Rome Free Academy baseball team streaks to five straight wins


The talk of the town is the Rome Free Academy baseball team.

The Black Knights won the Lew Bennett Tournament last week in victories over Oneida and Fulton. The team got off to a slow start this season and I blame the inclement cold weather for much of this. They have now won five in a row going  into the weekend. Coach Evan Howard has them peaking at the right time.

Preston Mecca got the win over Fulton pitching six quality innings. Did you know his dad David was also an outstanding player for the Black Knights back in 1992? He was a slugging first baseman.

Justin Swavely pitched a complete game shutout against Oneida to earn the MVP Award.

Did you know his dad Ted was a very good baseball player in the Federal Little League back in the 83-84?

Mike Reilly is coaching the young Oriskany softball team again the spring. They are 9-2 and peaking at the right time. Mike played football for Rome Catholic High and was a very good offensive lineman back in 1985-86. He is now a Rome firefighter giving back to the community.

From the mailbag: Two weeks ago I listed my all-time Rome fantasy team. I received many e-mails from perhaps a few I left out.

That’s what makes my column so much fun to write, the passion of the Rome sports fans. Here are some I missed. My e-mail is

Rich Desa: He pitched for RCH and took Bill Fleet’s team to the state championship game back in 1983. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds after pitching four years at Cornell.

Eddie Harper: He started four years for Le Moyne and was the MVP for Smith Post in the state championship game back in 1998. He played professional baseball for two years after college.

Garrett Baker: He pitched for RFA and played Division I baseball for Liberty College. He helped take Smith Post to the state Final Four in 2008.

Kevin Ryan: He was a Rome Catholic star who became captain of the St. Bonaventure baseball team in 2003. He hit .363 in the Atlantic 10 and made the all-star team his junior year.

Eric Maya: He was one of the greatest players in the history of RFA baseball. He played back in 1961-62 and was with Jerry Burlison on those legendary Black Knight teams.

Geek of the Week: The NBA coaches who didn’t vote for Celtics coach Brad Stevens for Coach of the Year. They voted for Toronto Raptors coach Dwayne Casey, whose team just got swept by LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers. Please. Not one single vote for Stevens.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms. The loveliest masterpiece of my life is my thoughts and memories of my mom. She raised 14 children and we all thought we were her favorite.


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