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Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 11:58 am

Serious high school basketball players invited to mini camp at Batavia HS

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, Batavia HS, sports

Batavia varsity basketball coach Buddy Brasky hosts his annual mini-camp starting Monday at Batavia HS.

The camp is for experienced and serious basketball players only in grades 7 through 12.

The program will emphasize offensive skill development.

The cost is $125.

It is sponsored by the Basketball Booster Club.

The sessions are two nights a week starting from 7 to 9 p.m., Sept. 29. Additional sessions are Oct. 2, 13, 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30.

For more information and to sign up, contact Coach Brasky at (585) 356-4050 or [email protected]

Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 11:52 am

Former Notre Dame runner wins MAAC athlete of the week honors

post by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, sports

Press release:

Canisius College’s Jeffrey Antolos was named the MAAC Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week, while Rider University’s Emily Ritter earned the MAAC Women's Cross Country Runner of the week.

Canisius sophomore Jeffrey Antolos came up huge for the Golden Griffins this weekend, leading the Canisius men’s cross country team to a first place finish in the 35th Annual National Catholic Championships. The event took place on Friday, Sep. 19 at the University of Notre Dame. Antolos was the top finisher for the Blue and Gold, recording a time of 25:07.84 in the five-mile race, good enough for third place in the event. Antolos led the Griffs squad to the team’s only first place victory in the Championships in school history. The highest previous finish for the Griffs was a second place finish in 2002, the closest the team came to winning the Championships until this year. Antolos improved greatly from his 2013 season finish in the National Catholics when the Warsaw, N.Y. finished in 30th with a time of 26:23.

Ritter finished first overall among 171 runners at the Monmouth Invitational, covering the 3.1 mile Holmdel Park course in 18:34.2. It marked the second time in as many race this year that Ritter was the overall winner.

The 2014 MAAC Cross Country Championships will be held on Friday, October 31st at Holmdel Park, Holmdel N.J.

Monday, September 22, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Blue Devils to honor hall of famers at dinner Saturday

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, blue devils, sports

The Batavia Boosters host their annual Hall of Fame dinner Saturday at Terry Hills.

Here are the images of the plaques for each honoree.

For more on the dinner and ticket information, click here.

Monday, September 22, 2014 at 7:49 am

Richenberg wins sixth straight ARC 5K

post by Howard B. Owens in 5K, ARC 5K, elba, sports

For the sixth consecutive year, Mike Richenberg won the ARC 5K in Elba on Saturday. He finished with a time of 19:06. Claire Skowronski, 12, finished the race in 22:08.

Richenberg overcame a nagging calf injury to notch the win.

Photos by Amanda Earl.

Lindsey Coniber, 13, and Laura Neumann, 12 participated in the race.

Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Reese scores first goal of Batavia Ramparts Pee Wee III season

post by Billie Owens in batavia ramparts pee wee III, sports

Submitted by Rhonda Pangrazio:

Batavia Ramparts defenseman Jedidiah Reese out skated the Rochester Youth Hockey Pee Wee team during Saturday’s scrimmage to score the first goal of the 2014-15 GAHA Pee Wee III season.

Assisting with his first goal were forwards Drew Bower and Max Hutchins.

Reese continued his day with an assist late in the first, another assist in the second period, and scored on an unassisted goal in the third period to end his day with an impressive two goals and two assists.

Equally as impressive was forward Alex Totten who put three points on the board and takes credit for the Pee Wee III’s first hat trick of the season. Assisting Totten were defenseman Derek Fedus and forwards Dominic Peracciny and Sean Pies.

In addition to Pies’ assist, Pies netted two goals, both assisted by forward Peracciny.  Scoring one goal each were forwards Bower and Levi Grimm with both assists coming from Reese. Adding to the day's success were forwards Colin Dodge, Matt Frieday, and Zackary Geitner.

Strong defense was played the entire game by Katie Carmichael, Chase Pangrazio, Fedus, and Reese, allowing just four total shots on their goalie, Joshua Barber. The Batavia's Pee Wee III Ramparts start their season victorious with a final score of 9-0.

Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Burton Blue Chip upsets in Batavia feature

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

Burton Blue Chip and driver Lee Dahn.

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Lightly regarded Burton Blue Chip and driver Lee Dahn took full advantage of the rail to position themselves for a perfect trip en route to victory in the Saturday night (Sept. 20) Open pace feature at Batavia Downs.

Burton Blue Chip ($16.20) took the field to a peppy :27.3 first quarter before Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) gained the lead at that station after being parked-out from the start. With the 8 on top, the rest of the field then marched in post-position order until the clubhouse turn when an outer flow developed with Rock N Roll Legend (Kevin Cummings) and Big Unit (Mike Whelan).

When the group passed the three-quarters in 1:25.4, it started to get crowded up front. Fireyourguns was still on the lead with Rock N Roll Legend outside and Big Unit tipped three-deep. But Burton Blue Chip was lying in wait behind the leader since the quarter. At the head of the stretch the rail opened up and rewarded the patient Burton Blue Chip with a straight line to the wire and a one-length triumph in 1:55.2. What The Sheik (Dave McNeight III) closed from last to be second and Cactus Jack (Shawn McDonough) was third.

It was the sixth win in 28 starts for the 5-year-old American Ideal gelding and boosted his 2014 earnings to $39,710. The 1:55.2 clocking tied his lifetime mark set earlier this year. Burton Blue Chip is owned by Lee and Larry Dahn and is trained by Lee Dahn.

Driver Kevin Cummings registered another grand slam Saturday with Precise Accusation ($6.50), Freaky Flyer ($6.20), Most Happy Rider ($6.80) and Golden Star Spike ($5). Drivers Ron Beback Jr. and Mike Whelan also scored driving doubles.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Tuesday night at 6:35.

Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 6:58 am

Johnny Bench, from Buffalo to Batavia with a Hall of Fame career along the way

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, Batavia Downs, sports

Johnny Bench was just a 19-year-old kid from a town of 600 people in Oklahoma when he arrived in Buffalo 47 years ago.

"I didn't venture much beyond the Kenmore District and North Tonawanda," Bench said during an interview Saturday at Batavia Downs when asked if this was his first visit to Batavia. "I was still trying to figure out who I was and who I was supposed to be."

His 98 games as a Buffalo Bison in 1967 helped answer some of those questions.

"I matured (in Buffalo)," Bench said. "I had older players I played with. They gave me a lot of guidance, worked with me, helped me along. It was a great stepping stone, more importantly for the Dom Zannis, the Jim Duffalos, the Steve Boroses, the Duke Carmels, the Frank Obregons and the Gordy Colemans, and there was Dick Stigman, a pitcher, too, and Rollie Sheldon. It was a maturation process. These guys had pitched before. I kept calling games and learning stuff and doing stuff and you had to get the most out them. I felt like I could paint the picture, but I had to pull it all out of them. That was the secret and the thing I learned the most and enjoyed the most here."

That list of former Bisons -- who, unless you were a Bisons' fan in 1967, you probably never heard of -- were all 30 years old or older. Bench was the youngest player on the team, and one of only six players who hadn't yet turned 23.

But through the years, Buffalo stayed with Johnny Bench. All those names, easily recalled. He turned a question about his legacy into remembrance of a time before he became rookie of the year, an MVP, won two home run crowns, 10 gold gloves and played on two world championship teams.

"We played at the old War Memorial Stadium, but then they had the riots," Bench said. "We had to go over to Niagara Falls and play on the old football field with the temporary snow fence. The yardage lines were still there on the infield."

Arguably -- and some of us would say it's beyond dispute -- Johnny Bench was the greatest catcher in baseball history.

We can talk about his 389 career home runs, his 1,376 RBI, his 3,644 total bases, as well as two home run titles and three RBI titles, but suggest he's best remembered as an offensive catcher and he's quick to rebuff the audacity of dwelling on how he swung a bat.

"The 10 gold gloves didn't hurt," says the man whom base runners feared and pitchers counted on to do a very basic thing time after time: catch the ball.

"That was my main job, getting a win for the pitcher," Bench said. "I took great pride in the fact that I wanted to get that pitcher a win and if we got a win for him, we got a win for the team. Individually, I could throw runners out, I could block the plate, I could get hits, I could call a great game, but calling a great game was the most important."

And it was guys in Buffalo, like Zanni, Duffalo, Obregon, Stigman and Sheldon, who taught him to call a great game.

Bench was in town for a memorabilia show at the Downs. So were Pete Rose, Tony Perez and George Foster, along with other sports stars.

It's worth noting, perhaps, that Bench, Rose, Perez, Foster, and the other stars were signing autographs for a fee. Bench and Rose commanded the highest price, especially on a jersey or bat, but they all got paid.

On the other side of the proverbial coin, of course, is that fact that as players, none of them were enriched the way today's stars are lavished with cash. Bench never earned as much as $500,000 in a season and Rose never made it to the million-dollar mark until his final year as a player-manager with the Reds.

