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June 14, 2022 - 5:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, Sports, baseball, batavia.

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The Muckdogs kept their early-season success going on Monday night at Dwyer Stadium with a 10-7 win over Syracuse.

The Muckdogs are now 7-2 on the season and play home again on Monday.

Stats for last night's game have not been posted.

To view or purchase prints, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

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June 7, 2022 - 12:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, batavia, Sports, baseball.

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The Batavia Muckdogs (3-1) plated an eight-inning run to break a 5-5 tie with the Auburn Doubledays at Dwyer Stadium on Monday in a game that was delayed a couple of times due to rain.

In the eighth, Brian Fry doubled to open the frame, advancing later in the inning on a double steal after Daniel Burroway had reached base on an error.  Fry scored on a sacrifice fly from Alec Maag.

Fry was named player of the game after going 4-4, scoring twice and knocking in a run. The sophomore at the University of Toledo and from Medina is now hitting .533 on the season.

Tyler Cannoe had a hit and two RBIs and Burroway had two RBIs.

The winning pitcher was Trey Bacon. The Santa Fe College sophomore started in left field but took the mound in the seventh inning and gave up only one hit, striking out four, over three innings.

Joshua Milleville, from Lockport and attending Fairleigh Dickinson University, made his first start of the season. Milleville escaped a tough spot in the opening frame. He hit two hit batters, gave up a single and a sacrifice fly to score one run before he recorded his first out.  He only gave up one more run in 3 2/3 innings of work, striking out three while surrendering seven hits. Batavia's Alex Hale came on in relief and gave up four hits, two runs and walked two over 2 1/3 innings.

Eddie Rives took the loss for Auburn.

Top photo: Brian Fry with a stolen base in the first inning.

Photos by Howard Owens

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Auburn shortstop Cooper Erickson scores the first run of the game in the first inning while Batavia catcher Alec Maag waves off a throw to the plate.

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Third baseman Jerry Reinhart.

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Fry singles in the first inning.

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Starting pitcher Joshua Milleville

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Second baseman Fry fielding a ground in the first.

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Jerry Reinhart fouls off a pitch in the second inning.

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Josh Leadem, attending the University of Rochester, grounds out to third in the second inning.

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Extra hitter Liam Ward, from Albion and attending Niagara University, fouls off a pitch in the second inning.

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Reinhart, Caleb Rodriguez, and Fry during the National Anthem.

June 5, 2022 - 7:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, Sports, batavia, muckdogs.

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Before a packed house at Dwyer Stadium, during their 2022 home opener, the Batavia Muckdogs picked up their second win in two games on Saturday, beating the Elmira Pioneers 6-4.

Chris Isaac, a right-hander from Monroe North Carolina, pitched the sixth and seventh innings, giving up three hits but no runs, to pick up the win.

The starter was Batavia's Tyler Prospero. who's attending Niagara University.  He tossed three innings, giving up two hits, no runs, and striking out three.

Batavian Jerry Reinhart, returning to third base for the Muckdogs this season, collected two hits and an RBI.

Gavin Schrader, another Batavia native, and also attending Niagara Unversity, drove in two runs while going 1-2 and collecting a walk.

Batavia's two-game win streak came to an end Sunday afternoon when the Muckdogs lost to Niagara Power 9-8.

The Muckdogs are back home tomorrow at 7 p.m. against Auburn.

Top photo: Batavia's Gavin Schraeder.

Photos by Mike Janes.

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Daniel Burroway #10 first hit of the game.

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Daniel Burroway collected the first hit of the game.

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Alec Maag

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Second baseman Brian Fry

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Julian Pichardo

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Batavia's Alex Hale

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Shortstop Caleb Rodriguez

June 2, 2022 - 8:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, batavia, Sports, baseball, notify.

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As the collegiate-level Batavia Muckdogs enter their second season in the Perfect Game League, head coach Joey Martinez likes what he sees of his team.

"The roster was looking pretty good," Martinez told The Batavian on Thursday evening during a Chamber of Commerce event at Batavia Downs. " I definitely believe it's probably a lot more talented roster than last year. And we had a pretty good roster last year but this year is all I can say is we're super excited about our pitching staff."

Coming off a season in which the freshman PGCBL came up just short of a post-season birth, returning manager Martinez said he's excited about the squad he will field this year.

"In the first week these guys are buying in and our hitters are gonna come through," Martinez said. "It's gonna be hard to write a lineup every day. That's how much talent we got. We're excited about it, but Batavia should be excited about this roster."

There are key players returning from last season, most notably local prospects Tyler Prospero and Jerry Reinhardt, and their leadership will help the team, Martinez said.

"We have depth," he said. "We have leadership. We have these guys that have returners and I think in any organization it is crucial to have returners with leadership ability. So we have guys like Tyler Prospero and Jerry Reinhardt. These guys that are returning, they're upperclassmen. These guys are seasoned collegiate players. They've played here. They know what this is about here. This is their hometown. They know what culture we have. So having those guys around with depth, pitching, and leadership, I mean, it's a pretty, pretty good recipe we have going on right now."

The Muckdog's home opener is 7 p.m. Saturday at Dwyer Stadium. For the full season schedule, click here.

