of target. "I left the 6-7-10 split, but the 6-10 fell over and then the 7-pin somehow fell off the back of the deck."

Bowling for the Brooklyn Bombers team, Gurnsey raised his average this season to 219, his best ever. His previous high game was 299, which he achieved on two occasions.

In other action around the Genesee Region:

  • William Yates of Churchville just missed perfection, leaving a 7-pin on the final ball for a 299 on lanes 1-2 in the Thursday Owls League at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen. The 64-year-old right-hander started with 228 and finished with 233 for a sparkling 760 series.
  • Diane Hurlburt of Warsaw continued her stellar bowling of late with a 694 series in the Thursday Night League at Perry Bowling Center. The previous week, Hurlburt registered a 738 series.
  • In action from the previous week, Curtis Foss of Medina rolled his third 300 game of the season en route to a 775 series in the Thursday Men's Triples League at Oak Orchard Bowl.

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

January 30, 2021 - 3:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, sports, le roy hs.

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Le Roy's winter track and field teams participated in a virtual track meet today.

Photos by Tim McArdle.

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January 30, 2021 - 2:31pm
posted by Press Release in GLOW Academy, sports, baseball.

Press release:

It's that time of year to start planning for warm weather and the sights and sounds of baseball.

Batavia Youth Baseball is proud to continue our partnership with GLOW Academy. We are please to offer several divisions: T-ball, 8U coach pitch, 10U minors, 12U 50/70 and, new this season, 15U 60/90.

We are excited to get started and hope you are as well. Please feel free to message us with any questions.

Registration is open. Please click on this link to sign up and please share. Thank you!

Questions? Contact Dan Utter via email:  [email protected]

January 27, 2021 - 2:03pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, sports.

Press release:

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments are providing the following information for schools, businesses, coaching staff, athletes, parents of student-athletes, and youth and adult amateur sports leagues in both counties. 

“After extended internal consultation and discussion among Finger Lakes and Western Region County Health Officials, it has been determined that higher-risk and moderate risk sports may proceed in Genesee and Orleans counties in accordance with New York State guidelines,” said Paul Pettit, director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

New York State Interim Guidelines for Sports and Recreation were announced by Governor Cuomo late Friday, Jan. 22.

These revisions allow local health departments to authorize nonprofessional and noncollegiate sports, such as wrestling, ice hockey, basketball, contact lacrosse, and volleyball, to proceed with individual and group training, competitions, and tournaments, effective Feb. 1. Updates were also made to low- and moderate-risk sports and recreation activities.

All responsible parties (schools, businesses, leagues, organizations) must follow the New York State Department of Health's INTERIM GUIDANCE FOR SPORTS AND RECREATION DURING THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY and applicable Executive Orders for the conduct of their sports and recreation activities.

Per current State guidance, indoor facilities must limit their capacity to no more than 50 percent occupancy and a maximum of two spectators per player. In addition, protocols to ensure social distancing, use of face coverings, and enhanced disinfection protocols must be implemented.

For moderate and higher risk sports, if an athlete, coach or referee receives a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, all in-person team or group activities for that sport (e.g. practices, scrimmages, games, meetings) may result in a 10 day suspension to lessen the spread of infection and allow for

the case investigation and contact tracing to occur. Situations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

Participating in higher-risk sports presents significant risks. The level of risk presented by a return to sports is driven by the sport and setting, local disease activity, and individual circumstances including underlying health conditions that may place the athlete or household contacts at increased risk of severe disease should they contract COVID-19.

Individual schools and businesses, student and adult athletes, and parents/guardians must carefully consider a variety of factors before making an individual decision to participate. 

To allow the continuation of higher risk sport and recreational activities, local health authorities will continue to consider many factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • Whether there is a more transmissible variant of COVID-19 identified in the area;
  • Local rates of COVID-19 transmission or rate of positivity; and
  • Local ability to monitor and enforce compliance.

Contact sports bring people close together and increase the risk of transmission. If persons choose to return to high-risk sports, they must follow guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Athletes should be mindful of their activity outside of sports to minimize risk and reduce community spread.

We must work together during these stressful times to ensure that our youth and adults have the opportunity to participate in athletics safely.

