Upstate Stars - 7/1/2012

Uploaded by upstatestars on 02.07.2012

>>Hello and welcome to Upstate Stars.
I’m Jeff Pexton and I’ll be your host as we travel central New York
to cover our local amateur sports and get to know the athletes who play them
Our goal is to be your source for all things amateur sports.
From the plush green fields of football, lacrosse, soccer, and field hockey
To all of our high-school and college gyms
which play host to our basketball and volleyball teams.
To the ice rinks that are home to our nationally renowned
youth, high school, and college hockey teams
And we’ll be right there to cover central New York’s fine swimmers and divers.
To the local baseball and softball fields where so many local heroes have left their mark.
We’re right on track with some of the finest athletes anywhere.
If you’re in the bleachers you can count on us to be right there alongside you
as you root on your favorite players and team.
>>Ok, welcome to Upstate Stars.
We are fortunate to be joined by Pastor Rick Andrew of the Redeemer Church on Herkimer Road in North Utica.
Pastor Rick, welcome to Upstate Stars.
>>Thank you Jeff. Thanks so much for coming out and supporting the Redeemer Cup.
>>We really appreciate your time.
Pastor, if you would, please, tell us a little about the origin of this tournament and how it's come to be such a fine event.
>>Well actually my wife is Brazilian, you know, so watching soccer is kind of like a religion in our house.
But 6 years ago we were watching the World Cup and we just started talking about how we've got the world right there in the Mohawk valley.
Let's have our own World Cup.
In fact after the 2010 census the Brookings Institution released a study...
You know outside of the big cities; LA, New York, whatever.
Amongst small cities Utica has more foreign-born residents per capita than any other city in the country.
We've got actually more than 40 languages spoken in our school system.
So we started to plan this soccer event which soccer is the vehicle.
It's the international language. It's fun.
People love to compete and the emotions run high.
But while soccer is the vehicle, really it's a community event to bring people together so they're not the strangers across town.
They're not even just maybe the neighbors across the street.
But we can become friends.
>>Well friends, I think, and friendship, Pastor Rick are the two operative words here at this tournament.
Tell me a little bit about the small army of volunteers that have stood behind you here and have been here for two days and well before that to get this event off the ground.
>>Yeah, that's a great question Jeff. Obviously something like this takes a lot of people to put together.
You know we've had about 1,400 both days out here.
We have a committee of about 15 people who have planned this for several months.
We have more than 200 volunteers on the park today and we got a ton of support from different organizations in the community.
Adirondack Bank is our premier sponsor this year.
Chobani also stepped up and really helped us out to sponsor us and their founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, joined us for the opening ceremony that we had yesterday.
We have a lot of support from the city, from the Mayor's office and the city clerk.
From the Utica police department.
The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees and Nirvana water.
We had a lot of support from them.
There's just so many people and we're really grateful for the amazing outpouring of support from the community.
>>Now tell me a little bit about the high level of soccer that's being played.
>>You know, it is so intense.
I mean they're good. They are good.
Today is the playoff round.
The top 8 teams advanced.
All the games are close. In fact, I
remember last year.
I don't even know everything that's going on right now because of all the other events.
But last year all of our playoff games in the quarter-finals were decided by one goal.
And then in the semi-finals those were both tied and went into overtime and then into penalty shoot-outs.
So it's close. It's very close action.
>>Well, Pastor Rick, I want to just say, "Thank you," on behalf of the community.
I also want to congratulate you on a fantastic event and thanks for letting Upstate Stars be a part of it.
>>Jeff, thank you so much.
>>Thanks a bunch.
>>Thanks for being here today.
>>Thanks. And that's it from the Redeemer Cup here at Proctor Park in Utica, New York.
>>Back at the Redeemer Cup here on Sunday, June the third and I'm joined now by Rayborn Benson of Utica, New York.
Rayborn, you're a volunteer here at the Redeemer Cup?
>>Yes I am.
>>Are you a soccer fan?
>>Yes I am.
>>And have you been here all weekend?
>>Tell me a little bit about the event and about the teams and the players and the games that have been happening so far.
>>Well, the games, they've been like unbelievable. Crazy shots that they've been doing.
Today, well they have the semi-finals and their finals to win that big cup right there.
I don't know. It's very interesting what we see out here.
>>And Rayborn, are you a soccer player yourself?
