Student Reporting Archive

Franklin Makes Time to Improve

July 31, 2017

Story and photo by Frank DeLuca SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Zaire Franklin is entering his third season as the captain of the Syracuse football team, but that doesn’t mean he has nothing left to learn. The senior linebacker totaled over 100 tackles last year, but he says he is still trying to take his game to another […]

Read Article »

Story and photo by Frank DeLuca

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Zaire Franklin is entering his third season as the captain of the Syracuse football team, but that doesn’t mean he has nothing left to learn.

The senior linebacker totaled over 100 tackles last year, but he says he is still trying to take his game to another level.

“I’m just trying to take an extreme mental edge to my game,” Franklin said during a media session Sunday afternoon before the first preseason practice.

Franklin added that it’s easier to find the time to better himself as a player than when he was new to college football.

“When you come as a freshman, so many things are going on,”  Franklin said. “You don’t really understand how to manage your time. Going into my fourth time in it, I’m really able to dictate how the day is going to go.

“I don’t need to take that two hour break or something because I’m not sleepy because I’m used to doing these things. So rather than going home to go to sleep for two and a half hours and coming back, let’s get in the training room, let’s watch more film, maybe go out to practice a little bit early.”

The Syracuse defense returns a linebacking core, coming off a very productive season statistically. Senior outside linebacker Parris Bennett led the team with 110 tackles last year; he and Franklin became the first pair of Syracuse players to amass over 100 tackles since 2003. Jonathan Thomas, senior outside linebacker on the other side, was fifth on the team with 55 tackles.

Franklin said their success on the field has a lot to do with their bond off the field.

“It’s always fun when you’re playing and you got your two closest friends right next to you. Me, J.T., and Parris have been playing together since we got here. It’s just a lot of unspoken chemistry between us three,” Franklin said.

While many are looking ahead to the challenging schedule SU will have to endure, Franklin said he is taking it one day at a time.

“I’m just excited for today. I can’t really see past training camp. I can’t really see past this helmet practice today.”

Training camp will run through August, and Syracuse’s season opens up against Central Connecticut State on Friday night Sept. 1 at the Carrier Dome.

Eric Dungey: Peace of Mind with the Second Time

July 31, 2017

Story photo and video by Karthik Venkataraman SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  Syracuse University junior quarterback Eric Dungey is about to experience something new.  “Even in high school he didn’t play the same offense two years in a row,” SU head coach Dino Babers said Sunday.  But that changes this year. “It’s the first year of my […]

Read Article »

Story photo and video by Karthik Venkataraman

SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  Syracuse University junior quarterback Eric Dungey is about to experience something new.  “Even in high school he didn’t play the same offense two years in a row,” SU head coach Dino Babers said Sunday.  But that changes this year.

“It’s the first year of my life going into this season knowing the offense from the year prior,” Dungey said.

Sunday was the first day of training camp and valuable time for Dungey to continue learning the offense.

“I’m excited, I cannot wait,” Dungey said at Syracuse University Football Media Day.

“You pick up the little things you might have bypassed last year,”

Babers’ take

Head coach Dino Babers is preparing his Maxwell and Davey O’Brien Award watch list candidate to know the fast-paced offense like the back of his hand.

“When you look at him sometimes last year I thought there was an uneasiness about him,” Babers said. “And I think there is some peace to him right now that he’s coming back into this thing. I want him to be able to anticipate a call before he even comes in the game. When he starts finishing sentences for us like we’ve been married a long time, we’re going to have a good opportunity to win.”

 

Putting up numbers

When Dungey knows every detail of the offense, he is like to put up some big numbers.

In his first year with the playbook, Dungey ranked in the top 15 nationally in completions per game (25.5), total offense yards per game(330.2), passing yards per game (297.6)  and completion percentage (64.8). He also set Syracuse University single-season records for passing yards per game and yards of total offense per game.

 

Getting stronger and smarter

However, Dungey hasn’t been able to stay healthy. His freshman and sophomore years were cut short by multiple games due to injuries. He played just nine in 2016 before going out in the Clemson game.

He said he has been working to build himself physically in the off-season to take big hits, but as a dual-threat quarterback, he knows he has to play it safe.

“I just have to be smart, take what’s given to me and not take unnecessary hits,” Dungey said.

Dungey says he needs to do his job to get fluidity in the offense, and he wants to have fun while doing it.

A second year in the same system just might help him find that balance.

Four New Members Inducted to Chiefs Wall of Fame

July 31, 2017

Story and photos by Kristin O’Grady SYRACUSE, N.Y. – With a ceremony preceding Sunday’s game against the Gwinnett Braves, the Syracuse Chiefs inducted four new members into the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame. Among the inductees were play-by-play commentator Sean McDonough, Christian Brothers Academy baseball coach Tom Dotterer, former Chiefs player and manager Frank Calo, and […]

Read Article »

Story and photos by Kristin O’Grady

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – With a ceremony preceding Sunday’s game against the Gwinnett Braves, the Syracuse Chiefs inducted four new members into the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame. Among the inductees were play-by-play commentator Sean McDonough, Christian Brothers Academy baseball coach Tom Dotterer, former Chiefs player and manager Frank Calo, and current Chiefs catcher Jhonatan Solano.

“It’s the story of the Chiefs,” Chiefs General Manager Jason Smorol said. “We’ve been here longer than anybody, and we’ve got a wall to prove it. It shows the span of time of being involved in this community. I love it.”

The Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame was introduced in 1998, but, due to financial inhibitors, until last summer had not seen any initiates since the induction class of 2013.

A fan first

101-year old former Chiefs president Donald Waful attended the induction ceremony and probably knows the Chiefs’ history better than anyone. He served as president for 35 years, from 1971 to 2006, and was inducted into the Wall of Fame on Aug. 7, 2010.

“When the fellow that was president in 1970… passed away…, they had to look around the directorship to see who should be the new president,” Waful said. “And guess who was elected?”

As a member of the administration, Waful has seen a large portion of the Chiefs’ history unfold, but said he has always considered himself, first and foremost, a fan of Syracuse baseball.

“In 1963, I became the director of a community-owned baseball club owned by fans just like me.”

 

The Voice

Kevin Brown emceed the induction ceremony from the infield just minutes before his last broadcast as “Voice of the Chiefs” and took a turn throwing out the ceremonial first pitch along with the new Wall of Famers and their representatives. Amidst the emotion of his final day at NBT Bank Stadium, he said he was grateful to have the opportunity to work in the presence of the Wall of Fame inductees.

“There are a lot of special people that have gone through here,” Brown said. “To be down there, to schmooze with them a little bit, to just say hi and pick their brains and talk about baseball here is special.”

Brown will be off calling games at the national level next year but said he’d love to be involved when the 2018 Wall of Fame group is inducted.

“I’ll come back if they want me to. Really, I’ll do the Wall of Fame again,” he said.

Frank Calo: “Proud to Be from Syracuse.”

July 31, 2017

Story and photo by Katie Benoit SYRACUSE N.Y. – Frank Calo, Jr, got emotional while talking about his late father and how he would have felt being inducted into the Syracuse Chiefs Wall of Fame on Sunday. “My dad would be very proud and honored,” he said. “He was proud to be from Syracuse and be involved […]

Read Article »

Story and photo by Katie Benoit

SYRACUSE N.Y. – Frank Calo, Jr, got emotional while talking about his late father and how he would have felt being inducted into the Syracuse Chiefs Wall of Fame on Sunday.

“My dad would be very proud and honored,” he said. “He was proud to be from Syracuse and be involved in baseball. This would have been a great day for him.”

