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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: August 2009

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Albany-Saratoga Speedway back to blacktop...for fall and spring

As some things continue to move forward in the Town of Malta, Albany-Saratoga Speedway director Bruce Richards had decided to make a slight move backwards at his 3/8th-of-a-mile oval on Route 9.

Consider it down-shifting two gears to gain some horsepower and then shifting one gear back up.

Richards announced Wednesday afternoon that he would be pulling up the clay surface off the dirt track later this fall and running multiple auto races on the original blacktop surface that was installed in 1965. The paved surface races would continue into the Spring of 2010 before the blacktop would once again be covered with more than 200 truckloads of clay that has made the location famous as “The Great Race Place.”

“We have the unique opportunity that no other track in the Capital Region can offer, blacktop and clay,” Richards said. “I am confident that the blacktop is still just like the day that I covered it up. I’ve seen it in different spots out there, it looks just like the day we covered it up.

Richards, always the innovator, continues to find ways to expand the racing experience for Capital Region fans and provide opportunities for current race teams.

This fall, Richards will offer the annual Halloween Havoc Oct. 17 on the newly unearthed surface followed by a night with the 358s, budget, pro stock, limited and mini/duke stock divisions. The same divisions that will conclude their dirt season Sept. 11. In the first week of November the go-kart nationals are expected to return for a weekend on the blacktop surface.

“We will be hosting at least two tour races at the speedway,” Richards said. “We have guarantees from the ACT (American-Canadian Tour) and their late model series and also from the IMSA (International Supermodified Association). We also have commitments from the True Value Modified racing Series in New England.”

The Malta race track was born as an asphalt track in 1965 and it was his father, C.J. Richards, who covered it with clay beginning in 1977. There has only been one asphalt race since that time, Sept. 29, 1991, when the clay surface was removed as part of a resurfacing project.

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To Mrs., Dr. Reda Garrett-Hudy, Happy 20th anniversary!

"Twenty-years-ago today Sgt. Pepper's Band began to play......" or something like that.

It is true, behind every good man there is a better woman, the same one who has been at my side and behind every hair-brained idea for the past 20 years of marriage along with a couple before the nuptials back in Binghamton, New York, 20 years ago.

A few jobs, way too many cars, a lot of moves across the Northeast, several of her degrees and we're still together. I personally cannot believe it! I would have left me a long, long, time ago!

If the 25th anniversary is silver what is the 20th? For us, I think its a Facebook page for Reda, more tuition for another class in her current career and possibly a Wii Sport.

Back when we were young, foolish and thought we had a lot of money the plan was either Alaska or Italy. While we're not going to make the trip this year, I did rent Mystery Alaska and The Godfather for our couple of days together. If she doesn't leave me over this one, I know I have a keeper!

Of course, there is that 4 p.m. press conference at Albany-Saratoga Speedway she is begrudgingly letting me cover..then..she told me "No more work for the rest of the week."

Yes, dear.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Saratoga National Bank Cross Country Classic

The ninth annual 5K cross country race/walk will be held in the Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs October 18. The race will be held on the home course of the state and national champion Saratoga High School Blue Streaks Cross Country Team.
Race begins at 10 a.m. Awards will be given to the top three overall male and female finishers and to the top three male and female finishers in five year age divisions.

The Cross Country Classic is proud to host the USATF Adirondack Association 5K Cross Country Championships. Registration is $20. Day of race, registration is $25. Moisture wicking T-Shirts will be given to the first 300 registered for the 5K.

Race day registration and packet pick-up will begin at 8 a.m. in the administration building, adjacent to the Spa Little Theater. There will also be a Kids Classic 1K Run at 11 a.m. for $5 with finishing medals to all runners under 11-years old.

Proceeds benefit the Saratoga Center for the Family.

For further Information call 583-3114 or email jallen3@nycap.rr.com. To download an application, take a virtual tour, or to register on-line for the Classic, visit www.saratoganational.com.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

BH-BL grad Jeff Juron joins Skidmore baskeball staff

Skidmore College men’s basketball coach Luke Flockerzi announced the appointment of two former players, Ryan Fischer and Jeff Juron, as assistant coaches for the 2009-10season.

