Student Reporting Archive

Dark Knight Brightens Dutchess Stadium

October 4, 2017

Editor’s note: As part of his capstone for his master’s degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism with Sports Communications Emphasis, Dontae Harris covered the Hudson Valley Renegades this summer. The story below is from August 12 – the night fans packed the stadium to see a visiting player. Story and photos by Dontae Harris Fishkill, […]

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Editor’s note: As part of his capstone for his master’s degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism with Sports Communications Emphasis, Dontae Harris covered the Hudson Valley Renegades this summer. The story below is from August 12 – the night fans packed the stadium to see a visiting player.

Story and photos by Dontae Harris

Fishkill, N.Y. – The home team was not the headline for a sellout crowd at Dutchess Stadium on Saturday. In fact the home team promoted the visiting player through social media and on the big screen just outside the ballpark and there were a lot of orange jerseys in that crowd.

New York Mets All-Star pitcher Matt Harvey got his first start off the disabled list, throwing one inning for the Brooklyn Cyclones in the back end of a non-traditional doubleheader against the Hudson Valley Renegades.  He gave up a walk, a hit and a run.

“I was trying to get my rhythm and mechanics back down,” Harvey said. He had not pitched since June 14 due to a shoulder injury. Harvey said he threw some sliders, a few changeups and fastballs.

 

Renegades get on the board

Trailing 1-0, the Renegades came out with energy in the bottom of the first against the man known as the Dark Knight of Gotham. He started off his outing with a walk to Vidal Brujan. Brujan took second base on a delayed steal because the Cyclones didn’t pay attention to him. Taylor Walls knocked in Brujan with a single.

Harvey retired the side after that and his day was done. The Dark Knight said the excitement for his next start is to stretch things out and works things in a little more.

“I threw a good slider for a strike to maybe the second or third batter and it’s nice to get an extension and not have any pain on that,” Harvey said. “It’s hard to go out there for one inning and know you have one inning to throw and work on everything”

 

The 19-year-old

The Renegades didn’t cool down after Harvey’s exit. They scored one in the second inning, two in the third and two more in the fourth to win the seven-inning game 6-2.

That was more than the Renegades’ 19-year-old starting pitcher Tobias Myers needed to get the win. He pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits and striking out ten Cyclones.

“I just went in there and tried to attack them with fastballs,” Myers said.

This was his fourth start against Brooklyn but the first against them with the Renegades. The Orioles traded Myers to the Rays for Tim Beckham on July 31. Beckham was the #1 overall pick in 2008 MLB Amateur Draft.

 

Harvey fans had to wait

The double-header came about because Friday’s game had been suspended due to rain and was picked up on Saturday at 5:05pm. Rumor around the press box was that Harvey was going to resume the first game, but it turned out that he couldn’t because he wasn’t on Friday’s roster. The Renegades wound up winning that one 4-1.

 

Where they stand

The Renegades head into Sunday’s rubber match with the Cyclones two-and-a-half games out of a wild card spot. With four weeks left in the regular season, they are five-and-a-half games behind the Staten Island Yankees who lead the division.

 

A former Met in his true colors

Before game two, former New York Met Cliff Floyd threw out the first pitch along with some fans. Floyd showed his loyalty by wearing a retro teal Florida Marlins hat.  Floyd won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997.

Renegades Rule: Suitable for Framing

October 4, 2017

FISHKILL, N.Y. — The Hudson Valley Renegades are the 2017 New York-Penn League champions, having swept a best-of-three series with the Vermont Lake Monsters in September. As part of his Newhouse School master’s degree capstone project, Dontae Harris covered the Renegades’ season. Here is a look at season highlights as seen through his camera lens.

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FISHKILL, N.Y. — The Hudson Valley Renegades are the 2017 New York-Penn League champions, having swept a best-of-three series with the Vermont Lake Monsters in September.

As part of his Newhouse School master’s degree capstone project, Dontae Harris covered the Renegades’ season. Here is a look at season highlights as seen through his camera lens.

New York Liberty: Scenes from a Season

October 4, 2017

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The New York Liberty closed the 2017 WNBA regular season on a ten-game win streak to finish 22-12. Sitting at .500 on Aug. 4 after a loss to the L.A. Sparks, the Liberty got on a roll and finished in third place in the final standings. But whatever the Liberty had found was lost […]

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NEW YORK, N.Y. — The New York Liberty closed the 2017 WNBA regular season on a ten-game win streak to finish 22-12. Sitting at .500 on Aug. 4 after a loss to the L.A. Sparks, the Liberty got on a roll and finished in third place in the final standings.

But whatever the Liberty had found was lost in a single-elimination playoff game against the six-seed Washington Mystics and Coach Bill Laimbeer’s team went out, 82-68. 

As part of his capstone for his master’s degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism with Sports Communications Emphasis, Dontae Harris contributed to the website “A Lot of Sports Talk” coverage of the Liberty’s season. Here is his look in photos at some of the highlights.

And here is the playoff loss to the Mystics.

Syracuse Stumbles Against NC State in ACC Opener

October 1, 2017

Story by Kent Paisley Photos by Dominique Patrick Raleigh, N. C. — The Syracuse Orange (2-2, 0-0) ventured into Carter-Finley Stadium for its ACC opener against NC State (3-1, 1-0) on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with the newly debuted Wolfpack logo scowling at midfield on Military Appreciation Day. Syracuse left chasing its tail after another […]

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Story by Kent Paisley
Photos by Dominique Patrick

Raleigh, N. C. — The Syracuse Orange (2-2, 0-0) ventured into Carter-Finley Stadium for its ACC opener against NC State (3-1, 1-0) on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with the newly debuted Wolfpack logo scowling at midfield on Military Appreciation Day.

Syracuse left chasing its tail after another failed second half comeback bid, with the Wolfpack winning 33-25.

“We’ve got to find a way to start faster,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “That’s the bottom line. You can’t spot the LSU Tigers and the NC State Wolfpack leads like that and then expect to run them back down in their venues with their crowds behind them.”

NC State Storms to the Lead

Syracuse elected to defer the opening kickoff, and NC State took advantage of the decision.The Wolfpack had scored on its first offensive possession in each game this season.

NC State topped that trend by scoring on its first five possessions in the first half, putting up 26 points on 350 yards from scrimmage. Its only blemishes were a missed field goal from 31 yards and a missed PAT.

“We knew that if we got on them early it would make it tough for them, so we wanted to get them out of their comfort zone,” Wolfpack wide receiver Stephen Louis said.

The Wolfpack approach proved effective as Syracuse opened the game as if having hit the snooze button on the noon kickoff.

 

Orange gets in its own way

Syracuse began the game kicking the ball out of bounds, setting the Wolfpack up with strong field position at its own 35-yard line. NC State drove for a field goal and a -3-0 lead.

As he had the week before against LSU, quarterback Eric Dungey once again threw an interception on the Orange’s first possession, with NC State cornerback Johnathan Alston securing his team-leading second interception of the season.

The Orange again held NC State to a field goal but then got in its own way again.

Placekicker Cole Murphy who went one of six last season on outdoor kicks, was tasked to convert a 48-yard field goal after Syracuse drove 45 yards. He missed, leaving the score at 6-0 and was benched from field goal attempts for the remainder of the game.

Starting at its own 20, NC State drove 70 yards in five plays, finishing with a 20-yard pass to Louis for the touchdown. The extra point made it 13-0.

Syracuse finally got going with a ten-play, 75-yard drive to get within 13-7. Dungey took it the last seven yards himself. Wide receiver Ervin Phillips highlighted the Syracuse drive with a 37-yard reception. It was one of 17 for him on the afternoon, setting a new school record for receptions in a game. Dungey also surpassed 6,000 career all purpose yards on the opening TD drive.

NC State answered back with a five-play, 75-yard drive, but missed the point after and led 19-7.

Driving after getting the ball back, Syracuse faced a fourth and one at the Wolfpack 17. Babers elected to go for it, leaving the ball in the hands of Dungey. Dungey broke left, and his offensive line broke right.

“I was just trying to get the first down, and there was a little miscommunication,” Dungey said.

That miscommunication resulted in a turnover on downs after Dungey was stuffed. The Wolfpack stayed on the hunt, striking for its final score of the half, leading 26-7.

The stage was set for a blowout, but the Orange responded.

 

Orange launches a comeback

The second half had the stands significantly thinned out from the start of the contest on the far side of the field. The sun beamed down on the stands the entire game, and fans headed for shade to avoid the heat.

The Orange took advantage of the quieter crowd, scoring a touchdown. The drive was highlighted by a 38-yard pass completion to wide receiver Steve Ishmael on fourth down.

Syracuse gave up one first down to NC State over its first three possessions of the second half.

This opened up opportunities for the offense to respond. On its third drive of the half, the Orange faced third and seven from the NC State eight. Dungey completed a slant route to Ishamel for an apparent touchdown.

But Syracuse once again got in its own way.

Penalty flag thrown into the air. Illegal formation.

Touchdown wiped off the board.

It was 5 of the Orange’s 93 penalty yards on the afternoon.

The Orange settled for three, leaving four critical points behind. Syracuse trailed 26-17 near the end of the third.


The Final bid

The Wolfpack opened the fourth quarter on a five minute, 65-yard touchdown drive. NC State Headcoach Dave Doeren went for one, leaving the game at a 16-point margin, 33-17.

Syracuse had to play a perfect game the rest of the way, needing two touchdowns and two two point conversions to tie the game.

The Orange marched down the field, with Dungey breaking out on a 22-yard run on fourth and four to get Syracuse into the red zone at the Wolfpack 15.

SU failed to move the ball forward another yard. Babers went deep into the playbook with a trick pass on fourth down from wide receiver Devin Butler to tight end Ravian Pierce.

It landed just outside his reach in the end zone.

NC State went three and out, with Babers using two of his three timeouts to stop the clock. Syracuse punt returner Sean Riley returned the Wolfpack punt into NC State territory.

Dungey and the offense scored in one minute n a ten-yard pass to Ishmael. Dungey kept it himself to convert two, and the Orange trailed by eight.

Syracuse never got the ball back, as Finley convertedt a fourth-and-inches into a first down on the next possession to ice the game.

Syracuse won the second half in both games on its road trip, outscoring LSU and NC State 41-28, but ended the road trip winless.

NC State won its 200th game at Carter-Finley Stadium with the victory. The Wolfpack advanced to 2-0 in ACC Play, the first time in eleven years.

Going Forward

State running back Dakwa Nichols was injured on his eighth carry of the season, and had to be carted off the field. Doeren updated his status after the game, saying Nichols is out for the season and will be have knee surgery tomorrow.

