Tradition continues with release of Senior Exceptional Game rosters

Upper left: Team photos from the 1986 Senior Exceptional Game. Along the right: photos from free clinics at Silver Stadium along with a City-Catholic team photo from the early 90s. (All photos provided)

By PAUL GOTHAM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Dan Hoyt recalls the experience well. 

Then a senior at Brockport High School, he reached first base when he was hit by a pitch. Greece Olympia’s Glen Dow followed with a line drive off the center field fence. Hoyt scored from first. 

“He had the prom that night,” Hoyt said of Dow. “He bounced one off the centerfield wall and then had to exit. That’s a story I’ll always remember.”

That was 1986. The centerfield wall was located at 500 Norton Street, Rochester’s Silver Stadium. Hoyt and Dow were among the many on the rosters of the the first annual Monroe County Senior Exceptional Game. 

“It was great,” said Hoyt, currently the head coach at Honeoye Falls-Lima. “I still remember like it was yesterday. It was just great to play with the guys that you battled against all year long. All of sudden they become your teammates and you get to know exactly who they are. It was really exciting to be a part of that.”

Photo provided.

Now in its fifth decade, the Senior Exceptional Game has made the move with Rochester’s Red Wings from Silver Stadium to Morrie Silver Way and Frontier Field. The past two seasons, though, the game has existed in spirit only with coaches submitting names of players to receive the honor. 

“It’s a culmination of the whole season,” Hoyt noted. “Being able to get to play and know somebody who you’ve competed against all year long. I think it’s really important. The love of baseball and everyone in there and all those kids and coaches have it. It’s one last time to put the uniform on and get a chance to go out and represent your school and play in an All-Star game. It’s being recognized by everyone and being honored. It’s for coaches and especially the players.”

Covid-19 wiped out the 2020 high school baseball season in New York State and with it the annual event. An abbreviated schedule along with continued precautions prevented the game from taking place again in 2021. That hasn’t stopped coaches and coordinators from acknowledging the accomplishments of seniors who have finished their high school careers. 

“It’s a real pat on the back for any player to be asked to play,” Spencerport head coach Larry Frisa said. “It’s a vindication of hard work that a kid puts in from the time they enter T-ball and then come through modified and on to varsity.

“My favorite part of when I coach it, is seeing every group of kids and their teams. They all get together and they pose for pictures with their families. For some kids, it’s the last time they’re ever going to play organized baseball.”

Frisa and Hoyt are two of 10 current Monroe County League coaches who played in the game during their high school careers. Webster Schroeder’s Matt Knight earned a spot in the 1987 game while Jason Bunting, who recently retired after 25 years as the head coach of Greece Athena along with Kevin Neenan (Webster Thomas) and Sean Rucker (Victor) participated in the 1988 version. 

Frisa, a Spencerport grad, played in the 1994 game. Rush-Henrietta’s Bill Rasmussen took part in the 1997 contest while Batavia’s James Patric earned a spot in 2000. Pittsford Sutherland’s Brandon DeRosa and Eastridge’s Chris Taylor participated in the ’06 event.

“I tell kids this story all the time,” Frisa said. “Back then you played for your school. You played for your summer teams, and you played American Legion. I didn’t know kids from other schools. I didn’t play for any travel teams.

“I remember sitting down during the game and thinking to myself ‘oh my God, if I was going to school with any one of these guys up and down the bench, they would probably be my best friend. They were ball players, just like me. It was an honor to play for my school. We played in Silver Stadium. It was a lot of fun.”

Founded by Wally Blatter in 1986 with the help of then Rush-Henrietta athletic director, the late Werner Kleemann, along with then Irondequoit baseball coach Ken Slater and former Rochester Red Wing John Valle, the event started as “Youth Baseball Week.” There was a free baseball clinic at Silver Stadium, two separate games – a City-Catholic League contest and Monroe County League contest were played. Each participant and his family received free admission to a Wings game. An Old Timers game was later added which included players who helped with the clinic. 

Bunting and former Hilton head coach Ory Mee as well as current Monroe County League coordinator Jason Wasserman have all helped to guide the process through the years.

The game has featured several local players who now play professionally: Ernie Clement (Brighton), Tanner Cooper (Canandaigua), Greg Cullen (McQuaid), Steven Klimek (Greece Arcadia), Adam Scott (Canandaigua). 

