Saturday Sports: Rapids look to snap losing streak

Published: Jun. 19, 2022 at 3:16 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The Watertown Rapids looked to snap their 7 game losing streak Saturday night at the Alex Duffy Fairgrounds where they hosted Saugerties in PGCBL action.

The Rapids would jump out to the early lead in the bottom of the 1st when Tyree Bradley singles to center field and Clay Grady comes around to score: 1-0 Rapids.

At the top of the 3rd, Saugerties takes the lead when Jahlani Rogers hits a sacrifice fly to right field. Evan Goforth tags and scores from 3rd and Brett Heckert scores on an errant throw: 2-1 Stallions.

At the top of the 4th, Saugerties expands on it’s lead when Heckert hits a grounder past Jonah Shearer for a base hit. Both Garrison Berkley and Colin Mackle score: 4-1 Saugerties.

On the next pitch, Goforth checks in on the wild pitch: 5-1 Stallions.

”We’ve been extremely competitive all season long. We have five 1-run losses currently. We seem to just be coming up a little bit short. But last night, our bats seemed to explode, putting up 14 runs which was great and hopefully this weekend we got some tough opponents coming into town and we play well,” said Rapids Manager Mike Kogut.

Central New York native and NFL player Latavius Murray made an appearance at the Alex Duffy Fairgrounds.

Murray is part of the NFL’s Fuel To Play program which works hand in hand with dairy farmers across the country to promote healthy school choices.

Murray says his message is for kids to stay active and eat healthy with the school year coming to a close, and adds being a dad himself gives his message added importance.

“Well, being a dad obviously that has opened up my perspective on the importance of being a role model, being a positive figure in their life, and teaching them right from wrong, and leading by example most importantly. To be able to for one do it at home, it definitely makes it a little easier to be able to do it here,” said Murray.

Friday was a special night at the closing ceremonies for the South Jeff Little League at Gordon Cole Field in Rodman, where coaches, parents and players gathered to close out a successful season.

The U-10 and U-12 teams from the South Jeff Little League held skills competitions and their awards ceremonies on Friday night, closing out the 50th season of competition.

For those in attendance, it was a special night as the league honored the man who started the South Jeff Little League: Larry Clark.

In 1972, Clark came up with the idea of giving kids in Southern Jefferson County the opportunity to play little league baseball.

”Well, Coach Tony Lephart took a team down to the Sandy Creek Fair and they were an awful good team, and I said to him ‘Boy, we ought to have a team and play somewhere, play some games.’ He said go up and see Johnny Marra up in Watertown. He’s the District 37 commissioner. We went up and saw him and he said ‘Boy Clarkie, you haven’t got much time.’ But we put it together, we had 9 teams,15 players on a team the first year. Thanks to all the parents and the people around we just kept it going,” said Clark.

In it’s 2nd year of existence, the South Jeff Little League had a team that won the district championship and the rest is history.

Clark stayed involved in the league and saw 3 generations of his family play baseball in the South Jeff Little League, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on Friday night to his great-grandson.

”Yeah, I had 2 boys play, I had 4 grandkids and now a great-grandson. What a beautiful park. Just look at this place, it’s just perfect and it’s unbelievable, really,” said Clark.

Clark says after 50 years, seeing where little league baseball in the South Jeff community is today is something that makes him proud.

”Well, I’m happy for them and it’s unbelievable. It really is. Never thought you’d see this day. Never,” said Clark.

League president Matt Burdick presented Clark with a plaque to recognize his hard work and efforts to get the league off the ground 50 years ago. Burdick says having Clark be a part of the Golden Anniversary celebration is special.

”First of all, if it wasn’t for Larry Clark we would not be here today. 50 years ago he started something phenomenal in our South Jefferson community and it’s a real special day for us,” said Burdick/

Larry Clark: the pioneer of Little League baseball in Southern Jefferson County.

Beaver River senior runner Colton Kempney continued an amazing finish to his career at the New Balance Nationals in Philadelphia Friday.

Kempney placed 5th in the 2 mile event with a personal best of 9:58, which earned him All-American honors.

Kempney will run once again Sunday in Philadelphia, competing in the one mile event.

In the Girls’ 2000 Meter Steeplechase, South Jeff’s Alexis Doe finished 6th with a time of 7:02.20, earning her All-American honors.

In the same race, Norwood Norfolk’s Maddie Dineen finished 11th with a time of 7:15.34. Congratulations to both runners on an impressive showing.

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