Juron played under Coach Flockerzi at the University of Rochester and begins coaching after spending last season playing for BC Vlijmscherp in the Netherlands.

Fischer, who played collegiately at Skidmore, returns to Saratoga Springs after spending the past season as an assistant coach at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, NY.

Juron joins the Thoroughbred staff after graduating from Rochester in 2008. During his time on the River Campus he was a four-starter on three NCAA Division III tournament teams. In 2005, he helped lead the Yellowjackets to a national runner-up performance. He was recognized four times as Honorable Mention All-University Athletic Association. A Burnt Hills native, Juron played his high school ball at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake where he led them to a Section II Class A championship.

Fischer graduated from Skidmore in 2008 with a degree in Business and Management. He had a strong finish to his playing career, starting every game as a senior, leading the Liberty League in assist-to-turnover ratio and finishing third in assists per game.

At Polytechnic, Fischer’s duties included recruiting, individual player development and off-season workout planning. He has also worked in the Community Relations and Field Marketing departments for the New York Knicks since 2006. He was involved in planning and implementing different events and camps for the Knicks organization. In addition, Fischer is the founder and director of Overtime Hoops, a youth basketball organization that specializes in weekend clinics and individual skill development.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Holy Cow! Plainsmen and Blue Streaks skating together

On the night of a meteor shower across the Northern Hemisphere, something just as rare occurred, green and blue working together on the same goal, on the same team, rooting for each other.

Not since Bill Murray exclaimed "Cats and dogs, living together, mass hysteria" has something so wonderfully strange occurred…Shenendehowa and Saratoga Springs ice hockey players playing on the same side of the ice.

This isn’t an April Fool’s joke, this is real, and part of the 3rd annual Overtime Summer Hockey Tournament.

This year saw the Saratoga Plainsmen (not a misprint) a combined group of Clifton Park/Shenendehowa High School players and Saratoga Springs High School players that were part of a summer training program through Athletic Republic and the Hockey Hut in Clifton Park, developed by Shenendehowa coach Juan de la Rocha and Saratoga coach Mike Ricupero.

"I’ve done something like this in the past with Burnt Hills/Scotia-Glenville and Niskayuna," de la Rocha said. "This year we teamed up with Saratoga."

The Saratoga Plainsmen saw some of the top names on both squads come together as a single unit as well as players from the Clifton Park Dynamo squad take to the ice wearing gray practice jerseys.

"It was kind of weird," Saratoga Springs defenseman Ryan Lee said. "I hated them before, but they’re not that bad guys, but I still have to hate them."

Ricupero and de la Rocha shared both practice and game duties, splitting the time equally and allowing the combined squads to hear from the opposition game philoso¬phies and techniques.

"I won’t say Coach Ricupero yelled more, but he was louder," Shenendehowa senior Tom Asterino said. "You could see how each one coached in his own way and still be able to put it together on the ice."

For Saratoga Plainsmen goalie, T.J. Delaney, it was a different look for him, wearing his Blue Streak facemask with a gray Shenendehowa jersey in goal. Tuesday night was the last time he would every be happy to see a Plainsmen forward score a goal…at least it was at the opposite end.

"If you want to win you have to put in the work," Delaney said. "Over the summer you have to get in what work you can to get better as a player…we’re still better."

Merging competitors is not new to sports, soccer and softball have led the way with premier teams, travel teams and tournament squad, gathering the top talent from throughout the Capital Region to compete as one unit. For hockey, it is one of the rarer occurrences, but could lead to cooler heads prevailing during the 2009-2010 CDHSHL season match-ups between these two rivals.

"If two kids get into it and you want to protect your teammate," Asterino said. "But if you know the other guy from summer hockey, why not stop it and keep them both on the ice."

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

9s Mid-Atlantic Regional: Saturday's game re-caps

East Brunswick 12, Clifton Park 2
East Brunswick cruised to its third straight win at the Mid-Atlantic Regional, scoring three runs in the first and second innings, piling on four in the third and forcing the 10-run mercy rule in the fifth with two additional runs.