The New York State summary guidelines are posted on the NYForward website. All responsible parties (schools, businesses, leagues, organizations) must read and affirm the State’s detailed guidelines and develop a safety plan. 

https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/SportsAndRecreationMasterGuidance.pdf

https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/SportsAndRecreationSummaryGuidance.pdf

https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/NYS_BusinessReopeningSafetyPlanTemplate.pdf 

Stop the spread of COVID-19: Wear a mask; maintain a social distance of 6 feet; wash your hands often.

January 26, 2021 - 9:28pm
posted by Press Release in Section V, sports, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

Today (Jan. 26) at 4 p.m. members of the Athletic Council, the governing body of Section V Athletics, voted on many items related to the authorization of high-risk sports to begin on Feb. 1, pending approval from local departments of health. Any section of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has the authority to determine a later start date than what is provided by NYSPHSAA.

All high-risk sports will need approval from their local departments of health before they can proceed. Section V Athletics reaches 12 different local departments of health and the request for approval has been made to each of them as of Monday, Jan. 25.

Winter high-risk sports are basketball, ice hockey and wrestling. The winter high-risk sports season will begin on Monday, Feb. 1, pending department of health approval. The regular season must end by Saturday, March 6, and sectionals will conclude by Sunday, March 14. Our leagues are now responsible to determine the regular-season schedule within the dates mentioned above. 

For the winter high-risk sports season, the sectional tournaments will be a closed sectional format to be determined and all events will be hosted at the higher seed. The Fall II sports are competitive cheerleading, football and volleyball. We will finalize start and end dates for the Fall II sports season in the coming weeks.

Spring sports are baseball, boys golf, boys tennis, lacrosse, softball, and track & field. The NYSPHSAA spring sports season start date is Monday, April 19. We will continue to be sensitive to spring sports that have already missed a complete season and sectional/state championship last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

At this time, only two spectators per athlete are permitted according to the New York State Department of Health, but local departments of health can be more restrictive. Section V will make every attempt to livestream events as they were in the previous seasons. 

January 26, 2021 - 1:45pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The Pembroke Girls Basketball team is currently organizing their 10th annual "Shooting For A Cure!" game in support of funding research efforts at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, no official game date has been set; however we're considering various alternative ways in which to maintain this benevolent tradition as we work alongside our county health department.

Over the past nine seasons our small community has raised more than $152,000 for cancer research at Roswell Park. 

This year we hope to get creative, utilizing virtual alternatives to try and make a difference in our community. We would greatly appreciate your support in sharing our "Shooting For A Cure!" mission with the community. 

We’re currently on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram as well as the Team Roswell website. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via e-mail, phone or social media if you have any questions for us or would like to get involved.

We thank you for your continued support and hope that in the weeks ahead we can solidify a game date and additional details as they relate to fundraising and prizes that will be raffled off.

-- The Pembroke Girls Basketball Team & Event Coordinator Michael Wilson

Both photos, from left, are the three seniors who will be participating in this year's event: #32 Emily Peters, #10 Serene Calderõne and #23 Nicole Von Kramer.

Letter from Roswell Park Alliance Foundation:

Dear Pembroke Jr./Sr. High School Lady Dragons JV & Varsity Basketball:

Congratulations! I am happy to inform you that the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation has approved your request to host a fundraising event to support Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The information we have authorized for your event is:

  • Event: Shooting for a Cure!
  • When: Spring 2021
  • Where: Pembroke Jr./Sr. High School
  • Why: To support cancer research and patient-care programs at Roswell Park

We are grateful and honored that you have chosen the Alliance Foundation to be the recipient of your fundraising efforts. It is donors, like you, that make it possible for Roswell Park to continue our mission to eliminate cancer s grip on humanity by unlocking its secrets through personalized approaches and unleashing the healing power of hope.

Welcome to Team Roswell!

January 25, 2021 - 6:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, news.

Batavia High School's Athletic Director, Michael Bromley, said he's beyond excited that high-risk sports, delayed because of COVID, might be able to start their seasons on Feb. 1.

That could mean basketball, hockey and wrestling could all start next week but final approval for practices to begin must come local health departments. 

