BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer Ninth straight Region XIXfor Scannapieco Ninth straight Region XIX for Scannapieco’s squad BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer PHOTOS BY FARRAH MAFFAI staff Brookdale’s Leah Minnick (above), of Middletown, and Nicole Carroll (l), of Union Beach, are among the players who have helped the Jersey Blues get back to the national championships in Joliet, Ill. Bo Scannapieco pushed his Brookdale Community College women’s softball team hard during the last week of the season. Yes, winning the Garden State Athletic Conference title was important (the Blues won it for the fourth straight year and ninth in the last 10), but of more urgency to him was gaining the No. 1 seed for the Region XIX tournament. “The whole point of the season was getting the No. 1 seed,” he said. “I knew it would be important because we would have to play on our toughest rival’s home field. It made all the difference.” As Scannapieco had predicted from the very start of the season, winning a ninth straight Region championship wasn’t going to be easy. Not only was the Region getting stronger, but this year the Jersey Blues’ top rival, Gloucester, was hosting the tournament, and the Roadrunners were out for blood. They had lost the last two Region tournaments to Brookdale in Lincroft and now that they had the Blues at home, they were ready for some payback. That’s what made Brookdale’s come-from-behind walk-off 4-3 win in the Region final on May 8 against Gloucester so meaningful. “This [Region title] was the best ever,” said Scannapieco. “Everything was against us and our kids really played hard. “We’ve been very resilient all year,” he added. The Jersey Blues (40-10) needed all of their resilience for a Houdini-like escape in Gloucester (29-14). The host Roadrunners were certain that 2004 would be the year they finally upended the Brookdale team that had deprived them of the Region XIX five times since 1996. They were even more convinced when they beat Brookdale 2-0 to force a decisive winner-take-all final in the double-elimination tournament. Brookdale had beaten Gloucester the day before during the first round. When the Roadrunners scored two runs in the top of the seventh to take a 3-2 on the defending champions in the deciding game, Gloucester was more convinced than ever that it had finally shaken the Jersey Blues. It would be the Roadrunners going to the national championships. But thanks to winning the No. 1 seed, Brookdale was up last, and to the shock and dismay of the Roadrunners, the Blues struck for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to beat Gloucester, 4-3. “There’s nothing like it,” said Scannapieco. “Two seconds from a loss and just like that, you win.” With one out, Nicole Carroll started the rally with a solid single. Leah Minnick, who leads the country in RBIs, lashed a double in the gap, scoring Carroll to tie the game at 3-3. It was her 78th and most important RBI of the season. With two outs, Amanda Meatto’s single scored Minnick, sending the Jersey Blues to the nationals for the ninth straight year, and the Roadrunners to another frustrating loss. “Those were three ropes we hit, not a cheap hit among them,” said Scannapieco. “Everyone hit the ball hard in the inning.” Cherise Maltais, who went 2-0 in the tournament for Brookdale and was the winner in the championship final, was the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. She improved to 15-5 for the season and 3-0 against Gloucester. “I thought we played well throughout the tournament,” said Scannapieco. “Our pitching and defense were great. I knew that runs would be tough to come by on Saturday [the day of the final] because the wind was blowing in. We took the lead in the fifth inning on a squeeze because I knew runs would be tough.” Maltais was one of five Jersey Blues who were First Team All-Region and First-Team All-GSAC in 2004. Joining her on those teams are 19-game winner Elyse Papaianni, shortstop Minnick, outfielder Deidre Trujilio and third baseman Meatto. The National Junior College Athletic Association Fastpitch National Championships are tomorrow through Saturday at Joliet Community College in Illinois. The Jersey Blues, who won the national championship in 2002, will be looking for their second title in three years and have to be given a chance this spring. They played a tough schedule, as always, were pushed to the brink in winning the Region, and beat then No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Anne Arundel from Maryland in Lincroft during the regular season. Pitching and defense wins championships, and the Blues are well-stocked there. “You never know,” Scannapieco said of the upcoming national tournament. “You always have to give yourself a chance.” Scannapieco may be making the trip to the nationals for the ninth straight year and 10th overall, but it never gets tiring. The unique thing about coaching at the junior college level, he noted, is the yearly turnover. Scannapieco is taking a team with 10 freshmen making the trek to Illinois for the first time. “The best thing about coaching here is that every year is a new team. It’s all new to them,” he pointed out. “It’s that newness that recharges you.”