Glen Cove 6, GVAA 5
GVAA takes a 4-3 lead in the second inning and added another in the fourth. Glen Cove added another in the fifth until taking over in the top of the sixth, scoring two runs on a single hit.

Spring 13, Audubon 3
Spring found its winning form once again propelling itself into the semifinals.
A six-run second inning set the stage for a short day, envoking the 10-run mercy rule by the fourth inning.

Bear 11, North Tonawanda 5
Bear scores five runs in the bottom of the first inning. North Tonawanda added five over the next three innings. Bear added two runs in the third and three more in the fifth.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

9s Mid-Atlantic Regional: Friday's game re-caps

There were only six games scheduled Friday for the 9-year-old Cal Ripken Baseball Mid-Atlantic Regional hosted by Spring Baseball in Troy, allowing visiting teams to travel to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame along with a few parents to take in the Saratoga Race Course.

Spring 8, Clifton Park 3
In a battle between the two locals Clifton Park managed to pull ahead with a 2-0 lead before Spring found its baseball legs, scoring eight runs to stay in contention for Sunday's semifinals.
Spring's Joe Casale went 2-for-4 with two RBI, a double and a stolen base. Starter Anthony Germiniero went five innings, allowed three runs on three hits. He walked two and struck out two.

Warrington 11, Glen Cove 4
The Southeast Pennsylvania champion, Warrington, scored six runs in the fourth inning, batting around, scoring on six successful hits to upend the Metro New York champion, Glen Cove.

East Brunswick 8, Audubon 0
The defending 8-year-old Cal Ripken Baseball Mid-Atlantic Regional champions and Northern New Jersey champs limited the Northwest Pennsylvania champions to one-hit on its way to an 8-0 win.
East Brunswick exploded with six runs in the second inning, keyed by Tyler Burnham's grand slam.
Burnham and Mike Falco combined for the one-hit shutout, striking out six in the win.

Bear 4, Walkersville 2
Bear broke the contest open in the third with two outs. Cole Dunn reached on a fielder's choice and Eric Schwar followed with an RBI double. Dustin Sutton followed with his own RBI single to give the Delaware champion a 4-1 lead.

Montgomery 6, Clifton Park 0
Clifton Park failed to place itself in contention for Sunday's semifinals with its third consecutive loss.
Joey Gutterman and Michael Hradowsky combined for the four-hit shutout victory for the Southern New Jersey champions.
Brian Giordano went 1-for-2 with two RBI with his base knock to right in the bottom of the third, plating Michael Pedota and Hradowsky. Mack Bloom scored earlier, reaching on a hit by pitch, moving to third on an error and scoring on another passed ball.

North Tonawanda 8, Glen Cove 5
Down 5-4 in the sixth inning, North Tonawanda scores four runs to go-ahead.
Ryan Sutherland singled, Nick Peters walked and Charles Mack hit a two-run triple. Gavin Lynch followed with a one-out single, scoring Mack. Lynch came home on a Dan Mikalajczak RBI double.

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9s Mid-Atlantic Regional: Thursday's re-cap

It was a full day of action at the Spring Baseball Complex in Troy, New York as the 9-year-old Cal Ripken Baseball Mid-Atlantic Regional got into full swing with eight contests on two fields.

The weather was warm and cooperative, the baseball top-notch, but what got the most oohs and ahhs on my Facebook page was not my workload, but my report on the concession stand's offering of eggplant parm, chicken parm along with the huge, powdered sugar coated confection, fried dough.

But it's about the kids and not the food this weekend. Here's a look at some of the contests:

Warrington 5, North Tonawanda 2
A pitcher's duel through three innings ended after Warrington scored four runs in the fifth-inning on just two hits.
The Souteast Pennsylvania champion, Warrington duo of Sam Thompson and Nick Ambolino combined for nine strikeouts while the Western New York North Tonawanda pair, Charles Mack and Zack Litwinski, combined for 12 strikeouts.

Spring 6, Montgomery 4
It wasn't the prettiest game that the 2009 AABC 9-year-old World Series champions had, but managed to put up five runs and hold off a three-run rally by the Southern New Jersey champions to come away with an opening win.
Here's the story in the Troy Record newspaper.

