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Displaying items by tag: baseball

Thursday, 15 August 2019 15:35

HOME RUN: Stampede's History of Success

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Stampede Baseball League is back for another fall program of training, developing and strengthening up and coming local players. 

Saratoga Stampede is recognized as the oldest travel baseball program in Saratoga, since it’s conception in 2001. This year, the league is expanding to have a U13 team, alongside it’s U 14, U16 and U19 teams.

"We started it with the intention of trying to almost become a preparatory program for when kids advance age wise into college,” said Paul Mound, founder and one of the league coaches.

Alongside Mound, the baseball coach for Union College, Coaches Alfonso Lambert and Dale Long, the head and assistant coach of Saratoga Central Catholic varsity baseball team are the main coaches of the Stampede program. Aside from the expansive years of experience between the three of them, they are also in the New York State Hall of Fame.

Expert coaches lead to valuable training and educational opportunities for those who make it into the league. 

"Ninety-five percent of the boys who had played Stampede baseball over these 19 years have gone on to play college baseball," said Mound. 

Many of those players are former students of Ballston Spa High School, Saratoga Springs High School and Spa Catholic, who have gone on to play baseball at various colleges such as Siena and U Albany. 

"This program is designed for the player that really wants to continue to develop and excel in the game of baseball," said Mound. 

Throughout the program, the athletes will focus on developing their instructional skills, hitting, defensive baseball, base running as well as playing in a handful of games throughout the northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. 

This past summer new coaches, and Stampede alumni joined back into the league as coaches including Schuylerville High School’s head and assistant varsity baseball coaches Darin Renner and Tyler Green.

For more information on the league, visit Saratoga Stampede Baseball on Facebook, or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for registration information. 

Tryouts for the U13 and U14 teams will be held at the Eastside Recreation field at 6 p.m. August 19 and 21. The following week, August 26 and 27 at 6 p.m. at the Eastside Recreation Field, will be the U16 and U19 team tryouts.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 13 June 2019 14:04

Rich Johns: Coaching Students Through Life

SARATOGA SPRINGS —  In 2010 schoolteacher, tennis and basketball coach Rich Johns, retired from the traditional structures of education and coaching and began a nonprofit known as Act With Respect Always (AWRA). The organization has flourished and has taken Coach Johns to schools as far as Duke University and as local as Saratoga Springs High. This month would be the sixth month that AWRA has trademarked it’s new Visibility Project. 
AWRA is an organization, and a mission in itself; to treat yourself and others with kindness and respect. Through speaking engagements, Johns uses his platform to promote others to create opportunities to make positive impacts in another person’s life. 
The new factor of AWRA - the Visibility Project, takes interacting with someone one step further – to be seen. 
“When you become visible, you’re strong, and you believe in yourself, I hope,” said Johns. 
This project promotes reaching out to others and letting them know their presence and visibility in this society is of importance. 
“Part of my mission before I leave a school is to stress to those adults in that environment, connect with them, and tell them I’m one of your solid five, and you can get in touch with me,” said Johns. “To me, making young kids know that they have this solid group with them, and they love you, they care for you, and they’ll do anything for you makes you visible."

At each speaking engagement, Johns attends, he makes a point to bring a book and postcards. This is not only to leave students, athlete and the teachers with something to incorporate but to provide an opportunity to encourage connection through the written word. 
The new AWRA T-Shirt that states “The Visibility Project” is marked with a large, vibrant yellow circle on the back. Literally visible at afar, but meaningfully visible to the wearer, who are all connected through the message of the Visibility Project. 
AWRA IS A 501 © 3 charitable organization. To get involved or to support the organization be visible, and connect with Coach Rich Johns through Facebook or Instagram or actwithrespectalways.com. 
Published in Sports
Thursday, 16 May 2019 13:23

Joey Laurer: Athlete of the Week

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Springs High School’s varsity pitcher Joey Laurer learns dedication and time management from his familial inspirations. 

