Archive for June, 2011

Kelly Pavlik Talks About His Upcoming Fight, Bute Next In November

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Kelly Pavlik will stay active, just like he said he would after his last fight.  Pavlik has signed to fight Darryl Cunningham from Detroit, Michigan on August 6 at the Covelli Centre.  The fight will serve as a tuneup as The Ghost prepares for a huge showdown in November against Lucian Bute.

“I’m excited about it”, exclaimed Pavlik.  ”With the Bute fight coming in November, I definitely need one more tuneup fight.  I watched my performance in my last fight and I got stronger as the fight went on, but one more fight will help me out before I jump into it.  Cunningham has been in with some good fighters. He stopped Antwan Echols and although Echols is not what he once was, he is still a quality fighter.  He [Cunningham] is 23-2 and will be a solid challenge.”

Pavlik comes into the fight at 37-2 with 32 KO’s.  His last fight was on May 7 when he won a decision over Alfonso Lopez in Las Vegas.  This fight will serve a purpose as Cunningham, like Bute, is a southpaw.  Pavlik’s last loss, a unanimous decision setback to Sergio Martinez, came against a lefty also.  This might be a good bridge to cross before a big fight against Bute.

“I want to win convincingly and look sharp.  I want a stoppage by the fourth or fifth round, and I also want to look focused and be ready.  I’m still in shape, but I have not been lifting any weights this time.  I can get to 195 or 200 pounds when I lift.  This time, I am staying busy.  We are going back to the old stuff I used to do like the Ironman Warehouse to get stronger, but I’m not going to touch any weights.”

Pavlik and Bute details will be announced as they are released for their proposed November showdown which will probably take place in Montreal.

“Real Deal” Will Be A Great Boxing Card Friday Night In Youngstown

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Things are falling into place for the first-ever “Ghost Productions” card to be held this Friday, July 1, at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio.  Thursday afternoon, Jack Loew and Kelly Pavlik addressed the media and the fighters were officially weighed-in by the governing body of Ohio boxing.  Loew (pictured above ,with Rumble Time’s Steve Smith, Dannie Williams, and Kelly Pavlik), commented that the tickets are still on sale at the Covelli Centre box office and there are still seats remaining.  He also announced that there will be an intermission after the fourth fight, but because of the unique setting (the Covelli Centre Parking Lot), there will be a grand display of fireworks.  Can’t have those in Atlantic City.

When Pavlik took the podium, he said he was excited because this card has some really good fights on it and that the Youngstown fans will get to see some great boxing.  Ghost Productions’ initial endeavor will be good for the ring action.  Many local up-and-coming boxers are on the card and the fan support should be good for the home team.

The Darnell Boone vs Romaro Johnson fight has been cancelled, but the rest of the card is intact and there will be many great things to look forward to.  Youngstown’s Juan Salinas will finally get the spotlight in a professional ring when he has his first pro bout.  Loew has ranted about Salinas for the past three years.

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Billy Lyell, from Niles, Ohio is pumped about being on the card.  ”I feel great, I am in the best shape of my life.  The fights I was in against world champions has helped me.  I’m not going to see too many new looks that I already haven’t.  I’m real excited about fighting at home, it’s going to be a great event.”

Lyell has had some fierce competition in his path the past couple of fights, most notably a 10-round decision loss to undefeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. that he took on short notice.  He has sprung back since the January 29 setback earlier this year and defeated Brian Paul in Oklahoma on May 5.  Lyell is a very active fighter who gives his all each time out, not known as a knockout threat, he is very crowd-pleasing because he moves forwards and throws a lot of punches.

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Speaking of local fan favorites, Jake Guiriceo (11-0-1) will be fighting Winston Mathis.  Giuriceo, from Campbell, Ohio has a strong and passionate local following and is another busy fighter who keeps active for three minutes at a time.

“I’m definitely ready, I have trained very hard.  I’m not looking for a knockout, I’m not a perfect athlete, I just want to win a good, safe fight”, claimed The Bull.  ”I’m fighting for some kind of a title at Cene Park in Struthers on August 13, so I want to use this opportunity to sharpen things up.  It’s an absolute blessing to have a majority of my fights in Ohio.  I love the fans here, they are supportive and give me a boost when they are behind me.”