Photo: Assistant Coach Thomas Easton and Head Coach Joey Martinez.

Photo by Howard Owens.

 

April 1, 2022 - 1:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in live stream, batavia, muckdogs, baseball.
Video Sponsor
March 11, 2022 - 4:36pm

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As a baseball player for the Batavia High Blue Devils, Batavia Muckdogs and Erie Community College Kats, Vincent Grazioplene anticipates that he’ll be spending a lot of time behind home plate over the next several months.

The 5-foot-8, 165-pound 12th-grader has signed a letter of intent to attend Erie Community College in the fall and play baseball for the Division III Kats, a perennial National Junior College Athletic Association Region 3 powerhouse under longtime Coach Joe Bauth.

Erie CC plays in the competitive Western New York Athletic Conference that also includes Genesee Community College.

Grazioplene, who has played baseball – from T-ball to varsity -- for 12 of his 17 years, also has been recruited by the Batavia Muckdogs to play in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League this summer before the hometown fans at Dwyer Stadium.

After that, it’s on to Erie CC for a short fall league and then a 50-game collegiate schedule in the spring of 2023.

Making it to this point is quite an accomplishment as just 7 percent of high school athletes go on to play sports in college.

“We are very excited for Vincent. This is something that he’s wanted for a very long time and has worked very hard for,” said his mom, Erica, who took part in the photo session this afternoon at Batavia High.

Vincent’s father, Phil, was unable to attend due to work commitments.

Grazioplene, an honor student, says he plans to major in Business Administration at the two-year junior college.

Batavia High Coach James Patric said Grazioplene was the team’s defensive MVP last season.

“Vincent came off a tough football season – was banged up a bit and it took a little time to get back in the swing of things,” Patric said. “But once he was fully healthy, he was the rock behind the plate.”

Patric said Grazioplene had to catch an inexperienced pitching staff, with two pitchers moving up from Modified A ball to varsity and standout Alex Hale being unable to pitch.

“So, he had to create a chemistry with all the pitchers that were new – who spent a lot of time in the dirt. Graz saved us probably two to three runs a game; he really kept us in a lot of games that could have gotten away from us.”

As a hitter, Grazioplene batted .261 in 46 at-bats with seven runs scored and seven runs batted in. He drove in the team’s only run in a 2-1 sectional tournament loss to Hornell.

For his part, Grazioplene said his goal is to work hard and improve each and every time out.

“I hope to do great … get better and try my best,” he said, noting he has been taking part in “open gym” workouts. “I can’t wait to play.”

Batavia’s first official practice is on Monday and its first scheduled game is April 1 at Pittsford Mendon.

Photo: Batavia High Coach James Patric, Vincent Grazioplene and Erica Grazioplene at today's announcement that Vincent will attend Erie CC in the fall and play baseball for the Buffalo junior college. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

March 8, 2022 - 9:47pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in muckdogs, baseball, Sports, Chamber Awards.

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The Batavia Muckdogs’ selection as the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce “Entrepreneurial Business of the Year” is the icing on the cake, says team owner Robbie Nichols, who was the catalyst and driving force behind the rejuvenation of summer baseball at Dwyer Stadium in 2021.

Speaking on behalf of co-owner and wife, Nellie; son-in-law/general manager Marc Witt, and his staff, Nichols said he is “really thrilled that the county recognized our hard work and hard effort that we put into this season.”

“And we are just thrilled with the season -- the way the sponsors, the season ticket holders, and all the fans took to us – and we’re so extremely pleased with the way the year turned out. Getting an honor like this is just the cherry on top.”

It was January 2021 when Nichols, a longtime professional hockey player in the American Hockey League and hockey/baseball owner in Elmira, approached the Batavia City Council with the idea of fielding a team in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Negotiations between the two entities were fruitful, and baseball was back in Batavia after a one-year hiatus.

Attendance increased significantly from 2019 – Nichols said the per-game average exceeded 1,700 with more than 500 season tickets sold. Fans enjoyed the numerous promotions, which included the KMS dance crew, kids running the bases, and in-game host “Kin Dog" (Batavian John Kindig).

Outside of baseball, Nichols attracted dance competitions and clinics, PRIDE Festival, Challenger Baseball, GLOW Academy Youth Baseball and Battle of Badges, high school baseball, Alzheimer’s Walk, Muckdogs Monster Mash, among other events, to the stadium at the intersection of Bank and Denio streets.

Furthermore, the Muckdogs’ players always were available for community appearances and marched in the City’s Memorial Day Parade.

Nichols said he appreciates the way the fans responded to the team.

“It was just a fun season,” he said, “and it’s even crazier as we approach this season. Games already are close to being sold out for next year (2022). We’ll do even better this year. That’s what we're so excited about.”

When it was mentioned that the word “entrepreneurial” was in the title of the Chamber award, Nichols acknowledged that it fits him to a T.

“I think people have always said that (about me). If you look at my background, I guess that would be a pretty accurate word,” he said. “I was signed by the Detroit Red Wings and I was playing in the American Hockey League and I had a hockey card business on the side. And I made more money (with that) than I did for my NHL contract.”

He recalled that he made and sold T-shirts when his team was going to the championship game.

