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May 20, 2019 - 4:17pm

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Submitted Write-up and photos 

This past weekend hundreds of runners, with a large contingent from Genesee County, took part in the 10th annual Sehgahunda Trail Marathon at Letchworth State Park. 

The course, which is comprised of 26.3 miles, starts at the Mount Morris Dam Visitor Center, and runs along the Finger Lakes Trail, ending in Portageville. There are between 3,000 and 4,000 feet of climbing and has been described as one of the hardest trail marathons on the East Coast. The race is organized by YellowJacket Racing of Rochester. 

The wet spring made this year’s course extremely muddy and much more difficult. Three years ago, the race was extended to a two-day event, with the second day being comprised of an additional 5K, 10K, and 15K. For those who dare to attempt to complete both days and succeed, they complete a grueling 72 kilometers in two days, known as the “Sehgahunda 72."

Miranda Betances (top photo) of Batavia was the first female to cross the finish line on Saturday, completing the Trail Marathon in 4:51:19.

Chad Minuto and Stephen Konieczny, of Batavia, were two of 26 competitors who successfully finished both days of racing, becoming Sehgahunda 72ers. 

Gabriel Abdella, of Batavia, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year, successfully completed the trail marathon on Saturday in a time of 6:48:43, and also completed the 15K (9.3 miles) on Sunday. Abdella is an Adirondack 46er, and he and his wife, Michelle, recently hiked Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. 

Full results and more information about the race can be found at yellowjacketracing.com.

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This photo and one above it, Gabriel Abdella.

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Stephen Koneiczny & Chad Minuto

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Finishers of Sehgahunda 72    

May 20, 2019 - 3:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, GCC, news, lacrosse.

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Press release:

In a rematch of the 2018 NJCAA Men’s Lacrosse National Championship game, #3 Onondaga Community College and #1 Nassau Community College Lions needed overtime to settle the 2019 edition.

In the end, Offensive Most Valuable Player Percy Booth scored the game-winning goal with 17 seconds remaining, to give Onondaga their third-consecutive National Championship, defeating Nassau 7-6 on Sunday afternoon at Genesee Community College.

In a game that went back and forth throughout its entirety, the two teams played in a defensive match with goaltenders. Frank Delia (Onondaga CC) and both Gunnar Luckoski and Anthony Kennin (Nassau CC) played outstandingly well throughout the National Championship game.

Percy Booth from Onondaga had a hat trick on the day, including scoring the game-winner in the overtime period. Kyle Worsley scored two goals and added an assist for the Lazers. Karl Flinter also scored for Onondaga. Frank Delia made 19 saves between the pipes for Onondaga.

Liam Muldoon led the way offensively for Nassau scoring a pair of goals. Justin Roderka also scored two goals. Dan Rooney scored one goal and tallied three assists and Matt Russo also scored for the Lions.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM members include:

  • Jackson Kranzy – Howard CC
  • Tim Russell – Howard CC
  • Jack Watsic – Howard CC
  • Eli Doyle – Harford CC
  • Tyler Wagoner – Harford CC
  • Moriah Yousefi – Harford CC
  • Liam Muldoon – Nassau CC
  • John Ehlers – Nassau CC
  • Justin Rodereka – Nassau CC
  • Gavin Kesserling – Onondaga CC
  • Phil Barilla – Onondaga CC
  • Eli Dandelaught – Onondaga CC  
  • Offensive Most Valuable Player – Percy Booth (Onondaga CC)
  • Defensive Most Valuable Player – Frank Delia (Onondaga CC)
  • National Coach of the Tournament – Eric Miccio (Onondaga CC)

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May 20, 2019 - 2:36pm

Press release from Wyoming County International Speedway:

By Dan Turner, track announcer

It has been many, many months since the racers of the Wyoming County International Speedway got the chance to “Feel the Need for Speed." This past Saturday night (may 18) was their first time in 2019 to do just that.

Racers for north of the border, from Canada, were in attendance as well as some teams from near the Pennsylvania border. A total of 24 modified teams 15 4 cyl., 7 SST Super Stocks, 11 Super 6 cars, were ready to stretch their legs and see if all their hard off season work and upgrades would net them the winner’s trophy and prize money that goes hand in hand.

Opening night was sponsored by the Churchville Fire Equipment Co.

Mother Nature cooperated and has given the track a fantastic afternoon and evening for racing. Just one ominous feature of the night was the dreaded FULL MOON…

As on most nights at the Blacktop Bullring the mighty 4 cylinders lead off the program. The 4 bangers as usual put on a great race with a great mix of Hondas, Saturns, Acuras and other makes mixed in. The qualifying went off pretty much hassle free. Then the redraw took place during intermission and that shuffled up the top 6 racers. The feature would run to about half way before a caution would fly for a simple spin.

At this point is was a 2-car race between the #8 of Dave Heims and the #51 of Greg Moldt. Officals would see the exhaust pipe was dragging on the Moldt ride. For safety purposes the #51 had to go pit side and have the crew fix or remove it and not cause a dangerous racing situation if, it was ran over by another car and cause a wreck.

This I believe was the twisted sense of humor of the full moon. But now we had the fastest 4 cyl. In the tail of the field and less than 10 laps to gain as many spots as possible before the checkers waved. Well, Moldt put on the blinders and focused on moving his car to the front.

Drop the green and Moldt passes 5 cars on the back straight, 4 more on the front straight. Now 6th and every lap getting pasted 1 or 2 cars. With the white in the air Moldt put it besides the #8 of Heims.  There was nothing Heims could do, but watch Moldt pick up feature #1 on opening night.

