WECSSAA

Sr. Bulldogs open season with 41-0 loss to Riverside

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs senior football team is struggling to keep the number of players up and some of those players they do have suited up for the first time in a game last Thursday.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, it showed in the results.

General Amherst was on the short end of a 41-0 decision to the Riverside Rebels in a game played at Tecumseh Vista Academy. The teams were scoreless through one quarter though Riverside had a touchdown called back on a penalty.

General Amherst running back Levi Reaume (left, 21) heads upfield during last Thursday’s game against Riverside.

The Rebels put up three touchdowns in the second quarter thanks to a three-yard run, a 45-yard punt return and an 18-yard pass, the latter being on the final play of the half.

General Amherst’s best chance to score came in the third quarter when they got to the Riverside four-yard line. However, a third-and-goal play ended with a sack.

Riverside tacked on three more touchdowns in the fourth quarter through a 24-yard-pass, a 60-yard punt return and a one-yard run.

The low numbers and inexperience of the players wasn’t lost on Amherst head coach John Rudak.

“That’s definitely the headline,” said Rudak.

Rudak pointed out that the Rebels recently combined their senior and junior football teams, meaning they won’t play at the junior level this season, adding that he gave consideration to doing the same thing at General Amherst. When he put a challenge out to the players about bolstering the team’s numbers, about 28 showed up for practice and Rudak shelved the plan to combine the teams at that point.

General Amherst quarterback Spencer Hawkins (3) throws a pass last Thursday afternoon against the Riverside Rebels.

“That gave our team false hope because eight guys quit shortly thereafter,” said Rudak. “The best part of that is (the remaining players) don’t seem to care. They still love playing football.”

There is still a concern about the ability to finish the season as if more players quit or if some get injured, it could deplete the team’s roster too much. Rudak was encouraged that the new players now have a game under their belts.

“Their learning curve is going to be very good,” he said. “They can only get better.”

Rudak said they are still welcoming new players and if anyone wants to join either the senior or junior teams, they can attend practices at Centennial Park after school.

The Bulldogs’ next game is Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Libro Centre against Tecumseh Vista Academy.

Lady Gens gearing up for 2017 WECSSAA girls basketball season

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens will try and work their way back to the top of the local high school basketball mountain, but it is still to early to forecast this year’s team.

Players are back in the gym practicing but head coach Dom Silvaggio said it is hard to judge at this point how the senior team will stack up.

Players in the senior and junior age groups have been practicing thus far with more invited to join once the school year begins Sept. 5.

Senior and junior basketball players practice last Thursday morning in preparation for General Amherst’s upcoming WECSSAA season.

Senior and junior basketball players practice last Thursday morning in preparation for General Amherst’s upcoming WECSSAA season.

Roughly four seniors graduated from last year’s team and Silvaggio said one of the players eligible to return will not be.

Silvaggio said returning players Ramie Tytgat and Brooklyn Prescott consistently took advantage of gym time made available earlier in the year as did a few others.

“They’ve definitely improved a lot,” Silvaggio stated.

Consistent practice pays dividends, he believes.

“You have to have the passion and want to play,” he said.

That said, he still is hopeful of a good season and is working with the players at the latest round of practices.

Whether the senior team plays in Tier 1 depends on the amount of players that end up playing at that level with that number yet to be determined.

General Amherst head coach Dom Silvaggio conducts a shooting drill during a practice last Thursday.

General Amherst head coach Dom Silvaggio conducts a shooting drill during a practice last Thursday.

The junior team is also expecting a good number of new players coming up from elementary school, he added.

General Amherst’s 13-year WECSSAA winning streak ended last year and their streak of ten straight OFSAA appearances ended the year before.

“We’d like to see (the basketball program) back to where it was but it starts with the kids,” he said. “They have to want to put the time in to improve.”

Lady Gens fall short in WECSSAA girls slo-pitch playoffs

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens’ bid to repeat as WECSSAA slo-pitch champions fell short last Tuesday.

The Lady Gens went into the second day of the double-elimination playoff tournament undefeated but could not win another game. In fact, they lost both games they played in heartbreaking fashion.

General Amherst’s Reese Jones (right) tags an Essex base runner during WECSSAA girls slo-pitch playoff action last Tuesday at Co-An Park in McGregor. Essex ended up winning the game 14-13.

General Amherst’s Reese Jones (right) tags an Essex base runner during WECSSAA girls slo-pitch playoff action last Tuesday at Co-An Park in McGregor. Essex ended up winning the game 14-13.

The first game was a 13-6 loss to the eventual champion Leamington Lions. General Amherst had a 6-3 lead at one point but Leamington had a nine-run inning that gave them the lead and propelled them to victory.