Ocean Township’s Dan Farrell stretches as he serves to a friend at a public tennis court at Thompson Park, Middletown, on Monday. CHRIS KELLY staff
The following are the results of the Shore Athletic Club Youth Cross Country Series’ Week 5, held at Holmdel Park Oct. 2: 800 Meters: Boys-1. Chris Nicholls 3:23; 2. Dominic Caraballo 3:39; 3. Michael Molloy 4:49. Mile: Girls-1. Hannah Molloy 8:18; 2. Cammi Plage 8:41; 3. Nadine Pires 8:57; 4. Donna Molloy 9:01. Mile: Boys-1. Nico Luzio 8:08; 2. Christopher Taraska 8:21; 3. Eric D. Ng 8:31; 4. Andrew Rich 8:34; 5. Brandon Nicolas 9:45. 3,000 Meters (9-10): Girls-1. Beatriz Dias 16:01; 2. Ines Mirasol 16:16; 3. Ashley Witkowski 18:12. Boys-1. Anfernee Joseph 12:56; 2. Joshua Martins 13:09; 3. Colin Puff 13:21; 4. Sergio Abreu 13:24; 5. Jaspal Singh 13:40; 6. Christopher Fernandes 13:41; 7. Steven Taraska 13:46; 8. Ajay Singh 14:09; 9. Fillipe Fontes 14:35; 10. Jonathan Molloy 14:43; 11. John Walsh 14:46; 12. Michael Jensen 15:09; 13. Alex Pires 15:45; 14. Matthew Loda 16:24; 15. Matthew Kunak 17:28; 16. Dylan Alves 17:53; 17. Daniel Figueriedo 18:54. 3,000 Meters (11-12): Girls-1. Ines Simoes 11:48; 2. Jennifer Molke 11:49; 3. Stephanie V. Ng 13:05; 4. Jessica Fonseca 14:30; 5. Kristine L. Ng 15:10; 7. Haliegh Simon 16:26; 8. Amanda Wall 17:12; 9. Emilie Claire Miller 24:35. Boys-1. Michael Fernandes 12:07; 2. Jason Presley 12:15; 3. Paulo Viegas 12:25; 4. Kevin Molloy 13:18; 5. Brandon Baptista 13:50; 6. Daniel Jones 13:52; 7. Michael Gruenling 16:15; 8. Blake Cummings 16:43; 9. George Kunak 17:25; 10. Jacob Wegbreit 17:35; 11. Adam Carabba 21:53. 4,000 Meters: Girls-1. Alexandria Presley 20:02; 2. Morgan Reinhart 20:11; 3. Vanessa Gaspar 20:28; 4. Nicole Cordeiro 21:20; 5. Christina DaTorre 22:12. Boys-1. Ryan Jacobs 15:44; 2. Jon Urena 16:18; 3. Kyle Witkowski 16:44; 4. Quincy Graham 17:13; 5. Joe Saraiva 18:50; 6. Kevin Mulligan 18:55; 7. Kyle Rich 22:09. 5,000 Meters: Boys-1. Brian Barroqueiro 17:52; 2. Jordan Inacio 18:24; 3. Miguel DaTorre 22:00. The Middletown Lacrosse Club needs coaches and volunteers for this season’s boys and girls lacrosse program. Contact Dave at (732) 957-9828 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mario at (848) 218-0532. The Middletown United Red Devils U10 travel soccer team is looking for a few competitive players to round out its roster. The team competes throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties. Players must be born between Aug. 1, 1995, and July 31, 1996. Please call (732) 671-4159, or e-mail email@example.com for additional information.
BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer With several key players back, the Raritan High School softball team will be looking to improve upon last season’s 12-9 mark under new coach Aado Kommendant. The Rockets have historically relied on pitching and defense and last year that combination enabled the Raritan to qualify for the NJISAA Central Jersey Group II tournament where they knocked off Ewing, 5-2, in the opening round, before bowing to Bordentown. Although Raritan scored just 64 runs in 21 games the Rockets still managed 12 wins. “There’s a solid nucleus of players here and we have a good program,” Kommendant said. “Former coach Janet Citro did an excellent job and she’s been great in helping me settle in.” Citro, the longtime Rockets coach, resigned from the post last June. Kommendant, the former St. John Vianney mentor, took over the helm. Suzanne Gorcynski and Tricia Reingle, two former Vianney standouts who played for Kommendant at SJV, serve as assistants. The new coach asked the school’s athletic director, John Verderossa, to schedule as many scrimmages as possible so that Kommendant could get to know his players quickly. Despite some iffy weather, the Rockets will have 15 scrimmages under their belts before the season starts this afternoon at Marlboro. “We scheduled 15 scrimmages hoping to get eight of them in,” Kommendant said. “But we’ve played most of them and that will really be a plus. In three weeks it’s almost like we’ve played a full season. They know what to expect from me now.” Meanwhile, the new coach expects that the Rockets will remain competitive in the Shore Conference’s Class B Central division. One key reason is the return of pitcher Kerrilyn Svenson. The senior posted a 12-9 mark to go with a glittering 1.11 ERA a year ago, while working every inning of every game. The new coach said he plans to occasionally spell Svenson on the mound with a pair of promising sophomores, Samantha Strickland and Amanda Maloney. Svenson, who will play for the University of New Haven next spring, also led the team in batting with a .338 average and in RBIs with eight. Offensive contributions will also be expected from Samantha Helmstetter, an excellent defensive center fielder, who hit .276 a year ago, and juniors Cassie Illig and Alyssa Mautone. Illig, the right fielder, hit .269 with five RBIs, while Mautone, who plays first base and shortstop, is coming off a .250 campaign with a home and seven runs-batted-in. Second baseman Melissa Mancuso drove home seven runs a year ago as did junior catcher Jill Martin, who also blasted a home run. Third baseman Celeste Dayawon, batted just .140, but drew nine walks and scored a teamleading 10 runs. Other members of the team include outfielder Courtney LaCapria, speedy left fielder Daniele Raneri and outfielder Kiera McCabe, both juniors, along with two freshmen, shortstop Bobbie Boehler and DH Tiffany Dahlquist. “The key for us will be taking a little pressure off our pitching and defense and to do that we need to score a few more runs,” Kommendant said. “That will give the girls some margin for error.” Following today’s game against Marlboro, the Rockets return to Hazlet for their home opener April 3 against division rival RBC. Kommendant noted that his team would host a free youth softball clinic on April 11, following the Rockets game against Pinelands, which is slated for a 10 a.m. start.
Raritan Valley Road Runners will sponsor an outdoor open house 7:30-9:30 a.m. May 14 at Grove 5 near the Landing Lane entrance to Johnson Park, 1050 River Road, Piscataway. The event is open to joggers and runners of all ages and fitness levels. Those attending should be medically able to participate and will be asked to provide guardian approval if under the age of 18. Light refreshments will be provided. The open house is offered free of charge. For more information, go to rvrr.org. To RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Rutgers University-Newark will run its 10th annual summer basketball program for children ages 7 to 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 11-15, July 25-29, and Aug. 1-5. Early drop-off and late pickup times and discount rates are available. For more information or a brochure, call Joe Loughran at 973-353-1483.