The Wolfpack advanced to 10-1 in the series history against Syracuse.

 

NC State and Syracuse’s next games will be ACC openers for their opponents. NC State hosts Louisville this Thursday at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN. Syracuse returns to the Carrier Dome against the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday at 12:30.

Tigers Survive Orange Upset Bid

September 24, 2017

Story by Brooke Meenachan Photos by Tyler Dudley Baton Rouge, La. — “Welcome to Death Valley” looms large in gold letters in the center of the Tiger Stadium stands. Nearly 100,000 fans who planted themselves in their seats Saturday night and almost got to witness the Syracuse Orange get out alive with a stunning upset against […]

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Story by Brooke Meenachan

Photos by Tyler Dudley

Baton Rouge, La. — “Welcome to Death Valley” looms large in gold letters in the center of the Tiger Stadium stands. Nearly 100,000 fans who planted themselves in their seats Saturday night and almost got to witness the Syracuse Orange get out alive with a stunning upset against the 25th ranked Tigers. Almost.

But the Tigers came away with a 35-26 win over the Orange using a handful of big plays and a 20-yard touchdown run in the closing two minutes that sealed the deal.

“I’m not upset,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “I’m disappointed that those young men didn’t get an opportunity to win a game like that in a venue like this that would affect them for the rest of their lives.”

“I give Syracuse credit, they battled the whole time,” said LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, whose team got hammered a week earlier at Mississippi State. “It’s a good win for our team. I know it wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t exciting, but I’m glad that we won.”

 

First quarter: quick LSU start

The first play of the game was almost a pick six after Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey’s pass was intercepted by Darrel Williams. Dungey yanked Williams down by the face mask at the 1-yard line and LSU took a 7-0 lead on its first play from scrimmage as Derrius Guice ran the ball in for a touchdown with just nine seconds gone. It was the fastest score in an LSU game since Oct. 12, 1985.

“It was a bad read on my part,” Dungey said. “I shouldn’t have taken the match up. I mean, testing those corners on a running back, that’s not smart.”

 

Where’s the offense?

Neither team was an offensive threat to start the game. LSU combined for ten yards on five carries, while Syracuse led the first 15 minutes with 79 total yards.

While the Orange won the offense in the first, its only score came on a 42-yard field goal by Cole Murphy at 7:58. It was his longest attempt of the season so far.

 

Second quarter: Opportunity came knocking

Syracuse had plenty of chances to make something happen in this game. But this one might haunt the Orange for a while.

Dungey saw wide receiver Sean Riley wide open in the end zone for a potential 55-yard touchdown pass, but the ball went off the sophomore’s hands and SU missed the chance to take the lead with just under nine minutes to go in the first half.

LSU quarterback Danny Etling found openings in the Orange pass defense and drove the Tigers 71 yards late in the second quarter, completing four passes in five attempts. He connected with Stephen Sullivan for a 43-yard touchdown and the Tigers took a 14-3 lead heading into the half.

 

Third quarter: We’ve got a game, folks!

 

The Tigers got the ball to start the second half and they came out strong. LSU’s first play of the second half was an 87-yard touchdown bomb from Etling to wide receiver Drake Davis, who beat his defender.

But the Orange responded quickly. Syracuse marched right back with a 30-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Devin C. Butler to wide receiver Ervin Phillips on a flea flicker to make it 21-10.

Myles Brennan replaced Etling under center for LSU and the true freshman led his team down to Syracuse’s 20-yard line. Williams finished the job with a 20-yard rush into the end zone and LSU took an 18-point lead. Williams recorded 77 of the 91 yards on the six-play drive.

On the next series, a 58-yard Sterling Hofrichter punt pinned LSU at its own one-yard line and when SU Linebacker Parris Bennett tackled Williams in the end zone for a safety the Orange cut the deficit to 28-12.

Syracuse got the ball back and drove 72 yards in ten plays, finishing with a 14-yard touchdown run by Dungey, who kept around right end and smashed his way through tacklers past the pylon. .

For the game, Dungey completed 32 of 53 passes for 265 yards and a TD. He ran the ball 13 times for 24 yards and caught a pass for 13 yards

Babers opted to go for the extra point rather than two.

“Points are so hard to come by and you would think that one point, oh you gotta get that one,” Babers explained after the game. ”No you don’t. You need to be patient.”

The Orange trailed 28-19 heading into the final 15 minutes.

 

Fourth quarter: close, but

Juwan Dowels intercepted Etling’s pass and the Orange took over at their own 20-yard line. Syracuse went on an 80-yard drive in 13 plays, resulting in a 22-yard touchdown pass to Steve Ishmael with 5:40 left to play.

Trailing by two, Babers called for an onside kick.

The Tigers recovered at their own 44. With less than two minutes in the game, D.J. Clark ran the ball in to give LSU a 35-26 edge and the upset bid was over.

“I kept telling the guys, you know, ‘we’re winning this, we’re winning this’. I mean, we all had confidence,” Dungey said. “I really felt like we left a lot on the table, out on the field.”

 

Not a moral victory

Plenty of people wrote the Orange off before kick-off. But Syracuse hung around and gave the Tigers a game.

Babers is not a moral victory kind of guy, but said he’s still proud of the way his team performed.

“We shouldn’t be satisfied,” Babers said. “We could have won that football game and we didn’t. They need to understand that that hurts and we need to find a way to go out and win the next one.”

“I think that we’re a good team. Now, we’ve got to line up and play again. We got to play another team that had a fantastic win (North Carolina State, which beat Florida State in Tallahassee.) We’re coming off of a loss.

“We got to be healthy. I don’t know how healthy we are. It’s going to be a long road, but I think I got a bunch of guys that will line up every single Saturday and fight, even if the Saturday’s on a Friday” (as it will be when Clemson comes to the Dome on Oct. 13).

Now if his team turned a corner after putting up a fight? He said that’s still questionable.

“We’re going to have to see. We just lost a game. I don’t think you turn corners when you lose.”

 

Next up

Syracuse (2-2, 0-0) opens up ACC play when it visits N.C. State (3-1, 1-0 ACC) on Saturday with kickoff set at 12:20.

LSU (3-1) takes on Troy (3-1) in a 7:00 p.m. game in Baton Rouge.

Orange Roars Back, Rolls Over CMU

September 17, 2017

Story by Ashley Burroughs Photos by Jared Bomba SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange football team struggled early, then bounced back for a blowout win against Central Michigan at the Carrier Dome on Saturday. Looking at a must-win situation after the loss to Middle Tennessee State a week earlier, the SU offense rolled up 579 […]

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  • Story by Ashley Burroughs

Photos by Jared Bomba

SYRACUSE, N.Y.

The Syracuse Orange football team struggled early, then bounced back for a blowout win against Central Michigan at the Carrier Dome on Saturday.

Looking at a must-win situation after the loss to Middle Tennessee State a week earlier, the SU offense rolled up 579 yards.The defense held the Chippewas to 382 yards and shut them out in the second half in front of the largest reported crowd this season, 33,004.
“I am very-very proud of them,” head coach Dino Babers said. “They really went about their business and came out and played this game the right way. I thought they played extremely well.”

 

First Quarter: Back and forth

Central Michigan won the coin toss and deferred. Quarterback Eric Dungey led the Orange down the field but the drive stalled and Cole Murphy hit a 41-yard field to put Syracuse ahead 3-0.

Central Michigan battled back and Shane Morris completed a 56-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Cole for 56-yards to give the Chippewas 7-3 lead.

On the next series, Dungey’s pass was intercepted by Jacorey Sullivan at the 28-yard line and while the Orange defense stopped CMU,the Chippewas were already in position for a 30-yard field goal by Michael Armstrong, extending the lead 10-3.

Syracuse tied it up when defensive back Evan Foster intercepted a Morris pass and returned it for a 24-yard touchdown and the first quarter ended tied at 10-10

 

Second Quarter: Momentum Shift for Syracuse

Both teams moved the ball but neither put points on the board early on the second quarter. But at 7:52, Morris completed a pass to Johnathan Ward for a 17-yard touchdown for Central Michigan to regain the lead 17-10. That turned out to be the last score for CMU

Wide receiver Sean Riley, returned the kickoff 64 yards to Central Michigan’s 32-yard line. Six plays later Dungey compled an 18-yard touchdown pass to Dontae Strickland to tie the game 17-17.

Later in the quarter, Syracuse defensive back Christopher Fredrick intercepted Morris’s pass at the 24-yard line and returned it to the SU 47-yard line. Dungey completed a deep pass for 44 yards to Riley resulting in a first down for the Orange. Strickland took it the last nine yards up the middle to give Syracuse a 24-17 lead at the half.

“Sean did a great job,” Dungey said. “They defensively set the tempo for us. Defense did a great job today. The line did a great job. You know Sean and the receivers making plays and some of the young guys stepping up.”

 

Third Quarter: Dungey Making Major Plays 

At the start of the third quarter, the Orange continued to drive the ball. Wide receiver Moe Neal, made a game-changing play by rushing the ball 71-yards to Central Michigan’s putting Syracuse in the red zone again. Dungey completed a 17 yard pass to Steve Ishmael to the one-yard line. Then, Dungey ran the ball up the middle for a touchdown increasing Syracuse’s lead to 31-17.

As the Orange defense shut CMU down, SU’s offense kept churning out big gains. Dungey took a turn, rushing the ball 74-yards to Central Michigan’s six-yard line before the Chippewas caught up with him.

“It was good, I wish I would have scored but I haven’t had a long run like that since high school,” Dungey said. “The offense did a great job- the line making a hole for me and I saw the opportunity and I just tried to make a play. I am glad we were able to capitalize after that.”

This play set up a six-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ravian Pierce to pad the lead to 38-17. Cole Murphy kicked a 25-yard field goal to end quarter., 41-17, Syracuse.

 

Fourth Quarter: Orange Defense Dominates

Central Michigan continued to struggle offensively due to the Orange defense. Morris had two complete passes for nine yards to get a first down. Wide receiver Romelo Ross rushed the ball up the middle for five-yards, appearing to get a touchdown but the play reviewed and it was ruled a fumble and SU recovery. As a result the Orange defense held Central Michigan scoreless in the fourth quarter and Syracuse coasted to a 41-17 win.

 

Looking Ahead:

The Orange will be facing two tough opponents in the next two games. Syracuse (2-1) will be on the road Sept. 23 against LSU (2-1) then at North Carolina State the following Saturday.

“We just have to go in there focus and play the way we play,” Riley said.