The second game was an even more difficult finish for the Lady Gens. Amherst built up an 11-0 lead heading into the sixth inning before allowing four runs to the Essex Red Raiders. Amherst would score twice in their next at bat to make it a 13-4 game but Essex came back with ten runs in the seventh inning to give them a 14-13 win.

The Red Raiders used timely hitting and also took advantage of some key Amherst errors to complete the comeback.

Despite the losses, General Amherst’s Payton Laing believes the Lady Gens still played well.

“We played really hard. In the last two tournament, I think we played our best ball. Our bats got going,” she said.

There was clearly a sense of disappointment after losing both games Tuesday.

“We fell short in both games. We needed to finish,” said Laing. “This is the best we played but we kept coming up short.”

General Amherst’s Danielle Brindley  delivers a pitch to the plate  during last Tuesday’s  WECSSAA slo-pitch playoff tournament at Co-An Park in McGregor.

General Amherst’s Danielle Brindley
delivers a pitch to the plate
during last Tuesday’s
WECSSAA slo-pitch playoff tournament at Co-An Park in McGregor.

The Lady Gens had a lot of new players this season, including four Grade 9 players and one new Grade 11 student, but Laing believes they came together well as a team.

“Overall, I think we had a pretty good season.”

General Amherst loses three players – Jackie Wismer, Megan Wismer and Tayah Storm – with the rest eligible to return. Laing said they will miss those three players.

“Those are some big bats and they play some key positions,” she said.

The Lady Gens will use the disappointment of how the 2017 season ended as inspiration for next year, Laing added.

“We’re not going to want to feel like this (next year) for sure,” she said. “We’re coming out swinging for sure next season.”

Lady Gens competing in WECSSAA slo-pitch playoffs

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens are now in the WECSSAA girls slo-pitch playoffs.

The Lady Gens were scheduled to compete against the Leamington Lions yesterday, just after this issue of the River Town Times went to press. It was a semi-final game in the girls slo-pitch tournament with all games being at Co-An Park in McGregor.

The Lady Gens won both playoff games they had Monday. Their day started with a 9 a.m. game against L’Essor and it wasn’t close, as General Amherst ended up on the winning end of a 21-3 final score. Their next game was closer but still saw General Amherst come out on top. They defeated the Herman Green Griffins 15-10.

Brooklyn Prescott takes a swing at a pitch during a WECSSAA play-in game last Tuesday at Co-An Park in McGregor. Amherst downed Massey 27-3.

Brooklyn Prescott takes a swing at a pitch during a WECSSAA play-in game last Tuesday at Co-An Park in McGregor. Amherst downed Massey 27-3.

General Amherst qualified for the playoffs last Tuesday afternoon with a decisive 27-3 win over the Massey Mustangs in a play-in game that was also contested at Co-An Park. The Lady gens built up an 18-1 lead after two innings before tacking on five more in the third inning and four more in the fourth. It was called in the fifth inning due to the mercy rule.

“I thought it was a good game to start the playoffs with,” said Brooklyn Prescott, who plays first base for the Lady Gens. “We came out strong and the bats were going.”

Prescott said she thought the play-in game would be a little more difficult but believed the practices they had in the days leading up to the game paid off. She said that win gave them confidence moving forward into the WECSSAA playoffs.

(UPDATE: The Lady Gens were eliminated Tuesday in the WECSSAA semi-final. More on that in the days to come.)

Girls slo-pitch team now 4-2 on season after splitting games last week

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens girls slo-pitch team now has four wins and two losses on the 2017 season after going 2-2 last week.

Payton Laing gets a hit during General Amherst's May 9 win over the Kingsville Cavaliers at Wigle Park.

Payton Laing gets a hit during General Amherst’s May 9 win over the Kingsville Cavaliers at Wigle Park.

The Lady Gens started the week strong with a 16-8 victory over Kingsville at Wigle Park. Megan Wismer said after the game that the team keeps improving, but noted they only had three games to that point due to the weather.

“Our defense wasn’t the greatest but our bats came alive,” she said. “It helped us win the game.”

Wismer, who was also a member of last year’s Lady Gens slo-pitch team, believed they can win the league title again this year if they play to their capabilities.

“I think we can win WECSSAA again if we play as a team and get our bats going,” she said.

The Lady Gens were in McGregor Wednesday for two games that had previously been postponed due to rain. They won the first one 16-2 over UMEI but lost the second one 15-7 to the Belle River Nobles.

Ramie Tytgat delivers a pitch for General Amherst during the Lady Gens' 16-8 victory over Kingsville May 9 in Amherstburg.

Ramie Tytgat delivers a pitch for General Amherst during the Lady Gens’ 16-8 victory over Kingsville May 9 in Amherstburg.

The week concluded for General Amherst back at Wigle Park Thursday against the visiting Leamington Lions. It was not a good afternoon for the home team as Leamington came away with a 16-2 victory.

The Lady Gens conclude the regular season Thursday against Sandwich.