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Bits & Pieces: Fulton ice dancer and partner earn silver medal at Junior Grand Prix in Australia

The United States' ice dancing team of Laura Bonacorsi, of St. Louis, Mo., and Travis Mager, of Fulton, took home the silver medal at the International Skating Union Junior Grand Prix (JGP) of Figure Skating Series event last week in Brisbane, Australia. Bonacorsi represents the Peninsula Skating Club and Mager represents the Columbia Figure Skating Club.

Performing their free dance to "Close to You," by Sandra and Tony Alessi, Bonacorsi and Mager received level 4s on five of their elements and earned 123.62 points.

The medal is the third of their careers on the JPG circuit. Previously, they won bronze medals at 2010 JGP Romania and 2009 JGP United States.

"We were proud of our performances and representing Team USA down under," Bonacorsi said in a press release.

In its 15th season, the JGP series consists of seven international events in a cumulative point-scoring format. Approximately 400 athletes representing more than 35 countries are expected to participate in the series. Each athlete is eligible to score points in two of the seven scheduled events (pairs can compete in two of four designated events). The top eight point-earners in each discipline qualify for the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, Dec. 8-11, in Quebec City, Canada.

Baseball Factory gets a new home

I get a bit nervous when I hear that an organization or store is moving. With all of the closures that we have witnessed over the past few years, there is reason for concern. However, that is not the case with the Baseball Factory, founded by Columbia resident Steve Sclafani in 1994. The Baseball Factory is a leader in player development and college placement and apparently a great deal more.

The move from Red Branch Road to 9212 Berger Road is a major upgrade.

"We are doubling our space to 22,000 square feet," Steve said. "And we can now offer our clients more than before."

The new facility will include batting cages, a pitching tunnel and a cardiovascular fitness center. The old days of just swinging into a batting cage are over. In the case of the Baseball Factory's new quarters, bigger is definitely better.

The Baseball Factory is coming off a year that literally took its 50-member staff all around the country from the Under Armour All-America Baseball Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, which featured players fro across the country, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, to the Little League World Series in Wiliamsport where the Baseball Factory served as that organization's Official and Exclusive Player Development Partner.

The Baseball Factory is no longer just targeting baseball players from 14-18. The ages from 10-14 and softball are now part of the Factory's program.

The Factory tells parents straight up if their child has any future in the sport of baseball. "Our No. 1 goal is helping kids," Steve said.

With this expansion, expect the Factory to be able to do that to a greater extent.

Ready for some football?

The rain that just didn't want to quit until Noah came to pick some of us up has resulted in the change of venue for last weekend's high school football games. Rather than cancel those games, the county school system and the county's recreation and parks came to an agreement that allowed games to be played this past Monday on the county's artificial turf fields at Rockburn Park, Cedar Lane Park and Western Regional Park.

"Howard County Recreation and Parks came through for us big time," said Mike Williams, the county's coordinator of athletics.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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