The LSU Tigers (2-1) were ranked 12th in the country but got blown out Saturday at Mississippi State (3-0). The game is schedule to start at 7 p.m.

This was the first loss of the season for Central Michigan (2-1). The Chippewas will host the Miami RedHawks (1-2) next Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

 

 

WAER Hall of Fame for Marv Albert

September 14, 2017

Story by Zach Staton Staff photos SYRACUSE N.Y. – Before he became “The Voice of the New York Knicks,” fans were already accustomed to Marv Albert’s voice ringing throughout the stands in Madison Square Garden. “I used to go to the top of Madison Square Garden and do play-by-play for all of the Knicks games,” Albert […]

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Story by Zach Staton
Staff photos

SYRACUSE N.Y. – 
Before he became “The Voice of the New York Knicks,” fans were already accustomed to Marv Albert’s voice ringing throughout the stands in Madison Square Garden.

“I used to go to the top of Madison Square Garden and do play-by-play for all of the Knicks games,” Albert told the crowd gathered in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School.

“That really got on the nerves of the fans around me,” he said, drawing enthusiastic laughter.


Hall of Fame Broadcaster

Albert was inducted into the WAER Hall of Fame Wednesday evening, joining alums such as Ted Koppel, Bob Costas, Sean McDonough, Dick Stockton, Beth Mowins, Mike Tirico and Ian Eagle.

WAER also announced that its news and sports studios have been named in his honor.

WAER, the University- licensed radio station, is currently professionally staffed but uses student volunteers in broadcasting news and sports.  When Albert attended Syracuse, from 1960-1963, the station was entirely run by students.  He said he knew he wanted to be a sportscaster and it was one of Albert’s idols who convinced him the opportunity he had at WAER would be unlike anything else.

“I had gotten to know Marty Glickman quite well when I worked for him in high school,” Albert said.  “He kind of convinced me that coming here would be the right move because it had all the good sports teams and it had WAER.”

Glickman, the Olympic runner and Syracuse football star turned sports broadcaster is legendary as the person who started the line of successful sports media professionals who came through SU although WAER did not exist when he was a student, graduating in 1939. He became the play-by-play man for the NBA New York Knicks and the New York football Giants, broadcasting a wide variety of sports and mentoring dozens of successful broadcasters who came after him.

WAER Sports – the incubator

At WAER, Albert called play-by-play for various sports, including basketball.  He also called Syracuse Chiefs baseball games in 1962, the same position former S.F. Giants and N.Y. Yankees announcer Hank Greenwald, Monday Night Football announcer Sean McDonough, ESPN and Chicago White Sox announcer Jason Benetti, “Voice of the Orange” Matt Park and other SU alums held early in their careers.  Each was a student broadcaster at WAER.

“It is fantastic to see that kind of success,” Albert said. “The more people are produced here, the more people are attracted to come here.”

Albert moved on to become the play-by-play broadcaster for the New York Knicks from 1967-2004, the lead announcer for the NBA on NBC from 1990-2002, and is currently calling NBA games on TNT. He’s also made his mark as Voice of the New York Rangers in the NHL and covering boxing, including in the Olympics for NBC.

Sparring with the Czar

Former NBA head coach and current Turner Sports colleague Mike Fratello delivered the Hall of Fame introductory speech, showing that they are not just good broadcast partners, but also close friends off the air.  In addition to saluting Albert, the man whom Albert dubbed “Czar of the Telestrator” poked fun at his various appearances on television shows such as Everybody Loves Raymond, The Simpsons, and Sesame Street, which the audience saw in a highlight clip.

“Marv was always trying to get into acting,” Fratello said. “He was so prepared for the games during that phase, he leaned over to me one game and asked, ‘Who is that wearing the number 23?’ So I said, ‘That’s Michael Jordan.’”

Albert made sure to return fire, playing a video of Fratello getting angry at officials while he was coaching.

Fellow greats

Joining Albert in the 2017 WAER Hall of Fame class were Ed Levine, owner of Galaxy Communications, and Scott MacFarlane, an investigative reporter for NBC 4 in Washington D.C.

In his speech, MacFarlane highlighted a trip he made with his father to watch the Denver Nuggets play the New Jersey Nets.  The teams’ play-by-play announcers were Al and Steve Albert, Marv’s younger brothers.

“I thought, ‘Wow, those guys must have a really good older brother,'” MacFarlane said.

Blue Raiders Down Orange in Shafer Return

September 10, 2017

Story by Erica Pieschke Photos by Ivan Traczuk SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders came from behind, then held off two late Syracuse drives to upset the favored Orange 30-23 at the Carrier Dome, Saturday. It was a triumphant return for former Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer who is now the defensive coordinator for […]

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Story by Erica Pieschke

Photos by Ivan Traczuk

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders came from behind, then held off two late Syracuse drives to upset the favored Orange 30-23 at the Carrier Dome, Saturday.

It was a triumphant return for former Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer who is now the defensive coordinator for Middle Tennessee. His defense repeatedly stymied the Orange’s fast-paced offense, and stopped Syracuse just short in its final drive to tie the game.

Shafer’s successor as head coach, Dino Babers said the emotion that Shafer’s presence brought had an effect on the SU players.

“There’s nobody to blame but myself,” Babers said. “It’s my job to get them ready, they weren’t ready. We didn’t handle the emotional roller coaster with all the stuff that was brought into this game.”

First Quarter: Slow Start 

The teams exchanged punts early in the game, but on MTSU’s second possession the Blue Raiders drove to the Syracuse 24. Evan Foster forced a Brad Anderson fumble and Parris Bennett recovered for Syracuse at the 16..

From there the Orange want backwards.

Dontae Strickland was stopped after a three-yard run. Quarterback Eric Dungey threw an incomplete pass to Steve Ishmael, then was sacked for a six-yard loss.

The snap went over punter Sterling Hofrichter’s head and into the end zone and he took a safety. Middle Tennessee led 2-0 halfway through the first quarter.

A couple of series later, Syracuse’s Jonathan Thomas intercepted a Brent Stockstill pass at the MTSU 19 and ran it back to the four-yard line. The Orange looked to be in business.

But Strickland was stopped for two consecutive losses rushing, and another incomplete pass from Dungey to Ishmael on third down led Syracuse to settle for a field goal. Cole Murphy connected from 25 yards out, putting Syracuse in the lead 3-2.

Shane Tucker returned Murphy’s kickoff 64-yards to the Syracuse 35 and while the first quarter ended with Syracuse ahead 3-2, that wouldn’t last long.

Dungey had a total of four yards passing while Middle Tennessee’s Stockstill ended the quarter with 118 yards.

 

Second Quarter: Missed chances

Stockstill opened the second quarter by keeping the ball for a 12-yard gain to the SU 14. Ty Lee took it the rest of the way on the next play and Canon Rooker added the extra point, putting Middle Tennessee back in the lead 9-3.

This seemed to fire up Syracuse. After Sean Riley returned the kickoff to the SU 48, the Orange drove to the MTSU one-yard line this time Strickland took it in up the middle.

After Murphy’s extra point, Syracuse had the lead back at 10-9.

The Orange stopped the Blue Raiders and drove again, this time to the MTSU eight-yard line. But a fourth-down pass to Ishmael went incomplete and SU came away empty.

The Orange stopped the Blue Raiders again, and again drove, this time to the MTSU four-yard line. A rush and two incomplete passes left Babers with another choice and this time he took the field goal. Murphy’s 22-yard kick was good.

Syracuse led 13-9 at the half.

 

Third Quarter: MTSU ties it

Dungey came off the field gimpy, early in the second half after a couple of hard hits, one of which got MTSU defensive end Walter Brady tossed out for targeting.

Backup Zach Mahoney drove Orange to the MTSU 19-yard line but got sacked, losing six yards, and Syracuse set up for another field goal. Murphy made the 40-yard kick, putting Syracuse up 16-9.

The Orange seemed in control when it forced a Blue Raiders’ three-and-out, but Riley fumbled the punt, Ruben Garnett recovered at the SU 28 and the Stockstill was not about to miss another chance.

After getting nowhere on first and second down, he passed found Richie James open for the score.

Rooker’s extra point tied the score at 16-16.

Murphy missed a 40-yard attempt that would have given Syracuse back the lead and the third quarter.

ended with the tie intact.

 

Fourth Quarter: Blue Raiders finish it

Stockstill opened the fourth quarter with a 48-yard touchdown pass to Ty Lee and suddenly the Blue Raiders had the lead back.

Dungey answered with an eleven-play, 75-yard drive, taking it in himself on a 29-yard keeper up the middle to tie the game at 23.

Stockstill led Middle Tennessee 75 yards in ten plays,  hitting Shane Tucker on a a ten-yard crossing route for the touchdown and a 30-23 lead.

Syracuse had two more chances, but Dungey was intercepted on the 24 on the first drive.

The Orange defense held and there was one chance left. Syracuse drove again from its own 40.

With 28 seconds left and the Orange at fourth down and 15 yards to go, Dungey completed a sideline pass to Ishmael who was close to the first-down marker. As the Syracuse crowd held its collective breath, the play was reviewed. The catch was ruled one yard short and MTSU ran out the clock.

“Steve did a great job,” Dungey said. “He executed well on that play and the line did a great job as well. I thought we had it, but I guess not.”

 

Shafer’s success

Shafer’s defense held Syracuse to 308 yards of total offense, 126 rushing and stopped the Orange twice in comeback attempts in the fourth quarter.

Middle Tennessee threw an array of blitzes at the Orange and Dungey said that caused difficulty, especially early.

Shafer, who embraced a number of his former players before the game, brought a cigar to his post-game media opportunity but passed on any opportunity to gloat.

“It was never about anything more than the kids, the players,” he told reporters after the game.

“I love those boys on this Middle Tennessee team and I love those boys at Syracuse.”

 

Notes

Quarterback Eric Dungey started out seeming to be affected by the emotion but wound up gaining 89 yards by rushing the ball, 29 of gave him to that touchdown in the fourth quarter.

In addition, Dungey passed a total of 180 yards on 26 completions. This number pushed Dungey past Don McPherson’s career completions to being fifth on the SU list with a total of 373.

McPherson was in the Dome as part of the 30th anniversary of the 1987 undefeated SU team that he quarterbacked, winding up second to Notre Dame’s Tim Brown in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Linebacker Parris Bennett said his past year’s experience of losses gives him knowledge of how to make a come back for the next game.

“I mean you just got to go look at the film. Look at the mistakes and examine yourself hard,” Bennett says. “But you also can’t let the loss weigh on you and effect you for the next game. After you watch the film, and make your adjustments, you’ve got to flush it.”