Public Health Director Paul Pettit said he has been on conference calls with health officials from the Finger Lakes Region, with more to come, as they work to develop a uniform approach to restarting specific high school sports.

Statement from Pettit: 

Genesee and Orleans counties are working with the other local health departments in Western New York and the Finger Lakes.  As a region, the local health departments are in support of reopening high-risk sports, but want to make sure it’s done safely and uniformly. As a region, we will be discussing and reviewing the state guidance with our school partners to ensure a consistent, regional approach.  

Bromley said he's also been on conference calls as athletic directions from throughout Section V work to figure out how they will piece together seasons that are starting weeks behind the normal schedule and just weeks before the normal spring schedule begins. And it will likely be a spring with a twist since football can possibly start back up March 1.

The regular spring sports schedule is slated to start April 19.

"The Section V COVID-19 task force and Winter/Fall II sports coordinators have already been communicating to finalize plans with membership," said Shaun Jeffers, spokesman for Section V. "Section V Athletics has 12 different health departments to coordinate with and will communicate with them throughout this process."

Also eligible to begin seasons are boys lacrosse, competitive cheerleading, and volleyball.

Bromley said his response after learning on Friday that high-risk sports were given the go-ahead, "I was so happy for the committed athletes and coaches in our district! We have proven in our fall season that we could successfully host events. Our winter athletes are currently involved in 'open gym' type activities following all COVID-19 protocol. I believe we are ready to safely begin the state-designated 'high risk' sports! Go Devils!"

Click here for the latest guidance (PDF), just released this evening, from NYS Public High School Athletic Association.

January 25, 2021 - 5:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, sports, Girls Soccer, Section V.

Section V Athletics announced eight scholarship winners today to fall sports student-athletes, including one from Genesee County.

The $250 scholarship is awarded to students who excel in scholastics and athletics. Winners are selected based on a letter of recommendation from their coach, their high school transcript and activities sheet, as well as their responses to application questions. There were more than 80 applications for this season’s scholarships.

Press release from Section V:

sectvbbhersom.jpgGirls Soccer: Hope Hersom, Byron-Bergen High School
Hope has been playing soccer for six years, and also participates in basketball and track and field.

She says that highlights from this season include “getting to play my last season with an amazingly talented and young team, making it to the final round of sectionals, and all the positive support I received from my school, family and friends.”

In the fall Hope plans to attend college to study Mechanical Engineering.

She shares that one word that best describes herself is “positive -- no matter what the score was, what was going on, or whether it was a game or practice, I always walked off the field with a smile and encouraging words.”

January 22, 2021 - 3:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in buffalo bills, sports, football, KMS Dance Academy.

This video was submitted by Jazmyn Dobson, a teacher at KMS Dance Academy in Batavia. Students and staff, under the direction of owner Erica Grazioplene, put together this video in support of the Buffalo Bills.

January 22, 2021 - 1:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, sports, baseball, batavia.

The addition of the Batavia Muckdogs to the Perfect Game Colligate Baseball League has apparently prompted the college-ball team in Niagara Falls two switch allegiances, the Niagara Gazette reports.

The Niagara Power will move from the New York Collegiate Baseball League to the PGCBL in 2021.

Patrick Tutka, executive director of the Power, said the move was "win-win-win," especially after the Batavia Muckdogs, formerly of the professional New York-Penn League, agreed to join the PGCBL. The Muckdogs give the PGCBL five former NY-Penn League teams, along with Newark, Geneva, Elmira and Jamestown.

In addition to the PGCBL offering one more nearby potential rival, the PGCBL teams generally play in better facilities, Tutka said.

"The facility quality is much better," Tutka said. "We'll be playing in all former minor league stadiums, while most of the other places (outside home games at Sal Maglie Stadium) we were playing were high school or college fields.

It looks like the PGCBL will have 15 teams in the league for the 2021 season, all in New York.

January 20, 2021 - 6:26pm
posted by Press Release in sports, Bowling.

Press release:

Two members of the Toyota of Batavia Thursday 5-Man League at Mancuso Bowling Center found perfection last week -- each right-hander registering their third United States Bowling Congress-certified 300 game.

