Sandwich Sabres

Lady Gens eliminated from WECSSAA “AA” playoffs in semi-finals



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Lady Gens got to the WECSSAA “AA” playoff semi-finals but could advance no further.

The Lady Gens hosted the Sandwich Sabres last Tuesday night and won 40-31 to advance to the semi-finals Thursday night at Kennedy. In that Thursday night semi-finals, a second quarter surge by the Clippers doomed the Lady Gens and led to Kennedy defeating General Amherst 50-27.

The Lady Gens led 11-6 late in the first quarter but a pair of late three-pointers put Kennedy up 12-11 at the end of the eight-minute quarter. Those three-pointers were part of a 15-0 run the Clippers went on and that 15-0 run was part of an overall 24-2 run that closed the first half and gave Kennedy a 30-13 lead.

General Amherst’s Taja Holmes (22) lays in two of her nine points during last Thursday night’s
WECSSAA “AA” semi-final game against the Kennedy Clippers.

The Lady Gens played better in the second half but weren’t able to recover from the second quarter.

“I told them before the game that you can’t let them get on a run,” General Amherst head coach Dom Silvaggio said.

The last 30 seconds of the first quarter was the turning point of the game, he believed. The second quarter was a bad quarter and having a bad quarter per game was a problem this season for Amherst.

“In the second quarter, we just sucked. There’s no other way to say it,” he said.

The Lady Gens reverted to poor habits they were doing earlier in the season, including passes that would not connect. Silvaggio, who was coaching against his son Stephen in the Kennedy game, said his son told him that Kennedy wasn’t doing anything special in the second quarter but it was turnovers by Amherst that helped swing the tide towards the Clippers.

Lexi Dodds scored 12 points against Kennedy while Taja Holmes scored nine points.

The quarterfinal game against Sandwich saw Dani Brindley score 11 points while Brooklyn Prescott had ten points. Dodds and Holmes had eight and seven points respectively. Ramie Tytgat had five points.

“We played an excellent first half,” Silvaggio said after the Sandwich game. “In the second half, we didn’t have that extra step. Sandwich switched defenses and we didn’t run our offense.”

Brooklyn Prescott drives to the basket during the second half of the Nov. 2 playoff game at Kennedy.

The Lady Gens’ defensive intensity was better in the first half of the Sandwich game, Silvaggio added.

A positive sign from this season was a lot of players that received a lot of playing time, about six in total, will return next year.

“There are quite a few kids that improved a lot,” said Silvaggio.

The team will likely have more players to choose from next year and Silvaggio hopes for more consistency out of them.

“If we can get 32 minutes out of them, I think we’ll be good,” he said.

Silvaggio urged the players to work in the offseason at improving their games otherwise improvement will be stunted.

“If they are not going to put in the work in the offseason, we’re not going to get any better,” he believed.

This year’s Lady Gens were a respectful and good group to coach, he added.

Dani Brindley lunges after a loose ball during the fourth quarter of last Thursday’s WECSSAA semi-final game at Kennedy.

“I’d like to thank them for that,” said Silvaggio. “They were enjoyable for us to coach.”

Silvaggio, joined on the sidelines this season by Don Parks and Nicole Rusenstrom, believed that playing in WECSSAA Tier 1 was productive. They went 1-7 in the regular season but the caliber of play helped develop the players and should prove beneficial in the long run, he indicated.

“I am happy we played in Tier 1 this year, because even though we didn’t win many games, we were competitive in every game but one,” he said. “It also forced us to play at a quicker pace and we got to play a higher caliber of basketball, which will help us for the next couple of years. There was a big difference in the caliber of ball between the tiers.”

Jr. Bulldogs show heart in season-ending loss



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs junior football team may not have won a game this season, but the coaches still saw progress this season.

The Bulldogs lost to the Sandwich Sabres 34-10 last Tuesday afternoon at Centennial Park to finish the 2017 WECSSAA junior football season 0-6. The Sabres did all of their scoring in the first half and led 34-3. General Amherst took some pride in winning the second half, as they outscored Sandwich 7-0.

