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N-O Youth Baseball League cancels season

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 18 May 2020 at 5:53 pm

Comprised of teams from Medina, Lyndonville, Roy-Hart and Somerset, the Niagara Orleans Youth Baseball League has cancelled its season due to restrictions caused by the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic.

“After continued discussions among the four towns that makeup the Niagara Orleans Youth Baseball League. It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of the 2020 baseball season as a result of the devastating circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chris Goyette of Medina LOYAL Baseball. “Due to this, our organization is refunding all families their registration fees.”

“We also encourage parents and players to try and stay informed as our region hopefully continues to progress to phase 4 in the NYS reopening phases,” added Goyette.  “We are working on a possible plan if and when our region reaches phase 4 to organize some sort of opportunity for our youth to get outside and play some baseball this summer. “

Back-to-back championship seasons ended Lyndonville’s long diamond sectional drought

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 18 May 2020 at 9:51 am

Contributed Photos – Winning pitcher Bill Wright celebrates Lyndonville’s 1982 sectional title victory.

Lyndonville ended a long 23 year diamond title drought in the spring of 1982 when the Tigers blanked Cuba 2-0 in the Section V Class C championship game at Rochester’s Silver Stadium.

Senior Bill Wright hurled a 5 hit shutout with 9 strikeouts as Coach John Hayes’ Tigers captured a Section V title for the first time since 1959. His effort included getting out of a one out bases loaded jam in the sixth inning.

Wright received excellent support from his defense which included Jeff Wells at catcher, Mike Joy at first, Ed Luce at second, Rick Donald at shortstop, Rob Riemer at third, Dave Dix in left, Jim Boseck in center and Jim Perkins in right.

The Tigers runs both came home on errors in the third and fourth inning.

Wright also hurled the Tigers to victories in both the quarterfinals (5-1 over York) and the semifinals (4-3 over Geneva DeSales). He had a 5 hitter with 2 strikeouts against York and a 3 hitter with 11 strikeouts against DeSales.

At the plate, Donald had 3 hits and Joy 2 against York. Joy also had 3 hits against DeSales.

Lyndonville catcher Tim Riemer congratulates his brother Rob who hurled the Tigers to the 1983 sectional title win.

Keeping the momentum from that then school record 17-3 season, the Tigers went on to repeat at Section V Class C champions by romping past Pavilion 10-0 in the 1983 title contest at Silver Stadium.

Junior Rob Riemer pitched a sparkling one hitter with 10 strikeouts to lead the way for the Tigers.

The Tigers offense included three hits by Everett Seymour and two each by Rob Riemer, Ed Luce and Brad Hoffee.  Rob and Tim Riemer, Hoffee and Darryl Joy all had doubles.

Rob Riemer also hurled the Tigers to a 6-1 win over Mt. Morris in the quarterfinals allowed only 2 hits and struck out 14. Two hits apiece by Hoffee and Luce led the Tigers offense. Luce and Donald both banged out triples.

In the semifinals Seymour hurled a 6 hitter with 7 strrikouts to lead Lyndonville to a 4-1 win over Arkport. Luce, Tim Riemer and Joy each had two hits to spark the offense.

Lyndonville then almost made it three straight Section V Class C title campaigns but the Tigers dropped a narrow 2-1 decision to Geneva DeSales in the 1984 final at Silver Stadium.

Hayes’ Tigers also captured Section V titles in both 1994 (2-0 over Hammondsport) and 1996 (1-0 over Fillmore). Terry Stephens hurled the Tigers to both title victories. He blanked Hammondsport on just one hit his sophomore year and Fillmore on only two hits his senior season.

4 community softball league season cancelled

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 17 May 2020 at 3:04 pm

In recent years the Medina, Lyndonville, Roy-Hart and Somerset girls softball leagues have played a combined schedule. Now that four community softball League has become the latest area sports group to cancel its season due to the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic.

“It is with much disappointment that I announce that the 2020 girls softball season is cancelled,” said Brian Grimes representing he Medina Powder Puff entry in the league.”We are very sorry that the girls will not be able to play but are in agreement that if is for the safety and best for all involved.”