On lanes 15-16, 40-year-old Justin Burdick of Olean fired 300 for the Ken Barrett Chevy team while on lanes 17-18, 63-year-old Ron Lawrence of Batavia did the same for The Expendables team.

Both 300 games came in game two of their respective series, with Burdick finishing with 734 and Lawrence ended with 701.

Top series honors for the night went to Tom Baker of the Eastown Beverage team with a 738.

Elsewhere around the Genesee Region, Rick Saunders of Batavia finished with a 278 game and 775 series in the Turnbull Heating Triples League at Mancuso's, while Rob Husted of Bergen posted a 258 game and 771 series in the Thursday Owls League at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen.

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

January 19, 2021 - 3:49pm
posted by James Burns in Batavia Muckdogs, sports, dwyer stadium, baseball.

bataviamuckdogs.pngWhen was the last time an actual owner of the Muckdogs was at Dwyer Stadium? There is one there today.

Things continue to change for the new Muckdogs under the ownership of Robbie Nichols. He's at Dwyer stadium talking to fans and helping sell season tickets until 6:30 this evening. 

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General Admission seats are just $99.

Reserve box seats are $199.

Reserved seats come with waitstaff so you don’t miss a pitch. 

If you can't make it down to Dwyer Stadium today, please call or email the Batavia Muckdogs at (607) 734-7825 or [email protected]

Nichols has been in town this week meeting with local businesses, talking to fans and he also has plans to reach out to the area's Little Leagues to talk with them about the Muckdogs being a more active part of the community.  

The Muckdogs are finalizing this season's plans and now have a new official Facebook page you can follow for more updates on the coming season. 

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January 17, 2021 - 1:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, buffalo bills, sports.

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In case you haven't heard, the Buffalo Bills (15-3) are heading to the AFC Championship game, for the first time since 1993, next Sunday. Barber Joey Williams gave Raymond Schramm Jr. a haircut that matches his team pride after yesterday's playoff win over the Baltimore Ravens 17-3.

Submitted photo.

January 12, 2021 - 8:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, muckdogs, batavia.
Video Sponsor

The Muckdogs will bark again.

True, no longer will the team be comprised of players affiliated with a Major League Baseball team but the majority of players in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League are legitimate professional baseball prospects.

As many as 30 current major league players have passed through the league previously, said Robbie Nichols, the former professional hockey player who already owns a PGCBL team in Elmira and will own the expansion PGCBL Muckdogs in Batavia.

The Genesee County Community Baseball Club, which owns the Muckdogs trademark, has agreed to let Nichols use the team name.

PGCBL is a "wooden bat league" -- a league comprised of amateur players who play or will play Division I or Division II college baseball.

A couple of advantages of collegiate ball over low-level minor league ball, Nichols said, is that the players with a team tend to spend the entire season with a team, so fans get to know them and Nichols said his organization -- CAN-USA Sports -- is committed to fielding a team with about four players from the local area.

The PGCBL regular season consists of 60 games from late May until the end of July. The playoffs and championship are in the first week of August.

Season tickets are on sale now and start at $99. There is also a VP ticket package for $199. Existing Muckdogs season ticket holders will have priority to retain the seats they had in previous seasons.

January 8, 2021 - 5:46pm
posted by Press Release in new york penn league, baseball, muckdogs, sports.

Press release:

In 1939, the New York-Penn League (NY-P League) was founded in Batavia, NY (formerly known as the Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York (PONY) League), and has been the oldest, continuously operated CLASS A league in professional baseball.

As one of the founding members of the League, the Batavia club has proudly provided affordable, family entertainment for the Batavia community and Western New York for decades.

Unfortunately, Major league Baseball has announced it will no longer continue to offer Major League Baseball club affiliations to Batavia and most of the other clubs in the New York-Penn League.

The result of Major League Baseball’s action means the end of professional baseball in Batavia.

Major League Baseball’s announcement was part of other sweeping changes being made to the player development structure of the Minor Leagues, which includes the elimination of the Rookie classification and the NY-P League’s Class A – Short Season classification of professional baseball.

In sum, Major League Baseball believes these classifications are no longer needed for developing its players.