It was a beautiful day for baseball, as Calo and three other new members were added to the Wall of Fame at NBT Bank Stadium in a ceremony before the Chiefs game against Gwinnett.

 

Leaving his mark on Syracuse

Frank Calo was born in Syracuse in 1924 and played in the minor leagues for 15 years from 1946 until 1960. During the 1956 and 1957 season, Calo served as both a player and manger for the Chiefs.

“He loved baseball and he loved Syracuse and he loved the Syracuse Chiefs,” Calo Jr. said during the acceptance speech.

In addition to coaching the Chiefs, Calo served as a player/manager for other minor league teams during his career. After his playing career ended, Calo was the head coach at Le Moyne College from 1965 to 1968 and then served as a National League scout.

Calo died in a car accident in 1973, but his memory continues to live on through his family and now, the Wall of Fame.

 

A way to remember

The Wall of Fame is truly a way for fans to remember those who left their mark on the Syracuse and baseball, Chiefs General Manager Jason Smorol said.

“You come to the games and you’ll see fans going there and looking at the different people thought the ages,”

The newly inducted class also includes former Chiefs broadcaster Sean McDonough, Christian Brothers Academy baseball coach Tom Dotterer, and current Chiefs catcher Jhonatan Solano.

McDonough Credits Chiefs for Career Launch

July 30, 2017

Story and Photo by Zach Staton SYRACUSE, N.Y. – In 1982, Sean McDonough made $14 a game to call play-by-play for the Syracuse Chiefs, while attending Syracuse University full-time. “One year, we went to spring training for the last week, then we opened on the road,” McDonough said before signing autographs for fans at NBT Bank […]

Read Article »

Story and Photo by Zach Staton

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – In 1982, Sean McDonough made $14 a game to call play-by-play for the Syracuse Chiefs, while attending Syracuse University full-time.

“One year, we went to spring training for the last week, then we opened on the road,” McDonough said before signing autographs for fans at NBT Bank Stadium, Sunday afternoon. “Then, the night before the opening home stand, there were four inches of snow on the ground. So they moved the games to Toronto, and then we went on the road again. Somehow, I graduated.”

Sunday, his commitment to the club and success in broadcasting were honored as he was inducted into the Chiefs Wall of Fame.  The current Monday Night Football play-by-play announcer broadcast games for the Chiefs from 1982-1984.  He went on to announce for the Boston Red Sox and CBS before moving on to ESPN.

“The most important thing that has ever happened in my professional life was the opportunity to broadcast the Syracuse Chiefs games when I was 18, 19, 20 years old,”  McDonough told the pre-game crowd during his acceptance speech.

 

Opportunities

By the time McDonough graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, he had already called over 400 minor league baseball games.  He said that experience provided the opportunities he needed to form his style and learn how to broadcast.

“I wouldn’t have been in the major leagues when I was 25, and I wouldn’t have been doing the World Series when I was 30,” McDonough said. “This is what put me on the fast track, and by the time I left here at 22 years old, I was ready to become a major league broadcaster.”

McDonough was inducted by former Chiefs broadcast partner Steve Grilli. He then entered the broadcast booth once again to call two innings with Kevin Brown, who called his own final Chiefs game Sunday before moving to a national position.

“I will always treasure that I got call two innings with Sean McDonough,” Brown said after he signed off the air for the final time. “For it to happen today is absolutely insane.”

McDonough becomes the third broadcaster to be inducted into the Wall of Fame.  Red Parton was inducted in 2003 and Joel Mareiniss was honored last year.

Solano First Active Chief Inducted to Wall of Fame

July 30, 2017

Story and Photo by Matt St. Jean SYRACUSE, N.Y. — When the Syracuse Chiefs added four people to their Wall of Fame prior to Sunday’s game against the Gwinnett Braves, one stood out from the rest. Not because of notoriety, or being any more deserving than the others, but because he still wears the Chiefs uniform […]

Read Article »

Story and Photo by Matt St. Jean

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — When the Syracuse Chiefs added four people to their Wall of Fame prior to Sunday’s game against the Gwinnett Braves, one stood out from the rest. Not because of notoriety, or being any more deserving than the others, but because he still wears the Chiefs uniform as a player..

The Barranquilla, Colombia native, Jhonatan Solano is the first active player to be inducted, an honor, which floored the soon to be 32-year-old catcher.

“Wow, it’s amazing and it’s a blessing from God.” Solano said. “It was a big surprise for me, just want to say thank you for all these years, to the fans, the players, and the coaches who have been involved in my career.”

Earlier this season, Solano broke Dick West’s record for most games caught by a Chief. General Manager, Jason Smorol said he was proud to extend Solano the honor.

“The guy is a great baseball player, he’s a total pro, couldn’t be a nicer man,” Smorol said. “He’s the kind of guy in the clubhouse that other guys should emulate.”

 

Not done yet

Solano was inducted by former Chiefs manager and current Washington Nationals advisor, Randy Knorr. It was his current manager Billy Gardner, who spoke of what an asset Solano is to the team.

“Every day he comes to the field with a smile on his face and he brings a lot of energy.” Gardner said. “He does a nice job with the pitching staff and he’s out front, very active, he takes charge and that’s what you look for.”

Wall of Fame inductions generally are reserved for those who have already left the game, but Solano says he still he has plenty of gas left in the tank.

“My career is not done yet, I want to keep playing.” Solano said. “I prepare every day for when I see my name in the lineup, and if not, be ready to go in the game at any time.”

Tom Dotterer Joins Chiefs Wall of Fame

July 30, 2017

Story by Corey Crisan Photos by Corey Crisan and Kristin O’Grady Syracuse, N.Y. – Tom Dotterer got his due one more time on Sunday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. And, as usual, he said he didn’t deserve it. The Syracuse Chiefs inducted four new members into their SyracuseBaseball Wall of Fame – former Chiefs play-by-play […]

Read Article »

Story by Corey Crisan

Photos by Corey Crisan and Kristin O’Grady

Syracuse, N.Y. – Tom Dotterer got his due one more time on Sunday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. And, as usual, he said he didn’t deserve it.

The Syracuse Chiefs inducted four new members into their SyracuseBaseball Wall of Fame – former Chiefs play-by-play broadcaster Sean McDonough, the late Chiefs player and manager Frank Calo, current Chiefs catcher Jhonatan Solano, and Dotterer, the Christian Brothers Academy baseball coach.

“God is good. Always,” Dotterer said in his acceptance speech.

 

Distinguished in his own right

Though he may not be surrounded by the notoriety of working for ESPN, Tom Dotterer is as distinguished and is just as much of a celebrity in his own right. Dotterer’s decorated career includes over 625 victories as the CBA coach. He won 21 league championships, eleven sectional championships, and a 1996 State championship. He was also inducted into the CBA Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2008, Dotterer was selected as the all-CNY Coach of the Year as CBA reached the State semifinals.

For his induction, Dotterer was introduced by his daughter, Kathleen.

“When you’re around baseball, you’re always going to be around good people,” Dotterer said in his induction speech. “I’ve been around good people all my life. My family, my relations, both past and present, my school, CBA, and all its members, my acquaintances: all friends. My church family. When you’re honoring me, you’re honoring them.”

Dotterer’s family pedigree runs deep. He is the third member to be inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, as his father Dutch was inducted in 1992 and his brother Henry was inducted in 2005.

“Undeserved,” Dotterer commented on the side regarding his induction. “I’m very proud, especially as much as my brother and my father. Joining them is somewhat spiritually satisfying.”

 

Touching kids’ lives

Dotterer was in the news early in 2013 when he was shot in a robbery at the Syracuse liquor store he worked in and lost an eye. Yet he was back on the job a few days later, syracuse.com reported. And he continued coaching.