Grimes added that anyone with questions on the refunding of registration fees can contact him either by Facebook, e-mail, text or by calling 585-409-5010.

In youth baseball the Medina, Lyndonville, Roy-Hart and Somerset teams have likewise played a combined schedule in recent years.  That group is scheduled to meet on Monday on the status of the upcoming season.

Local teams earn Scholar/Athlete awards

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 17 May 2020 at 9:17 am

Nearly 20 local teams are among the honorees on the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s (NYSPHSAA) statewide list of winter sports season Scholar-Athlete teams and individuals which was released this past week.

In all some 2,475 Scholar-Athlete teams and 30,497 individuals across the state involving 569 schools were recognized for having averages of 90 or higher.

“Congratulations to the Scholar-Athlete teams and individuals from the winter 2020 season,” said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director. “The Scholar-Athlete program continues to be one of the most rewarding endeavors we encourage here at the Association. The winter season was extremely challenging this year, so to see this many student-athletes honored for their work in the classroom is truly rewarding.”

Locally the Holley, Kendall and Lyndonville boys basketball squads have earned Scholar-Athlete team honors.

In girls basketball the Albion, Holley, Kendall, Medina, Barker and Roy-Hart teams have all been honored.

Also earning Scholar-Athlete Team honors are the Albion, Medina and Roy-Hart boys and girls swim squads as well as the Holley, Kendall and Median competitive cheerleading squads.

In addition, Individual Scholar-Athlete honors have been earned by over 200 local student-athletes.

Albion’s individual honorees include 14 in boys swimming, 12 in wrestling, 10 in girls basketball, 5 in boys basketball and 4 each in girls swimming and competitive cheerleading.

Holley’s has 16 in competitive cheerleading, 7 in wrestling and 6 in boys basketball.

Kendall has 8 in boys basketball and 6 in both girls basketball and competitive cheerleading.

Lyndonville has 6 in boys basketball, 5 in wrestling and 4 each in girls basketball and competitive cheerleading.

Medina has 13 in girls swimming, 12 in boys swimming, 5 in girls basketball and 8 in competitive cheerleading.

Roy-Hart has 17 in boys swimming, 16 in girls swimming and 8 in girls basketball.

Barker has 8 in girls basketball.

Area youth soccer leagues cancel season

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 16 May 2020 at 3:48 pm

Restrictions imposed by and concerns over the Covid-19 Pandemic has caused both the Buffalo and Western New York Junior Soccer League, which includes teams from Medina and Roy-Hart, and the Rochester District Youth Soccer League, which includes teams from Albion, Holley, Kendall and Lyndonville, to cancel their seasons.

The leagues had been looking to possibly play a reduced six game season but continuing restrictions made that impossible

“They kept shrinking the season hoping they could play but it just wasn’t possible. There is just such a short window to play” said Steve Luksch who coordinates the Medina/Lyndonville summer teams in the Buffalo and WNY League. “It’s disappointing for the kids. I really feel bad for the kids. You are only a kid once.”

Buffalo and WNY League officials stated that “After reviewing all of the available information regarding the ability to operate a 2020 seasonal schedule, even on a reduced basis, the Board of Directors has come to the conclusion that it will not be possible to do so and thus is canceling the 2020 season effective immediately.”

The officials continued, “Please be assured that we have looked at a number of alternatives and have held many hours of conversations in both small and large groups to address the 2020 season. And we wish to thank all those club officials that kept us informed of their situation “on the ground” within their communities.  The information that was shared by you was needed and helpful to the Board’s deliberations.”

Rams had memorable N-O tennis title run

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 16 May 2020 at 9:04 am

Contributed Photo – Members of Roy-Hart’s 1988 Niagara-Orleans League championship tennis team include, in front, Jeff Heideman, Jeff Dickinson, Jenny McDonald, Aaron Hilger and Dan Oswari. In back are Dana Sheehan, Tom Gardner, Jeff Pellegrino, Coach Chris Horgan, Ray Neuman, Todd Albee, Chris Hemingway and Andy Oswari.