“I think it’s a very cool game to be able to recognize the talent in Rochester,” said Chicago White Sox infielder Danny Mendick who played in the Senior Exceptional game when he attended Pittsford Mendon High School. “Sometimes you don’t play a certain school and being able to meet or see the other talent out there is a cool way for this game to bring that.”

Hans Blatter has continued the tradition that his father started.

“My father did it as a way of giving back to the community,” Blatter said. “He really had a passion for baseball. He passed that passion on to me. It’s just a way for me to give back to the community for something that so many enjoy. It’s a chance to recognize the seniors that have worked so hard and maybe get a chance to play at Frontier Field.

“Frontier Field, more teams play on it now, but back in the day if you got a chance to play at a [professional] facility like Silver Stadium or Frontier Field, that was like Cap’n Crunch in the morning. That was gold. It was an opportunity to play where the big boys play.”

Through the years, one thing has remained a constant: the game is free for the players and no admission is charged at the gate. The Blatter family has paid the bill.

“You have this family that continues to support the kids who love baseball,” Frisa stated. “We get to play in Frontier Field. It doesn’t cost the kids anything. All the years we’ve done this, I’ve never heard one time of that family asking for any type of recognition. They just give, and it’s a really cool thing that they support the kids.”

“It’s unbelievable,” Hoyt said of the continued financial support. “The dedication and the commitment to further baseball and to further the kids’ opportunities to play, to have that opportunity was great. We owe it to them and very thankful for that.”

2021 Senior Exceptional Game Roster
Student-Athlete  School  College Commitment
Channing Owens Aquinas Alfred State
Tyler Szalkowski Aquinas  
Shane Weasner Aquinas   
Alex Hale  Batavia Niagara County CC
Bannon Moore  Batavia  
Luke Rogers  Batavia  Onondaga CC
Teddy Knapp  Brighton  
Lucas Mark Brighton  
Timmy Mowrer Brighton  
Ben Rosenbaum  Brighton   
Will Cole  Brockport Jefferson CC
Tyler Henshaw  Brockport  Potomac State
Devyn Scheidt  Brockport Keuka College 
Joe Bognanno Canandaigua  
Jack Ciranni Canandaigua  
Carlos Fantauzzi Canandaigua Onondaga CC
Braden Pawlicki Canandaigua Alfred State
Chris Moroz Canandaigua  
Alan Michael LeFrois Churchville-Chili SUNY Brockport
Shane Pray  Churchville-Chili Frostburg State
Frank Duarte East High  
Jerome English  East High  
Israel Sullivan  East High  
Noah Bowens  Eastridge  
Keenan Calenzo Eastridge Finger Lakes CC
DJ Stoianovich  Fairport Finger Lakes CC
Jeremiah Cortes C.G. Finney  
Gio D’Amico C.G. Finney  
Justice Smith C.G. Finney  
Devin Georgetti Gates-Chili Finger Lakes CC
Ryan Kilner Gates-Chili  
Mike Ribis Gates-Chili  
Donevan Rotmans Gates-Chili   