Chiefs General Manager Jason Smorol noted Dotterer had as much impact on those off the diamond as he had on.

“The more amazing thing is the way he has touched kids’ lives and made them better people,” Smorol said.

De Aza Gives Chiefs Another Walk-off Win

July 30, 2017

Story and photo by Corey Crisan Syracuse, N.Y. – The Syracuse Chiefs won their fourth game in their last five tries on Sunday as they took the series rubber match from the Gwinnett Braves, 1-0, at NBT Bank Stadium. This victory came on a day when the Syracuse Baseball Wall of fame inductions took place. Four new members were inducted, including former […]

Read Article »

Story and photo by Corey Crisan

Syracuse, N.Y. – The Syracuse Chiefs won their fourth game in their last five tries on Sunday as they took the series rubber match from the Gwinnett Braves, 1-0, at NBT Bank Stadium.

This victory came on a day when the Syracuse Baseball Wall of fame inductions took place. Four new members were inducted, including former Chiefs play-by-play broadcaster and current ESPN Monday Night Football voice Sean McDonough, former Chiefs player and manager Frank Calo, former Christian Baseball Academy coach Tom Dotterer, and current Chiefs catcher Jhonatan Solano.

Veteran outfielder Alejandro De Aza was the hero once again as he gave the Chiefs a walk-off win for the second time in four days. Chiefs manager Billy Gardner noted that he’s just one of many who have a positive influence on this team.

“We have some guys who have a lot of experience under their belt,” Gardner noted. “We have a lot of guys throughout that lineup who can put together real good, professional at-bats.”

Gardner spoke highly of De Aza as an influence on the younger crop of players.

“He’s great around the young kids,” Gardner said. “He’s doing whatever he can to help. Obviously, he’s got to take care of himself, too… But he’s helping those kids climb the ladder and (doing) what he can to teach them the game.”

 

Quiet Beginning

The first half of Sunday’s contest was relatively quiet. Through the first five innings, Chiefs starter Jacob Turner allowed no hits while walking three batters. Only one reached second base. Xavier Avery walked to start the fifth and then stole his 16th base on the season as Matt Tuiasosopo struck out to follow.

The Chiefs sent one above the minimum to the plate against Gwinnett starter Andrew Albers through the first four innings. Chad Huffman led off the second inning with a single and did not advance beyond that point.

The Chiefs had the chance to score the first run on the day in the bottom of the fifth inning, but the effort came up just short. Michael Almanzar hit a two-out double down the right field line. Bengie Gonzalez followed with a single to left that moved Almanzar to third. After that, pitcher Jacob Turner flew out to right field to end the inning.

 

Stifled Offenses

The G-Braves started to figure Turner out in the sixth inning. However, they failed to score any runs. Ozzie Albies led off the inning with a bunt single to break up the no-hitter, then Dansby Swanson singled following a Ronald Acuña strike out. Rio Ruiz then grounded into a double play to the shortstop to end the inning.

The Chiefs missed on another scoring opportunity in the seventh inning against G-Braves starter Andrew Albers. After Chad Huffman popped out to first baseman Matt Tuiasosopo to start the inning, Spencer Kieboom, Alejandro De Aza, and Michael Almanzar hit consecutive singles.

But Bengie Gonzalez grounded into a double play to second baseman Ozzie Albies to end the scoring threat.

 

Another Walk-Off Winner

On Thursday against Louisville, De Aza smashed a walk-off three run home run to propel the Chiefs to a 5-4 victory. On Sunday, his heroics came in the form of single to score Neftali Soto with one out.

Soto led off the inning with a double. He advanced on a Chad Huffman groundout to second base. Kieboom then recorded an infield single before De Aza singled up the middle off Evan Phillips.

Neil Ramirez earned the win in relief for the Chiefs, his first as a Triple-A pitcher.Phillips took his third loss of the season in relief for Gwinnett.

The Chiefs continued their hot hitting as a team. They tallied nine hits on Sunday, which gives them 43 hits and 24 runs scored in their last five games.

The Chiefs improved their record to 39-67 and will get a day off on Monday. The Braves dropped to 52-54 on the year and will return home to begin a series with the Norfolk Tideson Monday.

 

Series Lines

Friday 7/28: GWN 6, SYR 10. WP: Hill (3-5, 7.25 ERA), LP: Gohara (0-1, 7.71), SV: Cotts (2)

Saturday 7/29: GWN 8, SYR 5. WP: Wisler (6-5, 3.61), LP: Kelley (0-1, 9.00), SV: Da. Peterson (7)

Sunday 7/30:  GWN 0, SYR 1. WP: Ramirez (1-0, 40.50), LP: Phillips (1-3, 4.43)
What’s Next

Following a day off on Monday, the Chiefs will hit the road to start the month of August in Pawtucket for a three-game series.

G-Braves Down Chiefs 8-5

July 30, 2017

Story and photo by Corey Crisan Syracuse, N.Y. – The Syracuse Chiefs‘ three-game winning streak came to an end on Saturday as they fell to the Gwinnett Braves, 8-5 at NBT Bank Stadium. The Chiefs out-hit Gwinnett 12-11, but two fielding errors proved costly. Three of Gwinnett’s eight runs were unearned, and all unearned runs were scored off […]

Read Article »

Story and photo by Corey Crisan

Syracuse, N.Y. – The Syracuse Chiefs‘ three-game winning streak came to an end on Saturday as they fell to the Gwinnett Braves, 8-5 at NBT Bank Stadium. The Chiefs out-hit Gwinnett 12-11, but two fielding errors proved costly. Three of Gwinnett’s eight runs were unearned, and all unearned runs were scored off reliever Kevin Jepsen in the seventh inning.

Washington Nationals pitcher Shawn Kelley started the game for Syracuse. He threw his first “live” pitches since June 17. The 33-year old has been out since then with a strained trapezius muscle. Kelley was mandated one inning. He threw 19 pitches, 12 of them for strikes, while surrendering one run in his one inning.

Though Syracuse lost Saturday’s game, manager Billy Gardner remains optimistic about the direction the team is trending.

“The lineup, right now, is probably the best it’s been in terms of being able to score runs,” Gardner said after the game. “We’ve just got to a better job pitching. It’s not really about creating runs, it’s about run prevention right now.”

Acuña impressive

Gwinnett leadoff hitter Ronald Acuña showed why he is the Atlanta Braves’ #1 and the MLB’s #8 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline. He took Syracuse starter Shawn Kelley’s second offering of the game over the left-center field fence for his fourth Triple-A home run of the season. The home run gave Gwinnett a 1-0 lead out the gate.

Acuña finished Saturday’s game 4-for-5 with three runs scored and was a triple shy of completing the cycle. The 19-year old did this following a 2-for-4 night that included an eighth inning triple on Friday.

Acuña has split time over three Minor League levels this season. He started the season in Advanced-A, was promoted to Double-A in early May, and was promoted to Triple-A in the middle of July. Acuña has drawn scout comparisons to former Atlanta great Andruw Jones.

Brave Efforts

The G-Braves scored most of their runs in the third inning. These all came off Phillips Valdez, who was piggy-backing his appearance on Kelley’s rehab start.

Valdez appeared to be cruising through the frame as he sat down David Freitas and pitcher Matt Wisler to start the inning, but trouble started with two outs in that inning. Acuña and Jace Peterson started the hit parade with a pair of singles, then Dansby Swanson singled in Acuña from second base. Rio Ruiz followed that with a double to score Peterson. Then, Sean Kazmar, Jr. singled in two runs to give Gwinnett a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the third.

