Ron Moshier - Sports

Monday, April 27, 2009

Moshier: Talladega's "great show" not a great race

Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner Brad Keselowski got it right when he called the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Speedway a “great show.” It was not, however, a great race.

 

Sure, 200 mph speeds, bumper-to-bumper start-to-finish action, and the anticipation of another “Big One” keep us glued to the edge of our seats for hours. But once again, as is the case with too many of these restrictor-plate races, the driver and/or car of the day didn’t win. Even worse, Sunday’s last-lap pass turned into a “Big One” that was scarier than most, for fans and drivers alike.

 

Hopefully, the last-lap crash that cost Carl Edwards the victory and injured several fans will force NASCAR to take a serious look at restrictor-plate racing and its pros and cons. The “show” doesn’t have to go on. Too many drivers believe it shouldn’t go on.

 

Talladega is short for, ‘We’re going to crash, we just don’t know when,’” Ryan Newman told the Associated Press.

 

Edwards had his own take, and it wasn’t sour grapes (that’s not his style). “We’ll race like this until we kill somebody,” he said, “then (NASCAR) will change it.”

 

Let’s hope it never comes to that.

 

 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Moshier: CSC should consider restructure

Section III’s decision to place the Utica and Rome City Schools in the Tri Valley League beginning with the 2009-10 school year for the majority of their athletic programs was the right move. There’s a lot more work to be done, though.

 

It’s time Section III takes it a giant step further and restructures the TVL and Center State Conference. Placing Class AA schools like Thomas R. Proctor High School and Rome Free Academy in the TVL was a good move for those two, but now the TVL’s two smallest schools, Clinton and Holland Patent, would be better off taking on somebody their own size, somebody like Adirondack, Sherburne-Earlville, Ilion, Mount Markham, or Sauquoit Valley, for instance.

 

A vote by all 104 Section III schools solved one problem, but it didn’t do Clinton and Holland Patent any favors. Restructuring the Center State Conference by school size and proximity, adding Holland Patent and Clinton to the fold, and changing the CSC from four divisions to three should be our next move. That wouldn’t be easy, but for most schools, it would be a change for the better.

 

Moshier: Giants need a receiver

No more Plaxico Burress? No problem. Not if the New York Giants do the right thing.

 

With any luck, a replacement will be on the way soon, hopefully by the end of this weekend’s NFL draft.

 

The Giants need a receiver, and there are at least two (Braylon Edwards and Anquan Boldin) out there for the taking. The Arizona Cardinals may not be willing to hand over Boldin to an NFC rival capable of knocking them out of Super Bowl contention, and Edwards may go elsewhere.

 

If that’s the case, let’s hope the Giants trade up to get Texas Tech star Michael Crabtree in Saturday’s first round of the NFL draft. Whether it be Boldin, Edwards or Crabtree, all Big Blue needs is a big-time receiver to replace Burress and the Giants will be primed for another run at a Super Bowl title.

 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Moshier: Capponi RFA's new ace

He quarterbacked Rome Free Academy’s football team in the fall. Now, the RFA baseball team will be relying heavily on Mark Capponi as a pitcher and shortstop.

 

Capponi, a senior who last year earned second-team all-star honors in the Central New York Counties League (CNYCL), looks to be the ace of RFA’s pitching staff this spring. The only returning letterman who threw over four innings last season, Capponi struck out 21 in 14.1 innings and was 3-0 with two saves and a 3.14 ERA. He also batted .324 with 12 RBIs.

 

Juniors Tim Abone, Mike Endres and Dante Mezza and sophomore Brandon Bertrand are some of the young and as yet unproven pitchers second-year head coach Mike Davis will call on this season.

 

Davis led RFA to a 15-8 record and a CNYCL National Division title last spring, but the Black Knights lost several key players to graduation, including first-team all-stars Garrett Baker, Kyle Richardson, and Rocco DeBlasiis. Baker pitched 58 innings and was 6-3 with a 2.02 ERA, Richardson batted .431 and was 4-2 with a 2.17 ERA, and another senior pitcher, Mike Stevens, was 2-3 with a 5.83 ERA.

 

“We’re going to have to do be more team-oriented this year,” Davis says. “We’ve got to play better defensively.”

 

C Zach Ciccotti, 2B Adam Davis, 3B Andy D’Amore and OF Ryan Cooke join Capponi as the only full-time starters returning this spring. Mezza, Kyle Conover and Trevor Brockway are the other lettermen back.

 

Speedy sophomore CF Tim Saccento will likely take Richardson’s spot at the top of the lineup. Davis also is high on Robbie Waller, a left-handed freshman pitcher.

 

Moshier: Proctor baseball reloads

Don’t underestimate this Thomas R. Proctor High School baseball team. Don’t you dare, not after what the Raiders accomplished last season, in what looked to be a rebuilding year.

 

A year after winning its first state championship, a young and relatively unproven Proctor team proved itself with another amazing late-season run. The Raiders, seeded 10th in the Section III tournament, beat three teams they had lost to during the regular season, rallied from three one-run deficits in the Class AA final, and captured a second straight Section III title last season.

 

“We made some real young mistakes early last year,” says Proctor head coach Dave Guido, 396-119 in 22 seasons and four victories shy of career win No. 400. “We lost six one-run games and in five of them, we had the lead in the sixth inning. We just had a lot of young players and we were giving games away. But when we got into sectionals, that was when we were playing our best baseball.

 

“We turned it around and made every play count. It really was a great ride. Everything fell into place at the right time, and obviously, we climbed on Joey’s and Sean’s back and just rode them.”

 

Those two horses, Joe Perrotta and Sean Redmond, are both gone, but Guido believes he has a deep pitching staff that may surprise some more people this season. Steve Sarcone was 4-1 with a 1.11 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 38 innings as a sophomore, and Ryan Donovan was 2-0. Guido also has high hopes for sophomore pitchers Tom Bernardis, Wendell Wright and Mike Lackey.

 

Donovan, last year’s team leader with a .394 batting average and 27 RBIs, will play third or first base when he is not pitching. He was a first-team league all-star last spring. So was Devin Warmack, a .308 hitter who stole 16 bases. He returns as Proctor’s starting center fielder and leadoff man.

 

Adam Dee, Vin Gaetano and Tom Reilly likely will split time in left and right field. Mike Scotellaro is at first base, Justin Hall at second, and Caesar Pujals at shortstop.

 

Mike Obernesser, a sophomore sensation Guido says “can flat-out play,” and senior Joe Priore will play catcher. Infielder Bruce Nichols is another returning letterman, and P-OF Ryan Alesandro, OFs Chris Evans and Frank Meola, and infielders Dan Priore, Frank Meola, Ryan Beck and Nick Raymer are first-year varsity players.

 

Proctor will play five nonleague games before the Raiders travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the 13th straight year to play in the Mango Bay Classic Tournament during spring break.

 

Moshier: No RFA-Whitesboro? What a shame!

Section III’s 2009 high school football schedules are out, and conspicuous by its absence is the usual nonleague game between two of the area’s most storied and successful programs, Class AA Rome Free Academy and Class A neighbor Whitesboro.

 

It is traditionally one of the most intriguing matchups of the regular season, but now, RFA’s only game against another Mohawk Valley area team is the Black Knights’ Sept. 4 opener against Thomas R. Proctor High School’s Raiders at RFA Stadium.

 

Without RFA, Whitesboro is left with only two games against local teams, the usual Class A National Division matchups against New Hartford and Camden.

 

It may have been a nonleaguer, but the RFA-Whitesboro football game for years drew one of the largest crowds of the regular season. It most certainly will be missed.