[6/9/21 School of the Art’s Abel Austin hurling against the McQuaid Jesuit High School Knights in the first inning. Photo: David Kramer]
As seen in Sectional Extravaganza on Culver Road, on Monday SOTA and Brighton advanced to to the Section V quarterfinals, both playing almost exactly a mile apart as the crows fly, assuming they fly straight, on Culver Road.
On Wednesday, the teams played almost exactly a mile apart as the crows fly, assuming they fly straight: the SOTA Silverhawks at McQuaid’s Father Richard Noonan, S.J., Field and the Spencerport Rangers vs. the Brighton Bruins at the Brighton Baseball field at Buckland Park.The SOTA v. McQuaid game was unbalanced. Playing without two starters, the Silverhawks came out tentative, dropped several fly balls in the first inning, and fell behind 18-0. The final was 29 – 0. Nonetheless, SOTA had a stellar season, winning the City Tournament and the opening round of the sectionals. At the Brighton Bruins/Spencerport Rangers game, Bruce Kay, Brighton High School ’81, was in town from Maryland, along with his brother Alan, BHS ’79, from New Jersey. Their father, Robert, a former engineer at Harris Corporation who found his retirement avocation helping the elderly master the internet at the JCC and do their taxes, joined his sons at the game at Buckland Park. This was the first sporting event the three attended together since going to Silver Stadium in the 1970s.
This was Bruce’s first BHS baseball game ever, whether as Barons or Bruins. Bruce had watched the Barons fall in the basketball sectionals at the War Memorial his senior year. The loss hurt, and in his adolescent imagination, Bruce decided he never wanted to repeat the feeling.Bruce enjoyed being outside in the June Rochester weather, having escaped the cicadas and sticky mid atlantic heat already enveloping Maryland. The three men took photos, vying for selection in the article. Alan used an iphone, that while expensive and fancy, can never match the sensor box, pixels and zooming ability of a real camera. Bob went old school SONY ALPHA100, harkening back to his days at Harris. Bruce was given Talker’s back up Canon Power Shot ∈ιρh 180.
While the featured photo on Talker’s homepage was taken by Talker and chosen by Talker, Bruce’s images made the cut, especially when capturing the dejection of the Bruins who saw the season slip through their fingers in the last inning, not unlike what the basketball Barons felt in 1981.The game was a see saw contest. The Bruins rallied to take a 5 – 4 lead going into the seventh. But the Rangers scored five runs, and a Bruin final surge fell short with the tying runners on base. Spencerport prevailed 9 – 7.
Sounding like an old man when pointing to some Brighton defensive lapses in the later innings, Bruce complained the overall skills of high schoolers have deteriorated since his era. They seem to lack the fundamentals he learned in Clarence Mepham’s gym class where students were made to practice bunting skills inside with softballs placed on cones.
As Bruce left cicada free Buckland Park under perfect western New York early summer skies, while his level of actual caring was low and while the loss did not come close to matching the disappointment at the War Memorial 40 years ago, Bruce wished his first – and quite well last – Brighton baseball game turned out differently.
Fans often don’t realize the work done by the groundskeepers to make the game enjoyable, even if one’s team’s does not win.
At McQuaid. the facilities manager explained the steps involved in prepping the field. The grass is mowed.The bases are placed.
The mound is leveled off and clay added. The basepaths are raked; outfield and infield lines painted and the batter’s boxes chalked.
Yesterday, grooming and manicuring the field was relatively easy. The Monday rain had watered the grass and by Wednesday any mud in the infield was dried. If conditions are really bad, games are usually just cancelled as the wet clay surface becomes unplayable.
At the Brighton Baseball field at Buckland Park, Carlos, employee of Plant Concepts, was mowing the outfield grass.
In turns out, Carlos once played professional baseball. Living in Rochester for several years now, Carlos grew up in Florida. At age 24, Carlos was recruited as a pitcher to play for the independendent Charlotte County Redfish. The Redfish only lasted one season, 2007, and Carlos hurt his arm after two or three games, effectively ending his professional career. Carols mentioned it’s a little ironic that he now often works on baseball fields. Back then, baseball was his thing, but now he rarely watches the sport; life changes. Carlos has nothing but positive memories from his truncated time with the Redfish, adding that everything happens for a reason.
Summer employee Mike DeSain (Palmyra-Macedon High School, Alfred University were he plays lacrosse) explained that the Brighton Recreational Departments does all field maintenance, except for chalking home plate done about an hour before games. For Mike, working for the Rec Dept is an ideal summer job: its outside, his co-workers are great and he enjoys working with the equipment. Mike agrees that years from now he’ll probably reminisce about the carefree summer of ’21 when he painted outfield lines at Buckland Park.
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On Bruce’s baseball screenplay treatment