NY-P League President, Ben Hayes, recently stated, “The elimination of this historic League as part of Major League Baseball’s player development system is truly heartbreaking for the NY-P League’s fans, communities, club employees, and club owners.

"Sadly, most of the NY-P League’s clubs played their final professional baseball games in 2019, and neither they nor their fans knew at the time that it would be their last professional baseball season.

"The elimination of these classifications of professional baseball by Major League Baseball will result in thousands of players, who would have had an opportunity to develop and compete to play in the Major Leagues, will no longer get the chance to live their dream.

"I’ve been working with Batavia Interim City Manager, Rachael Tabelski, over the past several months to ensure the Batavia community will continue to enjoy the play of live baseball at historic Dwyer Stadium.”

During its professional baseball history, the Batavia club enjoyed four NY-P League championships, and Batavia’s fans saw numerous players who went on to have exceptional Major League careers, including Steve Blass, Doc Ellis, Cito Gaston, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and many others.

In 1961, the Batavia club made history when the Pittsburg Pirates named Gene Baker as the Batavia club’s manager, making him the first African American to manage a professional baseball club.

Prior to the 2008 season, the club was operated by Genesee County Baseball Club, a nonprofit community-based organization. From 2008-2017, the club was operated by the Rochester Red Wings, and in 2018 and 2019 by a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NY-P League.

In 2019, the Batavia club won the Pickney Division championship and competed for the NY-P League championship, increased its attendance by 42 percent, and won an award for the best natural turf field in the NY-P League.

January 8, 2021 - 12:41pm

Press release:

Enjoy the forest in winter and track the secret lives of wild animals on a guided hike! Winter Wonderland Hikes are held at the Interpretive Nature Center at the Genesee County Park & Forest on the following Saturdays:

  • Jan. 9th from 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Feb. 6th from 1 to 3 p.m.

Hikes will go, snow or no snow. Snowshoes may be used, weather permitting, and are available for rent or you may bring your own. Snowshoeing lesson provided, no previous experience needed.

Rental is included in the price, $5/person, $15 max/family. Recommended for ages 3 and up. Space is limited. Preregistration is required, call (585) 344-1122.

Masks must be worn whenever unable to maintain 6 feet of social distance. Participants are encouraged to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

Join us for Winter Fun Night Hikes from 7 to 9 p.m. on the following Saturdays:

  • Jan. 9th -- meet at the Interpretive Nature Center
  • Jan. 23rd -- meet at Pavilion B
  • Feb. 6th -- meet at the Interpretive Nature Center
  • Feb. 27th -- meet at Pavilion A

Enjoy the tranquil beauty of the forest at night! Park guides lead you on a night hike for ages 18 and over.

Snowshoes may be used, weather permitting, and are available for rent or you may bring your own. Snowshoeing lesson provided, no previous experience needed. Rental is included in the price, $5/person, $15 max/family.

Space is limited. Preregistration is required, call (585) 344-1122! Masks must be worn whenever unable to maintain 6 feet of social distance. Participants are encouraged to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

Make a memory this winter with your own Private Group Snowshoe Hike! A Naturalist guides your group through peaceful woodland trails and open meadows.

Listen to winter’s quiet beauty and find signs of wildlife in this 431-acre park. Private hikes are available on Saturdays in January and February from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. by reservation only at the Interpretive Nature Center.

No previous experience is needed; snowshoes provided or bring your own. Rental is included in the price. Limit group size of 10 people. $5/person, minimum group fee is $50. Call (585) 344-1122 to book your own adventure!

Snowshoe Rentals are available at the Genesee County Park & Forest Interpretive Center: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays; 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, December through March, weather permitting.

Snowshoes must be used in the park. Fee is $5/pair and all proceeds go to ACORNS, the nonprofit organization that supports the parks!

Call (585) 344-1122 to register. For more information visit our website, or contact Shannon Lyaski at:  [email protected] or phone (585) 344-1122.

January 8, 2021 - 10:36am

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Paraphrasing a line from the movie “Field of Dreams,” Robbie Nichols of Elmira believes that if he builds a quality and entertaining baseball club, the people of Batavia will come in droves to Dwyer Stadium this summer.

