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Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 7:17 am

Bazooka Terror tallies her 10th triumph at Batavia Downs; Three horses involved in 8th race accident

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

Bazooka Terror with driver Kevin Cummings

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Bazooka Terror is known for her explosive come-from-behind finishes and there is nothing that makes her driver Kevin Cummings happier than to see a speed duel in front of him early. That's exactly what happened in the $9,500 Open mares pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Nov. 5) and it provided the classy 5-year-old the perfect recipe for success en route to scoring her tenth victory of the year.

As the race unfolded, Mondatta (Dave McNeight III) and Itstimeformetofly (Drew Monti) refused to play nice on the front end. Mondatta would not let Itstimeformetofly go and Itstimeformetofly would not take a seat behind Mondatta. As a result, the two battled through fractions of :26.4 and :55.4 before Itstimeformetofly finally took the front and crossed over to the pylons. Heading up the backside it became apparent that the early pace was taking its toll and Cummings didn't waste any time pulling the trigger. He tipped the big mare three-deep from sixth and circled the entire field past the three-quarter pole. From there Bazooka Terror just paced away to score a decisive six-length victory in 1:55. Mondatta came back on to be second and Itstimeformetofly hung in for third.

Besides pushing Bazooka Terror's win total to double digits, the victory also boosted her annual earnings to $79,269 for owner Leonard Segall. Bazooka Terror is trained by James Clouser Jr.

The eighth race was marred by an unfortunate accident when the leader Call Her Quick (Jack Flanigen) made a break that caused Vital Speed (Jake Baumeister) and Justrollwithit (Truman Gale) to pile into her as she altered her speed. This sent both trailing drivers to the track. Fortunately when it happened, the two were at the back of the pack and there were no other horses behind them. Driver Truman Gale was alright and got right up. Jake Baumeister was assisted up and taken to the hospital for treatment of a possible head injury. The downed horse got up, the loose horse was caught and both suffered only minor abrasions.

Driver Drew Monti scored a driving triple with Donegal Jim ($2.80), Feets of Magic ($3.90) and Rashabec ($10.80) while the meet's leading driver Kevin Cummings steered home two winners.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Nov. 7) with a 6:35 post time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 8:56 am

Lady Irish advance in regional volleyball tournament

post by Howard B. Owens in high school sports, Notre Dame, sports, volleyball

Photos and story by Bare Antolos.

The Notre Dame Girls Volleyball Team, powered by the support of their fans, came out and proved to be too much for previously undefeated Hammondsport, 3-1 (25-15, 25-12, 18-25 and 25-13) to move onto play against Honeoye Falls-Lima on Thursday at Cal-Mum in the regional finals.

The Lady Irish are the Class DDD champions for Section V.

Throughout the match, the Hammondsport girls seemed to be overwhelmed by the Notre Dame attack and unnerved by the vocal Notre Dame student body cheering section.

Despite not having a strong service match, the Notre Dame girls used a balance attack to mix up their sets and win rather easily. Notre Dame Coach Rhonda DiCasolo said that her team "played really, really well and is very proud" of the effort and is "really excited about Thursday at Cal-Mum."

Shea Norton led the way for the Lady Irish with 19 kills. Lindsay Bender had a strong match, finishing with 30 assists and 10 service points, including finishing out the match on a run of five serves to send Hammondsport home.

The Lady Irish received strong contributions from Mary Bernadette Bochicchio who set the tone early in the first game, running out a string of five service points (nine total for the match) to open up a lead that Hammondsport could not recover from. Rebecca Krenzer lead the way with 15 service points with Olivia Marchese contributing 12 digs and Emma Francis, who seemed to be involved in all parts of the match, finished with 10 digs and 12 service points in the all around team effort.

Thursday's match against Honeoye Falls-Lima should be another difficult match for the Lady Irish and provide the Notre Dame students another opportunity to be help lift their team to victory!

More photos after the jump:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Muckdogs announce 2015 schedule

post by Billie Owens in baseball, muckdogs, sports

Press release:

The Batavia Muckdogs, Class A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, have announced their schedule for the 2015 season. Batavia will open the 2015 season at home on Friday, June 19th, when the Auburn Doubledays visit Dwyer Stadium.

The Muckdogs will host their annual Independence Day celebration on July 3rd this year, as they are not home on July 4th. The Muckdogs also have a home game scheduled for Father's Day (June 21) this season. In addition to their Pinckney Division rivals, the Muckdogs will welcome the Boston Red Sox (Lowell), Detroit Tigers (Connecticut), Houston Astros (Tri-City) and Oakland A’s (Vermont) farm teams to Dwyer Stadium in 2015.