The Chiefs did respond in the bottom of the third as Jhonatan Solano singled to start the inning. He advanced on a Phillips Valdez single and was later sacrificed in by Irving Falu to cut Gwinnett’s lead to 5-1.

Clawing Back

The Chiefs did not give up. They plated two runs in the fourth inning as Clint Robinson led off the frame with a double. After a Brandon Snyder strikeout, Alejandro De Aza doubled in Robinson. Two batters later, Solano drove in De Aza with a single. The G-Braves’ lead was 5-3 at this point.

Not So Fast

Gwinnett tacked on three runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach. Acuña legged out an infield single to lead off the inning. After Peterson flew out, Swanson reached on an error and Ruiz drew a walk.

Kazmar, Jr. brought in Acuña with a sacrifice fly to left field, then Dustin Peterson cleared the bases with a double to give the Braves an 8-3 lead.

No Cigar

The Chiefs scored again in the eighth on a pinch hit, RBI single by Michael Almanzar.

Their comeback effort fell short in the ninth inning. Solano flew out to center to start the inning. Bengie Gonzalez, who came in as a defensive replacement in the seventh, walked and advanced on defensive indifference. Zach Collier walked and both runners advanced on a wild pitch by Gwinnett reliever A.J. Minter. Irving Falu then brought in Gonzalez with a sacrifice fly to cut the gap to 8-5. The comeback effort ended when Neftali Soto grounded out to second baseman Sean Kazmar, Jr. to end the game.

Braves starter Matt Wisler earned his sixth victory on the season as the G-Braves improved their record to 52-53. Shawn Kelley took the loss in his rehab appearance via Washington. The Chiefs’ overall mark dropped to 38-67 with Saturday’s loss.

Hot Hitting Continues

Though the Chiefs winning streak came to an end, their offense has posted solid numbers over the last four games. The Chiefs have accrued 34 hits and they have outscored opponents 23-20 while winning three of those last four games.

The veteran presence within the lineup has been the main source of production, particularly outfielder Alejandro De Aza and first baseman Clint Robinson.

De Aza had three-hit games on Thursday and Friday. He added an RBI double and a single to that on Saturday, giving him 13 hits in his last eight starts.

Robinson followed his 3-4 performance that included a two-run home run and four total RBI with a 1-for-4 night on Saturday. Robinson is 19-49 (.388) with six doubles, four home runs, and 16 RBI in his last 13 starts.

Series Lines

Friday 7/28: GWN 6, SYR 10. WP: Hill (3-5, 7.25 ERA), LP: Gohara (0-1, 7.71), SV: Cotts (2)

Saturday 7/29: GWN 8, SYR 5. WP: Wisler (6-5, 3.61), LP: Kelley (0-1, 9.00), SV: Da. Peterson (7)

What’s Next

The Chiefs and G-Braves will wrap up their series on Sunday. Jacob Turner (0-3, 8.39) should oppose Andrew Albers (10-3, 3.13).

Following their series against Gwinnett, the Chiefs will hit the road to start the month of August in Pawtucket for a three-game series.

Batting Barrage Gives Chiefs Third Straight Win

July 29, 2017

Story and Photo by Corey Crisan Syracuse, N.Y. — It has not been the best year for Syracuse Chiefs  baseball. But on Friday, the Chiefs continued to ride the wave produced by Alejandro De Aza’s walk-off three-run home run Thursday night as they beat the Gwinnett Braves, 10-6, in their series opener at NBT Bank Stadium. It was […]

Read Article »

Story and Photo by Corey Crisan

Syracuse, N.Y. — It has not been the best year for Syracuse Chiefs  baseball. But on Friday, the Chiefs continued to ride the wave produced by Alejandro De Aza’s walk-off three-run home run Thursday night as they beat the Gwinnett Braves, 10-6, in their series opener at NBT Bank Stadium.

It was the third consecutive win at home for the Chiefs.

 

Chopped ‘Em Early

The Chiefs broke silence early as leadoff hitter Zach Collier drew a walk to start the game. Collier then advanced to second on an errant throw by Gwinnett pitcher Luiz Gohara on a pickoff attempt. He moved to third on a fielding error by Braves first baseman Carlos Franco and then scored as Chiefs left fielder Chad Huffman grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. The Chiefs gained a 1-0 lead without recording a base hit in the first inning.

 

Fiery Fourth and Fifth

Most of the scoring for both sides came in the fourth and fifth innings. Gwinnett found some two-out magic in the top of the fourth as Jace Peterson singled and then Dustin Peterson doubled him home. Carlos Franco followed the (not related) Petersons with an RBI single of his own to give Gwinnett a 2-1 lead.

Syracuse responded with a two-run fourth of its own to regain the lead, 3-2. Chad Huffman walked to lead off the inning, one of five Chiefs players to do so on Friday. Clint Robinson, Spencer Kieboom, and Alejandro De Aza followed with consecutive singles before Michael Almanzar grounded into a double play to score Robinson.

Following a 1-2-3 Gwinnett fifth inning, the Chiefs broke the game open as Robinson smoked his 15th home run of the season over the right field fence in the home half. This was a two-run shot that padded the Chiefs’ lead to three runs at 5-2.

 

Sizzling Seventh 

The Chiefs kept their hot hitting going in the seventh inning. They sent ten men to the plate and scored five runs on five hits to put this game out of reach.

Irving Falu, who came in the game on a double-switch, walked to lead off the inning. After Zach Collier struck out, the flood gates opened.

Brandon Snyder walked, then three consecutive singles by Huffman, Robinson, and Kieboom plated three runs total. Kieboom and Robinson then scored on Almanzar’s RBI single later in the inning. Then, relief pitcher Austin Adams struck out and then Falu grounded out to end the inning. The Chiefs led 10-2 after seven.

 

Making it Interesting

Gwinnett did add another run in the eighth as Ronald Acuña tripled to lead off the frame. He scored when Rio Ruiz grounded into a double play later in the inning. the Chiefs still commanded a 10-3 lead at this point.

Matt Tuiasosopo made it interesting when he clubbed a pinch-hit, no-doubt-about-it, three-run home run with one out in the ninth. It came off reliever Neil Ramirez, who made his Chiefs debut on Friday. That cut the Chiefs lead to 10-6.

Ozzie Albies and Acuña drew walks to follow the home run, but veteran reliever Neal Cotts came in and shut the door for the Chiefs. He struck out Dansby Swanson and Ruiz to end the game.

Syracuse improved its record to 38-66, and Gwinnett dropped to 51-53. Chiefs starter Taylor Hill picked up his third win on the season, and  Luiz Gohara dropped his first career AAA start.

 

From the Top

Seven runs were scored by the first four hitters in the Chiefs lineup, including three plated and four driven in by Clint Robinson.

“It was good to go out there,” Robinson said after his 3-4 performance that included a home run and four runs batted in. “They had a young, talented guy on the mound making his first start. It’ll keep us, with the momentum we got going, and it was a good feeling.”

 

A Formidable Foe

Though Gwinnett’s (Atlanta Braves affiliate) overall record may not show it, its roster boasts some high-profile talent. The G-Braves have five of MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Braves prospects, including the organization’s top two in outfielder Ronald Acuña (#1) and infielder Ozzie Albies (#2). Friday’s starter was Luiz Gohara, who is the organization’s #8 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, and he made his Triple-A debut on Friday at 20 years old.

In addition to these prospects, the Atlanta Braves had sent down shortstop Dansby Swanson, the #1 overall pick from the 2015 MLB Draft, two days ago. The organization sent him down due to some struggles and the emergence of current shortshop Johan Camargo. Swanson played in his first game for Gwinnett on Friday. He went 1-4 with a walk and a strikeout.