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The Main Event will feature new WBC Continental Americas Champion, Dannie Williams.  Williams is 17-1 with 14 KO’s and is coming off of a title-winning effort in St. Louis, where he knocked out Manuel Leyva in the first round to secure his first major belt.  Williams is ranked in the Top-15, 135 pound fighters in the world and has no pushover in facing Oscar Cuero in the feature contest.  Cuero is 13-6 but his losses have been for the most part have come to some big time opponents (Monty Meza Clay, Jonathan Maicelo, and Emmanuel Lucero).  The three fighters mentioned have a combined record of 75-9-1, he is no pushover.

Williams has been training hard.  In fact it’s about all he is focused on these days.  ”I get up and train, I eat, then I run.  After that I train some more.  Being in Youngstown has been great, I’m really looking forward to fighting on a big card like this one here in front of the hometown fans.”

The first bout is at 7 p.m. and it will be worth checking out.  The tickets are affordable, the setting is unique, and the action will speak for itself.  Hence, this card is “The Real Deal“.

Scrappers Beat State College To Help Scrappy Celebrate Birthday

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Scrappy had a birthday party Tuesday night at Eastwood Field (above).  All of his friends were there including Pete The Penguin.  The State College Spikes tried to crash the party, but the Mahoning Valley Scrappers battled their way back and won the game in the bottom of the ninth on a bases-loaded walk to Jordan Smith for a great 2-1 come-from behind victory.

“I’m very proud of our guys”, commented Coach David Wallace afterwards.  ”Once this team gets down, they seem to turn it up a notch and play that much harder.”

The Spikes scored the first run of the game in the top of the fifth inning.  Matt Skirving doubled and scored from third when Alex Fuselier hit a grounder to short that was thrown away by Scrapper Shortstop, Tony Wolters.  Even if the throw would have been perfect it would have been a tough play.

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Joseph Colon, who was scuffed up on Opening Day, had a second consecutive good start.  Colon pitched five strong innings for the Scrappers, yielding just one run, and it was unearned.  State Collge starter, Nick Kingham, also pitched well and didn’t give up a run.

The Spikes had the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the seventh.  Ramon Cespedes got out of a second-and-third-with-one-out jam to keep the Scrappers at a 1-0 deficit.  Things looked positive in the bottom of the seventh when Bryson Myles singled to start the inning.   Alex Livisky had a great at-bat, just missing a sure game-tying double down the third base line by a couple of inches, fouling a ball about four hundred feet long and twenty feet left, and ultimately lining a rope right at the shortstop for an inning-ending double play.

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Jordan Smith started the bottom of the eighth with a double.  Aaron Siliga popped out to the catcher on a bunt attempt for the first out followed by KC Serna flying out to left.  With two outs, Jerrud Sabourin came through with a clean shot up the middle on a full count to tie the game at a run apiece.  Kevin Fontanez walked to put runners on first and second for Myles, who lined out to second.

Sabourin was happy to contribute to a good team victory with his bat.  ”I have been struggling, and this is a process to go from college pitching to this type of pitching.  I have been working very hard, and it is just one hit, but who knows, hopefully there will be many more to come.”

In the bottom of the ninth and game knotted at one, Wolters was hit by a pitch on a 3-0 count and Lowery (above) walked on four pitches.  Lavisky followed that up with a bunt single setting the stage for Jordan Smith with nobody out.  Smith took four straight balls to get a cheap game-winning RBI.

Kyle Petter picked up the win for the Scrappers (7-3).

The Million Dollar Promotion

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On Sunday, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers welcomed Ted “The Million Dollar Man” DiBiase to Eastwood Field.  DiBiase, one of the all-time great WWE heels, was on hand to sign autographs and greet the fans throughout Sunday’s Scrappers – State College Spikes game.

DiBiase pulled an old skit out of the woodwork when he offered the Scrappers Mascot ,“Scrappy”, an easy thousand dollars to do ten push-ups.  Scrappy was moving right along until DiBiase put his right foot on the fuzzy canine’s torso preventing the tenth push-up.  With his trademark laugh DiBiase blurted out, “Hahaha, not today Scrappy, sorry buddy”, and of course, the famous, “Everybody has a price.”

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DiBiase also tossed out the ceremonial first pitch, suggesting he made a good choice going into wrestling instead of baseball.  Despite the poor toss, the receptive crowd gave DiBiase a nice ovation for the effort.

August 28th will mark a complete pro wrestling card as Mick Foley and Al Snow will make a visit to Eastwood Field to actively participate in a card to take place after the Scrappers-Jamestown Jammers game.

Mick Foley And Al Snow Coming To Niles, Ohio

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The Mahoning Valley Scrappers are welcoming Mick Foley and Al Snow to Eastwood Field on August 28.  Foley has had very recent stints in TNA Impact Wrestling and Snow is a WWE trainer.