So it's not surprising, perhaps, that these heros of so many youths so many years ago would travel to America's small towns, sit under bright lights on folding chairs at plastic tables and sign their names for fans and speculators for a fee.

While Bench was affable and at times chatty with patrons who came through his line about an hour after Rose had finished, Rose seemed detached from the parade of people pushing baseballs, bats, jerseys, baseball cards and 8x10s onto the table in front of him.

An assistant sternly rebuffed a fan who asked if Rose would pose for a picture. No, she said, but he could kneel in front of the table while somebody snapped a keepsake.

Rose didn't even look at the camera.  

Rather than a smile, Rose wore the look of a man who seems beaten down by a decades-long wrestling match with the Lords of Baseball over his legacy.

In contrast, there sat a youthful, smiling Johnny Bench, with his Hall of Fame ring secure on his left hand, scanning the field and letting nothing go unnoticed.

"That's my jersey," he says to a woman with a camera standing off to the side waiting to snap a picture of a friend who will get an autograph.

As a man tries to get a picture of his friend with Bench as Bench signs a picture, Bench tells him to wait. "I'm not looking up," he says.

When the same photographer seems to move the camera before the shutter snaps, Bench says, "that one's not going to turn out," but the quick-release snapper has moved on without noticing.

Without being asked, he poses for another photographer with a bat at the ready.

When he meets a Batavia Muckdogs season ticket holder, he says as he signs, "I don't even know what a Muckdog's baseball hat looks like. I'd like to see one."

The 66-year-old Johnny Bench smiled and signed and kept chatting even in the face of a line dozens of people long. His massive hands -- hands that make grizzly bears stand up and take notice -- etched a beautiful cursive on whatever he was asked to sign.

Johnny Bench is always the team player.

"Winning an MVP award or rookie of the year, it's a fantastic honor, but there is nothing like the feeling though when I walked into the clubhouse after game seven of the '75 World Series and we were World Champions," Bench said. "That's when I knew what it was all about, because every player was a world champion. Every player, every owner, every sponsor, every equipment manager, and all the fans were world champions. That's when you can really share and realize the importance of what team sport is about."

Bench isn't without some pride over his individual accomplishments. When asked to sign a 1972 San Diego Padres game program with Nate Colbert on the cover, Bench smiled, "Old Nate," he said. "I hit five homers in the last week of the season to beat him for a home run title."

In 1972, Colbert had 38 dingers. Bench had 40.

To enjoy a career like Johnny Bench, that's one in a billion, but just getting the chance to go pro for today's young athlete is nearly impossible.

Bench, who went straight from high school to the Reds instructional league team at age 17 in 1965, said today's young athlete should take advantage of the wealth of college scholarship opportunities.

"When I played, only one in every 500,000 kids who played Little League baseball ever signed a contract," Bench said. "I don't know if they want to go up against the numbers, but the fact that there's so many scholarships out there available, I'll still push education every chance I get. Be a good student, study various things, find something you love and be prepared in case athletics doesn't work out."

If you do want to be an athlete, Bench said, work hard, practice, study the sport, prepare, understand the game. Watch the great ones to figure out what they do and how they do it.

"I think Ozzie Smith is a guy who taught kids how to play shortstop," Bench said. "I taught kids how to catch better."

Which brings us to Johnny Bench's final word of advice: Catch every ball.

"My theory in life is, 'catch every ball.' Somebody says, 'my kid wants to be a catcher, what do I tell him?' and I say, 'catch every ball.' If you learn to catch everything that comes your way, then people say, 'wow, you're a great catcher,' or 'you're a great shortstop,' or 'you're a great first baseman,' or 'you're a great businessman.' If they throw stuff at you and you have the answers, they're going to say, 'this guy really knows what he's doing.' People are going to rely on you and they're going to trust you and more things will come your way."

Pete Rose

Tony Perez

Lou Piniella

After the show, Pete Rose stopped at Larry's Steakhouse for dinner. Pictured with Sandy Mullen and Brenden Mullen. Photo submitted by Steve Mullen.

Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Notre Dame's first win knocks Elba/BB off unbeaten path

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, elba, football, high school sports, Notre Dame, sports

One team enters the game 2-0, the other is 0-2. Who do you think is going to win?

It's fair to say, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish upset the Elba/Byron-Bergen Lancers on Saturday with a 15-8 win at home.