Audubon 5, Clifton Park 4
Northwest Pennsylvania champion Audubon was paced by Eli Bokunewicz's 2-for-2 day with a run scored along and built a 5-1 lead before Eastern New York State champion Clifton Park rallied for three runs in its final at-bats, scoring three runs on three hits and an error, leaving the bases loaded to end the contest.
Here's the story in the Saratogian newspaper.

Glen Cove Comanches 5, Bear 3
After a 1-1 tie through one, Delaware champion Bear took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fourth before Metro New York champion, Glen Cove, scored two runs in the bottom half on its way to a 5-3 win.
Michael Capobianco hit a one out double and Thomas Paulich followed with a single. They were both plated on Chris Capobianco's two RBI double to pull ahead in the fourth.

North Tonawanda 7, GVAA Wildcats 2
North Tonawanda rallied in the bottom of the first inning and tacked on a pair of runs in the third and three more in the fifth.
Gavin Lynch, Dan Mikolajczak were singled home by Andrew Lynch with an RBI single in the fifth. He was knocked in by Nate Murdie's RBI single.

Warrington 6, Bear 3 (7 innings)
The contest was tied through three innings before the Southeast Pennsylvania champion, Warrington, plated three runs in the top of the seventh.
With one out, Andrew Funk singled and Matt Cunningham doubled before Michael DelFame walked. Andrew Seale followed with a two-run RBI single.

Audubon 1, Montgomery 0
Mason Lasage led off the bottom of the sixth with a walk for Northwest Pennsylvania champion Audubon. Jared Carboy and Mark Engleman followed with free passes. Ian Stewart came through with a one-out sacrifice fly to center field for the game winner.

East Brunswick 18, Spring 4 (4 innings)
The final contest of the game provided the most fireworks as the Northern New Jersey champion, East Brunswick, and last year's 8-year-old Mid-Atlantic Regional champions pounded the host in a four-inning mercy rule shortened contest.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

9-yr-old Mid-Atlantic Regional schedule and standings

The Cal Ripken Baseball 9-year-old Mid-Atlantic Regional is set for its first pitch at 10 a.m. Aug. 5 and I will be there to wrap-up my summer of baseball with the best ballplayers on the Eastern Seaboard at the Spring Baseball Complex in Troy, New York.

Divisions and standings through Saturday
Pool A
Northern NJ champion - East Brunswick (4-0)**
Host - Spring (3-1)**
Northwest PA champion - Audubon (2-2)
Southern NJ champion - Montgomery (1-3)
Eastern New York champion - Clifton Park (0-4)

Pool B
Southeast PA champion - Warrington (4-0)**
Delaware champion - Bear (2-2)**(*)
Western New York champion - North Tonawanda (2-2)
Metro New York champion - Glen Cove (2-2)
Maryland champion - Walkersville (0-4)
** Advances to semifinals
*** Advances based on tie-breaker (runs allowed)

Thursday, Aug. 6 schedule
Warrington 5, North Tonawanda 2
Spring 6, Montgomery 4
Audubon 5, Clifton Park 4
Glen Cove 5, Bear 3
Warrington 6, Bear 3
North Tonawanda 7, GVAA Wildcats (Walkersville) 2
Audubon 1, Montgomery 0
East Brunswick 18, Spring 4

Friday, Aug. 7 schedule
Spring 8, Clifton Park 3
Warrington 11, Glen Cove 4
East Brunswick 8, Audubon 0
Bear 4, Walkersville 0
Montgomery 6, Clifton Park 0
North Tonawanda 8, Glen Cove 5

Saturday, Aug. 8 schedule
East Brunswick 12, Clifton Park 2 (5 inns)
Glen Cove 6, Walkersville 5
Spring 13, Audubon 3 (4 inns)
North Tonawanda 11, Bear 5
East Brunswick 7, Montgomery 4
Warrington 6, Walkersville 4

Sunday, Aug. 9 schedule
Single elimination semifinals
East Brunswick 12, Bear 2
Warrington 6, Spring 2

Championship game
Warrington 9, East Brunswick 2

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Three and you're out Monday night

It was a tough night for the local boys of summer Monday night throughout the Capital Region as the Saratoga National Little League Williamsport-bound division, the Saratoga American Little League 10-year-old all-stars and even the bigger boys, the Saratoga Phillies all saw their seasons come to a close.