Laurer began playing baseball at the age of two, and swimming competitively at seven, as he followed in the footsteps of his baseball playing uncle, Jerry Faiola and swimming father, Kurt Laurer. 
While Laurer states that baseball is his favorite, he excels in swimming as he broke the school record for the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1 minute, one second and 10 milliseconds – qualifying him for states. 
It isn’t enough to say that Laurer is an exceptional athlete, but he is a scholar-athlete, as he is a member of Saratoga Springs National Honor Society and a familiar name on the school’s honor roll. Laurer attributes his inspiration to his Nonna (grandmother). 
“Because she has fought through cancer four different times. Just her character and strength.” 
When Laurer is not in school or practicing, he is giving back to his community as an Eagle Scout, where his Eagle project was to re-paint the West Side Recreation Center Field building. 
“It wasn’t too tough (balancing his schedule), I don’t think, because I just try my best to make sure I stayed on top of everything I had to do. It’s taught me some valuable skills like time management.” 
Though baseball is near and dear to his heart, it is not a game without disappointments. 
“You always have to stay humble, and you’re working hard so that you can do your best to succeed as much as possible.” 
In addition to having a positive mindset, constant support from loved ones is highly encouraging. On and off the field, his biggest supporters are his family, including his parents, his sister, and grandparents, who are constantly encouraging him throughout his athletic career. 
“(They are) picking me up after a tough game. Telling me what I need to do better. Just always being supportive of what I want to do, and where I want to go with it,” said Laurer. 
Laurer would also like to thank his friends, aunts, uncles, coaches, scout leaders and teachers for their constant support throughout his academic and athletic career. 
Though only a junior, Laurer has verbally committed to playing Baseball at Siena College, where he plans to major in pre-med. 
Published in Sports
Friday, 10 May 2019 10:49

Baseball’s Opening Day 2019 in Saratoga

Saratoga/Wilton Youth League and Saratoga Springs Little League both kicked off their Opening Day at the East and West side recreation fields on Saturday, May 4. Children of all ages enjoyed a day of fun on the fields.

Photos by SuperSource Media, LLC.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 09 May 2019 12:54

Erik Malanoski: Athlete of the Week

GALWAY — Galway High School’s senior baseball captain and catcher sees value beyond the game of baseball and prioritizes service to others.

Erik Malanoski plays both basketball and baseball for Galway Senior High School. Malanoski comes from a long line of baseball players in his family, including his father, grandfather and great aunt, who was a player for the All American Girls Professional Baseball League.

“I kind of like the whole feel of the game. There’s definitely a lot of respect around the game,” said Malanoski. “Not only is it an individual game, but it’s also got a good team aspect.”

Malanoski’s favorite athletes include David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, and Lebron James but not mainly for their athletic gifts, but for how they utilize their platform to better their communities.

“The big thing is not only that they’re amazing players, but they’re also a great impact off the field,” said Malanoski. “They’re guys that anybody can look to - David Ortiz, kind of took the city and put it on his back during the marathon bombings. Lebron James has a huge “Promise School” and Betts is always helping with the children’s hospitals and big foundations... they use their platform to help others too,” said Malanoski.

As an Eagle Scout himself, Malanoski has dedicated years of his life to servicing the community. Most recently for his Eagle project, he participated in the restoration of the Mechanic Street Community Church cemetery. While Malanoski admires his favorite athletes for their service to others it was first his parents (he names as his biggest support system) who instilled a strong sense of character for him.

“My parents too have set a great example always for me. Teaching me the right ways, and not only how to act like an athlete on the field or a student in the classroom, but a good citizen and person too,” said Malanoski.

Malanoski will attend Penn State in the fall to pursue a career in engineering. 

Published in Sports
SARATOGA SPRINGS/ WILTON — Two of Saratoga’s youth baseball leagues are back in full force, with opening day festivities on May 4.

Saratoga Wilton Youth Baseball (SWYB), Saratoga’s oldest and largest youth baseball league is eager to kick off their largest opening day in recent years, with 50 teams and 500 players. The league is primarily recreational, with the exception of their travel team. 

“It's not about who wins or loses, it's all about having fun, and learning the fundamentals of the game and hopefully growing a love for the game of baseball," said Joe Rigabar, President of the SWYB. 

The driving force behind keeping such a large league up and running are the efforts of their volunteers. Roughly 100 parents volunteer to coach, work the field and operate concession stands throughout the season. 

"It's a lot of work, but we do it cause we really enjoy it. We have a great board, and a great group of volunteers,” said Rigabar. “We do it because we love it and because we love the game and we all think it's important to give back and we've built something really special.” 

SWYB will host their opening day festivities at the Eastside Recreation Field beginning at 10 am. 

This event certainly could not proceed without the community’s efforts. 

“All the support we get from the community, from local businesses, and charities in terms of sponsorships, that really goes a long way in helping us field the program,” said Rigabar. 

The weekend of baseball is not limited to the Eastside field. Just on the other side of town, the Saratoga Springs Little League (SSLL) will be hosting their opening day event. 

"We have over 30 teams and over 300 families; we don't say, kids, we believe in families," said Derrick Legall, SSLL president. “We create an atmosphere where families can come and enjoy their little league's memories and baseball. We create memories at Saratoga Springs Little League." 

Legall is entering his 19th year as president of the league. While this year’s turnout is expected to be a large one, Legall has noticed a slight decline in participation, which Legall attributes to kid’s interest in other spring sports such as lacrosse. 