>>No, I'm not.
>>As far as being a volunteer, It's got to give you a really great feeling coming down to the Redeemer Cup, helping out, and being one of 200 volunteers at this event.
>>Yes it is. And all of the little kids and to see all of the little junior soccer players and everything just just having fun and stuff.
It's just a cool experience.
>>Well Rayborn, thanks a lot for your help and thanks for joining us on Upstate Stars.
>>Thank you.
>>Thanks a bunch.
>>Hi, we're here at the Redeemer Cup soccer tournament here at Proctor Park in beautiful Utica, New York and I am joined by a couple of lovely volunteers for the Redeemer Cup.
Could I have your name?
>>Keri Reppel.
>>Tricia Getman.
>>And Tricia, we'll start with you. Have you been here all weekend?
>>Yes, all day yesterday. All day today.
>>And how are you affiliated with the Redeemer Cup and what brings you down here?
>>Well I'm part of the Redeemer church and I helped out with registering all of the teams and with the information booth so if people had questions they come to the booth, we give them the answers.
And just making sure the teams overall knew where to go, when to go, how to go and all of that information.
>>Okay. And how about you? What is your affiliation to the Redeemer Cup Soccer Tournament?
>>Okay, I am also a part of Redeemer church and I'm friends with Pastor Rick who birthed this.
My responsibility was to get the ceremonies started, the opening ceremonies, and today I'm coordinating the cultural events.
And I'll be helping with the closing ceremonies also.
>>And ladies, if you would, explain a little bit about all of the diversity and it seems like all of the friendship and just the great tidings that are happening here in the park this weekend.
>>Yes, it's wonderful. This is our third year. Pastor Rick has seen a need for a bringing-together the diversity and soccer is such a unifying element.
Utica is a melting pot. We have many, many, many different cultures here and soccer is what brought them together.
>>Now let me ask you: Were you or are you a soccer player?
>>I used to be in high school, but I haven't played since then, but I still enjoy watching it and helping all of the teams play it.
>>So I think it's pretty safe to say that there are some pretty talented soccer players on these fields this weekend.
>>Yes, absolutely. The Bosnians are extremely good. They're all great.
It's great to see them play against other teams to see how well they do with different people that they don't normally play with.
>>Well, we appreciate your time and as a community and from Upstate Stars we'd like thank you both for your support and your volunteerism of this fantastic event.
>>Thank you. It's our pleasure.
>>Thank you very much.
>>Thank you.
>>All right. We're getting a little bit of rain here in Whitestown but I'm joined by Noah Britt and Thomas Dygert.
Guys, welcome to Upstate Stars and Noah, rumor has it you've hit some home runs in this league this year. Tell me a little bit about them.
>>Well, all of them have been important to the team and I think that the home run is overrated still, though.
>>You think the home run is overrated?
>>Well, how many of those do you have this year?
>>I have three.
>>That's a lot of homers. That's a lot of homers.
And Thomas, a little birdie told me that you're arguably the fastest guy in Whitestown Little League. Is that true?
>>Yes, it is.
>>So, while Noah brings some power to the lineup, you bring some speed?
>>Yeah, I do.
>>Awesome. And Noah, what position do you play for team which is the New York State Troopers, by the way?
>>I pitch and I play first base.
>>And Thomas?
>>I pitch, catch, and play short-stop.
>>So you guys are busy on this team?
And Noah, if you would, tell me as we get poured on here, another beautiful day in Central New York.
Tell me if you would who has been the biggest influence on your baseball career so far?
>>Definitely my Dad.
>>And who is that?
>>Dan Britt.
>>And a little bit about you Dad and what he has taught you.
>>He's taught me basically everything that I know about baseball.
>>That's pretty cool.
That's pretty cool.
Thomas, anybody out there that's given you a leg up, no pun intended with your speed there, but anybody that's given you some really good advice and influence?
>>My Dad, too.
>>And who is that?
>>Brian Dygert.
>>And what's the best thing he's taught you so far?
>>How to hit the ball well.
>>That's really important in this game, isn't it?
>>Thomas, a little bit from you if you don't mind, what's the best part about playing in Whitestown Little League?
>>Probably all of my fans and everyone else's fans.
>>So you get a good crowd at the game?
>>Yeah, we do.