Looking Ahead

This was the first loss of the season, and in a game Syracuse was favored to win. Babers said he knows what the team needs  to move forward.

“Well the first thing that we need to do is we need to go back and we need to reexamine ourselves tomorrow, and it has to be an honest evaluation,” Babers said.

“You’ve got to drop the E so we can GO. These young men, sometimes you look at them and tell them the truth and sometimes they believe you and sometimes they don’t. I guarantee you all 104 of them will believe tomorrow in the meeting. And with that belief we have an opportunity to be better.”

Syracuse (1-1) hosts Central Michigan (2-0) Saturday, Sept. 16 at 3:30 p.m. The Chippewas beat Kansas on Saturday, 45-27.

Middle Tennessee (1-1) will be on the road Saturday, Sept. 16 at 2:30 against the University of Minnesota (2-0.) The Golden Gophers rolled over Oregon State, 48-14.

Walk-off Win for Chiefs on Community Night

September 3, 2017

Story and photo by Kent Paisley SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Andrew Stevenson lashed a walk-off single to give the Syracuse Chiefs a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Bisons at NBT Bank Stadium Saturday night to even their final series of the season at one each. The walk-off single snapped the Chiefs three game losing streak, and allowed the […]

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Story and photo by Kent Paisley

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Andrew Stevenson lashed a walk-off single to give the Syracuse Chiefs a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Bisons at NBT Bank Stadium Saturday night to even their final series of the season at one each.

The walk-off single snapped the Chiefs three game losing streak, and allowed the team to celebrate on the final fireworks night of the season.

 

Community Night at NBT Stadium

The Chiefs held their second annual Community Night, offering a free mystery bobble head to the first one thousand fans who entered the stadium. The bobble heads ranged from Game of Thrones characters to NBA players.

People were also able to purchase additional bobble heads for $5, as well as participate in a 50/50 raffle. All the proceeds went to the Syracuse Chiefs Charitable Foundation.

In addition, one dollar from every game ticket was donated to Maureen’s Hope, a charitable organization which has partnered with the Syracuse Chiefs for its Beads of Courage program.

The Beads of Courage program has Chiefs players wear beads for one game of the season, and write an inspirational note to go along with the beads. The note and beads are then given to hospitalized children that are fighting cancer.

After recognizing during a pregame ceremony some children fighting cancer and having them each throw out a first pitch, the game was on.
Second Inning Scare

Esmil Rogers (3-2, 3.58 ERA) took the hill for the Chiefs. Murphy Smith (3-5, 3.66 ERA) started for the Bisons. The first inning was uneventful for both teams, but the Bisons and the Chiefs each had the opportunity to draw first blood in the second inning.

In the top of the second, Bisons first baseman Randy Tellez drew a walk, and third baseman Jason Leblebijian followed with a single up the middle, putting runners on first and second.

Rogers proceeded to amplify the threat by throwing a fastball in the dirt, knocked down but not corralled by the hobbling catcher Pedro Severino. Serverino hurt his lower leg on a foul tip in the top of the first.

Rogers then struck out Bison catcher Mike Ohlman, and got shortstop Shane Opitz to hit a soaring pop up to Chiefs second baseman Brandon Snyder just outside the infield dirt for the second out of the frame.

Rogers then added to his personal highlight reel to support his cause, with Bisons second baseman Jon Berti hitting a one hop grounder towards the mound.

Rogers stabbed out with his pitching hand and snagged the ball, and then calmly threw to first base to get out of the jam without surrendering a run.

“It wasn’t hit that hard,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said after the game.  (But) we’d rather see him use his glove,”

 

Two-out Magic

No base runner got past first base in the third through fifth innings, but the Chiefs broke the streak in the bottom of the sixth.

Smith had set down nine consecutive Chiefst before facing right fielder Neftali Soto, who singled on a line drive to right field.

Cleanup and designated hitter Clint Robinson strode to the plate next, and cleaned up the lone runner on the bases with a line drive into the left center gap that hopped to the wall for a double.

Snyder followed up with a ten-pitch at bat that resulted in a strikeout, but the damage was complete. The Chiefs had secured the first lead of the game, 1-0 through six innings.

The Bisons responded in the top of the seventh, with Leblebijian hitting a hooking line drive down the left field line for a double. Ohlman, in his second at bat with a runner in scoring position, struck out for the second time.

Opitz answered the bell, hitting a ground ball between the second and first baseman into right field. Soto threw home, but the throw was not in time.

Berti hit into a fielder’s choice at shortstop for the second out and then make the strange decision to try to take second while Rogers was set. He was thrown out to end the inning.

 

Relievers 

The second inning repeated itself in the bottom of the seventh after reliever Chris Smith entered the game for the Buffalo Bisons, ending the evening for Murphy Smith.

Matt Skole opened up the proceedings with a double. Severino followed up with a walk, putting two ducks on the pond with nobody out.

Sanchez dropped a successful sacrifice bunt to set up second and third with one out for the nine-hole hitter Almanzar.

Almanzar failed to drive home a run by striking out.

Chiefs center fielder Rafael Bautista followed by grounding out to shortstop to end the Syracuse scoring threat.

Chiefs reliever Wander Suero replaced Rogers for the Chiefs in the top of the eighth. Rogers finished his evening throwing 100 pitches, giving up six hits, striking out six with one earned run.

Suero gave up a single to right fielder Ian Parmley to begin the top of the eighth.

Fields dropped a sacrifice bunt to advance Parmley to second with one out.

Bisons left fielder Anthony Alford came to the plate and Suero threw a wild pitch to him, resulting in Parmley taking third base.

Alford hit a pop up that Snyder caught over his shoulder in shallow right field, and Parmley wisely did not attempt to score from third for Buffalo.

Designated hitter Dwight Smith Jr. was intentionally walked on a 3-1 count. He then stole second on the first pitch seen by Tellez. Tellez grounded out to first to end the Buffalo scoring opportunity in the top of the eighth.

Syracuse again saw first and second with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, following a Robinson double and a Snyder walk against Bisons reliever Leonel Campos. But Skole struck out swinging, and the score held 1-1 going into the ninth.

 

Bobbling the Ninth

Suero returned to the hill for his second inning of work, as only three Chiefs relievers had not pitched on Friday night in a 4-0 loss to the Bisons.

Suero gave up a single to right field to Leblebijian to open the frame. Ohlman flew out, and Opitz walked to set up first and second with one out.

Berti hit a ground out to the third baseman Almanzar, who instead of stepping on third base which he was two feet away from, threw to second base to try to convert the double play. A bobbled decision resulted in first and third with two outs, instead of the inning potentially being over.

Parmley arrived to the plate and Berti stole second base with no throw to set up two runners in scoring position with two outs.

Suero steadied the ship by striking out Parmley, Parmley’s second K of the game.

Wil Browning came into the game for the Bisons in the ninth, hoping to force an extra inning of labor on Labor Day weekend.

He gave up a single to start the frame to Severino. After a Sanchez strikeout, Irving Falu pinch hit for Alamanzar and grounded into a fielder’s choice to Berti, who failed to convert the 4-6-3 double play.

It was now the Bisons’ turn to bobble. Two outs, runner on first, extra innings in sight.

Bautista came to the plate. Falu stole second base, and then took third on a wild fastball in the dirt.

Bautista showed patience, and took the walk handed to him.

Bautista stole second base with no throw on the first pitch of Stevenson’s at bat, to ensure one less force out option for the Bisons.

It did not matter, however, as Stevenson hit a rocket line drive outside of the reach of the diving Leblebijian at third base.

Stevenson had a simple initial thought once he saw the ball get past Leblebijian.

“Game over” Stevenson said.

 

Remainder of the Season

The Chiefs host two more games against the Buffalo Bisons, and the 142-game season will conclude with a Labor Day afternoon game.

Gardner explained the goals for the team for these final outings.

“Go out and compete like we’ve done all year. Play some good baseball, put ourselves in a position to win.”

The Chiefs and Bisons game Sunday starts at 7:05 P.M., celebrating Back to School Day at NBT Bank Stadium.

 

Orange Dispatches CCSU in Opener

September 2, 2017

Story by Alana Seldon Photos by Katie Benoit SYRACUSE, N.Y. –The Syracuse Orange football team started its holiday weekend off with a blowout win in the 2017 season opener against Central Connecticut State at the Carrier Dome on Friday night in front of a reported crowd of 30,273. The Orange rolled up 586 yards on 93 […]

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Story by Alana Seldon

Photos by Katie Benoit

SYRACUSE, N.Y. –The Syracuse Orange football team started its holiday weekend off with a blowout win in the 2017 season opener against Central Connecticut State at the Carrier Dome on Friday night in front of a reported crowd of 30,273.

The Orange rolled up 586 yards on 93 offensive plays but just 155 on the ground in a 50-7 win.

“I thought we definitely took what the defense was giving us,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “They made a point that they didn’t want us to run the ball. We threw the ball well.”

 

Dungey being Dungey

Junior quarterback Eric Dungey set the pace for the Orange’s energy with 13 straight completions to start the game, spinning and somersaulting and occasionally leaving Orange fans’ hearts in their mouths. After missing parts of his first two seasons with injuries Dungey staying healthy all year is a major concern.

In his second season as Syracuse head coach, Dino Babers says that flair on the field is just a part of Dungey.

“That’s how he is,” Babers said. “He’s very difficult to change when it comes to that, but it makes his game. A lot of quarterbacks do that stuff and it affects their accuracy and their numbers and their percentages drop. He does that stuff and he throws at high percentages.”

Dungey reached his seventh career 300-plus-yard passing game, completing 28 of 36 for 328 yards and accounted for  three touchdowns. He rushed for 51 yards on five carries.
With an aggressive performance on both sides of the ball against the Blue Devils, Dungey says he was most pleased with the defensive line.

“I’m proud of their movement and their good condition,” Dungey said. “I was happy watching the defense out there, I probably get the most pleased watching them.”

Cordy injured

An injury to safety Antwan Cordy on Friday night caused the redshirt junior to leave the game and return to the sidelines on crutches with a boot on his leg. Cordy missed most of last season after breaking his forearm.

Jordan Martin, who took Cordy’s spot on the field, called his teammate  a “thermostat” for the defense.

“He sets the tone for us,” Martin said. “His play speaks for itself. I mean, he’s a high-energy guy. He brings a lot of fun to the defense, he brings a lot of good plays, a lot of big plays. That’s why we call him the thermostat, he raises the temperature for all of us.”