Austin Farmer (22, left) outruns a pair of Sandwich defenders during a run in the second half Oct. 31 at Centennial Park.

The Sabres started quick with a 60-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. After recovering the ensuing onside kick, Sandwich scored again on a 32-yard touchdown pass to go up 14-0.

The Sabres scored three touchdowns in the second quarter thanks to a 39-yard run, a 13-yard run and a 22-yard pass with a fourth touchdown called back on a penalty. The Sabres also had another major called back due to a penalty in the third quarter.

Will Jones booted a 30-yard field goal for the Bulldogs in the second quarter with Anthony McCarthy scoring from a yard out in the fourth quarter. The latter touchdown was set up thanks to strong running from Austin Farmer on that drive.

Preston Muzzin (84) makes a catch in the first half of General Amherst’s Oct. 31 game versus Sandwich. The Sabres won 34-10.

Quarterback Emmitt Rosati missed the game due to his lingering ankle injury.

“We started a lot of Grade 9’s to give them experience,” said General Amherst head coach Dino Rosati. “They did well.”

The Bulldogs knew they were out of the playoffs, Rosati added, as they had to win the previous week’s game versus Catholic Central to have a shot. Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, Rosati said Amherst still played hard.

“They played right until the end,” he said.

Members of the senior team helped with the coaching, he added, with Emmitt also helping to coach as he called the plays on offense.

General Amherst quarterback Nolan Crain (82) throws a pass during General Amherst’s loss to the Sandwich Sabres Oct. 31 at Centennial Park.

Rosati said about 12-14 players are eligible to return next season. The junior Bulldogs featured a lot of Grade 9 players that were new to football this season.

“I think we learned a lot,” said Rosati. “We had a good number of inexperienced Grade 9’s.”

With a year of football under their belts, Rosati said the Bulldogs have a “good chance to be successful” next season.

Busy week concludes for Lady Gens slo-pitch team with a win


By Ron Giofu


It was a busy week for the General Amherst Lady Gens slo-pitch team as they lost two games but won another.

The Lady Gens kicked off the week with a 30-18 loss at Villanova last Monday afternoon. The girls looked to rebound from that loss 24 hours later in Essex, and took a 3-0 over the Red Raiders after five innings. However, Essex scored one run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to tie the score.

After General Amherst got out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh, the game went to extra innings and Essex took advantage of a pair of Lady Gens’ errors to win it 4-3 in the eighth inning.

“We definitely didn’t get the offense going,” said Jackie Wismer, after Wednesday’s game. “Our defense was spot on for sure. We couldn’t get the offense going to compete with them.”

Wismer believed the Essex game was a game they could have won, but weren’t able to.

“They are definitely a team we can beat. I guess today wasn’t our day,” she said.

Carly Renaud tags the base in front of an Essex runner during  WECSSAA girls slo-pitch action May 16.

Carly Renaud tags the base in front of an Essex runner during
WECSSAA girls slo-pitch action May 16.

The game against Villanova was the opposite way, she stated, as the offense was “amazing” but the defense not as good.

The loss against Essex was the Lady Gens’ fourth in a row, causing Wismer to conclude “we’ve got to fight a little harder.”

That fight appeared to be there last Thursday, as the Lady Gens defeated the visiting Sandwich Sabres 28-15 at Wigle Park.

The Lady Gens allowed two runs in the top half of the first inning but Reese Jones got the offense going with a three-run home run in the bottom half of the inning. Amherst scored nine in that inning and added two more in the second inning.

The Lady Gens pulled away from Sandwich in the third inning as they tacked on 13 more runs. The highlight of that inning was a Brooklyn Prescott grand slam.

General Amherst scored four more in the fourth before the game was called after the top of the fifth due to the mercy rule.

“We got it together today,” said Jones, after the Sandwich game.

Jones said their attitude was the major difference as they came out ready to play.

“We wanted to come out and win and play like the team we can,” she said.

The infield and outfield both played well, Jones added.

As for her home run, she said she wanted to hit the ball hard.

“I just wanted to go up and hit the ball as hard as I can and do the best I can for the team when I’m up,” said Jones.