Joe Kleeh Greece Arcadia  
Vic Alongi Greece Athena Genesee CC
Dylan Bliss Greece Athena  
Zachary Harnischfeger Greece Athena  
Zandyr Meakin Greece Athena  
Casey Saucke II Greece Athena U. of Virginia
Donovan Wallace Greece Athena  
Derek Laemlein Greece Olympia/Odyssey  
Brian Reinke Honeoye Falls-Lima U. of Richmond
Logan Batz  Hilton  
Tyler Cerame  Hilton Finger Lakes CC
Jacob Soricone Hilton  
Josh Wheeler Hilton  
Nick Calarco Irondequoit  
Jaleel Davis  Irondequoit  
David Flood  Irondequoit  
Marcus Harris Irondequoit  
Paul Tuttle Irondequoit  
Joe Wintermute Irondequoit Monroe CC
Jack Beauchamp McQuaid  St. John Fisher
Wilson Brauer McQuaid   
Caleb Hwang McQuaid   
Ben Malady  McQuaid   
Jack Malady  McQuaid   
Max Stuver  McQuaid   
Keeler Thomas  McQuaid   
Joey Conroy Northstar Christian  
Paul Conroy  Northstar Christian  
Ashton Dutton Northstar Christian  
T.J. Burch Penfield  
George Finter Penfield  
Drew Heinze  Penfield  
Nick Ianniello Penfield SUNY Brockport
Jack Josephson Penfield Alfred State
Zach Kaper Penfield  
Matt Mady Penfield  
Andrew Olson Penfield  
Peyton Pace Penfield  
Dom Porto Penfield Mount Saint Vincent
Noah Rogoff Penfield   
Nate Sobko Penfield  
Brady Ventura Penfield  
Gage Ziehl Penfield U. of Miami (FL)
Brady Miller Pittsford Mendon  
Tyler Procious Pittsford Mendon  
Keeghan Cummings Pittsford Sutherland  
Joe Groark  Pittsford Sutherland  
Ethan Hurwitz Pittsford Sutherland Oberlin College
Will Klenk  Pittsford Sutherland  
Scott McDonald Pittsford Sutherland  
Jackson Newlands Pittsford Sutherland  
Nick Provenzale  Pittsford Sutherland  
Scotty Thyroff Pittsford Sutherland  
Seth Trojian  Pittsford Sutherland  
Joey Miron Rush-Henrietta  
Cam Ritchie  Rush-Henrietta  
Chris Sleeper  Rush-Henrietta West Virginia U.
Joaquin Diaz SOTA/Monroe  
Jack Dormitzer SOTA/Monroe  
Steven Lepki SOTA/Monroe  
Yadir Ortiz SOTA/Monroe  
Ezekiel Randolph SOTA/Monroe  
Devin Cannon Spencerport Finger Lakes CC
Ethan Behnke  Victor Houghton College
Christian Brown Victor SUNY Fredonia
Michael Feck  Victor  
Ian Meeks  Victor  
Pierce Mehigan  Victor  
Danny Melendez Victor Monroe CC
Jayden Morrell Victor  
Will Tehan  Victor  
Aidan Schlarbaum Victor  
Ben Weingart Victor  
Sal Cutaia  Webster Schroeder Monroe CC
Zach Hosmer Webster Schroeder Genesee CC
Dom Ingram  Webster Schroeder Monroe CC
Ryan Merkov  Webster Schroeder RIT
Mathew Sanfilippo Webster Schroeder Niagara County CC
John Schoenhardt  Webster Schroeder Monroe CC
Alex Simons Webster Schroeder Monroe CC
Alex Touloupas  Webster Schroeder Monroe CC
Dominic Delvecchio  Webster Thomas   
Joe DiNieri  Webster Thomas   
Max Heil Webster Thomas   
Mitchell Kelly  Webster Thomas  SUNY Cortland
Evan McCoy Webster Thomas   
Greyson McDonnell Webster Thomas  Onondaga CC
Bryan McLean  Webster Thomas   
Ian McNabb Webster Thomas  Monroe CC
Paul Sofinski Webster Thomas  Monroe CC
Nick Wood  Webster Thomas   
Damian Collazo Wilson Magnet  
     