Head coach Dino Babers said he was unsure of the status of Cordy’s injury, but he’s hopeful.

“We don’t have a final say on Antwan yet,” Babers said. “We’re going to have to wait and see what the doctors say. Obviously, we expect him back, we’re trying to hope for the best.”

 

First Quarter: Big SU Lead

Dungey and running back Dontae Strickland set the pace for the Orange with back-to-back touchdowns in less than six minutes after kickoff, while the Blue Devils had a slow start.

The quarterback ran it in 11 yards on a bootleg around left end and kicker Cole Murphy added the extra point. as Syracuse grabbed an early 7-0 lead on the opening drive.

After the Blue Devils went three-and-out, Strickland scored on the second drive, skipping into the end-zone from six yards out.

Senior wide-receiver Ervin Philips followed, scoring the third touchdown for the Orange on a 14-yard pass from Dungey.

Syracuse led the Blue Devils 21-0 at the end of the first.

 

Second Quarter: Orange Puts on the Pressure

The second quarter saw some of the same action from Syracuse and a lack thereof from Central Connecticut.

A good field goal a from the 29 by senior Cole Murphy after an SU drive stalled advanced the Orange lead to 24-0. Then, sophomore Moe Neal added another touchdown after a 52-yard sideline catch and run on a pass from Dungey.

“The effort was really good,”  Babers said. “Defense is hitting people and making it difficult on their quarterback.”

Syracuse was in control at the half, outscoring the Blue Devils 31-0.

 

Third Quarter: CCSU Wakes Up

After a slow offensive first half, CCSU responded. Jake Dolegala completed a deep pass to receiver Jose Garcia for 24 yards. Garcia beat Scoop Bradshaw down the sideline, scoring Central Connecticut’s first touchdown of the night.

The Blue Devils had finally put some numbers on the board, trailing Syracuse 31-7.

Their celebration did not last long. Syracuse added another touchdown when Dungey connected a crossing pass to tight end Ravian Pierce in the end zone, for Pierce’s first career touchdown.

With 3:42 left, Dungey collected his second rushing touchdown of the night. Orange led 47-7. His night was over and redshirt freshman Rex Culpepper got some reps.

 

Fourth Quarter: It’s an Orange Game

The Orange entered the final quarter with the same momentum and back-to-back plays seal the deal over the Blue Devils.

Sophomore Sterling Hofrichter’s field goal attempt was good and Syracuse advanced to 47-7.

The Blue Devils get aggressive for a moment and sacked Culpepper who fumbled  and CCSU recovered the ball.

But on the next play, Syracuse forced a fumble on a sack and got the ball right back.

With 53 seconds left in the game, Cole Murphy tacked on a 39-yard field goal.                           

 

Looking Ahead

Syracuse hasn’t lost a season opener since its matchup against Penn State in 2013.

“Overall, I thought it was a good, solid game,” Babers said. “Football teams grow the most during their first and second games. We’re looking for a lot of growth coming into our next game versus Middle Tennessee.”

The Orange will host Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 3:30.

Central Connecticut State will host Fordham. That’s a noon game on Sept. 9

SU and Fox Sports U

September 1, 2017

    Editors Note: As we begin the new fall semester and our second year of The Sports Media Project in collaboration with Fox Sports University, it’s time to look back at our first-year experience which wound up with the winning student team, Ari Gilberg, Benjamin Gramley, James Hadnot and Randy Posner being flown to […]

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Editors Note: As we begin the new fall semester and our second year of The Sports Media Project in collaboration with Fox Sports University, it’s time to look back at our first-year experience which wound up with the winning student team, Ari Gilberg, Benjamin Gramley, James Hadnot and Randy Posner being flown to Los Angeles in June to present their proposals to Fox Sports Executives. Here is how it went as described by Ari Gilberg, who is now working as Online Sports Editor for the New York Daily News. 

Special thanks to Fox Sports U’s Molly Stires and Kimberly Borza.

By Ari Gilberg ’17

Photos and video courtesy of Fox Sports U

Experience is something that cannot be gained by reading a PowerPoint slide, or by sitting in a lecture hall. Experience is something that can only be gained through firsthand observation and the hands-on completion of a task.

And that is exactly what working with FOX Sports University provided.

What made my FOX Sports University class so unique was the fact I wasn’t just working to earn an “A,” I was working because I genuinely enjoyed the material – and I received an in-depth look into the inner workings of the sports media field all while doing so.

When FOX Sports University first presented its challenge, I was intrigued to say the least. The representatives of FOX Sports University tasked us with researching the 18-24 age demographic and present a proposal to help make FS1 the top-of-mind destination for sports fans, both on-air and digitally.

The assignment was broad, and at first, appeared daunting. How are we, as college students with no real-world experience, supposed to solve FS1’s greatest challenge? We spent weeks brainstorming ideas, researching information and conducting focus group studies before we finally developed a proposal we believed could have been produced by any other team of industry experts.

And that is what FOX Sports University helped us become – a professional team. We gained valuable real world experience, despite not actually being out in the real world. FOX Sports University brought the real world challenges, tasks and assignments to us, which allowed us to gain professional experience from within a classroom in snowy Syracuse.

If our story ended there, that would have been enough. We had already completed our task, gained valuable insight into the sports media world, made new contacts and expanded our network, and won the Syracuse challenge by being selected over the other groups in our class.

 

However, months after our initial proposal, FOX Sports University invited me and my team to visit the FOX Studio Lot in Los Angeles, and present our findings and ideas once more, this time to the top executives at FS1. Our trip also consisted of touring the FOX Studio Lot, sitting in on pre-production meetings, watching The Herd and Speak For Yourself live from the shows’ respective control rooms and even taking pictures on The Herd’s iconic couch during a commercial break.

The most interesting aspect of our behind-the-scenes tour was being able to see the preparation Speak For Yourself producers put in prior to the day’s show (at 7:00 a.m. to be exact) in terms of developing potential topics and preparing the show’s order and structure, and then seeing it all come together just hours later that day.

The entire day was exciting, eye-opening and extremely rewarding

Although touring the Lot and becoming best friends with Colin Cowherd (HA! …not really) was fun, the most rewarding part of the trip was presenting our proposal to a group of high level FS1 and FOX Sports executives. This was the culmination of months of brainstorming, research, planning, rehearsals, etc. And simply put, it was satisfying to know the ideas that we spent so much time and energy to develop were being seriously considered by some of the most reputable personnel in sports media. We weren’t viewed as naïve college students, but rather sports media colleagues.

FOX Sports University started out as just a college class, but for me it quickly evolved into so much more…

Alvarez’s Pitching and Hitting End Chiefs’ Winning Streak

August 31, 2017

Story and photo by Kevin Van Pelt Syracuse, N.Y. – The SyracuseChiefs three-game winning streak ended Wednesday night at NBT Bank Stadium, as they lost to theLehigh Valley IronPigs 7-3. Led by the pitching of Henderson Alvarez, the IronPigs took the lead early and never gave it up. Alvarez pitched seven strong innings giving up three earned runs and only […]

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Story and photo by Kevin Van Pelt

Syracuse, N.Y. – The SyracuseChiefs three-game winning streak ended Wednesday night at NBT Bank Stadium, as they lost to theLehigh Valley IronPigs 7-3.

Led by the pitching of Henderson Alvarez, the IronPigs took the lead early and never gave it up. Alvarez pitched seven strong innings giving up three earned runs and only walking one batter.

Alvarez was making his first career start with the IronPigs after being signed by the Phillies on August 22.

However, it was also the bat of Alvarez that helped the IronPigs get the victory. In the third inning, Alvarez ripped a double to open up the inning against Chiefs pitcherA.J. Cole. Later he scored on an RBI-single by shortstop Scott Kingery. After RBI singles by third baseman J.P. Crawford and second baseman Angelo Mora, the Chiefs were down 3-0 at the end of the third.
Chiefs get on the board, IronPigs answer

It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Chiefs finally broke through in the run column. Catcher Spencer Kiebloom drew a walk to start the inning for Syracuse. His patient at-bat paid off, as the next batter, third baseman Michael Almanzar, ripped a double down the line and Kiebloom hustled from first base to score the first run for the Chiefs. Rafael Bautista drove in the second run of the inning, grounding out to third to drive in Almanzar.

The IronPigs answered quickly, hitting Cole often. After Brock Stassi singled and Angelo Mora doubled,, Cole to settled down and struck out the next two batters.

The Chiefs intentionally walked the number eight batter catcher Logan Moore to get to Alvarez. The decision proved costly. Alvarez singled to drive in two runs and bring the lead back up to three for the IronPigs.

From there, Alvarez was on cruise control, only allowing one more run before being pinch hit for in the top of the eighth. Alvarez only threw 77 pitches, but considering it was his first start of the season, the team opted to keep his pitch count low.

As for Cole, his night was over after giving up the two-RBI single to Alvarez. He gave up five earned runs in six and two-third innings and took his fifth loss of the season.

Lehigh Valley tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth inning to pull away and keep the Chiefs in check.

 

Next

This was the Chief’s 84th loss of the season, but they can still win the series against the IronPigs with a win Thursday tonight to close out the series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

As for the IronPigs, they remain in the wild card hunt as they move two games behind the Rochester Red Wings after their loss to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRaiders.

Chiefs Cook IronPigs on Emotional Night for Simms

August 30, 2017

Story by Kent Paisley Photo courtesy Syracuse Chiefs (Danny Tripodi) Syracuse, N.Y. – The Syracuse Chiefs and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs came into NBT Bank stadium this Tuesday evening with similar quality of play recently, yet vastly different records. The IronPigs turned on the greaser early in the season, starting with a scorching 42-19 record, but […]

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Story by Kent Paisley

Photo courtesy Syracuse Chiefs (Danny Tripodi)

Syracuse, N.Y. – The Syracuse Chiefs and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs came into NBT Bank stadium this Tuesday evening with similar quality of play recently, yet vastly different records.

The IronPigs turned on the greaser early in the season, starting with a scorching 42-19 record, but have had a cooler record of 32-42 since. They sat at 74-61 on the year coming into Tuesday’s contest.

The Chiefs held a half game lead on the worst record in the International League Standings at 52-83.

Taking the hill for the two teams were Jake Thompson for the IronPigs, with a 5.34 ERA in 21 appearances, and John Simms for the Chiefs, with a 6.82 ERA in 6 appearances.

They went on to outperform their ERAs in a pitchers’ duel.

Simms, a Houston native, was pitching for the first time since Tropical Storm Harvey struck.