By George PsyllidesLEGISLATION to tackle football-related violence is expected to be put to the vote today, despite disagreement from the main opposition party AKEL, which wants the vote postponed.House Legal Affairs committee chairman, DISY MP Sotiris Sampson, said parties have serious reservations about the bill, which will, nevertheless, be referred to the plenum.He added that provisions to help fight hooliganism had to be passed before the season kicked off.Ruling DISY wants the bill to be approved as-is, while the other parties plan to submit amendments.The bill introduces new features to help fight hooliganism: a supervisory authority will be created to inspect stadium safety, terraces will be divided into sections for seated fans, families, and standing supporters, and more importantly it provides for the introduction of a fan identity card that authorities hope would stamp out anonymity.The bill also creates a series of criminal offences related to hurling objects, using abusive and racist language, gestures, slogans, and songs, covered faces within the grounds and in adjacent areas, and being drunk or high on drugs.It also bans standing repeatedly and without good reason in an area designated for seated fans.AKEL MP Aristos Damianou said that DISY was ignoring many factors that would prevent the legislation from being implemented.The party wants the bill to be discussed further and put to the vote in a couple of weeks.Included in the list were the objections raised by Limassol clubs to put any money into making the obsolete Tsirion stadium compliant, especially afterPresident Nicos Anastasiades’ pledge to build a new stadium.The football association (KOP) has also voiced concern over its ability o cover the cost of the measures that must be put in place, Damianou said.Beyond these, the AKEL MP said the bill included provisions that were unacceptable in a modern society.Case in point was making standing in an undesignated area a criminal offense punishable with up to three years in jail, he said. And jailing someone because they moved from one area of the stadium to another.It was not right for those punished for these offences to be placed under house arrest with a tag on their leg, Damianou added.He said the current legal framework included strict penalties which have never been enforced, as were the rules on stadium safety.And they have never been enforced because those responsible did not show the necessary will to do so, he concluded.
By Martyn HermanEngland’s World Cup captain Eoin Morgan has been victim of an attempted blackmail over a former relationship, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Thursday.According to the ECB, an Australian man had demanded a five-figure sum to prevent a story about one-day skipper Morgan and a previous girlfriend appearing in national newspapers in Australia and Britain.“The allegations related to a brief relationship Eoin had with a woman from Australia five years ago,” a statement said.“Following liaison with the Metropolitan Police, our support team on the ground in Australia investigated the blackmail.“This involved approaching the man in question who, when confronted, admitted and apologised for his actions, blaming jealousy.”The man involved is understood to be in a relationship with the woman Morgan once dated.The ECB said they would not seek to press charges.“We will not allow anyone to disrupt our team’s preparation or performance in the Tri-Series and as we build up to the World Cup. I am pleased that this issue has now been brought to a swift conclusion,” Paul Downton, the ECB’s managing director, said.Morgan was named as England’s one-day captain after Alastair Cook was removed from the post in December.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was left frustrated by Monday’s 1-0 Premier League loss to Liverpool but said his team’s performance at Anfield would build confidence for the remainder of their first season in England’s top flight.Bournemouth, who scored 98 goals in winning promotion last season, were unlucky to have a goal chalked off when Tommy Elphick’s header was ruled out for a foul on Dejan Lovren.The ‘Cherries’ then found themselves behind midway through the first half thanks to Christian Benteke’s goal, which could also have been ruled out with Philippe Coutinho in an offside position.Bournemouth have now lost both their Premier League fixtures and failed to score in either game. They were also beaten 1-0 by Aston Villa in their league opener.“On one hand I am very proud of the players’ performances and how they were brave enough to go toe-to-toe with Liverpool,” said Howe. “But obviously the huge negative is the result, so it’s tough to take.“I thought we started the game brilliantly. We really did set the tone for an excellent first 25 minutes.“But again we feel aggrieved that we haven’t come away with at least a point.”Howe also said his players would learn from the defeat.“The atmosphere and the experience will make them better players. Hopefully it’ll also reinforce that we can go anywhere in the country and compete.“We can’t live in fear of the reputations and history of clubs, we just have to play the game.”