The Scrappers will play a game against the Jamestown Jammers starting at 5 p.m.  Immediately after the game ends, the ring will be set up in the infield for a post game pro wrestling card, comprised of mostly independent talent.  Foley and Snow will participate in the action.

There will be one more star added, possibly Joe Laurinaitis (Road Warrior Animal) or Hall of Fame Diva, Sunny.  Those guests are not confirmed, but Foley and Snow are officially scheduled.

General Manager Jordan Taylor is excited about signing the two stars to appear.  ”We are excited to bring Baseball Brawl back to Eastwood Field and having someone as big as Mick Foley gives our fans the chance to see one of the legendary names of wrestling perform.”

Scott Mayfield Drafted By New York Islanders

Youngstown Phantoms Defenseman Scott Mayfield has been drafted by the New York Islanders in the Second Round of the 2011 NHL Draft.  Mayfield was the 34th overall player selected.  The St. Louis, MO. native has spent the last two seasons playing for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL.  he also won a Gold Medal at the World Junior Championships in the last year.

Mayfield is an extremely good skater for a defenseman and once he hits the weights a little harder to fill out his large frame, he is going to be a dynamic defenseman at the big level.

Jonathan “JT” Miller, of East Palestine, was also drafted in the First Round.  Miller who spent the last couple of seasons with Team USA in the USHL was drafted 15th overall by the New York Rangers.

The very best of luck to both players!

Getting To Know New Scrappers Manager David Wallace

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The Mahoning Valley Scrappers have undergone a few changes from last season to this season.  One of the big personnel moves was bringing in David Wallace to be the new manager, replacing Travis Fryman.  Wallace has been, for the most part, in the Cleveland Indians organization his whole career at some capacity but this is his first stint as a frontman.  So far, the new skipper has put up very good signs that he is plenty capable of not only managing his team, but also making personnel decisions, dealing with the media, and keeping positive.  After the first two Scrapper home losses, Wallace was still smiling and optimistic.  The Indians have made a very good choice with Wallace, but many of the fans do not know much about him, so this interview was conducted to better understand Wallace and what makes him tick.

Paneech: I was reading through your biography page and saw that your title last year was “Assistant to The Staff“.  What exactly did you do?

Wallace: That is just a glorified name for a bullpen catcher.  Being the bullpen catcher was a good transitional role for me to go from playing into coaching and to get some valuable experience that I was not able to get as a player.  I was there to do whatever they needed me to do, and during the games, I was in the bullpen warming guys up.

Paneech: Were you assigned to help catchers or relief pitchers, or was it a combination of both?

Wallace: A little bit of both. Before the games, I would alternate turns in the cage throwing batting practice and then during the games, I would catch in the bullpen.  I was there and able to watch Sandy Alomar [Indians First Base Coach] and Manny [Acta] and all of his guys work with the players.  I would ask questions like “Why was this decision made?”, and would learn from what they did.

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Paneech: Was it your decision to bring in Greg Hibbard as a pitching coach and Tony Mansolino as a hitting coach or are those guys assigned to you?

Wallace: They are assigned, the front office in Cleveland puts together all of the coaching staffs in the minors.  I had Greg as a pitching coach when I was a player in two different seasons.  We already had a good working relationship together.  Tony, I met a while back in Nashville at Vanderbilt.  We never played together there, but had met each other through mutual friends.  Our families have been in town, and the three of us will sit there after games and start talking about different things we saw.  Before you know it an hour or two has passed and our families are still waiting for us.

Paneech: Have you talked to Travis Fryman about the Scrappers and what maybe worked or didn’t work for him while he was here?

Wallace: Oh yeah.  Travis has been huge for me. I have had multiple conversations with him from Spring training and on the phone.  He has been a huge help as I tried to get ready for a very hectic first week.  We are signing guys, moving guys to Lake County, moving guys to Arizona, and trying to work the guys we have here.  I was familiar with the area because I played here for the Scrappers in 2002, but the area has changed a lot since then, and he has been a tremendous advisor in that regard too.  He is a guy I will continue to lean on and ask questions, not only about baseball, but also about life, because he is a great life coach as well.

Paneech: Why and how did your playing career end?