“People are leaving the doors and I'm out on the ice, selling T-shirts as people are walking out. We won the championship. So, I’ve always had that entrepreneur … trying to make it make a buck with a side hustle,” he said.

Nichols also mentioned “a rumor” that a show called The Flint Tropics was based on his seven years managing the Flint (Mich.) Generals.

“They said that they copied all of the crazy things that I did as far as promotions; a lot of stuff they did in that movie was stuff that I did on the ice,” he said. We will do any promotion – and we’ve got some crazy ones coming up this year.”

Although his permanent address is in Elmira, the 57-year-old Nichols said that Batavia has come his second home – literally.

“My wife and I have bought a home in Batavia now – right around the corner from the ballpark,” he said. “We’re really honored the way the City of Batavia has treated us. We can’t ask for better folks; they’re just like family.”

In his nomination of the Batavia Muckdogs for the award, lifelong Batavian Tom Turnbull said the city and county have been enriched because of Robbie and Nellie Nichols’ hard work and community spirit.

“While the Batavia Muckdogs may not seem like a new business due to the continuation of the name (from the former New York-Penn League), the new Batavia Muckdogs … are not only an incredible local business success story but have enhanced the quality of life for the residents of Genesee County,” Turnbull wrote.

Top photo: Robbie and Nellie Nichols on opening day 2021. Photo by Jim Burns.

Game photos below by Philip Casper

This is the first of four articles highlighting the 50th Annual Chamber of Commerce Awards. The annual dinner is Saturday at Batavia Downs, with hor d’oeuvres at 5 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. For more information about the dinner, call the Genesee County Chamber at (585) 343-7440.

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February 14, 2022 - 8:29pm

The Batavia City Council is throwing its support behind an Oneida County-initiated pitch to Gov. Kathy Hochul to provide state funding for “necessary repairs and enhancements” to municipally-owned baseball stadiums across New York State.

Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr., at tonight’s Business Meeting at the City Hall Council Board Room, asked for – and received – authorization from his colleagues to put his name on a letter written by Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. and Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League President Robert F. Julian, asking Hochul to set aside $250 million in her state budget for improvements at these facilities, which include Dwyer Stadium in Batavia.

Dated Jan. 27, the letter is in response to state lawmakers’ consideration of appropriating $1 billion in taxpayer money to build a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills and proposing more than $100 million for Lake Placid to host the World University Games.

“… we believe there should be equity for other communities that are owners of municipal baseball stadiums throughout the state,” the letter reads. “These stadiums have a rich history and are part of the fabric of our communities. While they are not profit centers, they are a critical part of the public infrastructure providing recreational opportunities and civic engagement that enhances the quality of life in our communities.”

The letter also touches upon Major League Baseball’s “sudden abandonment” of minor league affiliates in 2020 that negatively affected operations in small cities and towns.

“New York has a proud history as a home to amateur and professional baseball, and that has continued as the PGCBL and other Independent leagues have quickly stepped up to fill the void left behind,” it reads. “However, we need assistance to make the transition into this new paradigm.”

Dwyer Stadium continues to be the home of the Batavia Muckdogs, a summertime club that is part of the PGCBL. Muckdogs’ owner Robbie Nichols also has signed the letter.

Other signatures are from representatives of the communities of Auburn, Boonville, Altamont, Amsterdam, Elmira, Geneva, Glens Falls, Jamestown, Little Falls, Niagara Falls, Newark, Oneonta, Saugerties, Utica and Watertown.

Picente and Julian wrote that the level of funding being requested “would provide adequate funds to allow for each of our communities to invest in necessary repairs and enhancements to protect and stabilize these stadiums.”

They also indicated they are reaching out to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, “seeking a partnership to bring to life their vast offerings in our facilities throughout the state.”

The letter also will be sent to state Senate and Assembly Majority and Minority leaders and State Budget Director Robert Mujica.

Council member Paul Viele, apparently thinking about the Batavia Ice Arena, asked if the letter could be modified to include arenas, but Jankowski said that it was focused on stadiums.

In other developments, Council approved the following resolutions:

  • Scheduling of a public hearing for 7 p.m. Feb. 28 on the city’s 2022-23 budget, water rates, meter fees and capital improvement fees. The $17.7 million spending plan calls for a tax levy of $5,986,000 – up $121,403 from 2021-22. The property tax rate, however, would decrease by 78 cents to $8.94 per $1,000 of assessed value. Water rates, meter fees and capital improvement fees are set to increase by 1.5 percent from last year’s rates.
  • Re-naming the Batavia Ice Arena on Evans Street to the David M. McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena as a result of a contract with Pellegrino Auto Sales and the David M. McCarthy Memorial Foundation that would pay the city $3,100 annually for 10 years. Council member Robert Bialkowski applauded the decision. “I really appreciate the citizens coming forward and doing this. I think it’s a good move forward,” he said.

Previously: Council sends favorable signals to Batavia duo seeking to acquire ice arena naming rights

February 11, 2022 - 11:06am
posted by Press Release in Sports, baseball, muckdogs.

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Press release:

The Batavia Muckdogs and CAN-USA Sports Ownership are back for their second season in the PGCBL and are incredibly excited to announce plans for the upcoming summer!

