Ron Moshier - Sports

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Moshier: Helmuth-Ingalls, Love Post command respect in District V American Legion tourney

Looking for a dark horse in this week’s District V American Legion baseball tournament at DeLutis Field? Helmuth-Ingalls Post of Clinton and Love Post of Boonville have that look.

 

Neither one of those Oneida County teams has ever won a District V title, but both of them have to be upset-minded heading into Wednesday’s first round of the eight-team, double-elimination tournament.

 

Helmuth-Ingalls is 17-9, and armed with pitchers Jake Ross, Jordan Doroshenko, Justin Corney, Tyler White, Cory Gogola and Zach Lusby. Lee Foxton, Tyler Heck and Chris Hughes are the top hitters on a team that could make some serious noise this week if it can get by Herkimer County champion Ilion Post in Wednesday’s first round.

 

“We played Helmuth-Ingalls early in the year and the game went nine innings and we beat them on a suicide squeeze,” Utica Post manager Greg Gaeta said. “It wasn’t a fluke. They’ve done well all year.”

 

That deep pitching staff is what has Smith Post coach Tony Abone Jr. picking Helmuth-Ingalls as this week’s dark horse.

 

“They’ve got four or five arms, and some older kids in the lineup,” said Abone. “I think it’s been a long, long time since Helmuth-Ingalls has been in the playoffs, too, so I would expect them to want to make the most of it.”

 

The same, of course, can be said for Love Post, a team that was missing from the playoff picture until Whitestown Post had to forfeit six of its wins. Love Post then rolled to a five-inning, 12-1 win over New Hartford in Monday’s third-place “play-in” game.

 

“They swing the bats, and they’re a seasoned team with some veterans (like pitchers Harry Campbell and Cody Hitt) who have been around,” said Abone. “They’re playing with house money right now. They have nothing to lose.”

 

Campbell said as much Monday night, after limiting New Hartford to four hits and driving in four runs in Love’s 12-1 romp.

 

“We haven’t really played to our potential until now,” said Campbell. “This is the perfect time to do it. We’re peaking at the right time, and we have no pressure on us right now.”

 

 

Monday, July 20, 2009

Moshier: District V American Legion tournament takes shape

The District V American Legion baseball playoffs, an eight-team, double-elimination tournament, begin with four first-round games Wednesday at DeLutis Field in Rome.

 

Both fields will be used for a pair of 1 p.m. games Wednesday, with the winner of Monday night’s New Hartford Post-Love Post “play-in” game meeting Parkhurst Post on Field I and Helmuth-Ingalls Post playing Ilion Post on Field II.

 

A day-night doubleheader will follow on Field I, with Utica Post meeting Sackets Harbor at 4 p.m. and Oneida County champion Smith Post of Rome play Herkimer Post at 7 p.m.

 

The tournament continues Thursday at DeLutis Field.

Moshier: Whitestown Post wrongly denied?

Whitestown Post’s American Legion baseball team had a District V playoff berth in its sights with only days left in the regular season. That’s when longtime coach Paul Engelhart had to tell his team it was going to have to forfeit six of its wins. That ruling, made apparently because Whitestown had used an ineligible player, knocked Engelhart’s team out of playoff contention.

 

What a way to go. What a shame. Engelhart, one of the most respected coaches in Oneida County American Legion baseball, shouldered the blame, even though anybody who knows him would realize his intentions were good. Did he make a clerical error, and file paper work too late? Perhaps. I’m sure he’s not the first coach to do that. If that is what happened, league officials should have notified him of the error before the first pitch was thrown, so it could be corrected.

 

OK, so rules are rules. But Engelhart, Whitestown Post’s head coach for 11 seasons, is one of those guys who make Oneida County American Legion baseball something special. It’s hard to believe he was intentionally trying to “get away” with something. It would be a shocker if that was the case.

 

So, then, did the league and state’s punishment fit the crime? Certainly not. You don’t want to see any team’s season, not to mention the American Legion careers of so many area players, end like this. If Oneida County ran a tighter ship, and a preseason list of checks and balances was followed, player-by-player, team-by-team, maybe honest mistakes like this would not happen.

 

There’s a good chance this miscue could have been avoided, long before it came to this, an emotional coach trying to explain to his players why their post-season hopes have been dashed by a mere “technicality.” Unhappy endings like that should never happen, not to Whitestown Post or to any other team, and certainly not to a coach as near and dear to his players as Paul Engelhart. Maybe it’s the system that needs fixing, before something like this happens again.

 

 

 

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Moshier: Boilermaker walk a must-do

Another Boilermaker Weekend is off and running. The walk wasn’t bad, either.

 

On Saturday, my wife and I did the Boilermaker 3-mile walk in and around the Mason Care Community grounds for the first time, and we thoroughly enjoyed every step of the way. Not even a sudden downpour could put a damper on a good time for a good cause (The Ride for Missing Children).

 

We would encourage anyone to try it next year, if you haven’t already. It was money and time well spent, and a great way to be a part of the Boilermaker experience.

 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Moshier: Venus the classier sister act

Serena Williams may have won her 11th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon with a straight-set victory over older sister Venus, and yes, she should be the No. 1 ranked woman in the word, not Dinara Safina.

 

When it comes to class actions, though, Serena isn’t the top-ranked player in her family. It’s not even close.

 

Making a mockery of the WTA rankings is one thing, but don’t pin the blame on Safina. It’s not her fault, it’s the system.

 

And do you think sister Venus would show up at an All England Club press conference wearing a pink t-shirt with the provocative phrase, “Are you looking at my titles?” stretched across her chest? No way.

 

Earlier in the tournament, while Serena was joking about the many differences between her and her sister, she laughed about being a fan of twitter, while Venus was learning to speak two or three languages. That should tell you something.

 

As good as she is on the court, the little sister still has a ways to go before she becomes the winner Venus has been for so many years.