A former pro hockey player in the American Hockey League and International Hockey League, the 56-year-old Nichols has his sights set on starting a new franchise in Batavia as a member of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

As reported first on The Batavian, Nichols will present his plan to Batavia City Council on Monday night and is hopeful the governing body approves terms of a lease agreement put forth by Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski.

“City Council’s approval is the final step,” said Nichols, who, along with his wife, Nellie, owns the Elmira Pioneers in the PGCBL and the Elmira Enforcers hockey team in the Federal Prospects Hockey League. “I will meet with them on Monday night and we have a press conference scheduled for Tuesday at 3:30 at Batavia Downs Gaming.”

Nichols said he will announce the Batavia team’s nickname – reports indicate that “Muckdogs” is a possibility – and will announce the team’s manager.

“We’ll also have some other good things to share about the club and then we’ll hit the pavement running,” he said.

Owner Promises Top-Notch Play

Nichols said the PGCBL features mostly Division I college prospects from the ages of 18 to 21 who are hoping to catch the eye of scouts and get drafted by a Major League team.

“It’s top quality ball,” he said. “We had a player drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Orioles last year – Jordan Westburg” (a shortstop who signed a $2.3 million bonus with the Orioles last June). Westburg played for Elmira in 2018.

Nichols said the players are “serious” about their craft – “good athletes and I think that everyone is going to be really surprised by the talent that will be out on the field.”

“We really need the support of City Council to get this approved as fast as we can because we are a little bit behind the 8-ball,” he advised.

He said the Elmira Pioneers already have 35 players signed and all set for the season, and most of the other teams do as well.

“We’re getting a late start (in Batavia) but I know we can get this done and be able to get a top quality team on the field,” he noted, adding that he expects 13 or 14 teams in the league in 2021.

The wood bat league season runs from the end of May into the beginning of August – 56 to 60 games equally divided between home and away contests, Nichols said.

'It's the Community's Ballpark'

Nichols said he is energized by the prospects of duplicating what they have done in Elmira, where attendance at Dunn Field has soared in recent years. The Nichols have been involved with the Pioneers since 2012, taking sole ownership of the team in late 2017.

“We took our team that had averaged about 700 fans a night to 3,000 a night, and we do a lot of promotions – a lot of exciting things,” he said. “A lot of fireworks shows and we really want the community to be involved because it’s their ballpark. We’re the holder of the keys and we want Dwyer Stadium to be a multi-use facility, so we’re going to encourage Little League games and high school games. We want it to be used by everybody and that’s what the park is there for.”

He spoke of the rich history of Batavia baseball.

“Everybody I have talked to in Batavia – everyone’s got a story about the baseball team. They used to go to the field with their grandfather or their grandfather was an original batboy of the team,” he said. “Everyone’s got great stories and memories and we just want to continue the tradition of baseball in Batavia.”

Nichols said he hopes to bring in special events such as games against a club from Canada and also against the Wounded Warriors team.

“You should see the Wounded Warriors; they are just amazing,” he said. “Some of the players have no legs and it’s amazing to see what these guys do. It’s a real baseball game and they have really good players.”

Connection to the Buffalo Sabres

He couldn’t guarantee an appearance by the Wounded Warriors in Batavia this year, but said there will be a Buffalo Sabres alumni softball game and, “if I can pull it off, an alumni hockey game on an outdoor rink at Dwyer Stadium.”

“I have many friends with that (Sabres) organization.Ric Seiling was an ex-roommate of mine, and I’ve already talked to him,” the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada native said.

Nichols made it clear that the success of the franchise hinges upon community involvement.

“We will be knocking on the door of every business owner as we really want the community and the city to get behind it,” he said. “I’m excited about the way things have happened here in Elmira with the team. The fans love it. The players are very accessible and meet with the fans. They’re all just looking to advance their careers.”

He mentioned that since the players will be in Batavia for about 75 days, he will be reaching out to the community to identify some host families.

“These kids will become the fabric of the community, and these players are so much different than athletes of the past. They come in in just incredible shape, and they’re here to work out every single day,” he said, adding that the team’s manager has signed about 20 players at this point.

The Nichols Believe in Giving Back

The Nichols are heavily involved in civic activities in the Elmira area.