Wallace: In 2008, I was in Triple A with the Nationals, Cleveland had traded me there.  I was backing up their catcher and there was actually a better opportunity for me to get some playing time in the Washington farm system, which at that time, was in Columbus.  The Indians traded me there, kind of as a favor, so I could get more playing time.  I didn’t get called up there and felt in my heart that it was time to move on.  I think I could have hung around, and maybe in a year, the planets might have all aligned, and I would have gotten called up for a cup of coffee.  At that point it would have been tough to put together a solid career as a player.  I talked with Ross Atkins [Cleveland Indians Developer of Player Personnel] about this opportunity and to go into the coaching and player development part of this.  I miss playing, but I don’t regret my decision.

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Paneech: Is this a big change from your hometown of Jacksonville?

Wallace: I don’t feel like it is really that big of a change for me.  I played long enough that I know what to expect.  I have spent more time in Ohio at Cleveland, here, Lake County, Columbus, and Akron, than I have in the five years I have been in Jacksonville.  It’s a bigger adjustment for players coming from the West Coast.

Paneech: Past coaches have had things that they could not tolerate.  For example, Tim Laker couldn’t tolerate the media, Travis Fryman couldn’t tolerate showboating and one-upmanship. What is it that you will not tolerate?

Wallace: (laughs)  I would say lack of respect.  Whether it is a lack of respect for the game, which has given us all so much, or lack of respect for teammates and staff, or anyone that you come across.  No one person is better than the others and that includes me, and I tell the players that.  That would be the one thing, a lack of respect,  that I will not put up with.

One Word Answers:

Favorite Meal of The Day: Breakfast.

Favorite Non-Sports Show On TV: This is embarrassing, but Glee.

Best Baseball Movie Ever Made: Bull Durham.

Biggest Phobia: Frogs.

Favorite Vacation Destination: Home, but I would like to go back to New Zealand.

Junk Food: Junior Mints.

Worst Habit: Not making the bed.

Favorite Musician: George Strait.  I love country music.

Animal At The Zoo You Most Resemble: Hopefully, a lion.

Prediction For The Season: I stay away from predicting wins.  I will, however, predict that we go out and play hard every night.

Scrappers Win 11 Inning Nail Biter, 4-3 Against Batavia

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It took eleven innings to decide a winner in the Mahoning Valley Scrappers game against the Batavia Muckdogs.  In the end, it was the Scrappers who were victorious.  An eleventh inning bases-loaded walk to new Scrapper Jordan Smith proved to be the winning margin as the Scrappers prevailed, 4-3.

The Scrappers got the party started in the fourth inning when Aaron Siliga (below) hit a bomb over the right field bullpen to put Mahoning Valley ahead 1-0.  It marked the second night in a row that the Scrappers homered.

Meanwhile, Scrappers Opening Day starter Joseph Colon had  much stronger performance on the mound.  Colon went a strong five innings only surrendering one hit  while recording four strikeouts and walking two.

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Drew Rucinski relieved Colon to start the sixth and got into early trouble loading the bases with nobody out.  Nick Martini hit a grounder to short that got a Muckdogs run across to tie the game.  David Medina stepped in with two out and delivered a clean single up the middle to give Batavia a 2-1 lead.

The two runs Batavia scored in the sixth ended a 15 inning scoreless drought.

Mahoning Valley would claw back with a run in the seventh to tie the game.  Todd Hankins singled, stole second, and moved to third on a wild pitch.  The next batter, Casey Serna, walked to put runners on first and third with nobody out.  With Serna moving toward second, Cody Elliott took the pitch right where the second baseman would have been covering if not moving toward second to cover the bag. Hankins trotted home and the game was tied at two runs apiece.  Later in the inning, Serna tried to score on a ball that got by the catcher but was thrown out at the plate.

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Manager David Wallace (above) tried a magic trick to hypnotize the Batavia third baseman, Jeremy Patton, but was unsuccessful.  Patton knocked home a run in the eighth inning to give the Muckdogs a 3-2 lead.

Mahoning Valley would not go away though.  In the bottom of the eighth, newcomer Jordan Smith recorded his first RBI as a Scrapper with his second hit of the game scoring Jake Lowery.  Interesting that the new guy has the current Scrapper GM’s [Jordan Taylor] first name and the former Scrapper GM’s [Dave Smith] last name.  Regardless, he tied the game with the single and played a solid third base for Mahoning Valley.

In the 11th inning, Serna hit a leadoff single between third and short.  Kevin Fontanez hit a ball that the shortstop booted putting runners on first and second with nobody out.  Bryson Myles bunted the runners to second and third with one out.  Lowery was then intentionally walked to load the bases setting the stage for Jordan Smith with two outs.  Taking the at-bat to a full count, Smith took ball four to complete his welcome to Niles show as the Scrappers improved to 4-2.

