January 11, 2007


Bowa’s intensity started in his Little League days


Photo privded by Al Lerner
New York Yankees third base coach Larry Bowa will speak at the Homer Little League Sports Dinner on Jan. 27 at the Holiday Inn.

Staff Writer

For a guy who got cut from his high school baseball team three seasons in a row and never played the sport scholastically, Larry Bowa, the guest speaker for the Homer Little League Sports Dinner Jan. 27 at the Holiday Inn on River Street, made out all right.
All he did was play infield — mostly shortstop — for 16 seasons in the major leagues, primarily with the Philadelphia Phillies as well as the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets. He appeared in five All-Star games, winning a World Series with Philadelphia in 1980, and compiled a major-league record .980 career fielding average. That included a record field percentage of .991 for over 100 games with the Phillies in 1979.
Overall, he compiled a cumulative average of .260 with 15 home runs, 525 RBIs and 318 stolen bases.
Bowa then went on to manage the Padres for one year and the Phillies for four, and has coached third base for the Angels, Mariners and, currently, the Yankees. He signed with the Bronx Bombers in the late fall of 2005.
Not bad for a guy who was told by everyone, except for his father, that he was too small to be a good player. So how did he do it?
“I think it’s the intensity I’ve basically had since Little League,” the 61-year-old Bowa said by phone recently from his Pennsylvania home. “Being able to accomplish what I did, looking back, not getting drafted and playing as long as I did, I just had to keep driving. I always played like someone was ready to take my job.”
While Bowa is still noted for his intensity (some call him fiery, though that implies a certain lack of self-control that would make a career as long as his all but impossible), he’s surprisingly reticent when it comes to public appearances.
“You can have as many appearances as you like in the off-season,” he said. “I could have two or three a week, if I wanted. But I don’t like to do them that much. I do some memorabilia shows (including a Jan. 28 appearance at the State Fairgrounds), but I also like Little League.”
Bowa was a Little League member in his hometown_of Sacramento.
“I think it’s great for kids, though I do think there’s too much emphasis on winning and losing. The emphasis should be on teaching the kids how to play and making sure they have fun; some parents get carried away,” he says. “There are pros and cons with the Little League World Series. It’s great to be able to be a part of it, but making a decisive error can scar a young kid. I like the program overall, but there’s too much pressure for kids that age.”
Bowa said that, as a player, he had aspirations to be a manager or coach early on, again because his size worked against him.
“I was told that I’d probably make the majors, but that I could be a good organizational guy, a great teacher,” he said. “I’d sit back during games and think what I’d do in certain situations, trying to think like a manager. Some veterans told me that anytime you can help a young player by passing on some knowledge you should do it, and I do.
“A manager is in charge of 25 guys, whereas as a third base coach you have your assignment and also are usually the infield and base-running coach. I hate losing, and as a manager I seemed to dwell on losses a lot longer. In New York, losing still bothers me but I get over it quicker.”
Bowa always expressed his emotions, something current Yankees manager Joe Torre does not do. That doesn’t mean Torre lacks passion.
“Joe is very intense,” said Bowa. “He may not show it that much, but you can see it in the coaches’ room after a tough loss. He does a good job with his players. We use a lot of hit-and-runs and steals, and though we don’t have a lot of team speed we were third in the American League in stolen bases last season.”
Bowa is also impressed with the players he works with as the Yankees’ infield coach.
“Jeter, A-Rod and Cano all have great work ethics,” he said of infielders Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriquez and Robinson Cano. “Jeter and A-Rod are great players, and Cano will be. Sometimes when you tell a player who’s making great money to come out early for extra work, it doesn’t happen. These guys all come out early and work hard. They’re very professional about it.”
Asked about the well-documented concept of Yankee Pride, Bowa confirmed that it does indeed exist. “When I first put on the uniform I felt a certain pride,” he said. “It comes from the Stadium, all of the great players who have played there, the continued success. There’s added pressure — Mr. Steinbrenner wants to win — but that’s all right. You know you have a chance to win it all, whereas some owners don’t get excited when you lose. I wish I could have played for a guy like (Steinbrenner); he’s great.”
Asked about the recent trade of Randy Johnson back to the Diamondbacks, Bowa noted: “Randy had a death in the family recently, and with his kids growing up I think he wanted to be closer to them. He’s a Hall of Fame pitcher who wanted to be closer to home, and (Yankee GM) Brian Cashman got him there.
“Brian is also stockpiling pitchers after that was a problem area for us last season, and we got three (reliever Luis Vizcaino and prospects Ross Ohlendorf and Steven Jackson, as well as shortstop Alberto Gonzalez) in the deal.”
In thinking back over his career, Bowa said that “The biggest thrill was, without a doubt, winning the 1980 World Series (as a member of the Phillies). All of the other achievements are nice, but being able to look back and know you were on the top team in baseball — especially after we had come up short the previous four seasons — will never be topped.”
Tickets for Bowa’s appearance at the Holiday Inn are on sale at Hairy Tony’s on Main St. in Cortland and Homer Men & Boys. Proceeds go to help the Homer Little League Griggs Field Development Project. VIP passes are available to meet with Bowa in a private room prior to the dinner.