The 2022 PGCBL schedule has been released with Opening Day in Elmira on June 3rd and the home opener at Dwyer Stadium the following night with postgame fireworks. 

In addition to playing teams in the West Divison, the Muckdogs will incorporate new opponents from the East division like the Oneonta Outlaws and Watertown Rapids. Batavia will have exhibition games with the Cortland Crush of the NYCBL and the Capital City Reds from Ottawa, Ontario. 

In the coming weeks, be on the lookout for our 2022 promotional schedule that already includes Batavia Blue Devils Night on Saturday, June 18th, and STOP DWI night on Thursday, July 14th. Be sure to check out our social media pages for more updates and call the office if you are interested in booking a night at Dwyer Stadium.

We would also like to announce the signing of eight players to the 2022 roster. Six players are returners from last season, including head coach Joe “Skip” Martinez. They include ace starting pitcher Julian Pichardo, catcher Brice Mortillaro, slugger Abner Benitez, first basemen Daniel Burroway, sidearmer AJ Winger, and dual pitcher/shortstop Trey Bacon.  

Batavia has also signed two local high school products to play this upcoming season. Gavin Schrader is an outfield/pitching prospect at Notre Dame High School who committed to play at Niagara University after his senior season. Batavia High School catcher Vincent Grazioplene will also join the Muckdogs as he prepares to play collegiately at Erie Community College.

“As an organization, we are so thankful to bring back fan favorites from a year ago. They feel like they have unfinished business the way last year ended and wanted to build off such a successful rookie season in the league,” Martinez said. “To also have a new crop of local guys this summer was important for us to do for a tight-knit community like Batavia. Gavin and Vincent will be huge additions to the roster, and I hope the fans will rally around them like how they did for Jerry Reinhart and Tyler Prospero.”

Lastly, CAN-USA Sports & Dwyer Stadium will be hosting multiple events throughout the spring and fall months. All varsity baseball games for Batavia and Notre Dame High Schools will be exclusively hosted at Dwyer Stadium. Following the PGCBL season, Dwyer will host the Western New York Alzheimer’s Association annual walk for the second year on October 1st. The Batavia Muckdogs will host another Trick or Treat day on Saturday, October 22nd. 

Dwyer will also be the host to two concerts for the first time! Margaritaville will come to Dwyer Stadium on Saturday, August 20th as a Parrothead Jimmy Buffett Cover Band will play at the stadium with live music, drinks, food, & fun!  Before the school year starts, Zac Brown Tribute Band (ZBTB) will play Dwyer Stadium as one of their end-of-summer shows on September 3rd.

The season is only a few months away, and make sure to get in on all of the action for the best season in Batavia baseball history!

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September 14, 2021 - 11:19am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, city council, muckdogs, genesee county.

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Robbie Nichols and Marc Witt say they have about 50,000 reasons to support their claim that the first year of the Batavia Muckdogs’ participation in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League was a resounding success.

The team owner and general manager, respectively, took a few minutes at Monday night’s Batavia City Council meeting to report encouraging attendance figures for not only the team’s home games but also for the various other events that took place at Dwyer Stadium.

Nichols said the team averaged 1,778 fans per game over their 27 home games and attracted 501 season ticket holders, compared to 2019, when the team averaged 951 per game and had 79 season ticket holders.

An online check of Minor League Reference, however, lists the Muckdogs’ 2019 attendance at 1,135 per game for 37 home games.

Regardless of the exact numbers, Nichols was justified when he said, “We’re quite pleased at the way our first season turned out.”

When you combine the Muckdogs’ games with the numerous events held at Dwyer Stadium this summer, more than 50,000 people strolled through the gates. Other events included KMS Dance Academy competitions and clinics, PRIDE Festival, Challenger baseball, GLOW Academy Youth Baseball and Battle of Badges.

Collegiate baseball tournaments, an Alzheimer’s Walk and Muckdogs Monster Mash for kids (Oct. 23) are yet to come, Nichols said.

Witt acknowledged the “energy” provided by the Community Dance Team that entertained the crowd on a nightly basis, and pointed out how the players regularly interacted with the fans and community.

Nichols thanked the many sponsors and Council “for entrusting us with this great tradition.”

Council member John Canale, who said he attended several games, commented that the atmosphere “was tremendous.”

“You promised us that and you came through for us,” he said, prompting applause from his colleagues.

In other developments, Council passed the following resolutions:

  • A modified and restated sales tax allocation agreement with Genesee County through Dec. 31, 2059. The new contract does not change the terms and conditions between the city and county, but does include wording that allows the county to distribute $10 million annually in sales tax revenue to its towns and villages, beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

In 2018, the city and county reached a deal giving Batavia 16 percent of the county’s share of the sales tax – with provisions for that amount to grow in future years by a maximum of 2 percent per year. In future years, the city’s share will depend upon sales tax revenue growth, eventually being no less than 14 percent.