Here is a month-by-month and day-by-day breakdown of Batavia’s 2015 home schedule:

Month    Home Games    Day         Home Games
June                6               Sunday            5
July                13              Monday           4
Aug.               17              Tuesday          5
Sept.                2              Wednesday    7
                                        Thursday         5
                                         Friday             7
                                         Saturday       5

Season tickets, coupon books and ticket packages for the 2015 season are all on sale now. They can be purchased by calling 585-343-5454 or in person at Dwyer Stadium, Monday thru Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For a complete schedule, visit www.muckdogs.com.

Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Tri-Town Varsity wins NOFA Championship

post by Rick D. Franclemont in alexander, football, sports, youth

The Tri-Town Varsity Trojans football team defeated the Oakfield/Elba Titans yesterday 39-37 to claim the Niagara Orleans Football Association championship. This was the Trojans first championship team in 36 years.

Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Mini Titans win championship

post by Howard B. Owens in elba, football, Oakfield, sports, youth sports

The Oakfield/Elba Titans in the Mini Division won their league's championship today, beating Albion 27-19.

Photo and info provided by Kevin Zito.

Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 10:47 am

Batavia, the team that shouldn't be here, has shot at sectional title after 35-12 win in semi-final

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, high school sports, sports

By all rights, at the end of the first half Saturday night, Batavia should have been down to Penn Yan by a score more along the lines of 28-7.

The game should have been over in every manner except the time clock.

Three turnovers, a trio of 15-yard penalties, enemy receivers allowed to roam free and the repeated gifts of good field position didn't doom the Batavia effort.

It would be fair to say the Mustangs didn't cash in on all of these gold-plated errors, but that would be only half the story.

The Blue Devils hung tough. The line stepped up and stopped the run. Rushers put enough pressure on the passing game that completions were hard to come by.

With two minutes left in the first half, instead being down 20 or 28 to 7, Batavia trailed by only five points, 12-7.

Then the magic happened.

Greg Mruczek engineered a 70-yard drive in less than two minutes that ended with a five-yard pass in the end zone to a wide open -- open as in "alone on a Kansas prairie" open -- Malachi Chenault.

A two-point conversion later and Batavia headed into the locker room with a 15-12 lead and a level of confidence that makes Floyd Mayweather look shy.

"That was huge," said Head Coach Brennan Briggs. "I would like to say that was the game right there because that just gave us the momentum to get back into it. I think if we'd gone into half time down, I think our kids really would have been in a little bit of a hole. But they've been grinding and fighting all year and that's what they did."

Briggs said he went into the locker room at half and told the team it was their game to lose.

He told them, he said, " 'we've done everything we could do wrong and we're still leading this game by three points. That says something.' "

"I said," he added, " 'we've got 24 minutes left. All the time, all the effort you've put in come down to these final 24 minutes. Do you guys want to pack it in or do you guys want to go out and dominate like we can?' "

Batavia scored 20 unanswered points in the second half and never really allowed the Mustangs to get a drive going. The win, in the end, was a blowout, 35-12.

The unsung heroes of this semi-final game -- as they often are in football -- are the offensive and defensive lines. 

Against a team that featured two heavyweights tipping the scales at more than 320 pounds each, and with a degree of athleticism, the Batavia line on both sides of the ball simply outplayed the other team's big men.

The Blue Devils feature two young men up front who are pretty hefty themselves. Seniors Gunner Rapone and Devon Koepp, who are 6' 4", 260 pounds, and 6' 3", 265 pounds.

Rapone said the men up front for Batavia are not intimidated by anybody.

"We've faced big kids before," Rapone said. "An example is Bath. Bath has a lot of big guys. We knew what we were in for. We've been practicing all week about moving our feet and driving guys down the field and opening holes up for our backs and that's what we did the second half."

One of the beneficiaries of this offensive line largess was Anthony Gallo, a quick, slashing back with a knack for making defensive players miss.

"The linemen were making huge holes and I have good vision," said Gallo, who gained 110 yards on 14 carries. "I just see where I've gotta go and I just run."

It was another big game for junior QB Greg Mruczek, who was six for 13 for 161 yards, tossing three TDs and scoring one himself on the ground.

"Going into halftime, we thought we had the better team, you know," Mruczek said. "We came out and just played tough, despite the weather conditions. We've both got to play in it so you've got to keep playing tough. We thought we did a good job coming out in the second half and just playing hard."