2020 Senior Exceptional Game Roster
Logan Bush Aquinas  
Jack Scanlon Aquinas  
Zack Anderson  Batavia   
Luke Grammatico Batavia   
Jake Humes  Batavia  Onondaga CC
Nate Ryan  Batavia   
Spencer Schmidt  Batavia   
Josh Weis  Batavia   
Tanner Frank  Brighton Finger Lakes CC
Sam O’Hora Brighton  
Nick Stodgell Brighton   
Troy Leibert Brockport Niagara County CC
Nick Nealon  Brockport Niagara County CC
Sam Velletri Brockport  
Fletcher Hanford Canandaigua  
Dylan Mackenzie  Canandaigua SUNY Cortland
Nate MacLean Canandaigua  
Zach Morse  Canandaigua Alfred State
Beau Norris Canandaigua  
Luke Pawlicki Canandaigua  
Seth Vigneri Canandaigua  
Zach Wantuck Canandaigua  
Sam Werth Canandaigua Alfred State
John Bagley  Churchville-Chili RIT
Josh Ferris  Churchville-Chili Finger Lakes CC
Joe Puglia Churchville-Chili Mohawk Valley CC
Freddie Brock  East High  
Sergio Gonzalez Estrada East High  
Ray Lopez East High  
Angel Silva  East High  
Willito Silva  East High  
Maurice Tindal  East High  
Brady Booher  Eastridge  Keuka College
Kyle Egan  Eastridge   
Jacob Russo Eastridge   
Angel DeJesus Franklin  
Normal Quinones Franklin  
Greiram Ramos Franklin   
Jacob Vitale Gates-Chili   
Elijah Barnard Greece Arcadia  
Gannon McNeal Greece Arcadia  
Spencer Phillips Greece Arcadia  
Jacob Cerone Greece Athena  
Ryan Coughlin Greece Athena  
Tyler Curtis  Greece Athena Finger Lakes CC
Ryan Dineen Greece Athena  
Zach Geist Greece Athena  
Justin Kimble Greece Athena  
Jagger Nucci Greece Athena St. Bonaventure
Caleb Richardson Greece Athena  
Sam Sheldon Greece Athena Onondaga CC
Lucas Sulimowicz Greece Athena Finger Lakes CC
RJ Vignari Greece Athena  
Joe Alphonse Greece Olympia/Odyssey  
Korey Canton Greece Olympia/Odyssey SUNY Fredonia
Jonah Holloway Greece Olympia/Odyssey  
Mike Matteson Greece Olympia/Odyssey  
Hayden Smith Honeoye Falls-Lima Northeastern
Dylan Boprey  Hilton Houghton College
Jason Story  Hilton Utica College
Matt Branco Irondequoit  
Tyler Colbey Irondequoit  
Ryan Davis  Irondequoit  
Caleb Delly Irondequoit  
Dom Distasio Irondequoit  
Frankie Fernandes Irondequoit Monroe CC
Anthony Geraci Irondequoit  
Braden Graham Irondequoit  
Conner Shafer Irondequoit  
Nick Tanner  Irondequoit  
Christian Blatter McQuaid Mercyhurst University
Brennan Kammholz McQuaid  
Sean Richards  McQuaid  
Brendan Miller Penfield  
Colin Pichany Penfield  
Jose Reyes Penfield  
Danny Stapleton Penfield  
Kyle Hennessey  Pittsford Mendon  
Karthik Mathew-Malik Pittsford Mendon  
Parker Chamot  Pittsford Sutherland  
Garrett Glanton Pittsford Sutherland  
Jake Ketchum  Pittsford Sutherland  
Tate Pierson Pittsford Sutherland  
Anthony Puma Pittsford Sutherland  
Ben Ranney  Pittsford Sutherland  
Donny Varrenti Pittsford Sutherland  
Torin Wilcox Pittsford Sutherland  
Joey Caito Rush-Henrietta  
Andrew Doupe Rush-Henrietta  
Cliff Genge Rush-Henrietta Niagara County CC
Trevor Gineau  Rush-Henrietta Monroe CC
Chris Kachala Rush-Henrietta  
Jett Kopalek Rush-Henrietta  
Anthony Lang Rush-Henrietta  
Nathan Macek  Rush-Henrietta  
Patrick Sherron  Rush-Henrietta Monroe CC
Bobby Sellers Rush-Henrietta Alfred State
Daniel Tirabassi Rush-Henrietta U. of Rochester
DJ White Rush-Henrietta  
Walker Wright Rush-Henrietta  
Derek Young Rush-Henrietta  
Ross Janezic SOTA  
Zach Parson  SOTA  
Ricky Torres SOTA  
Joe Cuddy Spencerport Wells College
Billy Brady Victor  
Jake Chittenden Victor  
Kaden Helmer Victor  
David Kelley Victor  
Timmy Keohane Victor  
Brayden Murphy Victor  
Brendan Popielec  Victor  
Kenny Murphy Webster Schroeder Finger Lakes CC
Joe Thompson Webster Schroeder Alfred State
Jack VonAhnen Webster Schroeder SUNY Brockport 
Grant Hutchins Webster Thomas  
Aidan Thomas  Webster Thomas  
Jake Veniskey Webster Thomas  
Tommy Wygal Webster Thomas   

Also read: Penfield’s Ziehl named Prep Baseball Report NYS Player of the Year.
Athena’s Saucke named Gatorade NYS Player of the Year.
Ziehl makes last stand one to remember.
Saucke delivered on lofty expectations.
From gridiron to diamond, Szalkowski delivered.
Bath-Haverling’s Brotz named Class B2 Player of the Year.
Oakfield-Alabama’s Yasses took full advantage of senior year.
Gananda’s Walsh named Class C1 Player of the Year.
Rease and Keshequa made winning a habit.
Avoca/Prattsburgh’s Clements caps senior year with D2 honor.
Arroyo named RCAC Player of the Year.

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