 

Previous Series

Tuesday 7/25: Game 1: LOU 4, SYR 3. WP: Stephens (7-5, 4.80 ERA), LP: Turner (0-3, 3.89), SV: Shackleford (12)

Tuesday 7/25: Game 2: LOU 6, SYR 5. WP: Brice (1-1, 3.44), LP: Simms (0-1, 10.80), SV: Herget (5)

Wednesday 7/26: LOU 2, SYR 4. WP: Adams (6-1, 2.20), LP: Hernandez (0-1, 9.00), SV: Suero (6)

Thursday 7/27: LOU 4, SYR 5. WP: Martin (3-1, 4.47), LP: Herget (1-1, 3.18)

 

Current Series

Friday 7/28: GWN 6, SYR 10. WP: Hill (3-5, 7.25), LP: Gohara (0-1, 7.71), SV: Cotts (2)

 

What’s Next

The Chiefs (Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals) and Braves continue their series on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Phillips Valdez (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Gwinnett’s Matt Wisler (5-5, 3.50) on Saturday, and Jacob Turner (0-3, 8.39) should oppose Andrew Albers (10-3, 3.13) on Sunday.

Following their series against Gwinnett, the Chiefs will hit the road to start the month of August in Pawtucket (Red Sox affiliate) for a three-game series.

Walk-off Win for Chiefs

July 28, 2017

Story by Frank DeLuca Photos by Kristin O’Grady SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Fireworks were scheduled for after the game, but Alejandro De Aza got them started early Thursday night at NBT Bank Stadium. . De Aza’s three-run, walk-off home run in the ninth lifted the Syracuse Chiefs to a 5-4 win over the Louisville Bats. “I was […]

Read Article »

Story by Frank DeLuca
Photos by Kristin O’Grady

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Fireworks were scheduled for after the game, but Alejandro De Aza got them started early Thursday night at NBT Bank Stadium. .

De Aza’s three-run, walk-off home run in the ninth lifted the Syracuse Chiefs to a 5-4 win over the Louisville Bats.

“I was just trying to make good contact to at least score those two runs,”De Aza said. “If we tie the game, that way we’re still in the game.”

The bottom of the ninth began with a two-run deficit and catcher Neftali Soto at bat. Soto swung at the first pitch he saw from closer Jimmy Herger and putting it into the right center field gap for a leadoff double.

Left fielder Brandon Snyder drew a walk in the next at-bat to put runners on first and second as Spencer Kieboom stepped up to the plate. Kieboom had hit a home run in the second inning, but was instead trying to bunt this time to move the runners over. After a couple unsuccessful bunt attempts, Kieboom swung and missed at a high fastball and took a seat.

De Aza got himself into a great count early, going up three balls and no strikes. He then fouled the first pitch off to left before he saw a fastball where he wanted it, and parked it in right-center.
Kieboom gives Chiefs early lead

Kieboom, who couldn’t quite deliver in the ninth, kicked off the scoring for the day with a home run off Bats’ starter Amir Garrett for his second long ball of the season and a 1-0 Chiefs lead.

Chiefs’ starting pitcher Jaron Long managed two dominant innings, and even worked efficiently to start the third. But the top of the Bats’ lineup stepped up with two outs, as right fielder Jesse Winker singled to get on base before center fielder Phil Ervin drew a walk. First baseman Sebastian Elizalde singled home a run to even up the score at one.

The Chiefs wasted no time getting themselves back on top, and center fielder Zach Collier ripped a ball to right for his first home run of the year, a solo shot good for a 2-1 Syracuse lead.
Bats edge ahead

Both teams struggled through the fourth and fifth, and the score remained the same heading into the sixth. The Bats took advantage of Long, and Elizalde smacked a ball to right to even the score. Later in the inning, Left fielder Tyler Goeddel doubled home another run to put Louisville up 3-2. Long finally struck out pitcher Amir Garrett to end the inning, but not before facing seven batters.

The Chiefs could not get anything working in the latter stages of the game, and did not manage to get a single hit from the sixth through the eighth.

The Bats were working, though, and third baseman Brandon Dixon took reliever Kevin Jepsen deep to start the eighth inning and increase their lead to 4-2.

Which is where it stayed until De Aza’s closing shot.

 

Notes

De Aza’s walk-off hit marked his second of the season.

Reliever Rafael Martin earns the win, while Herget gets the loss.

It was the Chiefs’ second straight come-from-behind win over the Bats after losing both ends of a doubleheader on Tuesday.

Syracuse’s record sits at 37-66 after the win, and the Bats are 42-62.

The Chiefs host the Gwinnett Braves on Friday night.

De Aza Does It for Chiefs

July 28, 2017

Story and Photo by Kevin Van Pelt SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Chiefs won 5-4 in walk-off fashion when Alejandro De Aza hit a three-run homer Thursday night to beat the Louisville Bats at NBT Bank Stadium. De Aza’s home run was his fourth of the season and he finished the game with three hits. The former Major League player credits […]

Read Article »

Story and Photo by Kevin Van Pelt

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Chiefs won 5-4 in walk-off fashion when Alejandro De Aza hit a three-run homer Thursday night to beat the Louisville Bats at NBT Bank Stadium.

De Aza’s home run was his fourth of the season and he finished the game with three hits. The former Major League player credits his in game experience as a reason he can come through in a clutch moment.

“It’s just more playing time,” De Aza said after the game. “I get more opportunities here which allows me to see the ball better.”

The Chiefs opened the scoring in the second inning when catcher Spencer Kiebloom hit a solo home run to center field.

The Bats tied the game in the third, but the Chiefs took the lead back in the bottom of the inning. Zach Collier hit his first home of the season for the Chiefs, in just his fourth game with the team since being called up from the AA Harrisburg Senators.

After both teams were held scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, Louisville took the lead after a two-run inning that started off with a home run by Sebastian Elizaide. Later in the inning, second baseman Alexander Blandino was hit by a pitch and scored on a double down the left field line by left fielder Tyler Goeddel.
Starting pitcher for the Chiefs, Jaron Long, had a quality start going six innings and giving up three earned runs on 99 pitches. However, he left the game as the pitcher on record for the loss.

In the eighth, the Bats added an insurance run after Brandon Dixon belted a line drive home run off Kevin Jepson giving Louisville a two-run lead.

Jimmy Herget came in for the save and quickly gave up a double to Neftali Soto then walked Brandon Snyder.

Kiebloom was on deck for the Chiefs, with a home run hit earlier in the game. Syracuse manager, Billy Gardner Jr. called for a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. After two failed attempts, Kiebloom was told to swing, and struck out looking.

Gardner said that one of his fears of having Kiebloom bunt in that situation was the fact first base could be left open for Louisville to walk the next batter, De Aza.

“We knew their guy has a really good slider and is tough on righies, so we really wanted to have De Aza have a chance and it worked out for us,” Gardner said.

This was the fourth walk off of the season for the Chiefs and 37th win of the season. The next game for the Chiefs is scheduled Friday night at home against the Gwinnett Braves.

De Aza Powers Syracuse Chiefs to Victory

July 28, 2017

Story, Video and Photo by Jude Allume SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Fans got more than a good deal on beer and food Thursday night at NBT Bank Stadium, as the Syracuse Chiefsdefeated the Louisville Bats 5-4. In true dramatic fashion, Alejandro De Aza lifted the Chiefs to victory in the bottom of the ninth with a two run home run to center field. This […]

Read Article »

Story, Video and Photo by Jude Allume

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Fans got more than a good deal on beer and food Thursday night at NBT Bank Stadium, as the Syracuse Chiefsdefeated the Louisville Bats 5-4.