Well over 17 cars are registered to run the SST Super Stock class but only 7 cars were in attendance on opening night. Many of the drivers and crews stating they will be ready next week on Military Appreciation Night. All our perennial runners were on hand and the much awaited return of 3-time track champion, Dave Krawczyk. It was only awaited by the fans, most of the teams in the Super Stock division know that the 11k is the car to beat on most nights.

Tonight was no exception as it was only a handful of laps the the Krawczyk and his 11k were out front. Eric Hastreiter and Paul Flye, both graduates of the 4 cylider class have started making noise in the thou small, but tight class at the bullring.

A new addition to the weekly racing program is the Super 6 class that got its start in Spencer Speedway a few years back. Being the primary entry-level racing division, it keeps the cars very basic. It keeps the cars on OEM rims, bodies, engines and transmission, though the car must have all the safety gear to prevent injuries in case of a wreck at speed on the track.

This class over the years was a 6 to 8 car field. With the class getting more and more competitive, its growing to a very respectable 11 car field, pretty respectable for opening night. During the meet and greet it was Flyin Brian Hallett saying that he did not think that the car was winner capable. But a great start and starting spot helped put the 36 out front early and Brian was not going to let it get away. Hallett was chaced across the line by Cocilova, new comer Chris Deyoe.

Just for fun lets shuffle up the top 12 SST Modified drivers and see what happens. Neil Dietz would lead this full field of Mods to green. Dietz would take the early command of the race and yes he was getting challenges from, Timmy Lewis in the #41 and the #27 of Kevin Lewis. On lap 15 of the 30 lap main, the first of a few yellows waved.

This with the cars of Virts, Logsdon, Dennie, Fuchs and Kosachook. Only Dennie, Logsdon and Zack Kosachook could restart, the rest would watch the conclusion from the grandstands. Lap 18 came and possible damage from the previous wreck may have caused Logsdon to bring out caution 2 in turn one.

The cream was rising to the time and it was clear Bookmiller brought his A game along with John Barber, Danny Majcrhzak, Kevin Timmerman and fan favorite Gary Coon. With only 2 laps remaining, Bookmiller was applying pressure and Dietz was fighting them off. Off turn 3 Dietz entered the turn wide and Bookmiller took his shot and dove deep into the turn three at the apex, Dietz slammed the door and Bookmiller was coming fast. They made contact and it was Dietz spinning off turn four and Bookmiller powered through.

Yellows flew and officials deemed Bookmiller to join Dietz in the rear with only a one lap shoot out. Did I already mention the full moon? Green, white checker is ready now with Timmy Lewis on the pole, Majchrzak outside and Barber in the #01 behind Lewis.

Clean start and Barber helped push Lewis past Majchrzak and it was a two-car battle and barber had the bottom off turn 2 Lewis up high and they had contact and both Lewis and Barber slid they the wet infield grass off turn two. Majchrzak would capitalize on the aggressive misfortune of Lewis and Barber.

 “I could sorta see that these two were not going to lift, so I just held my breath and took full advantage of the spin," said Majchrzak in Victory lane.

4 cylinders

 1)Greg Moldt, 2)D.Hiems, 3)J.Gustafson, 4)B.Woch, 5)J.Anastewicz, 6)K.Ricketson, 7)M.Hurlburt, 8)B.Dils, 9)R.Laskowski, 10)J.Landwehr, 11)J.Kriebs, 12)J.Klamat,13)E.Reardon, 14)K.Kocher, 15)J.Sass

Super 6  

1)Brian Hallett, 2)A.Cocilova, 3)C.Deyoe, 4)r.Cassidy, 5)J.Parthemer, 6)F.Parsons, 7)A.Knoepfler, 8)P.Rodriguez, 9)J.Welton, 10)A.Parthemer, 11)D.Parsons

SST Super Stocks

1)Dave Krawczyk, 2)E.Hastrieter, 3)P.Flye, 4)J.Horvatits, 5)F.Kline, 6)R.Richter, 7)S.Gleed

SST Modifieds

1)Daniel Majchrzak, 2)K.Timmerman, 3)G.Coon, 4)R.Nugent, 5)B.Dennie, 6)A.Bookmiller, 7)K.Lewis, 8)N.Dietz, 9)B.Kosachook. 10)J.Barber, 11)T.Lewis, 12)P.Townsend, 13)C.Jenkins, 14)C.Lanni, 15)C.Logsdon, 16)Z.Kosachook, 17)N.Michielsen, 18)T.Alloco, 19)M.Virts, 20)S.Fuchs, 21)G.Sharkey, 22, B.Chandler, K.Woody DNS

May 16, 2019 - 2:56pm

The Batavia Blue Devils Youth Football Camp will be held on Monday and Tuesday, July 15-16, behind Batavia High School, located at 260 State St. in the City of Batavia.

Time is 9 to 11:30 a.m. both days.

Cost is $45. Cash or check (payable to: Blue Devils Touchdown Club).

It is for students entering grades one through eight in the fall.

Hosted by Head Coach Brennan Briggs and the BHS Football staff.

Bring shorts, T-shirt, cleats and water bottle.

Mail payment and the following information to Brennan Briggs, 103 Oak St., Batavia  NY 14020 OR  to: Batavia Middle School, 96 Ross St., Batavia NY 14020, ATTEN: Brennan Briggs.

  • Name of Camper
  • Camper is entering Grade ___
  • Emergency Contact Name and Phone Number
  • T-shirt Size: ADULT ___ or YOUTH ___

Register by July 5 to guarantee correct T-shirt size.