  • An amendment of the city’s zoning map to rezone parcels at 211 and 211 ½ East Main Street, just east of the existing Genesee Area Family YMCA, from P-2 (Planned Development) to C-3 (Commercial) to accommodate the construction of the Healthy Living Campus.
  • The installation of a street light on Highland Park due to insufficient lighting on a portion of that street. The resolution authorizes National Grid to install the fixture on an existing pole, which would cost the city about $90 a year for the electricity.
  • A contract with Bailey Electric Motor and Pump Supply of Corfu to replace a high service pump Variable Frequency Drive control at the Water Treatment Plant in the low bid amount of $23,878. Tabelski reported that the current part, which is 20 years old, has failed and the repair would be most costly than replacement. A VFD is a type of motor controller that drives an electric motor by varying the frequency and voltage of its power supply, and normally is a key component at the mechanical treatment stage, biological treatment stage, and chlorination and filtration stage.

Council also forwarded to next month’s Business Meeting a recommendation by City Manager Rachael Tabelski to transfer $711,000 in general fund balance to reserve funds and another $50,000 in the workers’ compensation fund to that fund’s reserves.

The funds earmarked for allocation are Police Reserve, DPW Equipment Reserve, Facilities Reserve, Compensated Absences, Parking Lot Reserve, Health Care Fund Reserve and Workers’ Compensation Fund Reserve.

Looking forward, Tabelski said she will be outlining recommendations for the use of the $1.4 million the city received in American Rescue Plan Act funding at the Conference Meeting on Sept. 27, and reported that bonding financial figures and design phase information for the new city police headquarters will be presented in November or December.

Photo: Marc Witt, left, and Robbie Nichols of the Batavia Muckdogs at Monday night's City Council meeting. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

September 13, 2021 - 11:10am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, city council, muckdogs, Freed Maxick.

The Batavia City Council, back in the public eye after a five-week break, is expected to hear a review of the Batavia Muckdogs’ summer baseball season from owner Robbie Nichols and an audit presentation for the 2020-21 fiscal year by Kathryn Barrett, director at Freed Maxick CPAs, P.C.

Those two items, along with City Manager Rachael Tabelski’s recommended transfers of unassigned funds to restricted reserve funds, highlight the agenda of Council’s Special Conference Meeting, which is set for 7 p.m. at the City Hall Council Board Room.

A Business Meeting, featuring five resolutions to be voted upon, will follow. One of those resolutions is to approve the modified and restated sales tax allocation agreement with Genesee County – action that paves the way for the county to distribute sales tax revenue on an annual basis to its towns and villages for the next 38 years.

Muckdogs Make Winning Debut

The Batavia club enjoyed a successful first season in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League after the city and CAN-USA Sports LLC, owned by Nichols and his wife, Nellie, came to a lease agreement over the winter to operate a team here – ultimately deciding to keep the popular nickname, Muckdogs.

The team posted a 22-19 record, finishing one game back of Geneva for a playoff berth in the league’s Western Division, but beyond that, fans flocked to Dwyer Stadium in large numbers. The Nichols and their players also supported numerous community events and causes.

In an interview with The Batavian at the end of July, Nichols said fans will see an even better team in 2022, stating that this year’s players will go back to their schools and tell the best players on their teams that “you want to go to Batavia."

“I think the team is really going to improve next year," he said.

Audit: City at ‘Healthy, Stable Position’

Barrett will present the key findings of the accounting firm’s audit of the city, which, per the document’s financial highlights section, continued to maintain a healthy and stable financial position for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021.

“The city continues to maintain a positive unassigned fund balance. Despite the challenges such as a slow property tax base growth and state mandates (i.e. the property tax cap), the city continues to diligently commit one-time surplus funds to fund balance reserves for future capital investments,” the report reads.

Achievements over the past year, per the report, include:

-- Strong assigned and unassigned fund balances in the general fund and strong balances in the water and sewer funds, along with “healthy” operations in general, water and sewer funds;

-- Committing surplus to reserve funds for one-time equipment purchases and infrastructure and facility improvements;

-- Implementation of fiscal policies such as a fund balance policy, investment policy, revised purchasing manual and monthly financial monitoring.

Tabelski: Move $761,000 to Reserve Funds

The city manager, in a memo to the city’s Audit Advisory Committee dated Aug. 25, writes that after the 2021 fiscal year, the city is in “a good position to increase the percentage of unassigned fund balance … to 15 percent of current year general fund expenses.”

She recommends transferring $711,000 in general fund balance to reserve funds and another $50,000 in the workers’ compensation fund to that fund’s reserves.  Even with these transfers, she said there will be about $2,527,600 left in unassigned fund balance.

Tabelski noted that the city’s capital plan calls for “multiple” expenditures over the next two to five years, including public works equipment, sidewalk replacement and facility improvements – “without negatively affecting the city’s financial position or tax rate.”

The recommended transfers are as follows:

  • Police Reserve, $50,000, primarily to replace patrol and detective vehicles on an annual basis, with two vehicles to be replaced next year.
  • DPW Equipment Reserve, $100,000, raising the fund to $437,225, with the goal to replace three dump trucks/plows, six sedans, four pickup trucks with plows and a one-ton dump truck by the end of 2025.
  • Facilities Reserve, $136,000, considering work on multiple proposed projects, such as the new police station, improvements at the fire station, Bureau of Maintenance, City Centre and other buildings.
  • Compensated Absences, $75,000, noting the city’s liability in this area is $1.94 million, with nearly $200,000 due within a year, and also that three pending retirements will affect the general fund by nearly $100,000.
  • Parking Lot, $100,000, with an eye on repaving, by 2025, lots on Williams Street, Court Street Plaza and Bureau of Maintenance
  • Health Care Fund Reserve, $250,000, to build back funds spent over the last two years. As of March 31, the fund had $10,155.47 in restricted reserves and $13,863.08 in assigned fund balance.
  • Workers’ Compensation Fund Reserve, $50,000, with the goal of reaching $1 million in the fund’s restricted reserve. As of March 31, the WC fund had $580,424.34 of restricted reserves and $485,111.13 in assigned fund balance.
August 18, 2021 - 8:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Milestones, muckdogs.