In true dramatic fashion, Alejandro De Aza lifted the Chiefs to victory in the bottom of the ninth with a two run home run to center field.

This was De Aza’s fourth home run and second walk-off hit of the season.

“Well it feels great,” DeAza said. “It feels great. Anything that I can do to help the team win is a plus”

De Aza went three for four with the home run and three runs batted in. His home run was the third of the game for the Chiefs, and of course the difference maker in the end.

Chiefs lead early

The scoring started early for the Chiefs as Spencer Kieboom hit a solo shot in the bottom of the second inning giving his team an early 1-0 lead.

The Bats didn’t take long to respond however, as Sebastian Elizalde hit a single with two men on in the top of the third. Jesse Winker scored from second base, tying the score at one.

The Chief quickly regained the lead in the bottom of the third when Zach Collier hit a solo shot of his own for a 2-1 lead.

Long’s night

Syracuse pitcher Jaron Long had a solid night, but ran into trouble in the top of the sixth when Sebastien Elizalde hit a solo home run to tie the game at two. It was Elizalde’s second hit and run batted in for the game. Long then hit Alex Bandino with a pitch. Bandino advanced to second as Adrian Nieto grounded out to first.

Bandino scored on a two-out double down the left field line by Tyler Goeddel. Long eventually got out of the inning, but after giving up two runs and the lead. He finished the night with six innings pitched, giving up three runs and striking out six.

In the top of the eighth inning, the Bats tacked on another run off relief pitcher Kevin Jepsen. The Bats third baseman, Brandon Dixon, hit a solo shot to push the score to 4-2.

But it wouldn’t be enough.

Patience pays off

In the bottom of the ninth, Neftali Soto got things started for the Chiefs with a double. Brandon Snyder worked a walk, putting two men on. After a Spencer Kieboom strikeout, De Aza came to the plate.

De Aza showed patience as he took the first three pitches for balls. He took the green light on the next pitch, fouling the ball off. The fifth pitch of the at bat was the last of the game.

This was the final game of the season between Syracuse and Louisville, with Louisville taking the season series four games to three.

The Chiefs open up a three game series next against the Gwinnett Braves starting Friday night at 7:05.

Rain Stops Chiefs Game but Not Family Tradition

July 25, 2017

Story by Tasha Babers Photo by Kristin O’Grady Syracuse, N.Y. – The Chiefs versus Louisville Bats game was postponed Monday night, yet there was still the smell of hot-dogs, a kid running around with an old glove, and some co-workers grabbing a beer at NBT Bank Stadium. The thrill of the atmosphere was still very much […]

Read Article »

Story by Tasha Babers

Photo by Kristin O’Grady

Syracuse, N.Y. – The Chiefs versus Louisville Bats game was postponed Monday night, yet there was still the smell of hot-dogs, a kid running around with an old glove, and some co-workers grabbing a beer at NBT Bank Stadium. The thrill of the atmosphere was still very much present even with a tarp over the field.

Long-time Chiefs fan and young father Kevin Szul lingered after the cancellation announcement and kept an eye on his two-year old daughter, Violet, as she played in the empty rainy seats.

“I came and sat in the rain because I love baseball,” Szul said. “Also to get the twenty-five cent hotdogs so I don’t have to make dinner.”

Szul is a season ticket owner and went to Chiefs games with his dad as a kid. He hopes to pass the same tradition on to his two young daughters, Violet and five-week-old Lillian.

“My favorite thing about baseball is the atmosphere,” Szul said. “The atmosphere and the promotional dinner deals.”

Did he ever get his twenty-five cent hot dogs despite the cancellation?

“Yeah! I had four!” Szul exclaimed.

Rain, rain

The Chiefs will try to make up the game as part of a Wednesday afternoon doubleheader. They are 4-14 in doubleheaders, and have yet sweep one this season.

This is the seventh rain-related postponement for the Chiefs this season, as compared with the annual average of three to four. Chiefs General Manager Jason Smorol said player safety is worth the postponement and grounds staff would work hard to disperse the nearly 1,000 gallons of rain water onto the outfield, wait for the water to drain, and use an underground ventilation system to dry the field.

 

Team FOE Next for Boeheim’s Army

July 21, 2017

Story and Photos by Dontae Harris BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Boeheim’s Army defeated Team Fancy RYU 65-61 at LIU-Brooklyn Thursday night to advance to the regional final of The Basketball Tournament and stay alive in pursuit of the $2-million winner-take-all prize. Brandon Triche was the hero for the Orange. Triche hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 15.9 seconds […]

Read Article »

Story and Photos by Dontae Harris

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Boeheim’s Army defeated Team Fancy RYU 65-61 at LIU-Brooklyn Thursday night to advance to the regional final of The Basketball Tournament and stay alive in pursuit of the $2-million winner-take-all prize.

Brandon Triche was the hero for the Orange. Triche hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 15.9 seconds remaining. It was the only three-pointer Boeheim’s Army hit in the second half. Triche then made four free throws to close the game out.

Triche left the game in the first half after he popped out his pinkie finger  on his right (shooting) hand.. He returned with the finger taped to the one next to it.

“I figured I should be able to run the team,” Triche said. “I am comfortable enough to dribble the ball.”

He wound up with eleven points, including the crucial seven down the stretch.

 

Syracuse vs. Iona

 

Eric Devendorf put the Orange on his back for much of the game. He had a game high 19 points and found Triche open for that key 3-pointer.

Devendorf, who has always been known for talking some trash, and Scott Machado of Team Fancy RYU were in each other’s ears on both ends of the floor. There were two times in the game where they had to be separated.

“It’s nothing personal, we getting out there and competing,” Devendorf said. “If you interview Scott Machado he is going to say the same thing. We was going back and forth because we have respect for each other.”

Devendorf is currently an assistant coach for Syracuse University’s Men’s Basketball team. He played for Syracuse from 2005 to 2009. Before becoming an assistant coach, he played professionally overseas.

Machado played for Iona College (2008-12) located in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was the MAAC Player of the Year in 2012. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets in 2012 but hasn’t played for a NBA affiliated team since 2014. Machado currently plays professionally in Spain for ICL Manresa.

Devendorf got the better of his opponent this time, having no trouble scoring on the isolation or in the pick and roll. Machado had eleven points in 32 minutes.

Orange Pride 

In the second half the Syracuse fans made their presence loud and clear. Fans seated right behind the Boeheim’s Army bench roared “Lets’ go Orange” and there were so many orange shirts in the crowd it looked like the game was being played in the Carrier Dome.

Otto the Syracuse mascot was also in attendance sticking around the bench and revving up the Syracuse fans.

“We have the greatest fans in the world.” said Donte Greene, who had 14 points and five rebounds for Boeheim’s Army. ” I always say that. I compare them to soccer fans or football fans over in Europe.”

Click Here to listen to the post game news conference.

Next Opponent 

Boeheim’s Army will take on Team Family Over Everything (FOE) on Sunday at 2 p.m. for a trip to the Final Four. The game will be televised live on ESPN and will also take place at LIU Brooklyn.

Team FOE. is run by Makieff and Marcus Morris. Makieff plays for the Washington Wizards and Marcus plays for the Boston Celtics. Other notable players for Team FOE are Tyshawn Taylor, Maalik Wayans and Mycheal Thompson. Thompson is the brother of two-time NBA champion Klay Thompson.