See Newhouse Sports story on Simms emotions here

 

Mirrored Opening Frames 

The IronPigs were set down in order to start the game. The Chiefs opened the bottom of the first with singles by center fielder Rafael Bautista and right fielder Andrew Stevenson, but that’s as far as they got.

In the top of the second, the IronPigs got their first baseman Brock Stassi and left fielder Andrew Pullin on first and second with a single and a walk with one out. That’s as far as they got.

The Chiefs proceeded to go down in order in the bottom of the second.

 

First Blood 

The pitchers’ duel was on from there, as Simms and Thompson traded scoreless innings in the third.

After sitting ten consecutive Chiefs down, Thompson gave up the first run of the game  on a two-out solo homer to left field by second baseman Brandon Snyder in the bottom of the fourth, giving the Chiefs a 1-0 lead.

It was Snyder’s 24th homer of the season. But the emotion of the homer wasn’t about himself, but supporting Simms.

“Obviously it (Tropical Storm Harvey) is directly affecting him… it’s awful,” Snyder said. For him to come out and pitch well, it helped.”

Thompson and Sims again traded scoreless innings in the fifth, but the sixth inning opened with mayhem benefiting the IronPigs.

IronPigs leadoff hitter Scott Kingery hit a towering popup, which Chiefs first baseman Clint Robinson lost up in the lights. The other Chiefs infielders thought Robinson had it, and the ball landed on the mound behind Simms.

Kingery never hesitated out of the box and advanced to second base without a play. Second baseman J.P. Crawford followed Kingery’s at bat with a walk.

Simms then clamped down for the Chiefs. He fired a strike to third base to get Kingery out on a force play after a bunt directly to him by center fielder Carlos Tocci.

Stassi hit a fly ball to right center field which did not advance Crawford to third, and right fielder Dylan Cozens struck out looking, to end the IronPigs’ threat.

Cozens was ejected shortly thereafter for complaining about the outside strike by home plate umpire Roberto Ortiz. He was replaced by Herlis Rodriguez in right field for the remainder of the game.

 

Insurance 

The Chiefs carried the momentum into the bottom of the frame, as they had first and second with no one out with cleanup hitter Robinson to the plate. He proceeded to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, resulting in a runner on third with two outs.

With the end of the damage in sight, Thompson threw a fastball high, ticking catcher Nick Rickles’ mitt and going all the way to the backstop, resulting in Stevenson scoring from third. It was ruled a passed ball.

Snyder struck on the next pitch, but the damage was done. The Chiefs claimed a 2-0 lead, and added to that lead in the bottom of the seventh.

Once again with two outs, Thompson threw a wild pitch to advance Chief’s catcher Pedro Severino and shortstop Irving Falu from first and second to second and third.

Bautista took advantage of the ducks on the pond, hitting a bloop single to left field which drove in Severino and Falu, increasing the Chief’s lead to 4-0 through seven innings.

Simms was for the evening after seven, throwing 102 pitches and giving up three hits. Simms gave credit for his dominant start to barrels missing balls.

“My fastball had a lot more life on it,” Simms explained. “Even when I missed, it was OK”

In the top of the eighth, Crawford hit a solo shot to right field to make it a 4-1 deficit for the IronPigs, but proved too little too late to turn on the greaser and launch a comeback.

Austin Adams came in for the Chiefs to wrap up the save in the ninth, his fifth save out of six opportunities this season, with the final score of 4-1.

 

Remainder of the Season

This was the second win for the Chiefs in the four-game series against the IronPigs, having won Monday night 7-3.

The Syracuse Chiefs play the IronPigs Wednesday at 6:35 P.M. at NBT Bank Stadium, with the series continuing through Thursday.

The Chiefs have six games remaining in their season, all at home. Their next and final series is a four game series against Buffalo, starting Friday.

End of the Night: Two Local Fighters and Their Fans

August 26, 2017

Story and photos by Jose Cuevas Verona, N.Y. – Bellator 182 was an incredible event with action packed bouts. However, due to time constraints some fights were left off the Preliminary Bouts and moved after the televised portion of the card. These fights were not televised and only the people in the arena could watch them. […]

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Story and photos by Jose Cuevas

Verona, N.Y. 
– Bellator 182 was an incredible event with action packed bouts. However, due to time constraints some fights were left off the Preliminary Bouts and moved after the televised portion of the card. These fights were not televised and only the people in the arena could watch them.

The final fight of the entire card was between two Central New Yorkers: Joshua Ricci from Whitesboro and Brandon Warne from Ovid.  Ricci trains at the Baldwinsville Impact Team Andrello MMA gym. Both fighters brought large entourages to the fight and the entire arena resonated with raucous cheering.

The fight
The fight was hotly contested as Warne exchanged solid strikes with Ricci. However late in the first round Ricci took Warne down and attempted a rear naked choke. Despite not being able to hold on to the maneuver he maintained ground control utilizing excellent wrestling skills.

Heading into the second round a chant of “Ruthless! Ruthless! Ruthless!” rose from Ricci’s side of the crowd. Ruthless is the name of Ricci’s fight team and it was all in full support of him. Ricci maintained control but Warne would not give up refusing to allow Ricci to subdue him.

Early in the third round Ricci was aggressive trying to finish off Warne, but Warne remained defiant and his rooting section chanted his name.  As Warne was building momentum after stuffing Ricci’s takedown attempt, Ricci caught him in a rear naked choke again.

As much as Warne tried to fend off the tenacious Ricci he could not.  The fight concluded and we went to the judge’s scorecards. All three gave the fight to Ricci giving him a unanimous decision to remain undefeated at 4-and-0.

Worth the wait

Some people had cleared out of the arena before the final bout and that made for a more intimate setting where the remaining crowd was split between Ricci and Warne. The local boys put on a show that rivaled the fights on the main card.

The intensity of the fans that stayed for this bout elevated the ambiance and encouraged the fighters to give it their all. Just goes to show you that the biggest fights may be the ones you never hear about.

Well, until now.

The Intersection of Sport and Spectacle, Professional Wrestling

August 22, 2017

Story, photos and video by Jose Cuevas SYRACUSE, N.Y. – I remember when I was a young boy my dad would take me to a local venue in Compton, Calif. to watch Lucha Libre. The term may sound familiar, it embodies the high flying style of professional wrestling made famous in Mexico by luchadors. These warriors […]

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Story, photos and video by Jose Cuevas

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – I remember when I was a young boy my dad would take me to a local venue in Compton, Calif. to watch Lucha Libre. The term may sound familiar, it embodies the high flying style of professional wrestling made famous in Mexico by luchadors. These warriors would don elaborate masks and even capes as they battled in the ring. I remember my favorite luchador was “Piloto Suicida” and was lucky enough to have this photo taken alongside my sister.  I marveled at the athleticism and acrobatics they would perform on the ring.

Beyond the amazing feats, I was also enthralled by the battles between the “rudos” and “tecnicos”, essentially the good guys versus the bad guys. Every Saturday my dad would take us to watch the eternal battles between los rudos and los tecnicos.

I wondered how they kept battling every weekend despite performing death-defying leaps, taking slam after slam, and receiving hard chops across their chests that would resonate like gunshots. They even rewarded my curiosity by telling me how tough they were and that if I worked hard when I grew up I could be just as tough.

As I grew older I immersed myself further in professional wrestling, watching World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and the now defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW). I watched Hulk Hogan, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, The Icon “Sting,””Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner, Rey Mysterio, and Eddie Guerrero.

Fast forward to the present day and I found myself at NBT Bank Stadium on a Saturday night in August covering my first professional wrestling event. Big Time Wrestling produced an impressive card featuring some of the all time greats including The Icon “Sting,” “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner, Billy Gunn, and Sabu.

The Athleticism

A constant from the first match to last was the feats of athleticism. Pictured below is a luchador performing a springboard cross body press which is a dangerous and complicated maneuver. It consists of jumping onto the top rope, using it as a springboard, and throwing one’s body onto the opponent.

It’s not just high flying moves that should be appreciated. Below is a wrestler performing a suplex, a very complicated amateur wrestling maneuver which consists of throwing your opponent over your head while bridging with your neck to hold him in a pinning position. It’s a dangerous maneuver that even seasoned wrestlers have trouble performing.

The Spectacle 

Professional wrestling also encapsulates a mythos that transcends time itself, the struggle between good and bad. At the core of a professional wrestling match is the battle between a “face”, a good guy, and a “heel”, a bad guy. Pictured above is the heel pulling one of the oldest tricks in the book. He reaches out his hand in a show of sportsmanship, appealing to the kind nature of his opponent. As his opponent finally accepts the handshake the heel kicks him in the gut, taking advantage of his opponent’s kindness.

The heel will also at times showboat. He will do anything and everything to antagonize his opponent and the fans. Athletes who are cocky usually draw the ire of fans.Pro wrestling heels take that resentment and utilize it to tell enthralling stories in the ring. The end goal is to win. It doesn’t matter the methodology of how victory is achieved. The ends justify the means.

Faces yearn to be the hero of the day. They encapsulate the honest and humble athlete. They are the fan favorites. Pictured above is a tag-team of faces that just defeated their opponents. They celebrate with the audience and are cheered for their winning efforts.

The Hard-Hitting Action

The event was filled with intense action. None was more intense than Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) legend Sabu performing a flying leg drop through a table. The match was contested under “hardcore rules” which essentially means there are no rules. These matches test the toughness of each individual as the action transcends basic professional wrestling maneuvers and replaces them with unconventional weapons and hard hitting action.

A Clash of Ring Legends

Two legends from the “glory days” of professional wrestling wrestled at the event. Their rivalry hearkened back the days of the infamous “Monday night wars” where WCW and WWE would go head to head every Monday night. During this time Billy Gunn and De-generation-X (DX) would showcase their talents on WWE Monday Night Raw while Scott Steiner and the New World Order (NWO) would showcase their talents on WCW Monday Nitro. The two would consistently antagonize one another and throw insults across the airwaves.

Billy Gunn and Scott Steiner renewed their rivalry by putting on a wrestling showcase in the main event. The match was technical and intentional. Everything these men did in the ring meant something, it showed why they are legends. Steiner delivered hard-hitting strikes while antagonizing the crowd. Gunn recovered and delivered his patented finishing maneuver, the “fameasser” for the victory.

The Intersection of Sport and Spectacle 

The event was full of maneuvers that most trained athletes would be afraid to perform. These wrestlers performed them while ensuring that they did not injure themselves or their opponents. They used their bodies to tell stories in a way that only they can. Whether it be by slamming each other, delivering a flying cross body, executing a suplex with a bridge, flying off the top rope onto a table, or delivering their finishing maneuver.