The camp will feature relay races, flag football games at the end of each day; current BHS football players, as well as alumni will speak and work with campers; T-shirts distributed and pizza after Tuesday's camp.

Here's the breakdown of what will be taught for each position; all drills will be modified for age groups:

  • Quarterbacks -- Hand placement, 3-step, 5-step, footwork drills, throwing mechanics, and ball-handling drills;
  • Wide Receivers -- Stance, start, footwork drills, hand drills, route running;
  • Running Backs -- Stance, start, footwork drills, run blocking, pass blocking;
  • Offensive Line -- Stance, start, run-blocking drills, pass-blocking drills;
  • Linebackers -- Stance, start, footwork drills, tackling-form drills, run stopping, pass defending;
  • Defensive Backs -- Stance, start, footwork drills, man coverage, zone coverage, pass defending;
  • Defensive Line -- Stance, start, 1 v. 1 drills, speed and quickness off the ball.

The Batavia Blue Devils are the 2018 Far West Champions and 2018 State Finalists.​ They have been Section V Champions four out of the last five seasons.

May 13, 2019 - 4:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in singers, national anthem, muckdogs, sports, batavia, news.

From Batavia Muckdogs:

BATAVIA – The Batavia Muckdogs are looking for the area’s best singers to perform the "Star-spangled Banner" prior to first pitch at Dwyer Stadium during our historic 80th season of professional baseball in Batavia.

The Muckdogs will hold open auditions at Dwyer Stadium from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 23rd. The team encourages individuals and groups to visit and give their best performance for the opportunity perform before the crowd during one of our 38 home games.

Those wishing to tryout must keep their performance under 90 seconds while using a traditional style with minimal creative variation. Vocalists must be a cappella, although instrumental auditions are welcome.

Individuals and groups wishing to audition must fill out an application form upon arrival at Dwyer Stadium prior to the audition. Singers and their immediate families will receive complementary game tickets on the date of their performance. For questions, please contact the Muckdogs at 585-483- 3647.

About the Muckdogs

Recognized as the birthplace of the New-York Penn League and one of it’s founding franchises, 2019marks the 80th season of professional baseball in Batavia, NY. Operated by Batavia Muckdogs Inc., the Muckdogs are the Class A Short Season Affiliate of the Miami Marlins and the only professional sports franchise in Genesee County.

May 13, 2019 - 4:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, NY Sire Stakes.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs has announced that they have retained the services of Heather Wilder and Peter Kleinhans as their on-air personalities for the broadcast of the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) Night of Champions which will be held at the track on Saturday (Sept. 14).

Wilder will be doing pre and post-race interviews and Kleinhans will provide analysis and handicapping insight.

 

Heather Wilder, above, grew up with solid roots in harness racing  being the daughter of Dan and Ruth Altmeyer and later marrying Meadows leading driver Mike Wilder. Her knowledge of every aspect of the sport is extensive as is her relationships with all its participants. 

Besides being actively involved in racing everyday, Wilder currently handles talent management for the Delaware County Fair during the live TV broadcast of the Little Brown Jug. She has also been a regular part of the United States Harness Writers Association’s (USHWA) Dan Patch Awards Banquet both as an onstage host and Facebook live interviewer and producer for many years. 

While she worked as public relations and marketing director for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) she became a pioneer of reporting on racing on Facebook Live and coordinated the promotion of countless on-track events. In recognition of her fine work she was the recipient of USHWA's Lew Barasch Memorial Breakthrough Award for industry career achievements in 2013. 

Wilder’s lifelong involvement with the sport and its players will make for interesting trackside and winner’s circle interviews throughout the night.

Peter Kleinhans started going to Roosevelt Raceway as a teenager and his passion for the sport grew from there. Eventually he started training and driving his own stable and reached the top of the game. 

Kleinhans was training a stable of 20 horses led by Enough Talk who was the first trotter in the world to break the 1:50 barrier when he won by over eight lengths in 1:49.3 at Colonial Downs in 2008. Enough Talk also won the Breeders Crown in 2010 and received the Dan Patch older trotter of the year trophy from USHWA in each of those two seasons.  

Although he still competes as an amateur driver, Kleinhans has expanded his role in the sport to announcer, analyst and host and has recently filled in at the Meadowlands in those capacities. His knowledge and expertise of the sport and articulate delivery of same will provide an informative and entertaining look at the night’s races for all who are watching.  

“We are very excited to add such accomplished and professional talents to our production of the Night of Champions” said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. “Heather and Peter have performed at the highest levels of the sport both on and off the track and will bring a unique perspective to the show for our fans.” 

The Batavia Downs live racing meet kicks off on Wednesday (July 24) and runs through Saturday (Dec. 14). For more information on the upcoming racing season log on to www.bataviadownsgaming.com/live-racing.

(Wilder photo credit: USTA. Kleinhans photo credit: Meadowlands)

May 13, 2019 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Longtime Western New York harness horseman John P. Cummings Sr. passed away on Saturday (May 11) after a lengthy illness. 

Mr. Cummings first got involved in harness racing in 1968 at the age of 22 through his brother-in-law Steve Flanigen. While working full time at both Trico Products and Bethlehem Steel (where he was a tradesman bricklayer) he started jogging and training horses with Flanigen and found what would soon become a lifelong vocation. 

He started out with a couple homebreds named Clippers Classic and Windjammer Munk and soon added overnighters like Don J and Jack Flood to build his stable. Then through his 42-year career he went on to train horse that included Pembroke Primo (1:55.4, $341,026), Mr. Casanova (1:53.2, $274,073), Cambestion (1:52.4, $184,892), Good Evening Smile (1:57.3, $89,219), Solitaire Hanover (1:53.2, $63,953), Pitch The Prez (1:54.4, $89,396) and New York Sire Stake winner Pass Now (1:55.2, $81,918). 