LEICESTER’S success on the pitch has been sending shock waves through the city – with the celebrations of fans being picked up by equipment used to detect earthquakes.Supporters jumping up and down at the King Power Stadium when the Foxes nabbed an 89th-minute winner against Norwich caused a quake with a magnitude of 0.3, researchers have said.The team have been the surprise package in the Premier League this season and are clear at the top by five points with nine games left to play.A group of geology students at the University of Leicester placed earthquake-detecting equipment at a primary school near to the Leicester ground and said Leonardo Ulloa’s last-gasp winner led to a spike in seismic activity.Richard Hoyle, a first-year student from Leeds studying geological science at the University of Leicester, said: “A few days after we installed the equipment at the school and were analysing data collected, we noticed large peaks on the seismogram during football matches being held in the stadium nearby.“A closer look showed us there was a strong correlation between the exact time Leicester scored at home and the occurrence of the large seismic signals.“We concluded that our equipment was actually measuring small earthquakes produced by the sudden energy release by the cheering Leicester fans celebrating at the moment a goal was scored.”The phenomenon is being called the ‘Vardy Quake’ – despite striker Jamie Vardy not scoring since Leicester’s 2-1 away defeat to Arsenal on February 14.The equipment works alongside a similar system in the basement of the university’s department of geology building and another recently installed set in the New Walk Museum in the city.By measuring small earthquakes using this equipment – such as a 2.3 magnitude tremor in Thame on Sunday – the students are then able to calibrate the calculation for the quakes when Leicester score.During last Tuesday’s match against West Brom, a 0.1 quake was registered when Danny Drinkwater scored to level the game at 1-1, and smaller signals were detected when the Baggies found the net.Hoyle said: “Besides naturally occurring earthquakes, we are now curious to discover which Leicester City footballer will generate the biggest seismic signal. Our money is on Vardy.”
By Amlan ChakrabortyWest Indies’ rag-tag army of short-format mercenaries will be hoping they have the weapons to overcome a fearless England in Sunday’s World Twenty20 final as both sides target the honour of being the first to claim a second title in the tournament.For a group of players who nearly boycotted the event over a contractual dispute with their board, Darren Sammy and his troops have waltzed into the Kolkata final displaying all the Caribbean flair that has earned them global admiration.If Twenty20 cricket is essentially about power-hitting, no team does it better and more unabashedly than the West Indies.England have first-hand knowledge of that destructive potency, having been blown away by Chris Gayle’s 47-ball century in a Super 10 shellacking in Mumbai a fortnight ago.Revenge may be regarded as a dish best served cold but Eoin Morgan’s men would probably like nothing more than to exact it in the heat of a World Cup final.A task easier said than done against a West Indies outfit packed with swashbuckling players who ply their trade in lucrative Twenty20 leagues around the globe.What makes the job doubly difficult is that Sammy’s men have proved in India that they are more than just a one-man army who bank on Gayle to punch holes in their opponents.Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons and Andrew Russell have stepped out of their illustrious team mate’s shadow and made their own mark in the last month.“We said this before the tournament that Chris is under pressure,” Sammy said after the exhilarating semi-final victory against hosts India.“He is our best Twenty20 player but we have 15 match-winners in this side,” he added.The ever-smiling all-rounder is seeking to become the first captain to lead a team to a second World Twenty20 title but West Indies are anything but infallible.PEAKING ENGLANDThey showed two extremes to their game in the last couple of outings, slumping to an embarrassing defeat to qualifiers Afghanistan before silencing a raucous home crowd in Mumbai as they knocked out favourites India.Also, the England they will face on Sunday is not the same team they thumped by six wickets in the group stage last month.Morgan’s side have peaked gradually in the tournament since that defeat and seem to have found the right rhythm and combinations.They accomplished a high-scoring chase against South Africa, recovered well to subdue an upset-minded Afghanistan, held their nerve to edge out Sri Lanka and stunned the previously unbeaten New Zealand with a near-perfect game in the semi-finals.Their batsmen — especially Jason Roy, Joe Root and Jos Buttler — have batted with refreshing freedom and their catching has been extraordinary.Equally, if not more impressive, has been their bowling at the death.Ben Stokes appeared to have ice in his veins in the final over against Sri Lanka to thwart Angelo Mathews’s audacious bid to pull off a sensational victory as England secured their place in the last four.Against New Zealand, Stokes and Chris Jordan pacified the Black Caps in the final four overs, which cost only 20 runs and garnered five wickets, to restrict them to a total that England could chase down with 17 balls to spare.Morgan has freed his batsmen from the weight of expectation and it is showing in the team’s performance.“That’s the way a lot of us play,” Roy said of England’s aggressive batting after his 44-ball innings of 78 set the foundations for victory over New Zealand.“The whole team has got that kind of licence, that kind of opportunity to go out there and do what they want and be free with their skills.”