Saturday Sports: Rapids have positive outlook on season ahead

Published: Jun. 11, 2022 at 10:20 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) -The Watertown Rapids were on the road Saturday, taking on the Albany Dutchmen in a doubleheader. Albany would beat Watertown in game one 3-0 and complete the sweep with a 9-1 win in game 2.

For the Rapids, it’s been an encouraging start to the 2022 season.

The Rapids headed into Saturday’s twin bill with a 2-3 record, coming off a tough 9-8 loss to Geneva on Friday night.

Offense hasn’t been a problem for the Rapids through their first 5 games, scoring 24 runs and the Rapids 3 losses have all been by one run

Manager Mike Kogut says he’s pleased with his team’s play the first week of the season.

”We were able to get 4 games in early. Definitely the pitchers are a little bit ahead of the offense, I think, league wide, but I kind of expect that to change as the arms tire and guys start to get more live at bats with wood bats,” said Kogut.

Kogut says the one thing that has impressed him the most is the one thing that was the Achilles heel of the team last year: pitching.

”Definitely how great the pitchers came out throwing for us. I mean, our staff has done a great job through the first 4 games and kept us in every game, and it shows in the final scores,” said Kogut.

For some of the players, the jump from college baseball to the summer collegiate baseball season is a challenge, and they say that going from playing games 3 to 4 times a week to a schedule that sees them on the field every day takes a little getting use to both mentally and physically.

”Yeah, actually it’s a little bit different in terms of college, because usually we play back to back games. We have doubleheaders probably 3 days out of the week. In summer ball, it’s pretty much every day and then one off day. It’s a big difference, but you know, it’s- if you do it right and take care of your body, it’s nothing too drastic,” said catcher Elvis Lopez.

”It is tough on the body playing every day here, I’m not gonna lie. I love it, though. It’s a lot of reps that we need to get everyone on the team. The competition that we’re seeing here is a lot better because we’re seeing a lot of D-1 guys that we don’t really see during our college season,” said infielder Tyree Bradley.

With a new manager and coaches made up of former and current baseball coaches locally, players from last year’s team say they see a different attitude and direction in the team both on and off the field.

“I think there’s just a little bit more organization throughout the team. Everyone kind of knows where they have to be, there’s a little bit more communication between everyone. I think this group is a little more tight knit than we were last year. I think it’s a good group and I think we’re gonna have success later in the season as well,” said infielder Brett Myers.

Another day and another state title for Beaver River senior Colton Kempney at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association State Championships.

Saturday morning, Kempney won the 3000 meter steeplechase in Division 2 and finished 3rd overall with a time of 9:04.79, beating his best time by 16 seconds.

Kempney’s high school career isn’t over yet, next weekend he will be racing at the New Balance Nationals in Philadelphia in the 2 mile on Friday and the mile on Sunday.

Section 10 athletes also fared well in the state track and field championships.

In the boys events:

Potsdam’s Ansen Herrick medaled in 5th in the triple jump, was 10th in the long jump, 12th in the 400, and 15th in the 200, but just less than a second out of medal contention.

Potsdam’s Theo Hughes was 4th in the pentathlon shot put.

Canton’s Nick Lyndaker was third in the 3200 meter run.

Canton’s Max Finley medaled in 6th in the steeplechase.

The Canton 3200 meter relay team of Lyndaker, Finley, Miles Gendebien and Hayden Bregg medaled in 6th place.

In the girls’ competition. Norwood-Norfolk’s Maddie Dinneen took home medals for 5th in the steeplechase and 6th in 800, while finishing 11th in the 1500 meters.

The Flyers’ Sharon Colbert captured 8th in the 3000 meter run.

Norwood Norfolk’s relay team of Colbert, Rachel Hewey, Allie Snell and Madison Carista was 8th in the 4x800.

Tupper Lake’s Olivia Ellis was 6th in pentathlon, including 5th in the high jump.

After 27 years, wrestling returned to the campus of St. Lawrence University, if only for a weekend.

The University hosted a reunion of former Saints wrestlers for 3 days of activities.

The program, which was dropped after the 1995-96 season, was one of the best Division 3 programs in the country and had several wrestlers win national titles with the team winning the D-3 crown in 1988.

”When we were here, probably St. Lawrence wrestling was the most successful program in this school’s history with a rich tradition of national championships, national individual champions, a lot of All-Americans. Even though this weekend isn’t about the program not being here, this weekend is about us getting together, seeing friends and families that we haven’t seen in 20-30 years and just reconnecting with people that we’ve missed and loved over the years,” said Pat Conners, member of the 1988 Division 3 National Championship Team.

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