>>Thanks very much to Thomas Dygert and Noah Britt from the New York State Troopers team here in Whitestown and guys good luck on the rest of your season.
>>Thank you.
>>Thank you.
>>All right, thanks.
>>Upstate Stars would also like to send out congratulations to head coach John Randall and the New Hartford Spartans varsity baseball team on your Section 3, Class A baseball championship.
The Spartans, who entered tournament play with a record of 6 wins and 10 losses, made it all the way to the New York State final four at Union Endicott High School.
The Spartans finished their season with not only a Section 3 championship, but also a New York State Public High School Athletic Association Central Region title.
Congratulations Spartans on a fantastic season from Upstate Stars.
>>Hi and welcome to Upstate Stars.
Tonight we're in Oneida, New York with Chris McClain, one of the founder of the Odyssey Soccer Club in Sherrill, New York.
Chris, welcome to the show.
>>Hey, thanks for having me, this is great.
>>Well, we appreciate your time and tonight you've got a, looks like a U-12 girls going on between your club and the Coliseum Soccer program.
Chris tell me a little bit, if you would, about the Odyssey program and what it means to the local soccer players in our area.
>>We're one of 3 major clubs in this area: Coliseum, Rising Stars, and Odyssey.
Odyssey is a little bit different in that all our college coaches, we have 14 different college coaches, from all the gamut.
I mean Division 1, Division 2, Division 3.
>>Basically we're just a program totally dedicated to making the best environment possible for kids to train.
We're very excited to offer it to these players here.
We come from an area that's pulling from so many different regions.
Over 450 different kids that are looking for a better level of play and so our goal is to reward them and give them a possibility to train with us.
>>Chris, about that training and the development that you offer all of your players which by the way come from 28 different school districts I'm told.
Tell us a little bit about your new indoor facility that you have for year-round use right in Sherrill.
>>We're really excited about it.
It took some time and we've been training in gyms to roller rinks to just jumping around but we finally found an old factory that we had enough volunteers to have the vision and the opportunity to help us build.
It's a training-only facility which is fantastic.
We have kids in there from 4 to 11 o'clock at night.
Just training only and it's amazing to have kids in there every single day of the week is something that we are very proud of.
We obviously put training way ahead of the game itself because we feel like if you train, eventually the wins and maybe the future for players in higher-level soccer will take care of itself.
So we're very excited about it.
>>Chris, speaking of a higher level of soccer, the program offers an Olympic development program to some of your players.
Can you tell us a little bit about that?
>>The top 10% of the club, so what we're going to offer you is some extra training.
Something that's completely outside of Odyssey where we bring in top coaches.
Because these kids are travelling all over the country to be seen by coaches.
Well instead we want to bring them to us and so by doing that they get two extra training opportunities along with their club team.
And therefore they go through a whole year process, work with that team.
Those coaches give them great evaluations and say, "Hey, this is where you are. This is where you are compared to the rest of the country."
And from there we decided if they're going to renew that.
Basically kids that are trying to get into the Odyssey Development Academy, they're looking at that and they're like, "Oh my gosh, this would be a great opportunity for me."
So they're working even harder so that's what the Odyssey Development Academy is as opposed to the Olympic develoment program.
The Olympic develoment program, when we started out back in 2004, we didn't have one kid in the Olympic develoment program.
Now, we have up to 12, 13 kids in it which is amazing.
>>Wow. Fantastic. Chris, that's some great stuff and I know you have a very important game to get to here with your U-12 girls here at Oneida high school and we just wanted to say, "Thank you and best of luck."
If people want to get in touch with Odyssey to find out more about your program, how can they do that?
>>Just go to the website.
Like you said, it's just another great opportunity for players who are looking to better themselves.
If you want professional coaches that are working with your kids on a daily basis and not here just to pat them on the back
and say how great you are but just be truthful with them and let them know exactly where they're at so they know where they need to to and what the next level might be.
So, that's how you do it.
>>Fantastic Chris. Thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it and good luck to you.
>>No problem. Thank you for coming.
>>Okay, welcome to Upstate Stars.
Today we are with President and general manager of the Utica Brewers, Butch Russo and native baseball player Ryan Donovan.
The Brewers kick off their season this Saturday, June 2nd here at Murnane Field.
And Butch, first of all, tell me a little bit about the New York collegiate baseball league and the history so far of the Utica Brewers.