For two decades during the 1980’s and 1990’s Medina ruled the Niagara-Orleans League tennis courts – except for one brief stretch.

The only team to interrupt that run was Coach Chris Horgan’s Roy-Hart squad which earned at least a share of the N-O title for five straight years from 1988-1992.

That memorable run began when Roy-Hart ended an eight year title run by Medina by capturing the 1988 championship with a perfect 14-0 record.

That title season was highlighted by back-to-back regular season ending 3-2 wins over Medina which locked up the crown outright. The first of those wins ended Medina’s incredible 108 N-O match win streak.

Leading the Rams that season were All-League honorees Ray Neuman, Todd Albee, Tom Gardner and Andy Oswari.

Keeping the momentum, Roy-Hart repeated as undefeated N-O champions in 1989 by going 12-0. Neuman, Albee and Gardner again earned All-League honors to lead the Rams that season.

Each of the next three seasons (1990, 1991 and 1992) saw Roy-Hart and Medina emerge as N-O co-champions with 11-1 records as the Rams and Mustangs split their matches each time.

Leading the Rams in 1990 were All-League honorees Aaron Hilger, Jeff Heideman, Albee and Rob Reed. Hilger, Heideman and Reed again earned All-League honors in 1991.

The Rams 1992 All-League honorees included Hilger, Heideman, Jake Feltz and Shelly Bath.

Ironically, Horgan went on to become Medina’s coach in 2001 and is still guiding the Mustangs net fortunes. His Mustangs have captured the N-O title seven times.

It’s wait and see on the season for NOFA

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 15 May 2020 at 8:04 am

With the start of practice still over two months away and games still three months off officials of the Niagara Orleans Football Association (NOFA) are taking a wait and see approach on making any decisions about the upcoming season because of restrictions currently imposed by the Covid-19 Pandemic..

“We have time,” said NOFA Executive Baord member Geno Allport. “We are hoping for the best but right now it is too early to make any decisionns”

“We’re keeping things flexible because we just don’t know how soon things will re-open and with what conditions,” Allport added. “In the best case we could start the season on time, The next best case would be we could start later and play a shorter schedule. The worst case would be that we would have to cancel the season. But right now we don’t know. We just have to see how the phases for reopening come along. We just have to wait and see.”

In a release sent to leaders of each of NOFA’s member organizations this week, NOFA’s Executive Board stated that “Without a significant amount of directive regarding youth sports specifically, we anticipate that youth sports will be considered “recreation” and therefore part of the last phase of re-opening. We can’t put a date on when that will happen, but we can be certain that the re-opening process will be slow, with rules and timing that may affect some organizations differently than others. We are unfortunately still at the wait-and-see stage; however, we hope everyone in our NOFA community is in agreement that our number one priority right now is the safety of our players, coaches, referees, volunteers and families!”

The release added, “We will share any and all directives relevant to the upcoming season as soon as possible. Once we receive the all clear to meet, we will get a meeting scheduled right away.”

The organizations which in recent years have had football teams and cheerleading squads competing in NOFA have included Albion, Holley, Medina, Roy-Hart, Akron, Newfane, Batavia, Oakfield/Elba, Pembroke, Attica and TriTown (Alexander).

Medina claimed the first N-O softball titles

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 14 May 2020 at 9:05 am

Contributed Photo – Members of the 1975 Niagara-Orleans League champion Medina softball team included, in front, Donna Fox, Lou Ann Watkins, Cherrie Schnackel, Mary Ann O’Kussick, Beth Gardner, Lisa Rosentreter and Janet Simpson. In back are Connie Eick, Chris Prawel, Pat Curtin, Sue Wolter, Teal Meacham, Anita Chinn, Cheryl Brady, Helen Maryjanowski and Coach Sue O’Dea.

When the Niagara-Orleans League began softball competition in the mid 1970’s Medina was the first team to claim the title.