 

Fan Forum Sets Stage for 24th Crunch Season

July 18, 2017

Story and Photo by Matt St. Jean SYRACUSE, N.Y. — 50 or so die-hard Syracuse Crunch fans packed into the War Memorial player’s lounge for the opportunity to address Crunch president and owner, Howard Dolgon, Monday afternoon. After a near dream season ended in a crushing Calder Cup defeat at the hands of the Grand Rapids […]

Read Article »

Story and Photo by Matt St. Jean

SYRACUSE, N.Y.
 — 50 or so die-hard Syracuse Crunch fans packed into the War Memorial player’s lounge for the opportunity to address Crunch president and owner, Howard Dolgon, Monday afternoon. After a near dream season ended in a crushing Calder Cup defeat at the hands of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the fans wanted to know: where does the Crunch go from here? According to Dolgon, the organization has already started to reload.
“We’re back at it now,” Dolgon said, “[The NHL parent club Tampa Bay Lightning] has been signing, most importantly, a lot of our own players. Like Mike Bournival, Cory Conacher, (Jake) Dotchin, (Slater) Koekkoek, (Gabriel) Dumont, and (Yanni) Gourde.”

Additionally, the Crunch signed one of the top available goalies in the AHL, Michael Leighton.

 

Questions 

When the forum opened for questions, one fan didn’t ask what the Crunch can do for him, but what can he do for the Crunch.

“What can we do more to help you?” The fan asked. “Whether it’s willfulness, coming to the meetings with you with the county, just helping out.”

The fan also offered to purchase a massive “7th man flag.” Blown away, Dolgon jokingly asked the gentleman if he was looking for a job!

While the opening question was certainly a softball, the crowd turned to more serious questions surrounding the in-game experience.

“What promotions are you planning on having throughout the year and when will those be available?”

“Is something being done about the paint in the arena? There are areas where it is chipping.”

“The sound. Are you improving the sound because it’s loud, but you can’t understand it.”

“The quality and selection of food at the concession stands is not that desirable. Any chance of improving that?”
On the topic of food options, another fan was particularly concerned about the Crunch returning the pasta bar instead of the current meatball sub option.

 

They ARE fans

Concession and cosmetic concerns aside, there was one theme that arose above the rest: The love and admiration the fans had for the Crunch franchise. Each fan who stepped forward to ask question led off by complimenting Dolgon on the raucous atmosphere of the War Memorial Arena and the loyalty the organization has shown the city of Syracuse.

Even though the ’16-’17 season just ended in mid-June, Crunch fans have less than three months to wait before the puck drops at the War Memorial Arena on October 7th against Rochester.

A Chat with Howard Dolgon

July 18, 2017

Story and photo by Matt St. Jean SYRACUSE, N.Y. — What does it take to own and maintain a team in the American Hockey League? For Syracuse Crunch owner, Howard Dolgon, it’s more than a business, it’s a passion.   Roughly 15 minutes before taking center stage at the Crunch fan forum Monday afternoon at […]

Read Article »

Story and photo by Matt St. Jean


SYRACUSE, N.Y
. — What does it take to own and maintain a team in the American Hockey League? For Syracuse Crunch owner, Howard Dolgon, it’s more than a business, it’s a passion.

 

Roughly 15 minutes before taking center stage at the Crunch fan forum Monday afternoon at the War Memorial, Dolgon had the look of a man who was genuinely happy to be sitting behind his desk about to enter his 24th season as owner. In addition to discussing the ins and outs of the franchise from a business perspective, Dolgon was adamant about his commitment to the city and people of Syracuse.

 

“I’ve said this forever.” Dolgon said, “One of the mandates of a professional sports team in town, is to utilize your popularity to make things better in the community you play in and that’s critical.”

 

Players involved


Dolgon’s New York City-based business career has been in sports public relations and that translated well to how he’s handled the Crunch.

 

With Dolgon at the helm, Crunch players are encouraged to get out in the community and give back. They have participated in the Sunny Delight Anti-Bullying programs in schools, put on holiday parties for kids with pediatric cancer at the Upstate Medical Center and even serve doughnuts for the Dunkin Donuts Munchkins Hosting Program, where proceeds benefit area youth groups and nonprofit organizations.

 

“For us that’s a blessing to do, not a job,” Dolgon said, “when we see the fruits of our work in a positive way in our community then we know we’ve done what we’re supposed to do.”

 

A better place to play

 

In addition to the work outside of the rink, Dolgon is dead set on improving the conditions of the War Memorial, so Crunch fans have an immaculate game experience. His goals for the 2017-18 season are to digitally upgrade the whole area, primarily the scoreboard and concourse as well as to update the areas honoring our nation’s veterans. All of those plans, hinging on the green light on obtaining funding from Onondaga County.

 

“This is the closest we’ve ever been, I believe, to getting the approvals that we need,” Dolgon said, “Are we there yet? No. Are we in the right direction? I think a lot would have to go wrong not to get there.”

 

Owner as fan

 

What this all comes down to for Dolgon is that, at the end of the day, he’s a fan.

 

“We’re fans first, we own a team, but we do it because we love hockey and we love sports.” Dolgon said.

 

With that, he shook my hand and walked down the hallway to greet 50 eager, loyal Syracuse Crunch fans ready to answer any question they sent his way.

 

The full length audio of the interview can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/matt-st-jean-1/howard-dolgon

PawSox Sweep Chiefs Again

July 16, 2017

Story and photo by Corey Crisan Syracuse, N.Y. – Let’s not sugarcoat anything here. The Pawtucket Red Sox (47-44, Red Sox affiliate) have owned the Syracuse Chiefs (32-58, Nationals affiliate) this year. The PawSox were 14-2 against their International League North Division rivals entering Sunday’s play. The PawSox haven’t just won these games; the offense has […]

Read Article »

Story and photo by Corey Crisan

Syracuse, N.Y. – Let’s not sugarcoat anything here. The Pawtucket Red Sox (47-44, Red Sox affiliate) have owned the Syracuse Chiefs (32-58, Nationals affiliate) this year. The PawSox were 14-2 against their International League North Division rivals entering Sunday’s play.

The PawSox haven’t just won these games; the offense has dominated Syracuse. In these 16 games, the PawSox have scored at least five runs, ten times against the Chiefs. However, Syracuse has scored 20 total runs in their two victories, so offense often has come at a premium for the Chiefs.

 

Same Old Song The PawSox continued their dominance over the Chiefs on Sunday, collecting 13 hits en route to a 7-1 victory. In addition, they earned their third sweep of the Chiefs in 2017.

The first half of Sunday’s game was the Aneury Tavarez show at NBT Bank Stadium as he led off the game with a home run on the second pitch he saw. He followed that with a triple and run scored in the third inning to give Pawtucket a 2-1 lead. Tavarez went 2-5 on Sunday to lead the way at the top of Pawtucket’s order.

Syracuse scored its lone run in the second inning. Neftali Soto led off that frame with a single, Spencer Kieboom doubled, and Caleb Ramsey sacrifice flied Soto in to tie the game at 1-1.

Ramsey and Michael Almanzar led off the Chiefs fifth with back-to-back singles, but runs failed to cross the plate. Stephen Perez struck out swinging, Andrew Stevenson grounded out to first base, and Irving Falu struck out looking to follow and end the frame.

 

Broken Wide Open

The PawSox broke opened the flood gates in the sixth inning. Heiker Meneses led off with a double down the left field line, Castillo singled, and Bryce Brentz clubbed a three-run home run to dead center field to break the game open and give Pawtucket a 5-1 lead.

Pawtucket added another run in the seventh on an RBI double by Matt Dominguez off Chiefs reliever Kevin Jepsen. Castillo reached on a strikeout-wild pitch, advanced to second when Brentz walked, and scored on the double from second to give the PawSox a 6-1 lead.