Mr. Cummings most notable horse was Arm And A Leg (1:54, $320,791) who in 2009 won 13 out of 39 starts and $86,000 to be named the Western New York Horse of the Year in a ceremony held at Batavia Downs. 

Over the years Mr. Cummings amassed 3,779 training starts with 731 wins, 574 seconds and 466 thirds and earnings in excess of $1.8 million. 

Although he did also drive, it wasn’t too often. Early on he used Flanigen who had more experience in the bike, and then later he had several more viable options that provided him the luxury of staying solely in the jog cart. You see Mr. Cummings is not only known as a trainer at the track, he also has the distinction of being the patriarch of one of the largest family of drivers in New York State. Four of his five children were boys who were brought up in the business since they could walk. 

John Cummings Jr., Tony Cummings, Todd Cummings and Kevin Cummings were taught the ropes by their father and have all been training and driving since they were old enough to get their licenses. And now Todd’s son Kyle Cummings has made his grandfather proud by breaking out on the racing scene earlier this year with his first driving win.

All told, Mr. Cummings impact on harness racing through himself and his family has been 54,387 starts with 8,272 wins and over $38 million in earnings. That is a family tradition. 

Although his wife, children and horses were his primary passion, when Mr. Cummings had any free time he enjoyed playing cards and was also an avid bowler. He did roll a 300 game and proudly wore the ring he received indicating that milestone everyday. 

"Harry", as he was affectionately known by everyone, had an affable personality and the ability to make people laugh in any situation throughout his entire life and his presence will be sorely missed by all that knew him. 

John Cummings Sr. was the beloved husband of Lallah (nee Flanigen) Cummings; devoted father of John Jr. (Megan Wilson), Anthony (Barbara), Colleen (Tim) Gallagher, Todd (Tammy), and Kevin (Rhonda) Cummings; son of the late Edward and Dorothy (nee Pike) Cummings; loving brother of Edward (late Clara), Frank, late Dorothy "Snookie" and late Peter Cummings; cherished grandfather of 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; also survived by many nieces and nephews. 

Friends will be received on Tuesday (May 14) from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home, 4199 Lake Shore Road (corner of Camp Road and Route 5) Hamburg, NY. A mass of Christian burial will be held Wednesday (May 15) at noon at Saint John Paul II Parish 2052 Lakeview Road, Lakeview, NY.  

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association. Donations and condolences may be left online at www.lakesidefuneralhome.com.

May 12, 2019 - 11:07am

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Last evening, the Batavia Blue Devils advanced to the finals (following their close win to Oakfield-Alabama) between the Le Roy Oatkan Knights.  Alex Hale pitched the first five innings while Andrew Francis closed on the mound for the duo to have a complete game.

The first three innings showed no score from either team, until the bottom of the fourth as Batavia scored five runs. Sam Sallome, Trevor Zewan, Andrew Francis, Josh Weis, and Luke Grammatico each had a hit and RBI. Later on in the sixth, Luke Grammatico would score again with his second hit and RBI. Alex Hale and Jake Humes came to home plate as well.

Batavia was calm, cool, and collected throughout tonight and having continuous hits led to many runners on base, which turned into plenty of scoring opportunities. They were defensively sound. Batavia led Le Roy in hits 12-3 and one error to Le Roy’s three. Final score 8-0.

After the match, Sam Sallome was announced 2019 Rotary Tournament MVP.

Story submitted by Thomas Ognibene.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

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May 11, 2019 - 1:59pm

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Today, the Le Roy Oatkan Knights took on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to kick off the 21st Annual Batavia Rotary Club High School Baseball Tournament at Dwyer Stadium.

Tim McMullen and Tommy Saunders held the mound for Le Roy, while David Russo and Spencer Misti pitched for Notre Dame.

Giavanni Caccamise, Reece Tresco, Tim McMullen, Kenny Saunders all recorded a hit and RBI, while Ryan Friend had two hits and RBIs to make it 6-1 Le Roy after two. Zachary Cocking had the lone RBI for ND in the first.

Later on in the fifth inning, Tommy Saunders and Austin Saeya came home safely and scored. It was 8-1 Le Roy after five.

Spencer Misti, David Russo, Andrew Moore, all collected hits while Alex Totton had a RBI and hit of his own in the final inning of the game.

Le Roy led ND in hits 9 to 8 and was defensively strong overall only allowing two errors. With Le Roy’s 8-2 win they will move on to the championship game at 7 o'clock tonight to face the winner of Oakfield-Alabama and Batavia.      

Story and photos by Thomas Ognibene.

To view or purchase photos click here.

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May 9, 2019 - 2:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, sports, baseball.

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It was a perfect day for the Lang family in Pembroke yesterday. 

Ten-year-old Brayden Lang didn't give up a hit or and walked only one batter in four innings of work to record his first perfect game on Cal Ripken League team coached by his father Dan Lang.

Brayden wears number 46, just like his great-grandfather, Harry Pilarski, when he was a minor league pitcher in the Red Sox organization in the 1940s.

"He pitched a perfect game," Dan said. "His number is 46. He threw 46 pitches. His grandfather wore number 46. It all kind of chimed together for me after the game."

Yes, Dan is a proud father but the most meaningful moment came when Brayden told him, "Papa Harry would have been proud."

"That means more to me than anything," Dan said. "That he's thinking about the history."

After that, dad said he took his coach's hat off for a second and gave his son a hug.

"He pulled away from me and I said, 'what, you can't hug your dad in front of your friends?' " Dan said. "He said, 'no, your pencil behind your ear is poking me in my cheek.' "

Pilarski began his professional baseball career after World War II, pitching for Oneonta in 1946, Lynn in 1947, and Roanoke in 1948, posting records of 13-13 with an ERA of 2.97, 14-9 and 3.98, and 7-8 and 3.22.

He didn't play in 1948 and in 1950 he joined an independent team, Kingston in the Border League, and posted a record of 19-6 with a 2.81 ERA. He played for two separate Border League teams in 1951 before retiring from baseball. Overall, his career record was 65-45 with an ERA of 3.29.

He served in the 11th Airborne. Dan Lang said he was in the raid of Los Banos as a paratrooper and he was part of the rescue of P.O.W’s there. He played baseball while in service, then was recruited after his honorable discharge.

Brayden's game last night was called after four innings because his team was up 15-0. In his previous start this year, he gave up only one hit, struck out 12, in another 15-0 four-inning game.

CORRECTION: The first person who contacted us about this game said it was a perfect game. After the story was first published, we learned Brayden did walk a batter.

Submitted photos.

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May 9, 2019 - 8:52am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, sports.

Pin Points

Kudos to Genesee Region bowlers for rolling their way onto the leaderboards of the USBC Open and New York State Open Championships.

To find out who have fared well in tournament competition, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of this page to be redirected to Mike Pettinella's final bowling column of the season.

A report on this Saturday's Genesee Region USBC Annual Banquet will be posted on The Batavian.

May 9, 2019 - 8:42am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling, sports.

Genesee Region USBC bowlers have carried themselves very well recently while competing in national and state tournaments.

But before diving into the scores and standings, let’s give one more "shout-out" to Batavia native (and Corfu resident) Joe Mortellaro on his successful quest to hit the 50-year mark for participation at the USBC Open Championships.

Regular readers of The Batavian would have seen the stories (including my previous Pin Points column) and photos of “Mort” being recognized by USBC officials at this year’s tournament in Las Vegas.

Batavian Paul Spiotta, a national tournament teammate of Mortellaro’s for nearly 25 years, said he and the rest of Joe’s bowling mates and family members in attendance at the South Point Bowling Plaza were overcome with emotion during the presentation on April 26.

“Joe Mort’s ceremony was outstanding,” Spiotta said. “First off, when they announced all of the ‘celebrities’ in the squad room prior to heading to the lanes, they saved Joe for last and he received a standing ovation from the full squad of bowlers. It was so cool as he raised both arms in the air to acknowledge their applause.”

Spiotta said he was “truly touched” when Mortellaro asked Joe Trigilio (another longtime teammate who is battling brain cancer and was unable to bowl) and him to accompany Mort onto the lanes for the presentation.

“All of the other bowlers had already proceeded to their assigned lanes and then they announced Joe Mort and we all walked together to music and applause,” Spiotta said. “The tournament director gave a bio of all of Joe’s bowling achievements -- both local and at the national tournament -- and then Joe was asked to say a few words. It was very emotional for me.”

 Mortellaro was unsure whether he would be able to make it to the tournament this year due to health problems, including the fact that he needs dialysis three times per week.

But he made it and bowled eight of the nine games – three in the Team event on one day and three in Doubles and two in Singles on the next day before having to stop. While 155 was his high game, the scores weren’t important.

Joe Mortellaro is now part of bowling history that not many others can claim. Congratulations, Joe!

Spiotta said his two five-man teams from the Genesee Region didn’t set the world on fire – shooting 2,514 and 2,333, but he and Gregg Wolff made a big splash in the Standard Division Doubles competition.

The duo combined for 1,225 in Doubles, with Spiotta posting 670 and Wolff 555, and left the building in fourth place. When I last looked at the current standings on bowl.com, I saw that they were in fifth place.

The USBC uses bowlers’ averages for their last 27 games in the Open Championships to determine their division, so that put Spiotta (183 average) and Wolff (166 average) in the Standard Division. 

The group’s high series came from the left hand of Brian Green, who posted 625 in Singles with a 252 final game. 

Earlier in the tournament, Scott Culp of Honeoye Falls rolled a 299 game en route to a 715 score in Singles and his in 54th place. His 1,959 All-Events score – a sparkling 217 average – has him in 69th place.

Culp is on the short list of best bowlers in our area, having won numerous tournaments and compiling multiple 300 games and 800 series.

AREA BOWLERS AMONG LEADERS AT NYS OPEN

The 95th NYS Open Championships are taking place at Valley Bowling Center in Waverly – next weekend wraps things up – and Genesee Region bowlers are among the leaders.

In the 1001 & Over Team event, the Johnson No. 1 squad posted a 3,179 score and is in 18th place out of the 104 teams that have competed thus far. The tournament pays one out of every five entries, so the team has a chance to cash.

Mike Johnson of Batavia led the way with a 691 series on the 41-foot challenge pattern while Josh Elliott of Attica added 629. Other team members were Bryan Johnson, A.J. Allenbrandt and Josh Caryl.

In 400 & Under Doubles, Allenbrandt and Elliott recorded 1,193, which currently stands in 18th place out of 127 entries, and in 401 & Over Doubles, Elliott and Nathan Cordes are in 47th place out of 200 entries with a 1,290 score.

In 200 & Under Singles, three GRUSBC bowlers are in the top six, with Allenbrandt tied for third at 683, Bryan Johnson in fourth at 681 and Bruce Kraus of Corfu in sixth at 678.

In 201 & Over Singles, Steve O’Dell of Oakfield shot 724 and is in 17th place out of nearly 400 entrants, while Jason Quilliam of Batavia sits in 25th place at 708 and Mike Johnson is 30th with 705.

Bryan Johnson is 22nd in 200 & Under All-Events with 1,803 and his father, Mike, is in 31st place in 201 & Over All-Events with 2,034. Culp’s 2,009 score has him in 38th place.

Handicap in the 200 & Under division is based on 200 and in the 201 & Over division is based on 220.

NEARLY 100 TO ATTEND GRUSBC BANQUET SATURDAY

About 100 people, including four inductees into the Hall of Fame, tournament winners and league representatives, are expected to attend the Genesee Region USBC Annual Banquet at 6 p.m. this Saturday at Batavia Downs Gaming on Park Road.

The event features guest speaker Carl Dixon, famed Canadian rocker who played with The Guess Who, April Wine and Coney Hatch.  Dixon’s inspirational story centers on his recovery from a horrific car accident in 2008.

They are James Foss of Medina in the Achievement Regular category, Robert Hodgson of Medina and Al Vlietstra of Geneseo in the Achievement Veteran category, and Eunice Englert of Nunda in the Meritorious Service category will be inducted into the GRUSBC Hall of Fame.

May 8, 2019 - 4:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in baseball, Team New Era, sports.

Team New Era Baseball will hold tryouts for its fall elite travel baseball program for players ages 9 through 17 on Friday May 17th and Tuesday May 28th at our Depew facility, 3950 Broadway.

For more information or to register for a tryout, visitwww.teamnewerabaseball.com.

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

May 8, 2019 - 4:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, batavia.

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The forecast for Saturday currently looks like good baseball weather, which is a good thing, because the Rotary Club of Batavia will host its annual baseball tournament at Dwyer Stadium.

The first game, Le Roy vs. Notre Dame, starts at 10 a.m., followed by Oakfield-Alabama at 1 p.m.

The championship game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

May 8, 2019 - 1:55pm

Batavia High Schoool Girls Softball will hold a Meat Raffle from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 21st, at the Sacred Heart Social Center, located at 17 Sumner St. in the City of Batavia.

Doors open at 6, first spin is at 7 o'clock.

Bring dollar bills, and a cooler for winnings.

The venue is handicapped/wheelchair accessible.

Price of admission is $10 (21 and over), and includes food and select beverages; cash bar available. There will also be a 50/50 and basket raffles.

Tickets can be purchased from players or parents, with a tentative deadline of June 6th -- so a "guesstimate" can be made of how much meat to purchase for the raffle.

Additional tickets, if available, can be purchased up to the day before the event.

Tables of eight or more can be reserved.

Call either Lori at 585-409-0452 or Steve Ognibene at 585-409-8358 to purchase tickets, or reserve a table (for eight).

May 6, 2019 - 1:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, sports, Batavia Downs, WROTB, Derby Day 2019, kentucky derby.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs Gaming

Representatives from Western Regional Off-Track Betting (WROTB) reported today (May 6) that a record $2,039,088.30 was wagered on the Kentucky Derby through their outlets including BataviaBets.com, OTB Branches and EZ Bet Locations.

In particular the Empire branch in Rochester, saw significant growth, up 27 percent from the previous year. And wagering was also very strong at Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel, up 7 percent there.

Batavia Downs hosted three separate parties with a full house of happy, gambling revelers enjoying the Run for the Roses. The Park Place Party served an all-time high 751 dinners; well eclipsing the 605 meals sold last year. Thurman Thomas’ Sports Bar “34 Rush” had their highest single day total for sales.

Down on the gaming floor, $4 million credits were played which was the second highest in their history. The week ending Saturday saw the highest credits played total of all time, with $18.3 million in Credits Played, beating the previous best seven-day period of $17.4 million.

The results of the 145th Kentucky Derby may have been controversial with the subsequent disqualification of Maximum Security, who was first under the wire, but according to Henry Wojtaszek, president and CEO of WROTB, Derby Day 2019 was unbelievable all the way around.

“The wagering, party and gaming numbers are a continuation and reflection of the solid year Batavia Downs has been experiencing,” Wojtaszek said. “We could not have pulled this off if it wasn’t for our dedicated OTB branch and Batavia Downs staff, who worked tirelessly on Derby Day. We appreciate the solid support from our loyal customer base.”

WROTB is already gearing up for the second jewel of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown to be held on May 18 at Pimlico racetrack.

Among the events scheduled for Preakness is the $15 Trifecta special that will take place in the Park Place Event Center at Batavia Downs from 4 to 7 p.m.

Live harness racing return to Batavia Downs on Wednesday (July 24) for the meet that will run through Saturday (Dec. 14).

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April 27, 2019 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bowling, pin points, sports, corfu.

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Corfu resident Joe Mortellaro was honored Friday night in Las Vegas for participating in his 50th national tournament, now called the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.

Mortellaro was 19 in 1956 when he bowled in his first such tournament, the predecessor to the USBC championship, the American Bowling Congress Tournament in Rochester.

“I never had that in mind (making it to 50 years),” said Mortellaro, now 82 and battling through some serious health issues. “I have to give credit to the guys (his teammates) who keep pushing me.”

Mike Pettinella wrote about Mortellaro and other Genesee County residents participating in the tournament in his most recent Pin Points column for The Batavian.

Photos by Mike Pettinella.

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April 25, 2019 - 7:40am
posted by Steve Ognibene in softball, sports, batavia, girls softball, steve ognibene's blog.

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The Batavia varsity softball team bounced back from their previous game and defeated Monroe County Division 4 opponent Greece Odyssey by a score of 9-6 in a game played yesterday afternoon at Genesee Community College. 

Alyssa Ognibene, in her first ever varsity start, picked up her first varsity victory as she spun a complete game with five strikeouts and scattering six hits. 

Maiya Reinhart went 4-4 at the plate, hitting for the cycle, including a solo home run, towering fly ball over the left corner fence (photo celebrated above with teammates). Reinhart drove in three runs for the Lady Devils. 

Jenae Colkey collected three singles and an RBI for the Lady Devils, while Ryann Stefaniak, Bryn Wormley, Mackenzie Reigle, Sonji Warner, Dallas Lama, Irelyn Curry, and Natalie Rogers also hit safely. Rhorri Fix put down a perfect bunt for a base hit, while Julia Clark played very well defensively. 

With the win, Batavia moves to 1-0 in league play and 2-1 overall.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

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April 25, 2019 - 7:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, sports.

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Several student-athletes at Batavia High School signed letters of intent with area colleges and universities on Wednesday, including Sam Sallome, above, who signed with Tompkins-Cortland Community College to play baseball.

Sallome is joined by Jaime Sallome, Emma Sallome, Sam Sallome Sr., Coach Rick Saunders, and Asst. Coach James Patric.

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Taiyo Iburi-Bethel signed with the University at Buffalo to play football.  Iburi-Bethel is joined by Mekhi Fortes (brother), Kinu Fortes (mother), Edwin Bethel (father), Lila Forte (sister), Darazian Williams (brother), Coach Brennen Briggs, Brenda Iburi (grandmother), Terri Ernst (grandmother), Shin Iburi (uncle), and Akari Iburi (aunt).

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Joe Martinucci signed with St. John Fischer to play football. He is joined by Aimee Martinucci, Joseph Martinucci, Michelle Martinucci, and Coach Brennan Briggs.

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Ryann Stefaniak signed with Nazareth to play basketball. She is joined by Anne Stefaniak, Rich Stefaniak, and Coach Marty Hein.

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John Bruggman signed with Daemen to run cross-country and track. He is joined by Courtney Bruggman, Michael Bruggman, and coaches Dan Geiger, Rich Boyce, and Bill Buckenmeyer.

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Elizabeth Cohen signed with Geneseo to run cross-country and track. She is joined by Coach Dan Geiger, Jeanne Cohen, Coach Bill Buckenmeyer, and Coach Rich Boyce.

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Zak Jantzi signed with Roberts Wesleyan to run cross-country and track. He is joined by Coach Dan Geiger, Todd Jantzi, Coach Bill Buckenmeyer, and Coach Rich Boyce.

Ray Leach, the Blue Devils star running back who set several state records on his way to leading the Batavia to a state championship appearance, did not attend Wednesday's signing ceremony. He is expected to attend SUNY Cortland.

April 17, 2019 - 11:32pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling, sports.

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The display at the USBC Open Championships in Las Vegas recognizing Joe Mortellaro as a 50-year tournament participant. Mortellaro will be honored when he competes next week.

The year was 1956 and Joe Mortellaro, a 19-year-old Batavian with loads of bowling potential, competed in his first American Bowling Congress Tournament, a national showcase of keglers from throughout the United States.

That tournament was held in Rochester and, since then, “Joe Mort” has traveled all over the country to be a part of the tournament, which usually runs from early March through early July.

The tournament is now called the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships due to the merger of the ABC, Women’s International Bowling Congress, Young American Bowling Alliance and USA Bowling in 2005.

Fast forward to 2019 and Mortellaro, a Corfu resident for several decades, is about to reach a milestone he never really thought too much about until recent years – participating in his 50th USBC Open Championships.

 “I never had that in mind (making it to 50 years),” said Mortellaro, now 82 and battling through some serious health issues. “I have to give credit to the guys (his teammates) who keep pushing me.”

Mortellaro, nine other Batavia-area bowlers and several of his family members will converge upon South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas next week to celebrate the achievement.

Joe, owner of Joe's Pro Shop for many years prior to his retirement, is the leadoff man on a squad with nephew Mark McVay, nephew Todd Mortellaro, Gregg Wolff and Paul Spiotta, team captain. The companion team consists of Jim Pursel, Geoff Harloff, Brian Green, nephew Rich Mortellaro and Nathan Cordes.

The group bowls its Team event at 7 p.m. Friday, April 26, and its Doubles & Singles events at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27. In between the two events, Mortellaro will spend three hours at a Henderson, Nev., dialysis center as part of his three-times-per-week therapy.

“I haven’t bowled much in league lately (due to fatigue), but I bowled a couple games on Sunday and Tuesday of this week at Mancuso’s, and it felt pretty good,” he said.

Family members that will be there cheering him on include his sister, Millie McVay, and her daughter, Jeannie; nephew, Fred McVay, and his wife, Donna; and sister-in-law, Charlene Tiede.

Additionally, Joe Trigilio, Mortellaro’s teammate for many years, is planning to travel to Vegas with his wife, Kathy, to witness the accomplishment. Trigilio is unable to bowl this year due to his fight against brain cancer.

Everyone is rooting for Joe to complete the nine games, and add to his 49-year pinfall of 79,911 for 429 games, which is good for a 186.2 average on extremely difficult lane conditions. He said his best performance was 1,800-plus for All-Events (nine games) but he wasn’t sure of the year.

According to Spiotta, who has 26 USBC Open Championships under his belt, Mortellaro only has to bowl the Team event to qualify for the 50th year award.

Spiotta said being able to hang with Mortellaro for the past 25 years is one of his greatest thrills as a bowler.