After the game, Wallace commented on his team not quitting.  ”The maturity of these guys is coming out.  They kept their heads in the game and played hard.  We are always preaching good, quality at-bats.  We tell them to be selective and wait for their pitch.  In the last inning, that was the second time we had seen that particular pitcher,  and he struggled with his command a little bit the first time, so we wanted to really be selective on the pitches we took swings at.”

Ghost Productions Unveils Complete July 1 Card at Covelli Centre

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Ghost Productions has announced the entire final card for the Friday Night Fights to take place at the Covelli Centre on July 1.  Jack Loew, Kelly Pavlik, and Mike Pavlik, Sr., make up the new promotional team.  They have the local map pretty well-covered with young professional talent for the debut card.

The tickets are very affordable, the matches were made to be competitive, and the card is set as follows:

Main Event

Dannie Williams (17-1, 14 ko’s) Yo, OH vs Oscar Cuelo (13-6, 1 ko) Brooklyn, NY

Undercard

Darnell Boone (18-17, 7 ko’s) Yo, OH vs Romaro Johnson (11-3, 6 ko’s) Cleveland

Billy Lyell (23-9, 5 ko’s) Niles, OH vs Michael Walker (19-8, 12 ko’s) Chicago, IL

Jake Giuriceo (11-0-1, 3 ko’s) Yo, OH vs Winston Mathis (7-3) Stockebridge, GA

Anthony Pietrantonio (6-7, 5 ko’s) Yo, OH vs William Prieto (5-5-1, 2 ko’s) Lorain


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Juan Salinas (above) (0-0) Youngstown, OH vs David Burns (0-2) Cleveland, OH

Marco Hall (0-0) vs Emil Brooks (0-3) Buffalo, NY

Vincent O’Neil (1-1-1, 1 ko) Las Vegas vs Kenneth Addison (0-0)

Kevin Dotson (0-0) vs Daniel Crabtree (0-2)

With a great card in place and the area buzzing, this should be a great night of boxing that the Youngstown Area fans need to come out and enjoy!

Scrappers Pitch Way To 2-0 Triumph Over Batavia

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There is no better way to celebrate the first official day of Summer than at the ballpark.  Good baseball is good pitching – period.  Tuesday, the Scrappers got plenty of it in defeating Batavia 2-0 in front of 2,706 fans at Eastwood Field.  Danny Jimenez, Cody Allen, and Bryce Stoewell combined to shutout the Muckdogs, striking out a total of 11 batters en route to the victory to improve to 3-2.

Batavia posed the first threat to score in the fourth inning.  Scrappers starter Danny Jimenez got into some problems and exited the game after 60 pitches with runners on second and third with one out.  Cody Allen entered the game for the Scrappers and struck out Kevin Moscatel and Virgil Hill to keep the game scoreless.   One night earlier, Moscatel homered and Hill had a key RBI, but both came up empty against Allen.

Thunder and lightning made their Summer debut from a distance in the fifth, but play went on and the game stayed scoreless until the bottom of the inning.  Kevin Fontanez, on his 21st birthday, put the Scrappers ahead 1-0 with an RBI scorcher down the third base line for a double. Todd Hankins hustled from first base to cross the plate with the run.

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Through seven innings and the Scrappers holding the slim 1-0 lead, the threat of rain still loomed and Allen was supplying reasons for the fans to stay.  Allen pitched 3 1/3 innings of shutout relief and struck out six of the eleven batters he faced.  In a well-pitched, tight game like this one, the bullpen was crucial for both teams and Allen really showed he belonged.

Scrappers leadoff hitter, Cody Elliott (above), has been consistent collecting a couple of hits over the last couple of games, including two more Tuesday.  Tony Wolters has also been very productive and doubled with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.  Bryson Myles (below), who homered on Monday, doubled home Wolters to double the Scrappers lead to 2-0.

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Great pitching wins games, and this one was no exception as the Scrappers got a phenomenal effort from a trio of newcomers.  After the game Coach David Wallace talked about the pen.  ”I am really happy with the effort we got tonight from all of the pitchers.  Danny [Jimenez] did a great job giving us a spot start and battled.  Cody [Allen] seemed like he was striking everyone out and picked up a win, and Bryce [Stoewell] was able to come in and close the door.”

Wallace also commented that it is easier to win games when you aren’t committing six errors, like the Scrappers did Monday in a 10-7 loss.  He also praised the timely hitting of many offensive players saying to this point he is very content with the effort his young Scrappers are putting forth.