The Chiefs had runners on first and second with two outs in the sixth and seventh innings versus PawSox reliever Kyle Martin. However, they failed to score in each case.

Dominguez doubled in another run to deep right-center field in the ninth to extend Pawtucket’s lead to 7-1, and that ended the scoring for Sunday.

Both starting pitchers remained on record on Sunday. Marcus Walden earned the win for Pawtucket and improved his record to 8-3. Jaron Long took the loss for Syracuse and dropped to 1-4.

Pawtucket also improved its 2017 record versus Syracuse to 15-2. The Chiefs have fallen to an International League-worst 32-59 and are now 26 games back of first place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the IL North Division.

 

From the Source

Chiefs catcher Spencer Kieboom reached base safely in each of his four plate appearances, including doubles in the second and eighth innings. He also bumped his batting average up to .323 on the season.

“I’m just trying to do whatever I can to get the barrel on the ball, and whatever happens… happens,” he said. “I was active during the All-Star break – I lifted some weights, nothing crazy. Went and hit and had some fun.”

Regarding the Chiefs’ struggles against Pawtucket, Kieboom noted that the PawSox are just that team they can’t get past.

“(Our guys) want it just as bad as they want it against anybody else. It’s just the way it’s been against those guys,” he tabbed. “Everybody has that team every year… They play fundamentally sound baseball and they do a good job, but they don’t do anything significantly different than any other team. It’s just about what they’re doing against us.”

 

Series Lines

Thursday 7/13: PAW 5, SYR 0. W: Johnson (3-1), L: Turner (0-1)

Friday 7/14: PAW 8, SYR 1. W: Kendrick (3-6), L: Ross (3-8)

Saturday 7/15: PAW 7, SYR 4. W: Beeks (3-3), L: Cole (4-4)

Sunday 7/16: PAW 7, SYR 1. W: Walden (8-3), L: Long (1-4)

 

What’s Next

The Chiefs begin an eight-game road trip on Monday. They will play three at Louisville (Reds) and five at Columbus (Indians) including a June 4 makeup game at Columbus. The Chiefs will return to NBT Bank Stadium on July 24 where they will open a seven-game home stand versus Louisville and Gwinnett (Braves).

PawSox Continue Dominance Over Chiefs

July 14, 2017

Story by Matt St. Jean Photos by Kristin O’Grady SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The fan favorite ZOOperstars were out in force at NBT Bank Stadium for the first of a four-game set between International League North Division rivals, the Pawtucket Red Sox (45-44) and the Syracuse Chiefs (32-56). But the Chiefs bats were not. The Chiefs the […]

Read Article »

Story by Matt St. Jean

Photos by Kristin O’Grady

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The fan favorite ZOOperstars were out in force at NBT Bank Stadium for the first of a four-game set between International League North Division rivals, the Pawtucket Red Sox (45-44) and the Syracuse Chiefs (32-56). But the Chiefs bats were not.

The Chiefs the went into the All-Star break on a three-game losing streak, 22.5 games out of first place and in dire need of a win streak to start the second half of the season. But they hadn’t had much success against the PawSox thus far, winning only two out of 13 contests.

Nothing changed Thursday evening at NBT Bank Stadium, as Pawtucket won 5-0 to start the series.


Johnson Jams Up Chief Bats

Pawtucket starter, Brian Johnson had all his pitches working on the mound orchestrating seven scoreless innings while only allowing three hits, lowering his season ERA to 2.68.

“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Johnson,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said “He did a heck of a job and you know good pitching is always going to beat good hitting.”

The Chiefs hit the ball hard off Johnson, but usually right at Red Sox fielders as they never put more than one runner on base at a time against the PawSox lefty.

 

One Rough Inning

Jacob Turner took the mound for the Syracuse Chiefs and threw a solid game despite his stat line of five innings pitched with seven hits, four earned runs, and only two strikeouts.

“I thought at times he really located his fastball,” Gardner said. “I thought his location was in the zone, the ball left his hand really good, had some good life to it, I thought he spun some good breaking balls in.”

Turner cruised through the first two innings, but then ran into trouble in the third when Pawtucket bats came to life scoring three runs.

“Sometimes you really need to get somebody out in that situation,” Turner said. “I think they strung together like four hits together, so, anytime they do that in that situation, it’s usually not going to end in a good inning.”

 

Jackson’s Scoreless Streak Halted

Edwin Jackson entered the game in relief of Turner with a 17-and-a-third inning scoreless streak. After increasing the streak to 18-and-two-thirds innings, Jackson surrendered his first run of the 2017 campaign on a Steve Selsky seeing-eye single.

“Coming out of the break, haven’t been on the mound in a little bit,” the veteran righty said. “They really made me work–they hit some balls, found some holes.”

In total, Jackson pitched three innings, giving up five hits and striking out two. Jackson, however, has a big decision coming up in the not-so-distant future. If he is still pitching in AAA on August 1 he can choose to opt out of his current contract and seek employment elsewhere. A decision he said he is not keeping in the front of his mind.

“Honestly, I’m really not necessarily that concerned, can’t really worry about what I can’t control,” Jackson said. “When I get the ball out here, just go out and continue to work and everything else will happen in due time.”


What’s Next for the Chiefs

With a tall mountain to climb in the North Division, Gardner wants his players to maintain their focus.

“We gotta go out there and compete, continue to grind at-bats out, get some big hits, and, you know, just battle every night,” Gardner said.

They’ll get another chance against the PawSox Friday night at 7:05.

Cub Reporters Cover Boeheim’s Army at the Ballpark

July 7, 2017

Staff Report SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Three days into Boot Camp, seven new graduate students in the Newhouse School’s Sports Communications Emphasis jumped into the deep end of the pool to cover their first assignments, Thursday evening at NBT Bank Stadium. Seven players and the coach of Boeheim’s Army tossed ceremonial pitches before the Syracuse Chiefs […]

Read Article »

Staff Report

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Three days into Boot Camp, seven new graduate students in the Newhouse School’s Sports Communications Emphasis jumped into the deep end of the pool to cover their first assignments, Thursday evening at NBT Bank Stadium. Seven players and the coach of Boeheim’s Army tossed ceremonial pitches before the Syracuse Chiefs game against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, then signed autographs and posed for photos with fans on the stadium concourse, before retiring to a Chiefs’ suite to relax with family and friends as the game went on below. Boeheim’s Army opens play in Philadelphia on Saturday in The Basketball Tournament, which carries a $2 million winner-take-all prize.

The students, Corey Crisan, Rafael Freitas, Monica Ortiz, Kent Paisley, Dominique Patrick, Jonathan Singh and Matt St. Jean, ranged in experience with this sort of thing from fairly extensive to none whatsoever. They were first among the 34 SCE students to volunteer for the job. Their assignment was to cover the pregame ceremony, general media opportunity and autograph/photo session, then conduct one-on-one interviews with each student reporter assigned to one player.

Along the way, they stood shoulder to shoulder with the Post-Standard/syracuse.com men’s basketball beat writer Donna Ditota, WSYR-TV’s Mario Sacco (an SCE alum), the Chiefs’ official photographer Herm Card and the Chiefs’ press box manager Don Johnston, better know as Syracuse’s Donnie Baseball.

They also fired questions at Boeheim’s Army Manager Kevin Belbey, Coach Ryan Blackwell and Chiefs General Manager Jason Smorol, who was dressed in his outrageous disco outfit to celebrate Disco Night at the stadium.

You’ll find the reporters’ work on this website under Student Reporting.

Here’s a look behind the scenes: