6/7/21. [Cobb’s Hill Field # 1 off Culver Road. The School of the Art’s bench looks upward at foul ball. Except where indicated, photos by David Kramer]
A couple of weeks ago in The Battle of the Birds: Eagles and Silverhawks return to Cobb’s Hill in a barnburner. we witnessed the School of the Art’s Silverhawks walk off 13-12 win over the East Eagles.
Last Friday, the birds battled again in the finals of the RCAC tournament with SOTA prevailing 8 – 5 to win its first city championship since 2008.
Yesterday, Section V held the opening round sectionals, and both teams were back again on Culver Road with SOTA hosting Wilson/Edison at Cobb’s Hill Field # 1 and East hosting Brighton at the East Field. Against strong pitching from the Bruins, East fell 7 – 1.
After trailing 3 – 0, SOTA ramped up its offense to beat the Wildcats 15 – 9, advancing to the quarterfinals against powerhouse McQuaid Jesuit High School.
Omnipresent as ever, SOTA parent and booster Roger Janezic is rarely still, leading cheers, bouncing around the stands and taking a few jogging laps near leftfield.
The city championship represented a bit of Janezic family redemption. A standout pitcher and infielder, Ross Janezic’s Silverhawk teams lost three times in the finals to the Eagles. Going 4 -4, younger brother Dale finally brought the trophy home.
Actually, we’ve met Dale before. On its team since middle school, Dale is a top chess player for SOTA.
Roger, who has driven Dale many times to the Rochester Chess Center down the road from Cobb’s Hill on Norris Avenue, says Dale’s chess rating is close to 2000.
Ross offered the highlight of his SOTA career. In 2019, SOTA faced Franklin in a tournament match up. In the top of the 7th, two out and down by four with the bases loaded and a full count, Brennen Johnson (below) blasted a home run over the so-called Franklin Green Monster to tie the game that SOTA won in extra innings.
As ever, Michelle Lepki, whose son Steven plays for SOTA, was keeping score. Wilson/Edison scorekeeper Tom LaMora, whose son Maxwell attends Wilson Magnet, says the secret to scorekeeping is a reliable pencil, but more importantly, a reliable eraser.
I had mixed loyalties at the East/Brighton game. I root for East and city baseball, but was also a Brighton Baron, Captain of the Monroe County Chess League’s 1981 Champion Brighton Barons (now Bruins).
Nonetheless, I pleased with the strong pitching performance of Brighton, holding East to one run.
The game was a mini-reunion. The vaunted batterymates, pitcher David Kramer (BHS ’81) and catcher Josh Pincus (BHS ’83) of the 1976 Bayles Furniture of the Brighton Little League, were back once more on a baseball diamond. As seen in Filmic evidence shows I “froze” at the 1976 Brighton Little League All Star game and other Brighton memories, Josh (now COO of 30 Bird Media) rightfully said that, for at least one season, we were “superstars.”
At first, Josh worried that his graduating son Eli, who Josh coached in little league, might be playing his last game for Brighton, but the Bruins played well throughout.
I saw Brighton Athletic Director Nate Merritt who you met at the first televised football game at Reifsteck Field.I saw East Superintendent Shaun Nelms and his son, Shaun Jr. As see in “Team Eagle” set to open a new field of dreams at East. Roland Williams ’93 drops by for final summer tune up., being next to the East football stadium brought back memories when Shaun and I scrimmaged with East grad ’93 and former NFL star Roland Williams.
UPDATE: SEE Sectional extravaganza in Brighton
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The School of the Arts does not have a long baseball tradition like East. Nonetheless, the program has had memorable moments: In 2003, Sheila Cortes was the first girl to play baseball in Monroe County; in 2008, SOTA won its first City Championship.
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