Sectional Extravaganza on Culver Road

Sectional Extravaganza on Culver Road

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.

5/21/21 SOTA celebrates, including the traditional water cooler dousing from The Battle of the Birds: Eagles and Silverhawks return to Cobb’s Hill in a barnburner

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.

East Field off Culver Road. Brighton Bruins and East Eagles tip caps to each other after the game. East Coach Kyle Crandall wished Brighton good luck as they advanced in the sectionals. See Congratulations East on a magical season. So Jefferson and Rocky DiPonzio’s 1980 mark still stands.

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.

6/7/21 The bleachers at Cobb’s Hill # 1 next to Norris Ave. The Janezics, Roger and Ross, SOTA ’20. Now at RIT, Ross is focusing on his studies over baseball. although he misses the game. See No longer undefeated, East bounces back nicely

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.

6/7/21 Dale Janezic taking a lead at second base, warming up to pitch, and striking out Wilson/Edison’s Michael Cummings

6/7/21 Two McQuaid ball players scouting out the teams as the Knights were set to play the winner; camera shy Silverhawk fans. See The Battle of the Birds: Eagles and Silverhawks return to Cobb’s Hill in a barnburner

Actually, we’ve met Dale before. On its team since middle school, Dale is a top chess player for SOTA.

(left) Dale Janezic, bottom row far right from Another RCSD success story. Wilson completes sterling season. Claims 2nd place in the States. Falls just short to Brighton in Rochester Area Interscholastic Chess Playoffs. (2014); (right) Legendary SOTA coach Walter Lanik retired this year. Dale Janezic, second from left from City schools shine as Wilson bests SOTA in chess finals (2015)

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.

6/7/21 (left) SOTA coach Willie Mason; former SOTA player Brennen Johnson plays club ball at Niagara University and acts as an “unofficial” assistant coach when back in town; SOTA Athletic Director David Michelson and SOTA school security officer Roosevelt Murray. See The Battle of the Birds: Eagles and Silverhawks return to Cobb’s Hill in a barnburner

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.

Michelle Lepki and Tom LaMora. See Keeping score at Cobb’s Hill

6/721 SOTA’s Yahir Artache walking Wilson/Edison’s Jose Alvarez

6/7/21 The Wilson/Edison bench

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.

Brighton’s Teddy Knapp striking out East’s Victor Arroya. Catcher is A.J. Marcella.

In the East press box. East Modified head coach Bob Beauchamp (near) and East JV assistant coach Dan Travis operating the scoreboard. See East falls just short. And views from the press box and New Press Box scoreboard keeper coveteth a coveted microphone

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.

6/7/21 Brighton Athletic Director Nate Merritt (left, see Barons prevail in first televised football game at Reifsteck Field) and David Kramer. East teacher Michael Militello gave me the East Athletics ALL STARS shirt when I was a PE substitute teacher and played floor hockey with the students. As I learned the sport at Twelve Corners Middle School, I easily schooled the East boys. See Substitute teachers in the RCSD are a rich and untapped resource [Photo: Twelve Corners Middle School profesor de español]

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.

East High School Superintendent Shaun Nelms and his son, Shaun Jr.

September, 2015 Shaun Nelms (right) and David Kramer scrimmaging with Roland Williams at the East football stadium. Williams feigns surprise while catching Kramer’s laser-like TD pass. Shades of Super Bowl XXXIII. From “Team Eagle” set to open a new field of dreams at East. Roland Williams ’93 drops by for final summer tune up.

UPDATE: SEE Sectional extravaganza in Brighton



The Battle of the Birds: Eagles and Silverhawks return to Cobb’s Hill in a barnburner




East baseball continues its storied tradition


New Press Box scoreboard keeper coveteth a coveted microphone


East falls just short. And views from the press box

No longer undefeated, East bounces back nicely

Eagles (8-0) win East Tournament; pizza for all

East beats Lyons to stay unbeaten; Crandall retrieves balls and sweeps home plate

Bundled up loyalists at Cobb’s Hill watch East stay undefeated.

Joel Alicea throws second straight no-hitter; three generations celebrate at East

Excitement grows on Culver Road as East wins third straight. Bishop Kearney is next.

Following a historic season, East baseball opens with back-to-back no hitters.


Congratulations East on a magical season. So Jefferson and Rocky DiPonzio’s 1980 mark still stands.

A coach who cares. And wondering if East won

East’s sun still shining

East baseball takes the show on the road. Destination Cincinnati

City baseball opens. Defending champion East’s Coach Crandall previews season. And Cruz Control is back.


City baseball opens; East set to defend title


East baseball takes the show on the road. Destination Pittsburgh


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.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, (left) 3/28/03, 3:46 p.m. Sheila Cortes runs down University Avenue with the baseball team. She played on the softball team last year. (right) 5/30/08 Dedication to offseason workouts helped Anthony McKnight and School of the Arts to their first city championship on May 21


Keeping score at Cobb’s Hill

Adding a SOTA baseball game and the Air Horn guy to the Cobb’s Hill series


SOTA’s Kenny Cruz awaits call from the big leagues. Bill Pucko “borrows” Talker’s nickname: Cruz Control


SOTA’s Kenny “Cruz Control:” from a Silverhawk to a Scarlet Knight

The Kenny Cruz watch: highest ranked outfielder in NYS, 22nd in the nation

East baseball triumphs again; SOTA’s Kenny Cruz named RCAC player of the year


No off season for SOTA’s rising baseball star. Oh, Kenny also currently has the highest GPA in the entire RCSD.


Brighton fans celebrate hometown hero Ernie Clement in victory

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY and Lake Affect Magazine.  My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

1 Comment

  1. Roger Janezic

    Shout out to David Kramer. I met him years ago while covering SOTA/East game. Thought him a little quirky at the time but later realized it was simple inquisitiveness that makes his articles so endearing. Love his stories. Hard to define his writing because they have a little of everything in them often with a thread of sports. He does the humanity thing really well. He really listens to people and isn’t afraid to approach anyone. He seems to see everything and not just the game. We could all take a lesson from him and try to adopt his view of the world.
    David – Love what you do!!!
    Roger Janezic
    Crawford Street/Highland Park Neighborhood
    RCSD proud parent (School 12!!, Wilson ’18/SOTA ’20/SOTA ’23)
    Southside baseball coach (that’s maybe another story….Southside kids now play at SOTA, East, Edison, Franklin, Brighton, Aquinas, McQuaid……)
    Riverflow soccer dad (although its Lori who does all the work!)
    City booster


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