The Irish struggled in the first two weeks of the season against Oakfield-Alabama and Alexander. It was looking like it might be a long season for Head Coach Rick Mancuso and his squad.

Meanwhile, the Lancers crushed Pembroke and Holley.

But as Elba's Mike Cintorino said after beating Holley last week, when it comes to matches between the Lancers and Notre Dame in any sport, you can throw the win-loss records out the window. These teams grapple no matter what the expectations.

Mancuso downplayed the rivalry after the win, however. A win is a win, and Notre Dame very much needed a win.

"This is more about us coming together as a team and playing the game and getting our first victory," Mancuso said. "That's really what it was about."

Mancuso credited a defense that held Elba/BB to 148 yards total offense, but what made the difference was an offense that showed it could move the ball effectively.

Take away a couple of turnovers and some mental error penalties and the final score might have been more lopsided than a victory just eked out.

The big difference, Mancuso said, was the offensive line.

"We've got a lot of young guys along the line," Mancuso said. "They may be juniors, but they don't have a lot of varsity experience. I really think they're starting to understand it. They're starting to click. They're working really, really hard. We saw it in practice this week. It started coming together. We're happy with where we're at, but we've got a lot of work to do."

Joe Zickl replaced and injured Connor Logsdon at QB and was six for 10 passing for 67 yards and a TD. Josh Johnson caught that TD pass (top photo) to give the Irish the lead in the third quarter.

Peter Daversa rushed for 84 yards and a TD on 15 carries.

Johnson had three receptions for 32 yards. Jack Sutherland carried the ball nine times for 33 yards.

For the Lancers, Garrett Chapell was 11 for 23 passing for 75 yards. Steele Truax rushed for 70 yards and a TD on 16 attempts. Mike Shanley had three catches for 23 yards and John Hochmuth gained 20 yards on three receptions.

Jack Sutherland had 10.5 tackles for Notre Dame. Johnson had six and Casey Midwick had five. 

Hunter Taylor and Truax each had five tackles for the Lancers. Taylor also had a sack.

Someday, your sons are going to be all grown up and you're going to wish you had some quality photos of them on the gridiron. To purchase prints, click here. Proceeds help improve The Batavian's photography.

Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 11:57 am

BZ Glide wins another Open at Batavia Downs

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

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

After watching the proceedings from last for a half, noted closer BZ Glide swooped the field for the third time in the last four weeks to take the featured $9,500 Open trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 19).

Even money post-time favorite Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) did what he does best and blasted to the front in :28 flat. But just as soon as he settled, Armed Dangerously (Jim Morrill Jr.) had pulled from fifth and was floating up the outside. As they passed the half in :57.1, Morrill’s charge sputtered but the cavalry was right behind. Sack Full Of Gold (Michael Whelan) was rolling up the rim and Justgottogetthere (Jim McNeight) and BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) had tipped three-high and were barreling.

Around the entire last turn, Lutetium, Justgottogetthere and BZ Glide were three deep from the rail out. But when they hit the head of the lane, BZ Glide became a man among boys and put away the competition under a hand-drive from Caprio. BZ Glide won by a length in 1:56.4 which was a seasonal mark for the Yankee Glide gelding and also matched his lifetime mark set last year. The winner returned $10.40.

Justgottogetthere hung on for second and Serious George (Jack Flanigen) was third. It was the seventh win in 18 starts for BZ Glide and the victory topped off his 2014 bank at $52,105 for owner Mike Caprio. BZ Glide is trained by Alana Caprio.

Driver Kevin Cummings scored another driving triple on the night while Jim Morrill Jr. and Ray Fisher Jr. both tallied doubles.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Sept. 20) with a 6:35 post.

Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 9:43 am

Football Round Up: Week #3

post by Howard B. Owens in Attica, batavia, alexander, football, high school sports, sports

Attica 21, Alexander 9. Alexander played a tough game, but fell to GR rivals Attica, 21-9. The Trojans are now 1-2 on the season and Attica is 3-0. QB Jared Browne was five fo 12 for 113 yards. Samuel Brown was one for two passing for 58 yards and a TD, which was caught by Jacob Riggs. The Trojans were held to 34 yards on the ground on 26 carries. Zack Shilvock made a 45-yard field goal. Ty Laird had seven tackles and Rick Amico, Tristan Aldinger and Riggs all notched six each.

Batavia 41, Hornell 21. The Blue Devils had 350 total yards on the ground. Dominick Mogavero had three touchdowns. 

Photos by Rick Franclemont.

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