"Yes, it's been a decline, but it' because of other activities. We have to find a way to be creative to keep kids engaged," said Legall. 

Efforts to engage kids include having the coaches show new instructional videos to their practices and incorporating more active training drills. SSLL is adamant on incorporating every child with an interest in baseball. 

“I tell our uniform coordinator to order extra uniforms because I don't believe in turning kids away. I also believe in giving scholarships when available, and we have scholarship recipients. We’re not gonna turn any kid away. All kids are welcome," said Legall. 

Saturday, May 4 at the Westside Recreation field, kids will get a free drink and hot dog for the day, and enjoy festivities starting at 10 a.m. 

Both leagues demonstrate a vested interest in cultivating a community for aspiring young athletes. 

“Saratoga Springs Little League - If there is one thing, I want you to know about us, we create memories. Lasting memories for kids and their families…Letting them know that they're having fun, and this is somewhere they can come and enjoy and be safe, and just have fun,” said Legall.

“I think, more than anything, the kids have a lot of fun,” said Rigabar. “There's nothing better than seeing 500 kids running around playing baseball on a sunny Saturday afternoon."
Published in Sports
Thursday, 02 May 2019 13:45

Jack Voce: Athlete of the Week

Photos provided.

CLIFTON PARK — Shenendehowa’s Junior class president and the varsity baseball team catcher Jack Voce, shares how sports aided in his growth as both a player and a person. 

Voce began playing baseball at seven years old with the Halfmoon Mariners as their first baseman, until age 11 when he tried his hand at catching. He was inspired by his older brother to take up the sport. Over the years, Voce received a lot of support with his game from his brother, father, and coaches. 

"My biggest fan is my mom. My biggest supporters are my parents, my brother — now that he moved to college, that actually made us closer,” said Voce. "It's nice to see that my brother acknowledges my accomplishments, and he's proud of me.

Another person who had a prominent hand in shaping Voce into the player that he is today is Norm Hayner, co-owner of Hayner Sports Barn. 

"Everything he taught me — he has all this wisdom. He pushed me to be a better person, better player, on and off the field," said Voce. 

Hayner has aided him for nearly every year of his baseball career. Off the field, he’s inspired Voce and taught him humility, and how to stay positive in a game that has a lot of failures. 

“He taught me how to focus on what's next and not what happened," said Voce. 

His ability to lead his peers on his team and fellow students is certainly another skill he’s acquired through his years playing baseball.

"I've just become more alert, humble, and a leader...I can't be afraid to tell someone what to do. Being a leader helps with being a catcher."

For the past year and a half when Voce is not practicing, he is giving back to a community of young athletes by coaching at youth camps. Voce is continuing to grow and learn as a player and leader and would like to seize more opportunities to inspire the upcoming generation of baseball players. 

"I just like to see how kids develop and how I can teach them what I learned, what I know, and just help them succeed."
Published in Sports
Thursday, 28 March 2019 14:04

Meet the Team: Spa Catholic Saints Baseball

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Spa Catholic Saints are back for another season, with their sights set on high goals.

Head Coach Alphonse Lambert heads into his 32nd season coaching the legendary team, that was 20-3 last year in the Waseren League, and have been the league’s champions for the past two years. 

“Tradition never graduates. The program as of right now, we know what’s expected and we work hard,” said Coach Lambert. “We just try to take one inning at a time…that’s how we’ve been successful.

This year’s team is a veteran team of mostly juniors, seniors and one sophomore. Coach Lambert can name a few outstanding players to look out for this season including Dylan Custer, Dante Merin, and the team’s captains Nicholas Winslow and Terel Tillman. 

“He’s (Winslow) a fantastic hitter,” said Coach Lambert. “Nick is one of the best catchers in the area of the catholic districts.”

Tillman, a right-handed pitcher and shortstop is a two-time MVP of the Waseren league and three-time all-state player. According to his stats, and coach Lambert, “he’s one of Spa Catholic’s all-time greatest players.” Team captains Winslow and Tillman are not only talented players but enthused leaders.

“I try to tell them what they’re not so great at, so that they’re working on that more than working on their strong suits,” said Tillman.

“We like to have everyone involved and be a leader because we just do better, and the chemistry is better,” said Winslow.

Coach Lambert would like to focus this season on sharpening up basic skills.

“When you have a team that has a lot of talent, sometimes they do things that are unconventional,” said Lambert. “Sometimes fundamentals get lost in the shuffle, so you have to bring it back to the beginning.”

The Spa Catholic Saint’s first game of the season will be Monday, April 1 versus Hoosic Falls at Hoosic Falls. 

