Sunday Sports: T.I. Spirits secure post-season spot

Published: Jul. 30, 2023 at 11:13 PM EDT
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ALEXANDRIA BAY, New York (WWNY) - The Thousand Islands Spirits hosted Oswego Sunday afternoon at the Town of Alexandria Municipal Arena in the NABLL Upstate Division Championship game.

The Spirits entered the contest winners of 7 straight and the Upstate Division regular season champions.

Spirits open the scoring when Jake Rice comes up with the rebound and dents net: 1-0 Spirits.

With the score 2-0, Carter Kempney slips one past the goalie to make it 3-0 Thousand Islands.

Rice scores his 2nd of the game, unloading a rocket: 4-0 Thousand Islands.

In the 2nd, with the Spirits up 4-3, Rice connects for the hat trick to put the Spirits in front 5-3.

Then it’s Montana Pierce with the nice move on the doorstep: 6-3.

The Spirits go on to beat Oswego 19-7 to win the NABLL Upstate Division post season title and advance to the NABLL’s national tournament in late August.

Another season is in the books for the Watertown Rapids, and on Friday Sportscaster Rob Krone had a chance to sit down with Rapids Manager Mike Kogut to talk about the highs and the lows of the 2023 campaign.

The Rapids ended their PGCBL season with a 15-30 record, and with a rainout on the final day of the season, were denied a chance to secure the final playoff spot in the division by percentage points.

Despite not making the playoffs, Kogut feels the players and coaches accomplished what they set out to do when the season began in late May.

”Yeah, you know the boys came here to get some reps in, to work hard, and to develop their talents, and we did that. A bunch of kids got a lot of reps in, both position guys and pitchers, and we had some successful moments in our season for sure,” said Kogut.

The highlight of the season happened on the road in Amsterdam, where the Rapids beat the Mohawks, a team that posted the best win record in the entire league and ran away with the PGCBL East division title.

”You know, to go to Amsterdam and get a win- the first time we beat them in 10 years and to beat them at their place was a big accomplishment for these guys. It kind of gave us a boost here for the last third of the season,” said Kogut.

The one thing that the Rapids couldn’t overcome the entire season was miscues in the field, with the team committing multiple errors in a number of contests this season that cost them wins.

”Defensively, we struggled throughout the season. We kept working at it and the games we played defense we had success, but we definitely had a lot of difficult times, especially in the infield. But that comes with the ebbs and flows of playing every day,” said Kogut.

Injuries also hampered the Rapids chances for success in 2023 which forced the team to move some players into unfamiliar positions, but Kogut says his approach, along with the coaches, was always the same.

”I don’t think there’s anything necessarily we would change. We would have just hoped some things went a different way for us during games, but we always tried to do the right thing situationally and sometimes we just weren’t able to execute,” said Kogut.

With the 2023 season in the rear view mirror, it’s time to start putting a roster together and preparing for what the coaches hope is a successful 2024 campaign.

One of the biggest wrestling tournaments in the region kicks off on Friday, with the Thousand Islands Duals taking place at the Cerow Recreation Park Arena in Clayton.

60 teams total will be participating in the 3 day long tournament with 20 in the junior and middle school divisions and 40 in the high school division which is broken up into 3 brackets: elite, club, and high school.

Teams from New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Maine will be in attendance.

Wrestling kicks off at 10 a.m. Friday and goes until Sunday.