In fact, the Mustangs captured the championship in each of the league’s first two years going 6-0 in 1975 and 10-2 in 1976.

A narrow 12-11 win over Newfane was Medina’s only close call during the inaugural 1975 season.

A big seven run fourth inning keyed that win  as Helen Maryjanowski, Sue Wolter, Anita Chinn, Pam Vanderlaan, Teal Meacham and Lou Ann Watkins all had singles and winning pitcher Mary Ann O’Kussick a triple. Watkins then threw two Newfane runners out attempting to steal third base in the seven inning to preserve the win.

A pair of narrow one run late season wins over Wilson (9-8) and Starpoint (18-17 in eight innings) helped Medina claim the title in 1976. The Mustangs title quest was greatly aided by Starpoint’s two victories over Newfane. Medina had split its two meetings with Newfane winning 15-7 and losing 11-6.

The 9-8 win over Wilson saw Medina rally for four runs with two out in the final inning on a double by Mary Bukiewicz, a two-run error and a single by Denise Benben.

The title clinching win over Starpoint went eight innings. Medina scored four times in the top of the eighth on a single by Connie Eick, two errors and s double by Sue Wolter for an 18-14 lead. Starpoint though rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth and still had a runner at third with two outs when Chinn made a huge catch in centerfield to lock up the win and earn the Mustangs the title. The Medina offense also included a two-run homer by winning pitcher Cherrie Schnackel and a pair of doubles by Wolter.

The Mustangs had clinched at least a tie for the title by blanking Roy-Hart 16-0 to go to 9-2 on the season as Bukiewicz had three hits, Meacham, Watkins, Schnackel and Wolter two each. Schnackel’s hits included a home run.

That first 10 year stretch of N-O softball competition also saw Medina claim the crown in both 1981 and 1983.

That early stretch also saw Starpoint win the title three times (1979, 1980 and 1984 co-champion) while Akron won twice (1977 and 1978) as did Newfane (1982 and 1984 co-champion).

Football coaching staff is set for the newly merged Roy-Hart/Barker/Lyndonville team

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 13 May 2020 at 9:54 am

Contributed Photos – The Roy-Hart/Barker/Lyndonville varsity staff will include, from left, Head Coach Joe Suhr and Assistant Coaches Rick Boyle and Trevor Powers.

In preparation for its debut season this fall the coaching staff for the newly merged Roy-Hart/Barker/Lyndonville eight man football program has been set.

Joe Suhr is serving as the head varsity coach with Rick Boyle and Trevor Powers as his varsity assistants.

CJ Knight will be the Modified team head coach assisted by Brett Pecoraro.

The Modified team coaches will be Head Coach CJ Knight, at left, and Assistant Coach Brett Pecoraro.

“What we are trying to build is something new, something that incorporates the passion, tradition, and love of football from all 3 districts to create a unified identity, RBL,” said Suhr who is a teacher at Lyndonville and has 25 years of playing and coaching experience ranging from the youth, high school, college and semi pro levels.

“Roy-Hart, Barker, and Lyndonville need each other but what we are going to try to create is a culture where all 3 schools, their communities, and the respective players from those schools want to remain part of this new thing for years to come,” he added. “It’s important to this program that all 3 schools have a stake and are represented in everything we do. And in that we can form a really strong and successful program that’s in it for the long haul.”

Suhr’s playing experience includes with Bar-Lyn Youth, Pembroke High School, St. John Fisher College and the Lyndonville Tigers semi-pro team. He served at the defensive coordinator for the Tigers for 10 years. He also coached football for six years at Medina (two as a JV assistant and four as varsity defensive coordinator). In addition he was the varsity wrestling coach at Akron for four years and has been the co-head varsity wrestling coach at Lyndonville the last two years.

Boyle, a Roy-Hart graduate and a six year member of the Rams football program, has 38 years of coaching experience in football, baseball and softball including the last eight as the varsity softball assistant coach at Lyndonville.