The Lady Gens had a play-in game Tuesday after this issue of the River Town Times went to press

Amherst coach optimistic despite setback in season opener



By Ron Giofu


It was a tough way to open the season for the General Amherst Bulldogs boys baseball team but their coach sees room for improvement.

The Bulldogs lost 14-3 to the visiting Sandwich Sabres last Wednesday afternoon at the Libro Centre. Despite the loss, coach Kyle Goodchild sees potential in the Bulldogs.

Goodchild said they hit the ball well but a lot of errors came back to bite the Bulldogs as it allowed Sandwich to score a lot of runs.

Julian Hebert rips a base hit for General Amherst in their season opening game last Wednesday at the Libro Centre. Sandwich defeated General Amherst 14-3.

Julian Hebert rips a base hit for General Amherst in their season opening game last Wednesday at the Libro Centre. Sandwich defeated General Amherst 14-3.

“I still think we’ve got a great team,” said Goodchild. “We have to play better next game.”

The Bulldogs have had good teams the last couple of years, he added, and this year’s team has a lot of Grade 9 players. Even with some young players, Goodchild believes they have the potential to finish near or at the top of their division.

General Amherst’s Spencer Hawkins delivers to the plate during last Wednesday’s 14-3 loss to Sandwich. Errors were blamed for the loss in the Bulldogs’ opening game.

General Amherst’s Spencer Hawkins delivers to the plate during last Wednesday’s 14-3 loss to Sandwich. Errors were blamed for the loss in the Bulldogs’ opening game.

Julian Hebert had a good game in the loss to Sandwich, as he picked up two hits on the day.

General Amherst is on the road twice this week with games against Herman and Lajeunesse with their next home game being April 24 when the Belle River Nobles come to the Libro Centre. The first pitch of that game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Bulldogs drop senior football opener at Sandwich


By Ron Giofu


The outcome of the General Amherst Bulldogs senior football team’s first game wasn’t what they wanted but they saw building blocks for the future.

The Sandwich Sabres defeated the Bulldogs 29-0 Thursday night in a game played at the LaSalle-based school. The Sabres got a 17-yard field goal and 40-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to go up 10-0 and built a 24-0 halftime lead thanks to a four-yard touched run and 44-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

Amherst quarterback Will Borland (9) tries to outrun a Sandwich defender Sept. 15 in LaSalle.

Amherst quarterback Will Borland (9) tries to outrun a Sandwich defender Sept. 15 in LaSalle.

Sandwich added a safety and a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Will Borland and Shayne Purdy split time at quarterback for General Amherst with Borland playing the first half and Purdy the second. Each player switched to wide receiver when the other was quarterbacking the offense.

Borland said it was “a tough game” and that Sandwich played physical but Amherst started to respond. He called it a “learning game” and said the Bulldogs learned a lot from it.

“We know what we have to do now,” said Borland. “We know what our weaknesses are.”

Borland said the Bulldogs have to work on their protection from the outside as well as their open field tackling.

“We can’t shake our heads when (the opponents) score a touchdown. We have to forget about it and play hard,” he added.

It was Borland’s first game after not playing football for two years and he said it was great to be back on the field. He said immediately after Thursday night’s game at Sandwich that he is looking forward to this week’s game, which will be Thursday at 5 p.m. against Villanova at Windsor Stadium.

Mitch Wright (1) looks for running room against the Sabres’ defense. General Amherst lost 29-0 to Sandwich in the season opener.

Mitch Wright (1) looks for running room against the Sabres’ defense. General Amherst lost 29-0 to Sandwich in the season opener.

“I’m looking forward to week two already,” he said.

Bulldogs head coach John Rudak said they have good athletes on the team that still need to learn some finer points of the game. He said there were some bright spots against the Sabres.

“A lot of the mistakes we made today, and there were a lot, was because a lot of these guys have never played at this level before,” said Rudak. “A lot of guys who made mistakes made some good plays as well.”

Rudak said they have to be more consistent in making the good plays and cut down on the errors.

“We’ve got a lot of potential,” he said.