>>The New York collegiate baseball league has been around for 34 years here in upstate New York.
There are 12 teams in the league.
There are 6 in the East and 6 in the West.
The Utica Brewers joined the New York collegiate league coming out of the Eastern collegiate baseball league last year and we were the Eastern division champions.
We ended up losing in the first round of the play-offs but had an automatic berth to the World Series in Toledo, Ohio, which we went 7 and 0 and were crowned as the national champions of the National Amateur Baseball Federation.
>>That's quite an accomplishment Butch.
So the folks at home know a little bit about the caliber of play that you're bringing here to Murnane Field.
Summer baseball and wood-bat leagues around the nation from Hawaii to Cape Cod are usually the training grounds for America's best college baseball players.
And I think the New York collegiate baseball league is obviously one of the top, if not the top, college leagues for summer baseball around, isn't it?
>>Yes it is. We are one of eight leagues in the country funded by Major League Baseball.
So that in itself tells us and gives us the opportunity of brining in quality players which we do.
We bring in a lot of division 1, division 2 players and we do bring in some quality division 3 players but as far as the competitiveness, we're right up there with a lot of those leagues as the New England collegiate league.
And last year going 43 and 14 we were ranked by Baseball America as in the top 22nd overall in the nation as the premier college team around the country so we were above some of the Cape Cod teams throughout the league, too.
>>That's pretty amazing. And folks, one of those top college baseball players to come out of the Utica area is Ryan Donovan.
Ryan is a 2010 graduate of Proctor high school. He was also a member of the 2007 New York State AA championship team.
Ryan, first, it's great to see you again.
Number 2, tell me a little bit about how it feels to come home during the summer, play at a phenomenal field like this at Murnane Field and put the Utica uniform on again.
>>Well it feels great.
I mean being home in front of your family, your friends, people you grew up with.
It's just a very good atmosphere to come out and catch a game.
Murnane is a beautiful facility.
We've made a lot of rennovations to it.
So I'm definitely looking forward to another opportunity to bring some joy to the home-town fans.
>>And Ryan, you play 20 home games, 21 home games here at Murnane Field before the play-offs.
As a Proctor graduate and a guy who played...
One of your assistant coaches here for the Brewers is Dave Guido who was your head coach in high school.
When you take the field here at Murnane with the caliber of ball-players that are coming into Utica here each summer, what kind of goes through your mind as you lace up those cleats and hit the field with some of America's best players?
>>I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity.
I was glad I could play for the home town again and with the caliber they bring in obviously after last year we're very successful and it's a great opportunity, especially for kids around this area to see what else is out there across the country.
We have kids from Florida, California, Arkansas, all over the place.
So you really get to test your ability to see how well you stack up against some of the league's best.
>>A little bit about you Ryan.
This fall you're going to be playing collegiate baseball at Oswego State and they're in the SUNYAC conference?
>>Yeah, they're in the SUNY AC conference along with Cortland, Brockport, New Paltz, Fredonia and just other teams of that caliber.
>>Well that's fantastic and once again to be able to stay right here close to home with this level of baseball right here at Murnane Field it's got to be a thrill.
Butch, a little bit about Murnane.
The place looks immaculate.
The fresh green cut grass here.
The infield looks beautiful.
And I notice we've got some construction going on over here over our left shoulder.
The Utica Club Saranac party deck is being constructed and that's got to attract some fans, huh?
>>Yeah, we picked that up travelling throughout all these other leagues and seeing their promotions that they have done and it gave us the same idea.
Because this is what's happening at this level of baseball now that minor league baseball has went to a differnt level.
That's the type of atmosphere we're trying to bring back here with Murnane Field and going back to the facility the Oneida County Sports Authority has done a great job keeping the upkeep on the field.
Actually giving us what we need that we can requires us to do what we want to do.
The party deck is going to be a happy hour on the party deck every home game from 5 to 6:30.
Food. Entertainment, so on and so forth will be going on here.
Just another added thing to the Utica Brewers schedule.
>>Butch the field, like I said, looks fantastic.
Every fence section out here is filled with an advertising sign.
Tell the home folks here what some kids might be able to expect if they come out to a game in terms of I know you've got a slew of promotions.
Almost every home game you've got something going on where there's a give-away or some type of event happening here.
