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Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Four Muckdogs named All Stars

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, batavia, muckdogs, sports

Press release:

The 2014 New York-Penn League All-Star roster will include four players from Batavia. They will send infielder Mason Davis, catcher Rodrigo Vigil and pitchers Michael Mader and Alex Carreras to the game to be held Tuesday, August 19th at MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Davis, a 19th-round pick in the 2014 draft, has played in 41 games for the Muckdogs this year and has been among the league leaders in hitting all season. Davis currently ranks fourth in the league in hitting, with a .329 batting average, fourth in on-base percentage at .407 and third in OPS at .891.

Rodrigo Vigil was an undrafted free agent signing in 2009 and has started 20 games behind the plate for the Muckdogs this season. He is currently batting .254 with eight runs scored, four doubles and seven RBI’s. Vigil has been solid behind the plate this year for the Muckdogs, throwing out 46 percent of the runners who have attempted to steal on him.

A supplemental 3rd-round pick out of Chipola College in the 2014 draft, Mader has started nine games for Muckdogs in his first professional season. The left-hander has compiled an ERA of just 1.80 and has racked up 20 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched. Opposing batters are hitting just .192 against Mader so far this season.

Alex Carreras is in his third year of professional baseball and was a Minor League free agent signing in 2014. The left-hander has appeared in 15 games this year and is 5-2 with an ERA of 1.85. He has also recorded 27 strikeouts in his 34 innings of work and opposing batters are hitting just .220 versus Carreras this year.

Batavia currently holds the fourth-place spot in the Pinckney Division with a record of 24-30 and sit only five games out of the Wild Card. The Muckdogs sent five players to the 2010 All-Star game, six in 2011, five in 2012, and four players in 2013.

Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 10:10 am

Muckdogs downed by Yankees 4-2

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, muckdogs, sports

The Yankees are in town, and that helps. So does post-game fireworks. Either way, 1,500 baseball fans came out to Dwyer Stadium on Friday.

Alas, the Muckdogs lost, 4-2.

Sadly, that's been the trend for the hometown team recently. Batavia has lost seven of its last eight games. All low-scoring affairs.

At 24-30, the Miami Marlins affiliate is fourth in the Pinckney Division, trailing first place State College (now the Cardinals affiliate) by nine games.

Last night's game completed a three-game series with Staten Island, which gave local New York fans a chance to see some of the Yankees prospects, including 18-year-old catcher Luis Torrens. The Venezuelan was signed as a free agent by the Yankees at age 16, when he was considered one of the top two international prospects.

He's hitting .304 on the season, but Batavia pitching kept his bat silent in this series. His only hit came last night.

For the Muckdogs, second baseman Mason Davis continues to impress. He's hitting .329, fourth best in the league, and had two more hits Friday. 

John Norwood also had a two-hit game. Norwood is riding high after signing with the Marlins six days ago as a free agent. Norwood hit one of the few home runs in this year's College World Series, and the dinger propelled Vanderbilt to its first national championship in baseball. Norwood, who decided to forego his senior season to turn pro, is off to a hot start in three games, with four hits in 10 at bats.

Catcher Christopher Hoo, a 27th round draft pick out of Cal-Poly, also had two hits.

The losing pitcher was Scott Squier, a 16th-round draft pick in his first professional season. He gave up three earned runs in four innings. This was his second start. He's 1-2 in nine appearances with a 3.00 ERA.

New York Mets fans can come out to Dwyer Stadium the next three days to check out Mets prospects while the Brooklyn Cyclones are in town. Tonight's game will include post-game fireworks. Game time is 7 p.m. On the mound for the Mets tonight is Marcos Molina, a top-10 prospect who is 5-1 with a 1.27 ERA.

Sunday, August 3, 2014 at 12:20 pm

WNY Boys of Summer League accepting team registrations for Fall Travel Baseball

post by Billie Owens in announcements, baseball, sports

Press release:

Fall Travel Baseball: WNY Boys of Summer League is accepting team registrations for our fall travel baseball season for full teams only -- ages 11  thru 16 (based on 2015 playing age).

Teams will play 10 games in September and early October.

For more information or to register see www.wnyboysofsummer.com <http://www.wnyboysofsummer.com>  or contact New Era Park at 716-681-3001.

Deadline is Aug. 15th.

Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Tonight's Muckdogs game postponed

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, muckdogs, sports

Press release:

Tonight’s game between the Batavia Muckdogs and Connecticut Tigers has been postponed due to rain. This game will be made up as part of a double header on Sunday, July 20th. We will play two seven-inning games, with the first game starting at 1:05 p.m. Gates will open at noon. Any person with tickets to tonight’s game can exchange their tickets for any other regular season game, subject to availability.

Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Young baseball team off to good start in inaugural season

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, batavia, sports, youth sports

Jane Johnson shared this picture of the Batavia Clippers 8-and-under baseball team, sponsored by Graham Manufacturing, who she said are off to a good start in the team's first year.

A portion of her e-mail:

The Batavia Clippers 8U Travel Baseball team took 2nd place in their division and 3rd place overall last weekend in the Honeoye Falls Mendon Youth Baseball Midsummer tournament. The team played teams from Canandaigua, Fairport, Mendon, Pittsford and Rochester.

This weekend the team plays in the Clarence Youth Baseball Travel Team Tournament at the Clarence Meadowlakes Park. The team matches up against teams from Clarence, Amherst, Williamsville, Orchard Park, Lancaster, Akron, Buffalo, Evans, North Tonawanda, and Grand Island.

The Clippers team is led by Coach Ben Buchholz, Coach Sam Antinore, and Coach Jeff Grazioplene. The Clippers players are all members of the Batavia Minor League.

Team members are: Jay Antinore, Bronx Buchholz, Joe DiRisio, Dane Dombrowski, Cole Grazioplene, Jake Hutchins, Alex Johnson, Cal Koukides, Jameson Motyka, Carter Mullen, Sheldon Siverling, Malcom Wormley.

Monday, July 7, 2014 at 10:44 am

Video: Vincent Di Risio's first grand slam

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, batavia, little league, sports

Vincent Di Risio hit his first grand slam home run Saturday in a 10-and-under Little League All-Star game against Le Roy. Batavia won 12-1.

I saw this on Facebook and asked Leanna Di Risio for a copy so we could post it on The Batavian as well.

Friday, July 4, 2014 at 7:42 am

Muckdogs go down 7-1 to Spikes on fireworks night at Dwyer

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

It was a take-me-out-to-the-ball-game kind of night at Dwyer Stadium. A nice night for a ball game and fireworks.

The hometown team, alas, didn't win. It's a shame.

As 1,782 fans watched, Batavia let first place in the Pinckney Division slip from its grasp, the mood in the stands was barely even dampened, even by a short rain delay in the eighth inning. There would be, after all, win or lose, an Independence Day fireworks show after the game.

Families were there with their children -- some seeing their first professional game -- and fans had the peanuts and Cracker Jacks (not to mention beer and sausage) to fall back on.

The evening started poorly for the home crew, and never really got better. The final, 7-1. The Muckdogs drop to 12-8 on the season. The Spikes are now 13-7.

In the first, starter Jorgan Cavanerio (1-1) sandwiched a walk between a pair of singles, giving up a run, and setting the tone for his fourth outing of the season.

Two singles and a walk in the second led to another run -- a run that scored an inning-ending double play, something you don't see often. The Spikes' Chase Raffield scored on a sacrafice fly to center, then a base running blunder led to Danny Diekroeger getting doubled up at second.

Cavanerio held the line in the third, but the Spikes blew the game open with four runs in the fourth. All four runs came with two outs. 

Jake Stone started the scoring procession with a home run, which could have been worse, if a lead-off walk hadn't been erased by a double play.

During Stone's at bat, there was a lot of griping on the home side about the inconsistant ball and strike calls of home plate umpire Anthony Perez. To partisan minds, Stone should have been out on strikes, and the inning over, on the pitch prior to the gopher ball.

After a team conference on the mound in which manager Angel Espada appeared to try and console his struggling hurler, Espada stood in front of home plate and jawed in the face of Perez for a good two minutes. Perez, stone-faced, just listened. Ejected, Espada walked to the dugout, handed his line-up card to his assistant, and trekked the 300 feet to the clubhouse cheered by fans along the third base line.

Cavanerio gave up 10 hits in four inning of work, walking four. The six earned runs raised his ERA through four starts to 7.71.

Offensively, the Muckdogs never really got anything going. Brian Anderson, Ryan Cranmer, Kevin Grove and Miles Williams each picked up singles for Batavia's only four hits on the night.

Anderson, a third-round draft choice out of Arkansas, has played 10 games at second and is hitting .317. 

Batavia's lone run came in the second, after first baseman Eric Fisher reached on a strikeout, eventually advancing to third and scoring on a double play. There were no hits in the inning.

The National Anthem and "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch were sung beautifully by Emily Helenbrook.

The Muckdogs are on the road tonight, traveling to Mahoning Valley. They return home Monday for a 7:05 p.m. game against the Jamestown Jammers.

Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Fireworks to follow game tonight with first place on the line at Dwyer Stadium

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

Batavia and State College, who are battling for supremacy in the Pinckney Division, clash at Dwyer Stadium tonight.

The 7 p.m. game is followed by an Independence Day fireworks celebration.

The starters are Dan Poncedeleon (1-0, 2,25 ERA) for the Spikes and Jorgan Cavanerio (1-0, 6.65) for the Muckdogs.

The Batavia offense will be led by Mason Davis, who is among the league leaders with a .344 batting average.

The Muckdogs travel to Mahoning Valley tomorrow night.

Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Baseball team still trying to understand ruling over illegal bat that put them in last place

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, alexander, sports, youth sports

The Pine Tar Incident. It's the most famous "illegal bat" issue in the history of baseball. A home run in 1983 by George Brett was wiped out by an umpire, but at least the league didn't strip the Kansas City Royals of all their wins that season.

Unfortunately for the 11- to 12-year-old Tri-Town Dodgers of the Seven Towns League, league officials are forcing them to enter the playoffs as a last place team, essentially erasing their eight regular season wins because a player used an illegal bat.

League rules state that if a player uses a bat not approved for Little League use, the hitter is ruled out and any runners on base cannot advance. There is no other punishment stipulated in the written rules.  

For the Tri-Town Dodgers, based in Alexander, the punishment has gone beyond the written rules. The team was dropped to last place, despite its 8-4 record, which at the time was third best in their division. The standings are important because they effect seedings for tournament play.

There's no other rule violation that carries a penalty of team losing its standing in its division. That sort of punishment isn't contemplated in the written rules at all. The harshest written penalty for a player rule infraction is a three-game suspension for fighting.

Commissioner Brian Krawczyk has not responded to a pair of phone calls requesting comment.

In an e-mail discussion the league officials ruling sent to team manager Christopher Hausfelder, Krawczyk said the ruling was a safety issue "that would make everybody safer for years to come" and that Hausfelder should advise his players should buck up and to learn to accept that bad things happen life.

"I fully understand that it has really effected your team," Krawczyk said. "However, if handled properly, we can all learn something from this situation. Life brings adversity and how you handle that adversity can define who you are. If I was you, I would communicate to your players that they are still the same team that worked very hard and had a great season. Yes, the road to the final destination will be a little tougher. But, we have achieved great things as a team and as a team we will continue to work hard right up to the final out."

The illegal bat was used in the team's 10th game, June 12. Hausfelder said it was bought by the player and no coach noticed it until it was too late. It's the only illegal bat incident on Tri-Town's 11-12 team, though there was a prior, unrelated incident, with the 9-10 team.

For some third-party perspective, The Batavian called James "Beef" Soggs, well known in Batavia for his commitment to youth sports. Soggs serves on the Batavia Little League Board of Directors and is a Little League coach.

"I've got to say, it's ridiculous," Soggs said.

If this was more than a one-time issue with the same team, perhaps a harsh punishment would be an order, but for a one-time incident, he couldn't understand why the team would be knocked down to last place.

"That's really strict punishment for the whole team for something one player did," Soggs said. "That's pretty drastic to move a team from third place to last place."

For George Brett, the umpire was eventually overruled and he got his home run back. For the Tri-Town Dodgers, there is likely no reprieve. It's already the second round of playoff games tonight, with the Dodgers doing the best they can as the bottom seed.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 10:46 am

Batavia's rich baseball history recalled in new book by Bill Dougherty

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, batavia, Bill Dougherty, sports

Spend a little time with Bill Dougherty, you're likely to hear a baseball story. He's full of them.

After years of telling friends these stories, one friend with a bit of experience in writing books suggested he collect his stories about Batavia baseball into a single soft cover collection.

"Bill Kauffman kept saying, 'you've got a book, oh this is a book'," Dougherty said. "He kept after me to put a book together. So I did."

This month, Dougherty's book, "A View from the Bleachers: Batavia Baseball," hit a few local store shelves.

Now that the book is out, Kauffman, an Elba resident and himself the author of 10 books and a screenplay, is eager to promote the new book. He sent over this endorsement:

Irish names festoon the history of baseball in Batavia: Dwyer, Callahan, Doody, Gerrety, Ryan. Add to that illustrious list Bill Dougherty, whose Batavia Baseball: A View from the Bleachers is a deeply researched, often surprising, and thoroughly entertaining account of baseball as it has been played, watched, and argued over in Genesee County from the 19th Century until today. Every baseball fan in the Mother of Counties should own a copy!

A worthy endorsement for a worthy book.