“As a Roy-Hart Alumni I would like nothing more than to see the program turned around and to be successful,” said Boyle. “The kids deserve a chance at winning championships and they need to be proud of what they can contribute to the awesome game of football.”

Powers, who was a three sport athlete at Batavia High School (football, hockey and lacrosse), played collegiate club hockey at RIT,  has four years of coaching experience as a varsity assistant with the Genesee Ice Devils.

“I have had the opportunity to Coach the Genesee Ice Devils for the past 3 years as we went through a merger combining 6 schools to form 1 team. This opportunity for athletes from multiple communities to come together to form a single team and represent all of the communities is a fantastic experience. The team and players are able to build their own identity from the ground up and form connections outside of their school district that will last a lifetime,” said Powers.

Knight who played four years of high school football at Newfane and four years of college football at SUNY Brockport, has coached JV football and Modified basketball for three years at Roy-Hart.

“I find that this 3 way merger is a huge opportunity for each school district,” said Knight.  “With the numbers of each school decreasing, combining together will allow us to be competitive and form a strong team. Having worked with the Roy-Hart kids in the past, I think it will be a great experience for myself and them, to build relationships with the other student athletes from Barker and Lyndonville. I am looking forward to a great season to turn this program around!”

Pecoraro, a four year US Marines veteran, played four years of high school football at Medina and has coaching experience with both the Medina Loyal and Medina High football programs.

“When I played for Medina it worked out really well. Without the merger Lyndonville kids would not have had the opportunity to play football. Without that they would’ve missed out on the camaraderie and character building the sport brings,” said Pecoraro.

The Roy-Hart/Barker/Lyndonville eight man varsity team is scheduled to debut on September 11 at Oakfield-Alabama/Elba.

NYSPHSAA picks Covid-19 Task Force

Contributed Story Posted 12 May 2020 at 12:21 pm

Latham, NY – The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has selected members to serve on a COVID-19 Task Force to examine potential impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the fall 2020 season and the 2020-2021 school year.

Task Force members were selected by Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA President, with input and consultation from NYSPHSAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Zayas. The Task Force is comprised of NYSPHSAA member superintendents, principals, athletic directors and executive directors in addition to representatives from New York State Athletic Administrators Association and State Education Department. It is anticipated the committee will meet for the first time in late May or early June.

“The goal of this task force is to bring together a group of experienced administrators and professionals to examine potential impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the upcoming school year and to provide guidance and recommendations to the 11 Sections of NYSPHSAA,” said Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA President.

“At this time we are planning to start fall sports on August 24th,” Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director said.  “With the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis, I want to make sure we are prepared to focus attention on keeping student-athletes engaged in their school communities and active, while also abiding by Department of Health and Governor Cuomo’s guidelines.  We must have innovative and creative thought to provide beneficial participation playing experiences for students.”

The NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force members are as follows:

President – Paul Harrica (Section X) *Task Force chair

Vice President – Julie Bergman (Section IV)

2nd Vice President – Russell Bartlett (Section X)

Immediate Past President – Jim Osborne (Section IX)

Incoming 2nd Vice President – Tim Mullins (Section XI)

Past President – Steve Broadwell (Section VII)

NYSPHSAA – Dr. Robert Zayas (Executive Director)

District Superintendent – Jim Dexter (Section 2)

Superintendent East – Dr. Ivan Katz (Section IX)

Superintendent West – Adam Stoltman (Section VI)

Section Executive Director East – Tom Combs (Section XI), Matt Walentuk (Section VII) Section Executive Director West – Carl Normandin (Section X), Kathy Hoyt (Section V)

Principal East –  Jim Mackin (Section I)

Principal West –  Paul Gasparini (Section III)

Athletic Director East – Chris Ceruti (Section VIII) Athletic Director West – Scott Barker (Section V)

NYSAAA – Dr. Jim Wright (Section XI)

Athletic Trainers – Rick Knizek (Section 2)

District Transportation Director – Chris Durdon (Section IV) Officials – Dennis Burkett

NYS Education Department – Karen Hollowood & Ann Lanoue NYS Department of Health – TBD