Morrison, Brenchley, on all-state grid squad

Staff Writer

Two Homer Central football players have received more post-season honors. Trojan seniors Mark Brenchley and Jon Morrison were named to the Class B third team on the New York State Sportswriters Association all-state squad.
Brenchley made the team as a running back, while Morrison received his honors as an offensive lineman.
“This is a huge pat on the back for both players,” said Homer coach Gary Podsiedlik. “Both Mark and Jon were leaders by example. They took pride in playing all facets of the game and neither guys was a one-dimensional player. I hope Mark and Jon realize what a big honor this is.”
Brenchley led the Trojans in rushing (1,832 yards-second best in school history), touchdowns (22, tying the school record for_a single season), scoring (132 points), kick return yards (432), punt return yards (173), quarterback sacks (8.8) and blocked one field goal attempt. He set a single game school record by scoring six touchdowns against Marcellus, posted the top-three best single-game rushing records in school history (410 vs. Marcellus, 322 vs. Solvay, 300 vs. Jordan Elbridge) and finished fifth on the all-time career rushing list (2,118 yards).
“After the nine weeks of the season, Mark was the number one rusher and all-purpose yards leader in all of Section 3,” said Podsiedlik. “He took a lot of pride in his blocking as much as the yards he gained. This was a well-deserved honor. I personally thought he would be a first or second-team selection, but there are a lot of good players in the state and there were some good numbers posted by guys we do not hear about as much.”
Morrison was a guard and part of a stellar offensive line. He also played very well on the defensive side of the ball.
“Jon came into the season with a great attitude,” said Podsiedlik. “Jon was the team leader on and off the field, even though he was not one of the captains. He really was one of the reasons our line play was so good and why our team the success that he did this season.”
Only nine players from Section 3 received all-state honors in Class B. Sectional champion Cazenovia had three players selected, with senior Brandon Moyer (first team linebacker), junior Art Bigsby (second team, wide receiver) and senior David Etter (second team, defensive line) honored.
From Westhill, senior quarterback Dan Fetter and junior running back Dale Ross were both all-state second team offensive picks.
Marcellus junior wide receiver Jeff Watson and Holland Patent senior defensive lineman Jeff Sann were third-team picks.
Section 4 had 10 Class B all-state selections with Chenango Forks grabbing four spots, Windsor three, Elmira Notre Dame two and Owego one.
Representing the Section 4 champion Blue Devils were senior lineman Josh Cary (first team offense), senior quarterback Bryan Lance (first team offense), senior lineman Joe Nicholson (first team defense) and junior lineman Jud DuBois (third team offense).
Rounding out the Section 4 selections were Windsor senior linebacker Bryant Parker (first team defense), senior lineman Chris Meattey (second team offense) and senior end Cody Whitman (third team defense); Elmira Notre Dame senior wide receiver Greg Schiefen (second team offense) and senior lineman Bryant Homerda (third team defense); plus Owego senior lineman Doug Koczan (third team offense).
The New York All-State Football Class B Player of the Year was Geneva senior running back Brian Fowler, who led his squad to a state title.




Trojans pinned by ES-M

Homer Central boys hosted their second match of the season Wednesday, but East Syracuse-Minoa proved to be too much for the Trojans as the Spartans posted a 37-23 OHSL Freedom Division victory.
The Trojans fall to 0-3 in league action and 4-7 overall.
“ES-M is a tough team,” said Homer coach Jeff Lewis. “We actually wrestled better than I thought we would. We did lose some matches that I thought we would win, but we also got a couple of real nice wins.”
With the action starting at 135 pounds, ES-M (2-0, 21-6) jumped to a 21-0 lead with three pins and decision.
Needing a win, Logan Williams took the mat and tried to spark the Trojans. Williams dominated Lawrence Piper and posted a 16-0 technical fall in the match at 160 pounds.
“Logan came out and wrestled tough,” said Lewis. “It was nice to see him put together a real solid effort.”
Homer freshman Ryan Murray was up next for the Trojans. Murray lost a 6-1 decision to Zak Moss, but Coach Lewis liked what he saw.
“I thought Ryan did a nice job in his first varsity match,” said Lewis. “This is a kid who will keep improving and is going to do some great things in the future.”
Elijah Vaber and Mike DiOrio had tough opponents and both suffered losses. Powerful Matt Cushing pinned Vaber at the 1:50 mark in their 189-pound bout and DiOrio lost a 7-0 decision at 215 to Brett Adams. Those two losses put Homer in a deep hole as the Trojans trailed 33-5.
“Cushing was a tough opponent for Elijah,” said Lewis. “Adams did the things he needed to do to beat Mike. It was tough two lose both of those matches.”
The lightweights brought Homer back into contention. Ryan Sparrow won by forfeit at 103 and Ben McBride needed just 36 seconds to stick Will Foster at 112.
“Ben McBride was Mister Intensity,” said Lewis. “He came out very focused and really took care of business.”
Those two victories made the score 33-17 and breathed life into a possible Trojan comeback. That made the 119-pound bout another huge match. With a pin, Homer could close to within 33-23 with two matches remaining, Zak Quirello was up for Homer and he would face a tough competitor in Jeff Martino. This match was tight for all six minutes with Quirello securing a hard-fought 6-5 decision. Martino did what he had to do, not get pinned. The Quirello win left ES-M in front 33-20 with two matches left and no way for Homer to win.
“Zak wrestled a good match,” said Lewis. “Martino is tough and he was able to stay off his back and not allow himself to be pinned.”
Matt Letcher gave the Spartans their final win with a 12-0 major decision over Nate Crawford at 125 pounds while Saxson Sprouse closed out the match with a 12-7 decision over Mike Dee at 130 to give the Trojans three more points and make the final score 37-23.