On Thursday, Robbie Nichols and 10 of his hockey players participated in a food bank.

“I believe in giving back to the community and we do so in a number of ways,” he said, “including Christmas drives for the needy where we provide food, gloves, hats and other items.”

He and his wife have owned the hockey team for about two and a half years.

“Somehow, 10 years ago I bought a baseball team and then they asked me to bring a hockey team back to the area, and I did that, too,” he offered. “My first love, I guess, is hockey – being from Hamilton – and my wife, Nellie, is a huge Dodgers’ fan from the Los Angeles, California area. And that’s how we came up with CAN-USA Sports LLC (their legal business name).”

dunn_field_crowd_a.jpg

Submitted photos -- Top: Nellie and Robbie Nichols; bottom, crowd at an Elmira Pioneers baseball game.

Previous: Owner of Elmira collegiate baseball league team to make pitch to operate a club in Batavia in 2021

January 7, 2021 - 3:25pm

The Batavia City Council on Monday night will be asked to consider a proposal from the owner/operator of the Elmira Pioneers, a team in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, to place a PGCBL club at Dwyer Stadium for the 2021 summer season.

Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski this morning informed The Batavian that Robbie Nichols will make a presentation during Council’s Special Conference session to take place via Zoom videoconferencing at 7 p.m.

It will be followed by a Business Meeting where the board – if it likes the idea – is expected to vote on a lease agreement with Nichols’ enterprise, known as CAN-USA Sports LLC. Nichols and his wife, Nellie, also own the Elmira Enforcers of the Federal Prospects (Ice) Hockey League.

“Robbie Nichols has been approved by the (PGCB) League to start and operate a team here in Batavia,” Tabelski said. “He has been interested in putting together a second team in the league and, with things happening the way they did with Major League Baseball, he actually had reached out to the (New York-) Penn league, and the NY-P put us in touch with him.”

Tabelski said representatives of other teams contacted her, “but none had league backing already -- nor a record of success in owning a team in this league.”

According to a memo from Tabelski to City Council dated Jan. 4, the terms of a new lease agreement to use Dwyer Stadium are as follows:

  • A five-year lease;
  • Rent from Year 1-3, $1; Year 4, $7,500 (placed into the Dwyer Stadium Capital Reserve Fund); Year 5, $10,000 (placed into the Dwyer Stadium Capital Reserve Fund).
  • Operator pays for the field maintenance and utility costs to operate.
  • Operator will allow use of the field, as appropriate, to community groups, Little League, high schools, etc.

The City has had long history with a Batavia professional baseball franchise, starting in 1939 with the Batavia Clippers as an original member of the Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York (PONY) League.

The Batavia team later was named the Indians, Pirates, Trojans and Clippers (again) before taking the Muckdogs name in 1998 based on a fan poll that chose the nickname and logo.

In 2019, Batavia celebrated its 80th anniversary as the only founding member of the league still in existence.

Since then, MLB has taken control of Minor League Baseball and discontinued short-season competition, with the Muckdogs not among the teams invited to remain as a Major League affiliate.

Tabelski wrote that the PGCBL was founded in 2010 by eight summer baseball teams across Upstate New York in conjunction with Perfect Game USA, baseball’s premier scouting service. The league’s eight founding members were in Albany, Amsterdam, Cooperstown, Elmira, Glens Falls, Mohawk Valley, Newark and Watertown.

Per its website, current teams are located in Watertown, Adirondack (Boonville), Newark, Mohawk Valley, Utica, Oneonta, Albany, Saugerties, Geneva, Elmira, Amsterdam, Glens Falls and Jamestown.

Due to COVID-19, the league cancelled its 2020 season.

For more information about the league, go to www.pgcbl.com.

A telephone call to Nichols was not returned at the time of the posting of this story.

January 4, 2021 - 12:39pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling, sports.

Scott Gibson rolled a 300 game this past week in the Wednesday Men's Handicap League at Rose Garden Bowl -- the first at the Bergen bowling center after several perfect games at the former Scopano's Lanes in his hometown of Oakfield.

The 55-year-old right-hander started with 12 strikes in a row on lanes 1-2 before posting games of 231 and 199 for a 730 series. He is averaging 220 in the league after posting a 223 average last season.