It's more than a collection of stories, or a mere recitation of baseball glories past in Batavia. It's also a history of Batavia and Genesee County as well as a personal remembrance of a man who made baseball his life's passion.

Dougherty spent countless hours going through historical archives, particularly the dusty, printed pages of 120-year-old editions of the Batavia Daily News.

He also draws on his own recollections from a his youngest days playing sandlot ball and in the park leagues of Batavia.

There was baseball in Batavia in the 19th Century, with a short-lived professional team setting up camp in town in 1897, but it would be in the following decade that the game began to flourish locally.

Every town had a team and rivalries were fierce, especially between Batavia and Le Roy. Dougherty covers some of the scraps between these teams.

In 1939, the Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York (PONY) League was founded in Batavia, with one of the original franchises set up in a new ballpark at MacArthur Park (the present site of Dwyer Stadium). 

Even with the arrival of a professional team affiliated with a major league club, and into the 1960s, semi-pro teams flourished throughout Genesee County.

Dougherty talks about more than just the teams and the games. He gets into the personalities and biographies of some the players who were from here or just passed through.

Among them, Joe Dailey, whom Dougherty admits becoming obsessed with.

"As you start picking out stuff, you can't wait to see where they lived, who they knew, where they died," Dougherty said, but Dailey was a particularly perplexing subject.

He died at age 37, and even though he came from a prominent local family, the Daily News gave his death notice a scant four lines. Dougherty had a heck of a time finding out more about him.

"It seemed like somebody was out there hiding everything," Dougherty said. "Then when I find something, I'm like, 'wow.' He led a short life, but it certainly was interesting."

Dailey was born in Batavia in 1876. He played on the 1897 professional team and when the team relocated mid-season to Geneva, he initially went with the team, but then didn't finish the season and returned home. He went to work in the family's furniture store and funeral parlor until his death from acute nephritis in 1914.

Dougherty covers quite a bit of the family's history, which is also a part of Batavia's history. An example of how this is more than a baseball book.

We also learn about Maud Nelson, who wasn't from Batavia, but played a bit of ball here. Billed as "champion lady pitcher of the world" at the turn of the century, Nelson barnstormed around the country, playing whatever semi-pro teams were up for the challenge.

In those early days, a bit of important baseball history had a Batavia angle. In 1912, after Ty Cobb was suspended for fighting with a fan, the rest of the Detroit team decided to go on strike.  Replacement players were brought in for one game. Among them was a kid from Batavia who played shortstop, Vincent Maney.

For decades, box scores credited Pat Meany as the shortstop that day, but Dougherty -- who is a member of the Society of American Baseball Research -- was able to gather enough convincing evidence that Maney is now correctly credited as the shortstop in that game.

A resident of Stafford, Dougherty made a career in heating and air conditioning (retiring in 2000), but he's made a lifetime of baseball. He's been secretary/director of the Genesee County Baseball Club (owners of the Muckdogs), is a member of the Rochester Baseball Historical Society and SABR.

Assisting in production of the book were Dougherty's son, Brian, (the publisher), his grandson Christopher (graphic design), Kathy Frank, typesetting, and Kauffman, editor.

The book also covers every big name baseball player who ever came through town, from Warran Spann, who pitched three times against Batavia when he was first starting his career, to Wade Boggs and Robin Young, who each played a few games at MacArthur Park.

In the book you can learn about Gene Baker (the first black manager with a major league-affiliated club) along with local sensations Walter Loos, Dick Kokos, Eddie Howard, Dick Raymond and Jackie Kelley.

In the late 1940s, when Dougherty was a teen, he became part of a serious sandlot ball team, the A.C. Shafters. The team played other sandlot clubs throughout the region and Dougherty devotes a chapter to the team.

There was a time locally when every park had a ball field and every field had a team and fields rarely were without a game.

Kibbe Park once had a ballpark with stands and dugouts. Today, there's just a softball field with a couple of benches. When Dougherty was out at the field Monday, mounds of dirt were piled on the infield. Dougherty just shook his head. "There was a time when that would never happen," he said. "There would be kids out here playing games all day."

Are there ever any games at Kibbe now?

Things started to change in the 1950s. The sandlot teams began to die off. The semi-pro teams started to disappear, too. From the early 1900s until the 1950s, nearly every city or village of any size in Western New York had a minor league baseball team, and as leagues folded, so did the teams.

Dougherty thinks kids today miss something with fewer teams around.

"I made lifelong friends from every step I played," Dougherty said. "Not every kid on every team. Not all nine or 12 or 15, but some guys I played with are still good friends."

The book is available in the front office of the Batavia Muckdogs, the Holland Land Office Museum and at Dougherty Heating on School Street, Batavia.

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