Press release:

Communications students from Canisius College, St. Bonaventure University, Syracuse University and the University at Albany have won awards for the upcoming academic year from the Greater Buffalo Society of Professional Journalists College Scholarship Fund.

Meghan Brink of Allegany, N.Y. attends the University at Albany where as editor-in-chief of the Albany Student Press, she played a key role in reviving the independent student newspaper. She has also been an intern with New York StateWatch. 

Griffin Della Penna of Batavia attends Canisius College where he has been focusing on sports journalism. He served as the team broadcaster and director of media relations for the Batavia Muckdogs this past summer and has accepted a position to be a ESPN 3 broadcaster at Canisius for its soccer programs. 

Meghan Hall of Amherst attends St. Bonaventure University and has contributed to TAPinto Greater Olean, an online newspaper. She has also worked part-time at the Olean Times Herald and served as a fellow at the Carnegie-Knight News21 Program at Arizona State University.

Jenna Wirth of Williamsville attends Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications where she has contributed more than 150 articles to print and digital publications. She was a fellow for Popsugar, a digital lifestyle publication, as well as Health magazine. 

“These four talented individuals have distinguished themselves as exceptional student journalists,” said Fund Chair Brian Meyer. “We believe they possess enormous potential and will achieve great things in their professions.”

This marks the 43rd year that the local organization has awarded annual scholarships to aspiring and professional journalists. Since the late 1970s, the group has awarded 155 scholarships totaling more than $135,000. Winners have attended about 30 different colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.

The program helps future and current journalists in Western New York, Northwest Pennsylvania and Southern Ontario. Five trustees, chosen for staggered five-year terms, serve without remuneration. Nearly 100 percent of all fund revenues are awarded as scholarships. 

July 30, 2021 - 1:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, Sports, batavia, muckdogs, notify.

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The collegiate-player version of the Batavia Muckdogs finished out its inaugural season in a way that was rare when professional ballplayers passed through town -- with a stadium full of fans excited to see a team they embraced in 2021 because the team embraced this city.

"It’s been great," said Tom Turnbull, a regular Dwyer Stadium visitor, and local community leader. "You can see the spirit, the vibe, the college kind of rah-rah that the players have and it’s carried over into the stands. People are just happy to have the Muckdogs back. It’s just been a wonderful year. They’ve been a part of the community and when you go to a concession stand and the owner is working the cash register, you know they’re invested in the city. It’s been fantastic."

For a Thursday evening, the stands were packed and there was a palatable excitement in the air.

"We’re thrilled, my wife and I pleasantly surprised," said owner Robbie Nichols during a conversation at a table where fans were bidding on player jerseys. "You can sea from the crowd tonight the support we’ve recieved. We had a short season to put it together. You’ll see next season, this place will be packed every night."

The reason for the success, Nichols noted, is the team -- not just Nichols and management staff, but coaches and players -- have gotten involved in the community over the past couple of months, in a way the pro players of the previous era never did.

Community is what is also about Nichols said.

"We always say, my wife and I are the holders of the keys but this is a community team," Nichols said. "You see people over there in line, talking, having a beer, people bringing their grandkids to the game, and that’s what it’s all about.  It’s America’s game. It’s about bringing your family to the ballpark and Batavia answered the bell and this crowd is amazing."

Community is a big reason Nichols announced before last night's game that he's offering Coach Joey Martinez and two-year extension on his contract.

"It’s community first," Nichols said. "Wins and losses are important but it’s how we are out in the community, attending events and doing things. I think our team did a great job this year and we want to continue that. That’s what I want to continue. I like working out in the community helping everybody we can especially special olympics, challenger division baseball, the parades we did, reading to people, the veterans, all the stuff we did, that’s what I’m most excited about."

The players enjoyed the year, too.  Players who have more college eligibility after this season have said they want to come back to Batavia next year.  That will go a long way building a stronger baseball organization.  Martinez only had a short time after the Muckdogs joined the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League to recruit players and few potential players knew anything about Batavia. After this season, Nichols noted, that will change. He said this year's players will go back to their schools and tell the best players on their teams, "you want to go to Batavia."

“I think the team is really going to improve next year," Nichols said.

This year, the Muckdogs finished just out of the running for a playoff spot with a final record of 22-19, one game behind Geneva for the coveted second playoff spot of the Western Division. If not for a rainout and some rescheduling confusion with Geneva, maybe the Muckdogs would have had a better shot at the playoffs, but last night's loss to Niagara wouldn't have helped matters.

Starter Julian Pichardo, who has been the ace of the staff this season, got hurt by three first inning errors and gave up a couple of solid base hits allowing Niagara to score three first-inning runs.  Pichardo battled through 3 1/3 innings giving up four hits, three runs (only one earned), and striking out two.  He finishes with a 4-2 record and a 2.46 ERA.

Abner Benitez had a big night at the plate going 3-5 and driving in five runs.  He finishes the year with a .282 BA and 27 RBIs.

"Next year going to have win early and win often (to make the playoffs)," Nichols said.

Photos by Philip Casper. Top photo: Dewey wishing there was more Muckdogs’ baseball in Batavia this year.

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Young fans at Dwyer catching some up close pregame action while the players warm up.

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Charlie Szykowny & Julian Pichardo

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Coach Jose ’Skip’ Martinez after being offered a 2-year contract extension by Robbie Nichols

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Charlie Szykowny 

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Dancing on the dugout with Dewey

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Blair Frederick charging towards first after a successful bunt

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Blair Frederick crossing home plate 

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Daniel Burroway

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Julian Pichardo thanks the fans as he walks off the field for the last time in 2021

July 27, 2021 - 5:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, batavia.

Mike Baluja -- that's the name on the YouTube channel this video appears on -- made this video as a tribute to the 2021 Batavia Muckdogs and coach Joey Martinez.  

He wrote in the description:

A tribute to the Batavia Muckdogs inaugural year in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Dedicated to Coach Joey Martinez, who saw my grandson at a showcase in December of 2020, and invited him to be among this very special group of players that he had assembled. His persistence and advice were instrumental in influencing our decision. It turned out to be a very rewarding experience for those involved.

The Muckdogs have two games left in their season that will go a long way in determinng whether they make the playoffs.  They're in Jamestown tomorrow night to take on the first-place Tarp Skunks and at home at 7 p.m. on Thursday to play Niagara. 

July 23, 2021 - 2:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, baseball, Sports, batavia.

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Batavia hitters unloaded on Newark pitchers Thursday evening in an offensive onslaught that included a grand slam home run by shortstop Charlie Szykowny (top and bottom photos).

Szykowny went 2-2 raising his season average to .311. The big blast was Szykowny's first HR of the season. 

Batavia native Jerry Reinhart was 2-3, scoring twice.

The Muckdogs won 11-1 lifting the team's recored to 19-17. Batavia is in third place, a half-game behind the Geneva Red Wings with six games to go in the regular season. 

Blair Frederick was the winning pitcher, going five and a third innings, giving up only two hits, walking one and whiffing eight.

The Muckdogs' final home games of the regular season are tonight at 7 against Jamestown, Sunday at 4:05 p.m. also against Jamestown, and Thursday, 7:05 p.m., against Niagara Power. Jamestown is in first place in the Western Division with a record of 26-12.

Photos by Philip Casper.

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David Chua throwing out the first pitch.

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Blair Frederick

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Daniel Burroway 

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Jerry Reinhart with a head-first slide into second base after a line drive into right field.

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Reinhart scores.

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July 19, 2021 - 11:43am
posted by James Burns in Sports, baseball, muckdogs, batavia.

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UPDATE 11:58 a.m.: Griffin Dellapenna, the Muckdogs' broadcaster, says the Muckdogs won 10-10.

Yesterday's Batavia Muckdogs game against Elmira ended in confusion and we still don't really know what happened.

Fans left the game thinking the Pioneers forfeited but the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League lists the game as suspended and is not listing the game as a win for the Muckdogs in the Western Division standings.

By all appearance in the bottom of the ninth, the Muckdogs won on a walk-off check swing. Yeah, that sounds crazy, but that’s what happened. To quote the Dwyer Stadium announcer “I think we just won 10-10 folks."

The tone was set for the crazy ending in the bottom of the first inning where Batavia scored two runs off a wild pitch, one that appeared to hit the batter in the foot. Elmira Pioneers felt this should have been a dead ball and the batter should have taken first base; the umpire ruled it a wild pitch and the two runs scored. From this point forward the relationship between the Pioneers and the umpires was, well, contentious. An inning later, the Elmira coach was ejected during a vigorous discussion with an umpire.

After five innings Batavia led 8-0 and Elmira started to climb back into the game. The game was delayed 30 minutes for a lightning strike in the area and for kids to pick up candy dropped on the field by a helicopter. (The helicopter was one of the less crazy events of the game.) At the end of nine innings, the score was knotted at 10 apiece.

In the top of the 10th, the Pioneer pitcher took umbrage with an umpire's ruling that the batter had a checked swing, denying the pitcher a strike call. This happened again on the next pitch and the pitcher, rather colorfully, expressed his disgust with the call as he approached the umpire and was held back by his catcher. The pitcher was ejected from the game. 

Elmira called in a new pitcher from their bullpen and he started to warm up, after a couple of warm-up pitches, the home plate umpire signaled the pitcher he had three more warm-up pitches left before play needed to resume. Yet again, there was another upset Elmira pitcher. He protested in a somewhat impolite way and the umpire responded by signaling he now had only two warm-up pitches remaining.

At this point, the Elmira pitcher used some of the same colorful language to express his dissatisfaction that the previously ejected pitcher did, simultaneously half of the Elmira dugout came onto the field to express their feelings about allowing the pitcher to warm up as did most of the infield. It was at this point the umpire ejected the entire Elmira Pioneers team.  

One would think that would make the final score 10-10, a Batavia win.

Apparently, the league doesn't see it that way and as of this writing, we don't know why.

Once that impromptu craziness was over, it was time for the scheduled craziness to begin, the Battle of the Badges, an exhibition game between Batavia PD and the City of Batavia Fire Department. 

The BPD did try their best including sending a few young children over to the CBFD to tell them “A cat is stuck in a tree, can you come and help?” to distract the firemen. But this tactic did not seem to work. 

After three innings, heavy rain forced the players from the field while the CBFD held a commanding lead over the BPD, 7-0. Three innings is below the five-inning minimum for an official game but we're giving the win to CBFD. But maybe we'll get overruled. That seems to be the way of the night.

There was no official word on the cat in the tree. 

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July 16, 2021 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, muckdogs, Sports, baseball.

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On STOP-DWI night at Dwyer Stadium on Thursday, Batavia fans were treated to an entertaining game that ended on a walk-off single by Charlie Szykowny.

Szykowny, primarily a shortstop with a strong arm who is hitting .292 on the season, was also the winning pitcher after giving up four runs in his single frame of work.

The University of Wisconsin-Stout senior had three hits and drove in two runs to lead the Muckdogs' offense to a 7-6 win over Jamestown.

Riding a three-game winning streak, the Muckdogs are over .500 for the first time this season, sitting at 17-16 in third place in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League's Western Division.  

Batavia native Jerry Reinhart, a senior at University of Akron, had one hit and scored twice. 

Abner Benitez tripled as a pinch hitter, driving in two runs and raising his season average to .292.

Starter Julian Pichardo, who came into the game with a 4-1 record, didn't figure in the decision after six innings of work in which he gave up two runs, four hits, and fanned six.

The next home game is Saturday at 7 p.m. vs. Newark.

Photos by Philip Casper.

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Dr. Ross Fanara fires in a strike for the first pitch, on his birthday.

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Julian Pichardo

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Jerry Reinhart

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Jerry Reinhart

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Jerry Reinhart scores game's first run.

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Deputy Andrew Mullen and K-9 "Frankie."

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Charlie Szykowny

July 15, 2021 - 12:15pm

From BPD:

The Batavia Muckdogs are proud to host the inaugural "Battle of the Badges" game between our local Police and Fire departments in Batavia.

The game will take place this Sunday, July 18th, on Give716 Day at the ballpark -- Western New York's community-wide day of giving.

Batavia will host the Elmira Pioneers for a 4:05 p.m. start, with the "Battle of the Badges" game following the completion of the Muckdogs vs. Pioneers game.

Tickets will be required for the police vs. fire matchup, and admission will be counted toward both games that occur on Sunday. Tickets range from $9-11, and a dollar is added if purchased the day of. For tickets, call (585) 524-2260.

July 9, 2021 - 2:07pm
posted by Press Release in news, muckdogs, baseball, STOP-DWI, batavia.

Submitted photos and press release:

Join Genesee County STOP-DWI and the Genesee County Youth Bureau for a night of family fun as they team up to host the STOP-DWI Night at the Ballpark on Thursday, July 15, gates open at 6 p.m.

The Batavia Muckdogs will take on the Jamestown Tarp Skunks.    

The first 100 youths will receive a T-shirt or Muck Bucks for purchases in the ballpark. An additional 500 giveaways and prizes will be given throughout the night.

The grand prize of a youth bike from Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle.

Fun and interactive educational booths and displays will be available for families and children to visit.

Help us cheer on Detective Matthew Wojtaszczyk (inset photo, right) as he throws the first pitch of the game. Having served with the Batavia Police Department since 2014, Detective Wojtaszczyk has provided extraordinary service to this community in his efforts to help educate the public on the effects of impaired driving and to help protect our streets from the dangers of impaired drivers.

While assigned to patrol division, he was very active in DWI enforcement, and awarded the Genesee County STOP-DWI “Top Cop Award” in 2016. In 2017, Detective Wojtaszczyk became a drug recognition expert (DRE), tasked with assisting fellow officers who are investigating individuals suspected of driving while impaired.

Detective Wojtaszczyk remains active in community outreach events, including the STOP-DWI Night at the Ballpark.

Event sponsors and contributors: GCASA, Gerace Realty, Kiwanis Club of Batavia, Marchese Computers, Police Benevolent Association, United States Gypsum Co., Batavia Lions Club, The Original Red Osier Landmark Restaurant, Western New York Association of Chiefs of Police, Polish Falcons, Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, and Walmart.

Join us for a great night at the ballpark and remember impaired driving is completely preventable. All it takes is a little planning.

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

Top photo, from left: Le Roy Police Chief Greg Kellogg; Genesee County Undersheriff Bradley Mazur; Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron; Chelsea Green, with the Genesee County Youth Bureau; Tammi Ferringer, STOP-DWI coordinator; Chelsea Elliott, with the Genesee County Youth Bureau; John Roche, owner of Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle; Officer Felicia DeGroot, of the Batavia Police Department; and Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch.

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