Professional Wrestling walks a fine line between sport and spectacle because it is the only art form of its kind that can do it. It synthesizes the eternal battle of good versus bad, hard-hitting action, athleticism, and storytelling.

The event at NBT Bank Stadium reminded me of when I was that little boy who wondered how these warriors could do such amazing maneuvers while creating a one of a kind spectacle. To ask whether professional wrestling is either sport or spectacle is the wrong question, it is a symbiotic pairing of the two, it is both in one refined package.

Cuse Women’s Soccer Draws with #14 UCONN

August 22, 2017

Story and Photos by Matt St. Jean SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Fresh off a two-nil victory over the Bucknell Bison this past Friday, the Syracuse Orange Women’s Soccer team laced up its cleats for its home opener on Monday against the 14th ranked UCONN Huskies The former Big East rivals have had a a one-sided past as UCONN holds […]

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Story and Photos by Matt St. Jean

SYRACUSE, N.Y.
 — Fresh off a two-nil victory over the Bucknell Bison this past Friday, the Syracuse Orange Women’s Soccer team laced up its cleats for its home opener on Monday against the 14th ranked UCONN Huskies

The former Big East rivals have had a a one-sided past as UCONN holds a 18-1-1 record against the Orange. On Monday, the Orange gave the Huskies all they could handle, finishing in a 1-1 tie.

Defense Steps Up in First Half

Right out of the gate UCONN showed why it is ranked in the top 25 of the United Soccer Coaches Poll. The Huskies maintained calm possession of the ball in the midfield and on several occasions in the first 15 minutes had solid looks at the net. Goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan put a stop to the attempts, but the pace of the game looked to be to UCONN’s advantage.

Syracuse’s defensive trio of Shannon Aviza, Tayor Bennett, and Jessica Vigna hunkered down and made clean tackles. UCONN had three shots on target in the first 15 minutes and just one for the remainder of the opening half.

Offensively, the Orange had difficulty maintaining possession in the middle of the field and as a result, created few quality chances at the enemy net.

“They out-competed us for the first 45 minutes,” Syracuse head coach Phil Wheddon said. “We didn’t settle down and get into a rhythm, they were quite direct in the way they played.”

Despite the quality build up in the midfield, the Huskies couldn’t break through the back lines of Syracuse and the teams went into the dressing rooms in a scoreless tie at the half.

The Pace Quickens

Similar to the beginning of the first half, the Huskies came out firing on all cylinders in the second, hunting for the go-ahead goal. Again, the Syracuse defense was up to the task. Brosnan made several diving stops and Vigna seemed to be all over the field putting a halt to UCONN’s progress.

“They had a lot of good players up top, a lot of speed, they were very physical,” Brosnan said. “It was important for us to keep our marks and communication helps with that.”

Stopping the initial onslaught from UCONN, the Orange began to find some rhythm. Wing backs, Eva Gordon and Alana O’Neill sprinted up and down their respective sidelines providing outlets for the defense and advancing the ball deep into the UCONN half of the field.

Scoreboard Lights Up

Syracuse began to mount consistent attacks on the Husky defense and the momentum began to shift. In the 75th minute, Alex Lamontagne received a pass from Sheridan Street right in front of the net. Lamontagne’s first attempt was stopped by UCONN keeper Mollie Kerrigan, but the rebound came right back to her and the second time, she didn’t miss.

“I tried to volley it and [Kerrigan] saved it.” Lamontagne said. “I just tried to blast it again right past her. Got to go in somehow, so I made sure it went in.”

Down one, the Huskies responded quickly. Four minutes after Syracuse’s goal, UCONN’s Tanya Altrui broke free at the top of the box and delivered a perfectly weighted pass to a cutting Zoe Steck, who buried a shot in the back of the net to knot the game at one.

Extra Time

After 90 minutes of physical, fast-paced soccer, the teams readied for two 10-minute sudden death periods. UCONN was again the aggressor coming out of the break. The Huskies put the Orange on its heels for nearly the entire extra 20 minutes.

In one of the three corner kicks the Huskies won, the ball came curling into the middle and bounced to the foot of Steck. As she prepared to fire a game-winning rocket, Brosnan came across the goal and with an outstretched hand deflected the ball, saving the tie for the Orange.

“It was just reaction, just instinct, to keep the ball from going into the back of the net.” Brosnan said.

The Huskies out-shot the Orange six to one in the two extra time periods, but none of the attempts succeeded and the game ended in a one-one draw.

While he wanted the win, Wheddon said he was encouraged by his team’s play.

“I thought as the game went on we became more and more competitive and we matched them physically,” Wheddon said. “I applaud our players for really gutting it out to get a point out of this game.”

Lamontagne said playing an opponent such as UCONN prepares the team to play at a high level.

“Knowing the level we have to be at and continuing off of that, will make us better each and every game.” Lamontagne said.


Up Next for the Orange

On Thursday, the Orange heads to West Point to face off against the Black Knights of Army. Army also holds a 1-0-1 record coming off a victory against Iona and a draw against UMass-Lowell. In the last meeting between the two sides, Syracuse defeated Army at home, one-nil.

Chiefs Romp, Presidents Race

August 19, 2017

Story, photo and video by Matt St. Jean SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Led by Irving Falu and Matt Skole, the Chiefs put on a display of offensive might at NBT Bank Stadium Friday night, beating the South division-leading Indianapolis Indians 11-5. The win for the Chiefs snapped a four-game skid against the Indians and was a remarkable […]

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Story, photo and video by Matt St. Jean

SYRACUSE, N.Y.
 — Led by Irving Falu and Matt Skole, the Chiefs put on a display of offensive might at NBT Bank Stadium Friday night, beating the South division-leading Indianapolis Indians 11-5. The win for the Chiefs snapped a four-game skid against the Indians and was a remarkable turnaround from the night before.

As a bonus the famous Washington Nationals mascots, the Presidents were in town and ran their signature President’s Race after the third inning.

 

 

Dialed-In

Thursday night against the Durham Bulls, the Chiefs had found themselves in a four-to-nothing hole before any of them stepped into the batter’s box. On Friday, it was the Chiefs who got off to a fast start.

Center fielder Zach Collier set the tone, hitting a seeing-eye single to center to lead off the bottom of the first. After Falu grounded out, Neftali Soto smashed a line-drive into the gap, scoring the game’s first run. Soto slid into third for his first triple of the season. Snyder then drew a walk to put runners on the corners with no outs for Skole.

Skole returned to action on Thursday after a stint on the disabled list and struck out in all four at-bats. Friday night, with two strikes, he made solid contact, driving the ball to deep center field. The ball bounced on the warning track and went over the wall for a ground-rule double. The double was one of three extra-base hits for the first baseman.

“It was nice to get a hit, drive in a run, to realize I’m here for a reason, after a rough night.” Skole said. “[Thursday] I was super excited to be back, but tonight I decided to slow the game down a little bit, let the game come to me and trust my ability.”

With two runs already across, the Chiefs weren’t done yet. They took advantage of an error by Indians first baseman Joey Terdoslavich, which allowed Snyder to score from third. Michael Almanzar added salt to the wound when he doubled down the third base line scoring both Skole and Spencer Kieboom  to put the Chiefs up five to zip at the end of the first.

Simms Solid, Room to Improve

The starting pitching match-up pitted Syracuse’s John Simms (1-3, 7.67 ERA), who had just recently been called up from AA, against Tyler Eppler (6-8, 5.29 ERA), who made his 19th start for the Indians. Eppler spotted Simms a five-run cushion in the first, but Simms ran into a bit of trouble himself, soon after.

In the top of the second, Simms surrendered two runs on a RBI single from Jacob Stallings and a sacrifice fly by Gift Ngoepe. In the fifth, he gave up a two-run bomb to Danny Ortiz. Simms was blessed with good run support, but Chiefs manager Billy Gardner says the young gun has some work to do.

“He had trouble with his secondary pitches, getting them over [for strikes], they were sitting on his fastball,” Gardner said. “If you want to get to the next level, you need to have three pitches.”

Simms earned his first win for the Chiefs pitching six innings allowing four runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

Indians’ Nightmare on the Mound

For the Indians, Eppler may as well have been throwing a beach ball. In addition to the first inning, Eppler allowed back-to-back RBI doubles to Snyder and Skole in the second and then a two-run bomb to Falu in the fourth. He finished with four innings pitched, 10 hits, nine runs (eight earned), one walk and one strikeout.

“A lot of good approaches tonight, hitting on a line, short to ball, hunting fastball,” Gardner said.

Life didn’t get any easier for the bullpen. In his second inning of work, Brett McKinney left a belt-high fastball over the inside part of the plate to Falu, who deposited the offering over the right field wall.

“I knew he was going to pitch me in,” Falu said. “That’s my pitch, man, and when it comes I don’t miss it.”

In the seventh, Johnny Barbato served up a spicy meatball to Matt Skole who launched it over the wall for his eighth home run on the season and the 11th run for the Chiefs.

“I wasn’t really trying to hit a homer at all,” Skole said. “Just trying to get a good pitch to hit, a good swing, make sure my time was right and it just happened to fall right into my barrel.”

The Series Continues

Syracuse looks to make in two in a row Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at NBT Bank Stadium. A.J. Cole (4-4, 5.66 ERA) toes the rubber for the Chiefs against Clay Holmes (9-5, 3.26 ERA).

 

Bulls Shut Out Chiefs on SU Athletics Appreciation Night

August 18, 2017

Story, Photos and Video by Matt St. Jean SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Crowd morale was high in NBT Bank Stadium Thursday night for the rubber match in the series between the Durham Bulls (75-48) and the Syracuse Chiefs (46-78). However, the positive vibe soon gave way to an early offensive onslaught by the visiting team, which led […]

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Story, Photos and Video by Matt St. Jean

SYRACUSE, N.Y.
 — Crowd morale was high in NBT Bank Stadium Thursday night for the rubber match in the series between the Durham Bulls (75-48) and the Syracuse Chiefs (46-78). However, the positive vibe soon gave way to an early offensive onslaught by the visiting team, which led to a 6-0 victory for the Bulls.

 

The Chiefs Honor the Orange

The customary red and blue of the Chiefs was replaced with a sea of Orange on Thursday night for the Syracuse University Athletics Appreciation night. The Syracuse Orange cheer and dance squads were spread out on the concourse to greet attendees with a smile and an Orange football t-shirt.

Fans cheered as head football coach, Dino Babers tossed out the “first football” to Chiefs pitcher Jaron Long, who wore an Orange football helmet. Athletics Director John Wildhack tossed a baseball, keeping with tradition.