The Saratoga Nationals were two wins away from a trip to Bistol, Conn. (the home of ESPN) for the East Regional, but fell to South Shore, 3-2, at Indian Meadow Park in Glenville. It would have been great to see this team advance, I know they would have found a way to have some "home cooking" from The Saratogian on the trip and I could drop off my resume to the Mother Ship in person this time. (Just kidding, Barb.)

The Saratoga Nationals were not the biggest squad by any means, sometimes appearing to be towered over by some of their New York State competitors in size, but these guys can play some serious baseball. Game after game they were just flawless and whoever was on the hill knew he didn't have to strike out the side every inning, his defense was there every step of the way.

The Saratoga Americans lost to Pine Bush (Guilderland) last night, 6-3, and The Saratogian was there, thanks to the efforts of now dutifully employed news director at WAMC Ian Pickus came off the bench and back to the small diamond after his heroic efforts during this year's Mayor's Cup.
As a note: Thanks again to Chris Pennamacoor who has been my compadre throughout this youth all-star season.

You have to feel for the Saratoga Americans who had to drop their counterparts, the Saratoga Nationals twice to advance into the Section III tournament, but I really like the positive e-mails sent by their coach, Pete D'Aloia along the way, across the aisle, to the Saratoga Americans during their Road to Williamsport.

As for the Saratoga Phillies, a season that at one time appeared lost, was saved, advanced into the playoffs and gave East Division perennial powerhouse Glens Falls a scare.

My season with the Saratoga Phillies was one of my shorter ones, just eight games out of 44 covered, rain took out a few and then the all-star season took over with a vengeance. We had a group of staffers at as many home contests as possible, but it is sad to see these collegiate stars leave in early August.

Credit Saratoga Phillies coach Greg Zackrison from Massasoit Community College for pulling this squad from the outhouse almost to the penthouse after the all-star break.

The Phillies program continues to shine in the Spa City and is a great example for young ballplayers to come and watch, for free. Saratoga didn't have many extra inning contests and few ran longer than 2 to 2 1/2 hours, courtesy of some outstanding defensive work behind these great pitchers.

Ending a season is tough, especially for Saratoga Phillies first lady, GM Colleen Carlson, who was crying as she hugged the players after last night's final games. She has been the conduit for the players, their college coaches, their families for more than 44 games. She has been involved in everything from transportation, to housing to doctor's visits to her role as No. 1 fan.

In this harsh economy it is hard to keep these joys of summer alive, an example is this year's Empire State Games, cancelled for 2009 and still a question for 2010.

Can the Phillies ownership partners, Dan Scaring and Keith Rogers, continue to put in time and money into the summer program? Decisions are best left after some time and lets hope the organization has the support, spiritually and financially, to return for another summer in Saratoga.

If not, we'll still have the Mayor's Cup, Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth state tournaments and the Little League Baseball Road to Williamsport to fill our schedules in July and beyond.

For me, another week of Cal Ripken baseball, some phone follow-ups on teams looking to advance to a World Series, some office time and then a week of vacation with the bride.

Of course, then varsity football practices start Aug. 17 and the other varsity sports follow a week later, but they'll be there when I get back.

Enjoy the rest of your summer.

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Phils playoff game rained out Sunday night

If there ever was a case of a must win game it now falls in front of the Saratoga Phillies.

The local collegiate baseball league East Division playoff game scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight has been postponed to 1 p.m. on Monday.

If Saratoga is unsuccessful in closing out the Glens Falls Golden Eagles in the afternoon, both squads will head up the Northway to East Field for the deciding game at 7 p.m.

On the other side of the East Division playoffs, Amsterdam holds a 1-0 lead over Mohawk Valley after an 11-0 win last night and are scheduled to face off tonight at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam.

In the West Division, Hornell and Alfred were first round winners and face each other 7 p.m. tonight in the first game of the division title round.

Thanks to Andy Santillo for the numbers updates.

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