If game balls were given out, surely one went to Jerrett Laskett, who had a 40-yard TD reception, but more importantly, snagged two key interceptions, including the pick just before the two-minute mark of the first half that set up Batavia's game-winning scoring drive.

It was Laskett's first game ever at corner back. 

"He did an unbelievable job," Briggs said. "You know, he's come a long ways this year and I can't say just how proud I am of the kid. We just put him at defensive back this week and he gets two picks."

Chenault had two receptions for 38 yards and the TD. Dominick Mogavero had 21 rushes for 84 yards and a TD. Ryan Hogan had two catches for 50 yards. Trevor Rittersback and Koepp had five tackles each.

The win gives Batavia a shot at a sectional title for the first time since 1998. The Blue Devils haven't won a title since 1991, the program's only title since sectional play began.

This is a program that was going nowhere before Briggs took it over four years ago and Briggs and the players have talked all year about how nobody gives the team the respect of a potential champion, that winning wasn't part of the pre-season projections of pundits.

There's a sense now that those critics, whomever they are, are proven wrong.

"It's crazy," Mruczek said. "It's an amazing feeling. It just turns some heads, you know. I don't think anyone would have thought we'd be in the sectional finals this year, honestly. It's just an incredible feeling and we're all happy to be here right now." 

Mruczek gives a lot of the credit to Briggs.

"He worked very hard with us all off season, with lifting and passing with me and the receivers," Mruczek said. "He's put in a lot of time and effort. He deserves to be in this position."

For players like Rapone, who has been dreaming of being part of a winning Blue Devils program since at least middle school, said it's an unbelievable feeling to get to this point in the season.

"It's unreal to me, to be honest with you," Rapone said. "It's a strange feeling because everyone is so used to looking down on this program and it being this year, my final year, and a lot of our guys final year, and we have the opportunity that we have this year, is unreal and unbelievable."

There's another Rapone, Max, coming up the sports ranks in Batavia and Gunner thinks he and his teammates have set an example of hard work and dedication for the next generation.

"I hope Max and all of his teammates look up to what we are and want to strive to be what we have done and know they can do it," Rapone said. "I've got a good feeling they can do it."

Now the focus shifts to Livonia, as if that isn't where the focus has been all along.

The Blue Devils are 8-1. That one loss was handed to Batavia in the final seconds of a thunder-interrupted game opening week when Livonia managed a last-ditch touchdown.

Players and coaches all seem to think it was a game Batavia should have won, could have won, but didn't. Hardly a week has gone buy since where the loss to Livonia didn't figure in the conversation at some point.

It's the game that has fueled Batavia's resilience and swagger, two words Briggs has attached to his players all season.

"After losing to a good team like that, we knew we had a good team and we could compete this year for a sectional title," Mruczek said. "We came out with some confidence after that game. We almost beat Livonia, supposedly the top of Class B."

Now, as one player said, it's time for revenge. 

"We're happy we're getting a shot at the sectional title, but there's really nobody else our guys would want to have it against," Briggs said. "If you wrote up a storybook ending, you know, you really couldn't write it up any better than that."

Well, it's not quite a storybook ending. Not yet. A win against Livonia would be a storybook ending.

Go get 'em, boys.

Top Photo: Malachi Chenault.celebrates his first-half touchdown that proved the turning point of the game.

Jerrett Laskett with a key first half interception.

Jerrett Laskett with a TD reception. 

Anthony Gallo finding another big hole.

Trevor Sherwood with a long reception just ahead of the goal line, setting up another Batavia score in the second half.

Dominick Mogavero got most of his 84 rushing in the 4th quarter as the Blue Devils chewed up the clock and kept the Mustangs' offense off the field.

Mogavero gets a handle on Mustangs' QB Austin Fingar. Fingar pulled free and gained another four or five yards.

At times during the game, the icy rain and sleet came down heavy.

Fans weathered the chill and the damp.

Gunner Rapone after the win.

Post-game celebration.

To purchase prints, click here.

Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 8:37 am

Le Roy will play for 15th sectional title after crushing Dansville in semi-final

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, Le Roy, sports

It was a game that was essentially over before it barely began.

Inside of the first four minutes, the Le Roy Oatkan Knights had a three-touchdown lead over Dansville in the Class C Section V semi-final game played at Webster Thomas.

Going into the second quarter, Le Roy was up 29-0 on its way to a 54-0 win and a chance to play for a Section V title Friday at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester.

"I just thought everybody played well today," Head Coach Brian Moran said. "They prepared well. There's no secret, you win games in practice and I thought our kids practiced extremely well top to bottom."