With the pregame ceremonies over, it was time for the Bulls and the Chiefs to do battle.

 

Bulls Bats See Red

Esmile Rogers (1-2, 4.57 ERA) made his fourth start of the season for the Chiefs. Rogers struggled with his command early, leaving pitches over the heart of the plate and the Bulls immediately took advantage.

Taylor Featherston led off the game with a frozen rope into the gap for a double. Following a walk, Jake Bauers rifled the first pitch he saw to right, scoring Featherston. Next, Johnny Field launched a fly ball, which was caught on the warning track, but was deep enough for both runners to tag up and advance. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, Patrick Leonard smashed a line drive past shortstop, Bengie Gonzalez, driving both runners in.

“They came here to swing, they were aggressive,” Rogers said. “When the game started, I didn’t have my command, my cutter wasn’t working like it was in the bullpen.”

The Bulls were relentless in the first and the next batter, Shane Peterson, smoked a line drive down the third base line for a double, advancing Leonard to third. Mike McKendry then hit a towering sacrifice fly to left scoring Durham’s fourth run of the inning.

Rogers settled in after the hectic first after receiving some advice from pitching coach, Bob Milacki and veteran catcher, Jhonatan Solano.

“[Milacki] and Solano came up to me and said, ‘Your shoulder is flying open’,” Rogers said. “I kept it closed and started commanding pitches.”

Rogers ran into trouble again in the fifth, surrendering two more runs on a home run by Willy Adames and a RBI double by Leonard. He exited the game having given up six earned runs over four and two-thirds innings.

 

Yarbrough, Bullpen Stifle Chiefs

Lefthander Ryan Yarbrough got a look at the Chiefs earlier in the season, picking up a win against Syracuse at home on April 26. He gave up two runs in that outing. On Thursday, however, he bested that effort.

Yarbrough was locked in from the very first pitch.

“He threw anything, anytime he wanted to,” Chiefs designated hitter Clint Robinson said. “Tough lefty, mixed up three, four pitches in the strike zone, kept us off-balance.”

Cool, calm, collected, Yarbrough diced up the Chiefs lineup scattering five hits, shutting out the Chiefs over six-and-a-third innings while striking out eight. The outing lowered his ERA to 3.26 and was his team leading 13th win on the season.

The Bulls bullpen matched the quality exhibited by Yarbrough. Andrew Kittredge and Diego Castillo closed out the remaining two and two thirds innings only allowing two hits and struck out four.

 

Chiefs Bullpen Shines in Defeat

The pitchers who came in relief provided a lone bright spot for the home team. According to manager Billy Gardner, the early exit by Rogers was a blessing in disguise as a few of the pitchers hadn’t thrown in several days.

“We needed to get them to touch the mound,” Gardner said. “Getting them some work was important tonight.”

The combination of Neil Cotts, Enny Romero, Cody Satterwhite, and Rafael Martin threw a total of four-and-a-third scoreless innings for the Chiefs. Romero, in Syracuse to rehab his strained forearm, pitched a perfect sixth. Satterwhite then came on and threw two scoreless, striking out a pair. Finally, Martin had his good stuff going, striking out two in his one inning of work.

 

Up Next

Durham continues its road trip traveling to Moosic, Pennsylvania for a three game series against the first place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders.

The Chiefs stay at NBT Bank Stadium for a three-game set against the Indianapolis Indians. The Indians swept Syracuse at their home park last week and the Chiefs look to return the favor.

Remembering “Papa”

August 10, 2017

Story by Brooke Meenachan Photos by India Timpton and Corey Crisan SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Two young men stood in Syracuse University’s Ensley Athletic Center Wednesday afternoon talking about their grandfather. And a crowd of reporters hung on every word. Their grandfather was former Syracuse University football head coach, Dick MacPherson, who died Tuesday at the age […]

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Story by Brooke Meenachan
Photos by India Timpton and Corey Crisan

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Two young men stood in Syracuse University’s Ensley Athletic Center Wednesday afternoon talking about their grandfather. And a crowd of reporters hung on every word.

Their grandfather was former Syracuse University football head coach, Dick MacPherson, who died Tuesday at the age of 86.

Most knew ‘Coach Mac’ as the prominent coach who turned the Orange around in his ten seasons as head man and who won Central New York hearts with his charisma, involvement, enthusiasm and colorful comments.

Macky and Cameron MacPherson, knew him as so much more.

More than a coach

Growing up, Macky and Cameron said Coach MacPherson was always around. But around their house, he was better known as ‘Papa’. And even as Papa, he was more like a father figure.

“I think having him as a grandfather and as a father figure, which is a thing not a lot of people know, helped raise me, really helped shaped my view on the world,” said Macky, whose given name is Richard.

Macky and Cameron’s father wasn’t in the picture very much growing up, so Papa helped fill that hole.

“You can’t really overstate that,” Cameron said. “The role he played to my family, to my brother and my sister and our cousin. His four grandchildren. My mom worked hard and he was always there whenever we needed anything.”

Whether that meant needing a ride to practice or leading the cheering section at a ninth-grade basketball game, Cameron says Papa always made it a point to be there.

For most boys at a young age, their dad was the man in their life. For for Macky and Cameron, that man was their grandfather.

“He was my role model,” Macky said. “He was like my dad. He was the person I looked up to every day. He was the person I wanted to make proud every day. I didn’t do everything right, but I tried to for him. I think he always appreciated that. I know he invested a lot of time into his grandchildren. He invested so much time into all of us that we just wanted to give all of that back to him.”

 

It’s the little things

Niether Macky nor Cameron could pinpoint one memory of their Papa that stood out the most. Instead, both said it was the little things that added up.

“You sit there and you’ve got a waterfall of stories to pick from,” said Macky, now a graduate assistant with SU football. “To say that you are going to have just one memory of him that’s going to stand out, it’d be impossible for me to do that right now.”

“We’ve got so many things from when I was a little kid to playing catch down in Florida with him or him throwing us into the pool or teaching me how to golf up to just the past year, two years ago when I left the NFL when I got cut by the Bills.

“The first thing he did was told me he was proud of me. It’s just one of those things where you can’t sum up in one memory everything he was for me, my family and his community.”

Cameron echoed his older brother, but talked about a voicemail from his grandfather he just came across from his quarterback playing days at Georgetown, before he transferred to Syracuse and finished his college football career as a tight end.

“He said we played our heart out, he was proud of me, that I was making him proud. That meant a lot. Just little things like that. He would always call. He’d always end the phone call with a triumphant resonation of his phone number as if we didn’t have caller ID,” Cameron said with a chuckle.

“Those are the things that I remember. He would do the little things just to show, to demonstrate how interested he was in you and how much he loved you. That love he didn’t save just for his family. It was wide. It was for a lot of people.”

 

Community support

Macky and Cameron say the outpouring love and support from the University and the community has been outstanding.

Cameron says the amount of generosity has been so great his family has more food than they know what to do with and more flowers than they have vases.

“The lengths the University is going to make sure the services are beautiful and everyone who loved him can be there. I don’t know if you can anticipate something like that,” he said.

Macky saw the impact his grandfather had on the community.

“It’s been such a nice thing to see that so many people thought so highly of him. I think if everyone can try to achieve that type of connection with people throughout their life, I think our world would be just a little bit better,” he said.

 

Leaving his legacy

Dick MacPherson will go down as a legendary coach at Syracuse University. After arriving in 1981, he led the Orange to an undefeated regular season six years later, finishing with a tie with Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. He finished with a 66-46-4 record, just shy of .600.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

The MacPherson family “bleeds SU colors.”

“My brother went here, my sister goes here, my mom went to law school here, my aunt graduated from here. Our family is Syracuse. It’s in our blood. When you cut us open, it’s going to be Orange and Blue. That’s who we are,” Macky said.

Off the sidelines, Coach MacPherson was one-of-a-kind. Anyone you ask most likely have a story of how great of a person Coach Mac really was. The community describes him as a kind, caring man.

His grandsons couldn’t agree more.

“The thing about him is, he meant a lot to the people he met along the way all throughout the community,” Macky said. “It didn’t matter who they were, whether it was a bank teller or a starting quarterback and he left a mark. That’s one of the things I’m most grateful for is the way this town is remembering him is that all of those stories, all of those million little impacts are coming to light. It’s contributing to a very full, very honest picture of a great man,”

Macky and Cameron know their grandfather’s legacy as a coach will live on in the hearts of the Syracuse community, but more so in the hearts of them and their family.

“He was a great coach. He’s in the College Football Hall of Fame because of that. But, he would be in the grandfather hall of fame, too, because he was a great person,” Macky said.

 

Calling hours for Coach MacPherson will be held Thursday at 5 p.m. at Hendricks Chapel. The funeral will also be held at Hendricks Chapel on Friday at 2 p.m.

MacPherson Brothers Emotional as they Remember Grandfather

August 9, 2017

Story, photo, and videos by Corey Crisan Syracuse, N.Y. — It felt less like a news conference than an opportunity to share and enjoy some lasting memories from as close to the source as it gets. Macky and Cameron MacPherson were not shy about opening up to reporters about their grandfather Wednesday afternoon at Syracuse University’s […]

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Story, photo, and videos by Corey Crisan

Syracuse, N.Y. — It felt less like a news conference than an opportunity to share and enjoy some lasting memories from as close to the source as it gets. Macky and Cameron MacPherson were not shy about opening up to reporters about their grandfather Wednesday afternoon at Syracuse University’s Ensley Center.

The beloved Syracuse football coach Dick MacPherson’s impact off the field was just as great as his impact was on the field, and his two grandsons, both of whom are former SU players emphasized that  as they shared memories and anecdotes about him.

“He was a great man,” Macky said in his opening statement. “Despite the fact that we’re now here to celebrate those times and talk about him, it’s one of those things where it’ll never get any easier, but we’ll continue to push through.”

The brothers gave emotional statements to begin the open media session. Cameron had to fight off tears while speaking.


“He was just a charming, charismatic guy that was such a gift to a lot of people,” Cameron said. “Most, especially, to our family and me.”

Macky is a former center for SU and now works as a graduate assistant for SU football. He says his grandfather, as expected, is his biggest coaching influence.

“Every day, I get to go out there and do the thing I love,” Macky said. “And now, it’s a blessing that I get to do that in honor of him.”

Calling hours for Coach Mac will be held on Thursday at 5:00 P.M. in the Hendricks Chapel on the SU campus. Funeral proceedings will begin Friday at 2 P.M. at the same location.