Submitted by Charlie LaDuca, Chautauqua MSBL Board Member

The Chautauqua MSBL, located a robust 299 miles from New York City, finally got its 27th season underway this past Sunday July 12th. It was touch and go for quite a while as our seven-team league used all but one High School field for our games. New York State has been slow to reopen and the schools even slower to open their facilities to us. We were initially informed that none of our fields would be available putting our season in jeopardy.

Fortunately, our treasurer Bob Bankoski is on a local school board and spoke to the superintendent Mike Mansfield who played in our league years ago. They were able to set up safety regulations for us to follow which made two fields available for play.  The third field made available is owned by our local Fredonia, New York Little and Babe Ruth leagues.  Tim Cowan is a local High School coach who manages the fields in Fredonia and allowed us to use the complex if we agreed to the safety rules put in place.

The rules are basic yet effective following state and county guidelines. Our League president Shawn Hennessey and our umpire association has set safety rules for all players and their umpires as well.  The pre-game managers meetings are a bit different, as the umpires set the tone regarding safety and social distancing.  Our managers make it clear to all players that the rules are to be followed or they will not be allowed to participate.  We had been given the chance to play, and now the burden was on us to do the right thing.  Social distancing, optional masks, no hand shakes or high fives and all of those basic precautions are in effect.

I wanted to also thank Steve Pantano for all of his hard work behind the scenes. He handles our scheduling, which requires a lot of work in coordinating the field usage during these trying times, and is an ongoing positive presence in keeping everything together. Thank you, Steve!

I’m pleased to announce our first games went off without a hitch. The games were competitive, and the feedback has been that all players and managers did their part in assuring games will continue to be played on these fields.

In the form of a game report, I would like to give the results of our most exciting game from our opening weekend:


PRO-BATS YANKEES – 9  GLEN ACRES NURSERY GIANTS – 6 (9 INNINGS)

In a CMSBL classic, the Yankees rallied to overcome two extra inning deficits after the Giants tied the game 3-3 in the top of the seventh.  Using our tie breaker format, the Giants started the top of the eighth inning with a runner on second base, and promptly scored two runs. Not to be outdone, the Yankees scratched out two runs of their own to tie the game once again.

The Giants kept the pressure on, scoring a solo run in the top of the ninth inning, putting the Yanks backs to the wall. With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Yankee cleanup hitter Joe Polichetti blasted a walk off Grand Slam over the fence in deep left center field to end the well-played contest.  Free agent acquisitions Matt Cole (2 hits, 2 RBI) and Robert Calph Jr. (2 hits, 2B, 2 runs, RBI) led the Bombers hitting attack, while Brent Carmello scored twice.  Cole (6 K’s) was the winning pitcher in relief of Dennis “Waxy” Gawronski (5 innings, 2 runs).

The snake bit Giants again outhit the Yanks with nine hits.  Nick Raynor (RBI), Xavier Negron-Perez (2B) and Jondy Cordova (2 RBI, 2B) each had two hits, while Edwin Vasquez (RBI) and Edwin Gomez (2 runs) doubled.  Jordan Bennick took the loss on the mound in relief of Cordova and Alberto Benejan-Otano.  The trio struck out six Yankee hitters.