“I have the utmost respect for Joe Mortellaro, not only as one of the greatest bowlers I’ve ever seen but also one of the finest people I have ever known,” Spiotta said.

Spiotta recalled that he “accepted without hesitation” an invitation from Mortellaro to join his USBC Open Championships’ traveling team in 1995, and is excited to be a part of the 50th year festivities.

“If Joe hadn’t been ill or injured on two occasions over the past 25 years, he would have already reached this milestone,” Spiotta said. “However, I am extremely proud that I will be there to witness this honored moment for him on April 26th in Las Vegas.”

FOUR TO ENTER GENESEE REGION USBC HALL OF FAME

Genesee Region USBC directors are meeting this Saturday to review the annual Association Tournament and finalize plans for the Annual Banquet on May 11 at Batavia Downs Gaming.

Prize checks from the Association Tournament that took place the last two weeks in March at Oak Orchard Bowl and Medina Lanes are expected to go out the beginning of next week.

To see the complete unofficial results, go to the Genesee Region USBC website – www.bowlgr.com.

The Annual Banquet will include the induction of four people into the GRUSBC Hall of Fame -- James Foss of Medina in the Achievement Regular category, Robert Hodgson of Medina and Al Vlietstra of Geneseo in the Achievement Veteran category, and Eunice Englert of Nunda in the Meritorious Service category.

Foss, 56, has been a standout bowler for the past 20 years, compiling more than 15 300 games and six 800 series and averaging over 200 for most of those year – with a high of 235.

In 2007-08, he earned national recognition for have the high trio series of 2,295 (two men and one woman).

The head mechanic at Medina Lanes and league officer for several leagues, he has cashed in numerous local tournaments in the Medina, Lockport and Genesee Region associations.

He finished second to Rich Wagner in the GRUSBC Masters in 2017, averaging 206 while winning six of eight matches in the final en route to a $325 prize. He also has been a finalist on multiple occasions in the GRUSBC Senior Masters.

Hodgson, 71, a retired school teacher, has 13 perfect game and seven 800 series while averaging in the 215-plus range for the past several years.

His tournament success includes victories in the GRUSBC Doubles event with his son and the Tommy Kress 60-and-Over scratch singles tour.

A certified bowling coach, he assists with the Saturday morning youth program at Medina and consistently competes in GRUSBC tournaments.

Vlietstra, 70, has done well in tournaments at the local and state level.

He is a two-time Singles champion, with 762 in the Perry Association in 1997 and 860 (752 scratch) in the GRUSBC in 2017. He placed first in the 2009 GRUSBC Senior Masters at Letchworth Pines and rolled his high game of 299 in an Amateur Bowlers Tour event.

Vlietstra, who owns a masonry business, is a four-time NYS USBC tournament champion:

-- As a member of the Turnbull Heating team in the 2010 NYS Open Championships in Niagara Falls (he rolled 661);
-- Handicap Singles (843) in the 2014 NYS Open Championships in Rochester;
-- Six-Game Combine (1,483) in the 2014 NYS Open Senior Championships in Cortland;
-- Handicap Doubles (801 with handicap) in the 2015 NYS Open Championships in Buffalo.

His personal best series of 788 came in the New York State Firemen’s Tournament in Newburgh in the mid-2000’s.  A league bowler since 1987, he posted his high league average of 203 in 2004-05 at Perry Bowling Center.

Englert has been bowling for more than 50 years and has served the sport as a league secretary, Genesee Valley Women’s Bowling Association director and tournament coordinator for almost as long.

Her induction comes on the heels of her husband’s (Dennis) enshrinement last year. The couple was a fixture at Letchworth Pines, running the bowling center and taking care of the leagues for 30 years.

SPARE SHOTS FROM AROUND THE GENESEE REGION

-- Albion’s Paige Snook (photo at right) continued her fine season last weekend when she captured the Youth Bowlers Tour handicap division crown at AMF Empire Lanes.paige_snook_1.jpg

Paige, who will be competing in the Junior Gold Championships in July in Detroit, qualified in 11th place before winning all four of her matches for her first title.

Previously, Paige rolled her first USBC-certified 700 series in the youth bowling program at Oak Orchard Bowl. Her games were 255-212-233 for 700 right on the mark.

-- The GRUSBC West team defeated the GRUSBC East squad, 69.5-18.5 at Scopano’s Lanes last Saturday to even their annual series at two wins apiece.

The West won all but two Doubles and Singles matches – posting a 13-2 record – and then went on two win both Baker-style team matches.

Scott Gibson led the way with a 3-0 record and 224 average while Bruce Kraus, Paul Spiotta, Bob Hodgson, Jackie Jurinich, Mike Johnson and Gregg Wolff also won all three of their matches.

Rounding out the West team were Roger Stone, Jerry Currier and Scott Shields.

For the East team, Jerry Davis and Al Vlietstra combined for a Doubles victory and Dana Freeman posted a Singles win.

Other members of the East team were Kevin Gray Sr., Augie Dale, Tim Fonte, Eric Galton, John LaGeorge, Dan Santini and John Wood.

-- Batavia’s Rich Wagner, who set a GRUSBC record with a 246 league average this season, put his stamp on the USBC Open Championships in Las Vegas earlier this week with a sparkling 1,859 All-Events score.

The national tournament is bowled on a Sport condition, which makes Wagner’s total even more impressive. The left-hander had 587 in the Team event, 608 in Doubles and 664 in Singles. He should get back a decent prize check for the 664.

He bowled for the Toyota of Batavia team along with Josh Elliott, Jeremy Vallance, Leon Hurd and Jason Gallo.

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