SaintsBaseballTeam

Published in Sports
Thursday, 28 September 2017 17:20

Neighbors: Snippets of Life From Your Community

Who: Wade Boggs, Major League Hall-of-Famer. Boggs appeared in 12 All Star games and won five American League batting titles during an 18-year baseball career, 11 of those with the Boston Red Sox. In 1996, he won a World Series as a member of the New York Yankees.

Where: Saratoga Casino Hotel. 

What did you think of your home run performance during the All-Star Celebrity Softball game?

I look at it like this: Jose Canseco was 1-for-3 in his first three swings, and we have similar body types, so I had to make a 50-and-older softball league run here.

You retired from baseball more than 15 years ago. How do you stay in baseball shape?

I coach high school baseball in Tampa, Florida, so I take BP (batting practice) with the kids and get to hit periodically. But it’s a whole different animal with the softball and the lobbing it in.

How do you feel about the day overall?

It was great to come out here. We had a huge crowd and it was a wonderful day. We even had the jockeys out here – and I’m considered a jockey since I rode a horse in ’96.

Interacting with the fans is the main thing. Everyone’s so gracious to come out and enjoy an afternoon playing a little softball, seeing some famous people and hopefully we don’t embarrass ourselves in front of people. You look around and everyone’s having a great day. We couldn’t ask for a better day in New York

Is there a camaraderie that bonds together athletes from different sports?  

Absolutely. It gives us a different opportunity to get into their world. You sit around and talk with the guys. We hang around with hall-of-famers and do our little locker room talks, but you also get into the football guys, and we got some jockeys out here. I mean, Ron Turcotte: the guy who rode Secretariat. Does it get any better than that?

What kind of conversations do you have with the other athletes?

I asked L.T. what is it when you look through that mask, and a guy’s coming at you, that you just want to knock his brains out? Does that stick with you forever?  He said: at the end of your career it sort of leaves you. That’s when you know it’s time to get out of the game, when you don’t want to get hit. And it’s sort of that way in baseball. At the end of your career, you know it’s time and the only one who can answer that is you when you look in the mirror. Because you never lie to yourself when you look in the mirror.

Did Anyone’s performance especially surprise you?

Angel Cordero. He said he couldn’t hit and then he walks out there and hits a rope to left field. I said, ‘Dude, we could have had you leading off the whole time!’

The purpose today is that you’re out here raising money for charity.Well, that’s what we do. We’re facilitators of raising money when we can come out and lend our name and draw these crowds. And when you go home at night and put your head on the pillow, there’s a big smile on my face knowing we raised money for the Ronald McDonald House.

Published in Entertainment

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Saratoga Little League’s All-Star season age-12 players dominated their way to a championship victory on Sunday.

Taking place on the league’s home field at West Side Rec on July 9, the age-12 team crushed their opponents from Schenectady 13-0 to take the District 11/12 championship. Despite initial nerves heading into the game, the team eventually proved how far ahead they were of Schenectady with an excellent overall performance, according to Coach Jeff Babcock. The team will next face the team from Plattsburgh for the Section 2 title.

“The boys went out there a little skeptical in the first inning,” Babcock said. “But after that we just started hitting the cover off the ball, and defensively we were great. Had some nice plays, and just had a great team effort for the win.”

Babcock mentioned that the team made use of the batting cages at Sluggers Den while practicing for this game. Hitting 70-mph balls in the cages rather than simply throwing back-and-forth between each other no doubt helped give them an edge heading into the game.

Speaking of specific standout players, Babcock highlighted starting pitcher Mateo Avila, whom he referred to as “untouchable.” While Schenectady managed a few hits off of Avila in the fourth inning, his performance overall was sterling, with seven strikeouts. In the tournament overall, Avila has pitched 17 innings and has given up only one run, according to Babcock. Additionally, Babcock also praised Joey Barreto, who managed an RBI double.

Saratoga Little League’s All-Stars season commences directly after the end of the standard little league season in early summer, with tryouts taking place on June 9 followed by the first practice on June 20. The three All-Star teams are roughly divided by age, with ages 10, 11, and 12 being the standards, although Babcock and league vice president David Karpinski noting that players can end up playing for teams that do not match their ages depending on their skill levels.

Around 30 young players are picked for the All-Star from the around 300 players that usually compete in the preceding season. According to Karpinski, all leagues choose their All-Star players differently, using whatever method they deem fit. Saratoga Little League’s method is to hold an “assessment night” for all interested little league players. At these nights, players run through routines that include fly balls, running, pitching, catching, and more activities that reflect the skills necessary to be a part of the team. Karpinski also stresses that their choices are not strictly based on performances during the assessment night, but also on each player’s body of work throughout the year.

The first match between Saratoga and Plattsburgh is scheduled for July 15.

Photos by www.photoandgraphic.com

Published in Sports
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