In other action, Tony Sprague of Batavia fired a 299 game on Sunday in the T.F. Brown's Adult-Child League at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia.

Last season, Sprague, 18, rolled a 300 game as a youth bowler at Medina Lanes. He now is bowling as an adult.

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

January 4, 2021 - 8:53am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling, sports.

2021_scratch_memorial_finalists_2.jpg

Jake Rosenbeck of Medina, bowling in just his third scratch singles event, captured the 67th Genesee Region USBC Scratch Memorial Tournament on Sunday with a 233-212 victory over top-seeded Matt Balduf of Batavia.

Rosenbeck, a strong right-hander with a high-powered release, struck on six of his last eight deliveries – including three strikes in the 10th frame – to close out Balduf for the $600 first prize.

Balduf was the tournament’s high qualifier with an 893 four-game series on Sunday morning, and followed that up with an 882 four-game series in the semifinals to earn the No. 1 seed. He earned $340.

The two-day tournament drew 58 entries – up from 37 when it was held at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion last year. Thirteen of the bowlers – five from the Saturday 12:30 p.m. squad, four from the Saturday 4 p.m. squad and four from the Sunday 10 a.m. squad -- advanced to the semifinals.

Rosenbeck, 34, a manufacturing group leader at General Motors in Rochester, qualified off the Saturday 12:30 p.m. squad with 859 for four games and then posted 778 in the semifinals to earn the No. 3 seed for the five-bowler stepladder finals.

In the first match, four-time champion Scott Culp of Honeoye Falls defeated 18-year-old Dennis Van Duser of Perry, 231-170, before dropping a 209-185 decision to Rosenbeck.

Rosenbeck then knocked off second-seeded Brady Weber of Perry, 224-186, before meeting Balduf in the title match.

The 25-year-old Weber, who rolled a 275 final game in the semifinals to advance, won $260, while defending champion Culp, 42, pocketed $225 and Van Duser won $200.

He said he was expecting a challenging oil pattern – which it was – and had the mindset to not give away the 1-3 pocket and pick his spares.

“I knew that it was going to be a tough condition out there – as it should be for a scratch tournament -- and I was just trying to make my spares – fill the frames,” Rosenbeck said. “I figured that being on the plus side of 800 after four games would put me in a pretty good spot.”

Using a Roto-Grip Halo throughout the tournament, he played around the third arrow, staying behind the ball for maximum forward revolutions.

“My game is up and in -- not to covering a lot of boards – and that’s where I get my best carry,” he said. “The big hook is not my game. I try to stay behind the ball and not get around it too much.”

The stepladder finals featured a variety of styles – Rosenbeck staying behind the ball; Balduf off the side more; Weber utilizing the contemporary pro release; Culp as the prototypical power player; and Van Duser, a two-hander.

Rosenbeck competed in the tournament last year, but didn’t make the cut. He finished in second place two years ago in the GRUSBC Masters at (then) Scopano’s Lanes in Oakfield.

He and his wife, Kayla, have a son, Henry, almost 2, and are expecting another child in April. He bowls in the Thursday Firefighters League at Medina Lanes.

Balduf, 52, registered several big games, including 253 in qualifying (his 893 was good for a $25 bonus) and 259 and 269 in the semifinals.

Geoff Harloff of Batavia, the leader of the Saturday 4 p.m. squad with 872, fell one pin short of tying Van Duser and Culp for the fourth and fifth spots in the stepladder finals – shooting 771 in the semis. He earned $130.

Mickey Hyde of Le Roy placed seventh at 765 in the semifinal round and won $120.

Other cashers were Brian Weber of Perry, $110; Mike Pettinella of Batavia, $105; Mike Johnson of Batavia, $100; Don Parrott of Warsaw, $95; Chris Huntz of Castile, $90, and Kevin Reigle of Elba, $90.

For tournament statistics, go to www.bowlgr.com.

The Genesee Region USBC Masters is scheduled for Feb. 13-14 at Letchworth Pines in Portageville.

Photo: From left, Jake Rosenbeck, Matt Balduf, Brady Weber, Scott Culp and Dennis Van Duser. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

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