Year 1 in the books: Dansville Gliders stick the landing in debut season
NYCBL franchise reflects on a successful first summer in Dansville
DANSVILLE — The Dansville Gliders stuck the landing in 2021.
This summer was worth the wait for the baseball program, which saw its much-anticipated launch in 2020 scuttled by COVID-19. Instead, the summer of 2021 went down as Dansville’s debut in the New York Collegiate Baseball League (NYCBL), and looking back, Gliders president Steve Ackley couldn’t be more pleased with how it all came together in Year 1.
In fact, Ackley has already committed to bringing the Gliders back to Dansville in 2022.
“It was a great summer. Granted we didn’t have the winning season as far as the standings, but we had a winning season as far as the community of Dansville,” said Ackley. “We had great responses from businesses, host families, tourists, anybody that came through the village was impressed with the program. Once they realized what the program stood for and meant to the community, it was even more positive.
“Many people asked if I was coming back in 2022, and obviously my answer was yes. Individuals stepped up this season to help us out with other avenues of the program. They got to see firsthand what’s involved and the hours of commitment it takes. They stepped up and we’re looking for others to help out in other ways. We will make 2022 an even better season.”
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The Gliders averaged around 250 fans per game, a strong attendance figure for the NYCBL. The Gliders did not charge any admission fees. Ackley believes the free admission, combined with the newness of the program and a desire to get outside post COVID-19 restrictions, all played a role in the big turnout at Babcock Park this summer.
“People just wanted to be part of this program and I just see it getting bigger next year,” said Ackley. “The Battle Street Brewery was at every home game, and that was another big draw. When you put a great product out for people to get involved in, admission means nothing. I do it for the passion for the sport and the people. That’s what I instilled all summer in our coaches, players and individuals on the board. All in all it was a great season and we’re looking forward to 2022.”
Ackley said the highlight of the season came June 20 when the program honored the late Jon Shay.
“We had a great response and people came out for a great man who did a lot for Dansville, including a big role in bringing this program into the village,” said Ackley.
In July, the Gliders honored the Dansville American Legion and the Dansville VFW, which supported the program in its inaugural campaign. The American Legion sponsored the opening dinner and the VFW sponsored a team picnic.
On the diamond, the Gliders finished 10-29-1. The Dansville lineup had seven players bat over .300, including Jared Coppola who hit .357 with four home runs and 22 RBI to power the offense. Dansville management will be looking to boost the pitching staff for 2022.
“We had a young squad of pitchers who weren’t fully developed for this style of play,” said Ackley. “During next year’s recruiting we’ll look at different avenues on how we recruit going forward. Next year we’ll have a different system.
“We have some other ideas for next year we’ll bring to the board in a couple weeks and start implementing those ideas. We’ll make some changes to the program for the better.”
Ackley encouraged any community members interested in joining the board, pursuing sponsorship or becoming a host family to call 585-596-9523 or email email@example.com.
“Our host families were phenomenal. We had other individuals step up midseason and take in a couple new players we brought in late,” said Ackley. “A couple families have inquired about next year. We’ll have a follow up host family meeting in the next month or two putting everything together for next year. Staff wise, everybody stepped up and did what they were asked. I couldn’t ask for a better group to help me out.”
Chris Potter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ChrisPotter413. To get unlimited access to the latest news, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.