For the little folks, a family of 4 or 5 that wants to take in a baseball game.
First of all: ticket prices number one.
And number two, what can they expect in terms of promotions?
>>Ticket prices: $4 general admission.
We have a family 4-pack that is you get 4 hot dogs, 4 popcorns, 4 sodas, 4 general admission tickets for $25.
Entertainment during the game.
We have on-field promotions with our sponsors.
We have Carbone Auto Group there's going to be every game they'll have an opportunity of winning a Nissan.
A Carbone Nissan automobile valued at $25,000 and The Gold Guy has a sponsor that we will be giving away $5,000 and it's called 3 strikes, you win.
A contestant will go on the mound, will have an opportunity to throw 3 straight strikes through a 12" circle sponsored by The Gold Guy and if they throw 3 strikes, you win $5,000 right here on the spot.
T-shirt give-aways. We have just all kinds of stuff going on.
We have a mascot this year. The name is Brewster.
So Brewster will be running around with the kids.
We have a lot of autograph sessions going on so there's always something going on for all straight 9 innings that you come out here and watch the Brewers.
>>Fantastic. And Ryan along with all of the showmanship that goes on at collegiate baseball level during the summer and promotions and tickets and consessions and things like that, it all does come down to the baseball, doesn't it?
>>Oh yeah, absolutely. This is all just to get Utica back to where it was when we had the Blue Sox.
We were a very prominent city for baseball so I really feel like we can get Utica back to that point where we fill up the stands.
Kids come have fun just like I did when I was little growing up here.
>>Ryan how important is summer baseball in a wood-bat league like this one, how important is it to your development as a college baseball player?
>>It's crucial. I mean the summer is a time where athletes really come in and work on modifying their skills and harnessing their potential so I really feel like this is one of the best opportunities in the nation to come and show the skills that you have.
>>And playing alongside the collection of players that you have, like you said, from California to Florida to the Northwest to the Northeast.
When you get that collection of, that type of collection of athletes together, it's got to help you improve your skills because, let's face it, somebody may be doing something a little bit different and maybe can get a tip or some type of suggestion on how to do something a little better.
>>Oh yeah, absolutely. There's many different ways to play this game.
You know it's not a one fits all solution.
I mean some kids may do things a little bit differently.
You pick up on it. Maybe you have success with it. You show it on to your other teammates.
It's just a great learning experience. You learn a lot about the game. A lot about just people in general.
You learn to deal with their personalities and it's just a great overall learning experience for any kid that comes here to play.
>>Awesome. Well congratulations and good luck to you this summer.
It's obviously great to see you again.
And Butch congratulations. Best of luck. The place looks fantastic.
Folks make sure you get down to Murnane Field here this summer beginning this Saturday, June 2nd.
The Brewers will kick off their home stand this weekend and games all during the week.
Check out their schedule and visit for more information about this fantastic organization.
Also check out for more information, game stories and photos from the action right here at Murnane.
Thank you.
Upstate Stars would like to congratulate head coach Tom Niece and the Oriskany Redskins varsity baseball team on the section 3 class D baseball title as well as the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Central Region championship.
The Redskins made it all the way to the final game of the New York State High School Athletic Association baseball championships and finished second in New York State.
Congratulations to the Redskins. Way to go.
>>Hi folks and welcome to Upstate Stars.
Today we come to you from the beautiful Whitestown Little League park in Whitesboro, New York and I am joined by Brad Blum and Dylan Hall from the Whitestown Post American Legion little league major division team.
Guys, how are you doing today?
>>And how's it feel to be out there on TV?
>>It's really cool.
>>Allright and Dylan I'm going to start with you, OK buddy?
First of all, what position do you play for the
>>I play first base. Sometimes I play center. And sometimes I play third base and second.
>>Okay, and Dylan, how many years have you been on the legion team?
>>Since I was in 4th grade and I'm in 6th right now.
>>So you're a sixth grader?
Brad, how many years have you been on the legion team?
>>And what positions do you play?
>>I play short-stop, pitcher, and catcher.
>>Okay, and throughout your years of little league, is there any one particular memory that you're going to carry with you for the rest of your life from playing here in Whitestown?
>>Yeah, my first hit.
>>And when was that?
>>When I was nine.
>>Wow. How did that feel?
>>It felt good.
>>Thanks for watching Upstate Stars.