Mike McMullen and Tom Kelso helped lead the offensive attack. McMullen was eight for 12 passing for 124 yards and two TDs. Kelso rushed 15 times for 117 yards and three touchdowns.

Ryan McQuillen sparked the offensive onslaught with a 75-yard punt return after Dansville was stymied on its first drive to open the game. Less than two minutes later on the game clock, McQuillen struck again, hauling in a McMullen pass for a 32-yard touchdown.

"He just makes great plays," Moran said of McQuillen. "With his speed, it's obviously something you can't duplicate in practice. I don't think people realize how fast he really is, and he can scoot."

The game, of course, wasn't all about offense. The Knights held the #4 seed, a 5-3 team coming into the came, scoreless through four quarters. Dansville's star running back, a husky Evan Dieter, was held to 91 yards on 24 carries. Even the second team, entering the game in the third quarter, held Dansville down.

"That shows how good our coaching staff is," Moran said. "I think our assistant coaches did a great job in preperation and that's important. Sometimes you forget about them and I'm very proud of them, too."

Le Roy's opponent Friday (game time is 5 p.m.) will be Bath, who beat East Rochester 51-19.

"It wil be very tough," Moran said before Bath and ER faced off. "Any sectional final game is going to be a tough football game. Bath and East Rochester are great football teams with great traditions and we'll just have to prepare themselves for who comes on top."

It will be the 18th time a Moran-coached team played for a section title game in the past 26 seasons. Le Roy has won 14 of those games. (See correction below)

"We're feeling good about things right now," Kelso said. "We've just got to keep doing what we're doing."

It will be Kelso's third chance at a sectional title, and as he noted, he hasn't been there himself. The same could be said for several members of the Knights.

Moran said those previous disappointments have taught his team what it takes win a sectional title.

"I think the kids understand that you really have to get yourself focused," Moran said. "You can't just assume that you're going to walk in and everything will fall your way. You've got to prepare yourself through hard work and dedication so you can put yourself in a position with a chance to win a sectional title."

CORRECTION: This will be the 18th time a Moran-coached team has played for a sectional title. Moran's teams have won 13 times. The first sectional title was won 1984 when Jim Laemlein was head coach. The 14 titles won by Le Roy, according to Ed Henry, is a Section V record held along with Cal-Mum and Clyde-Savannah.  Clyde plays a title game today against Avon, giving the program a shot at its 15th title.

UPDATE: Clyde-Savannah lost to Avon, giving Le Roy a shot at becoming the sole record holder at 15 for sectional titles.

Top Photo: Mike Shepard and another Le Roy defender get their hands up to block a pass from Dansville's Matt Martuciello.

Kelso scoring Le Roy's second touchdown of the first quarter.

Kody Lamkin walloped Dansville's Gage Koch on a kickoff return in the first quarter.

Tom Kelso evades a tackle attempt.

Jake Henry with a reception. Henry caught three passes for 33 yards and a TD.

To purchase prints, click here.

Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Batavia wins Section V Class B semi-final 35-12

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, high school sports, sports

The Batavia Blue Devils will get a chance to play for the school's first sectional title since 1991 in football next week after beating Penn Yan this evening, 35-12.

Above, Malachi Chenault in the end zone near the close of the first half. The score, making it 15-12, gave Batavia a lead it never relinquished.

The Blue Devils will face Livonia in the Class B final next week. Batavia's only defeat of the season came against Livonia on a last-second touchdown in the first game of the season.

We'll have complete coverage posted tomorrow.

Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Le Roy beats Dansville 54-0 in sectional semi-final

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, Le Roy, sports

Le Roy will play for a sectional title next week after beating Dansville in a semi-final today in Webster, 54-0.

Above, Tom Kelso crosses the goal line for an extra two points after the Oatkan Knights' second touchdown in the first quarter.

We'll have full game coverage posted sometime tomorrow. Now, it's time for Batavia's sectional semi-final game in Irondequoit.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Kevin Cummings scores another quintuple at Batavia Downs

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

For the fourth time this meet, Batavia Downs leading driver Kevin Cummings won five races on one card Wednesday night (Oct. 29) to extend his insurmountable lead there in the dash category.

His pentamerous outing included visits to the Purple Haze winners circle with Western Heart ($2.90), Serendipitous ($4.80), Outoftexas ($4.70), Aberarder Smitty ($11.40) and Tymal torch ($6.10).

For the current Batavia Downs meet, Cummings has 122 wins, almost double his nearest competitor, along with a gaudy UDR of .386. For the year he has 298 wins and is currently 12th in North America for UDR with a .360. His current win total, UDR and just under $1.4 million in earnings are all career bests.

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