Middletown Ripken team did do something great

first_img10 year-old team played for national championship BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent Afew weeks after 12 Middletown youngsters and their four coaches ended a long and memorable journey to the Cal Ripken Babe Ruth 10-yearold championship game in Ocala, Fla., they were back in the spotlight when Middletown Mayor Gerry Sharfenberger and other town officials honored the team with a proclamation and speech at town hall on Monday. The Middletown 10-U all-star baseball team that reached the Cal Ripken Babe Ruth National Championship game this summer was honored Monday night by the Middletown Township Committee and Mayor Gerry Sharfenberger, who read a proclamation citing their many achievements. The youngsters racked up one tournament title after another — District 11, Northern New Jersey, and Middle Atlantic Regional titles — all the way to the World Series. With a legion of family members traveling to the Sunshine State to cheer on the determined group, the team beat every opponent in pool play from Weimar, Texas, Willamette Valley, Ore., host Ocala, and Sikeston, Mo., and then beat Jupiter, Fla., to advance to the national championship. They made a valiant comeback from a 4-0 deficit late in the championship game before falling short, 4-3, to Scott County, Ky., with a runner at second base when the game ended. So, has the team come down to Earth yet from this unforgettable experience of playing 31 games in about 10 weeks, winning 29 of them? “Funny, but for me it has sunken in, but for some of the parents and grandparents, they are still on a high or just coming off one,” said manager Rich Cardile, whose staff included coaches Kerry Dillon, Rob Higgins and Mike Downey, who also is the league president. “They don’t want to let it go, and they’re looking to stay together and play a few more tournaments.” “These boys were not afraid to be great. That was the motto one coach told them, to go out and do something great,” said Downey. Cardile said the town has really been behind the squad from when they advanced out of the district tournament and northern New Jersey state tournament into the regional tournament and then had only a week to prepare for the World Series, when the Middletown community showed its generosity and support. “We raised over $10,000 for the trip in just a week’s time,” said Cardile. “Families and people donated, businesses got excited about it and wanted to help.” Cardile said there was a feeling the team would do well from the start, with all but three of the players back from last year’s 9- year-old team that got to the state finals before losing. The honored players at the event in which the mayor recounted the team’s accomplishments, which will be chronicled in the township’s archives, were Carmine Cardile, Marc Cerbo, Jake Dillon, Brendan Doherty, Nicholas Donato, Sean Downey, Garrett French, Robert Higgins, Nicholas Hohenstein, Tyler Ras, Cody Sharkey and Ryan Stark. But it was hard to tell how far the team would go, said Cardile, and it wasn’t without some drama with some close, exciting victories, like in the regional title they won at North Tonawanda against Tonawanda on a walk-off two-run homer by Ras. To add a twist to the scenario, Ras was the pitch-hitrun competition national champion two years ago as an 8-year-old, and he hit the home run off this year’s 10-year-old national champion in that competition. “This team was special. It’s very unusual to find a group of boys to play at this level against this competition,” said Glenn Ras, Tyler’s father and a former league president. “When we won the states, we knew the kids were good, but we didn’t know how good until they started playing competition in the regional. They played well as a team. When they were put in a situation where they were up against it, they showed that they can do it.” In the regional, the team beat formidable opponents from New York, Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania, and topped South Jersey state champion Mountain Laurel in the finals as Sean Downey broke open a 3-2 lead with a grand slam homer in the last inning. “When we took the seven-hour drive back from the regionals, we all had smiles on our faces all the way home,” said Cardile. “Getting through states and regionals is quite an accomplishment. If you come out in good shape from the regionals, it sets you up well for the World Series.” “Actually, I saw this being able to happen two or three years ago, that these were talented, special players,” said Downey. “It was a total team effort, and you couldn’t single out one thing. What does come to mind was the parents and people in the community getting behind us to get what we needed to get.” Sean Downey wound up winning the batting title and was one of four Middletown players on the All-Tournament team that included Ras, Hohenstein and Higgins. “We felt we had 12 kids on the team who were All-Stars. We could hurt teams in the bottom of the batting order,” said Cardile. “That’s what differentiated us from other teams. Every day we had a different hero. We could beat teams in so many ways and win games 1-0 or 15-5.” But Cardile stressed that it was a “total team effort,” which is needed to keep playing in so many games. It’s why the team outscored opponents in the district and state tournaments by an average of more than 13 runs a game. Despite that commanding performance, Middletown was not flustered when it fell behind early twice in the region tournament and came back to win. Its only other loss was to Millburn in pool play in the state tournament, when it bounced back with vengeance, beating defending champion East Brunswick in the semifinals and knocking off a tough Bayonne team, 13-3, in the finals. Through it all, Cardile said the team drew compliments throughout the tournament from officials and fans of other teams for the way the players conducted themselves. “We showed great sportsmanship throughout the tournaments,” said Ras. There were many experiences of sportsmanship and competitive spirit that the players will take with them throughout their playing careers, and can look back on when they are no longer playing.last_img read more

In winning CJ III soccer crown, Matawan girls made a difference

first_img Matawan Nothing can beat being the first at something. Just ask the Matawan High School girls soccer team that captured the program’s first-ever state sectional title.“We were the first ones to make a difference,” said forward Rebecca Labinger. “We did it with teamwork and heart. We’re a very close team.”Labinger scored the lone goal of the game on Nov. 10 when the Huskies edged Freehold Borough, 1-0, in Freehold to win the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III state sectional title, the program’s first success at the state level.Amanda Carmichael delivered a through ball that bounced over a Colonial defender and found its way onto Labinger’s foot.“I saw the ball coming and saw the [Freehold] defender was going to miss it,” she said. “I settled the ball and just hit it and hoped it went in.”It did, and the Huskies had a 1- 0 lead in the 25th minute.“That [Labinger’s goal] was huge for us,” said Matawan head coach Ken McCabe. “It gave us confidence.”Confidence is something that grew for the Huskies with each state playoff victory.It began with a 1-0 win over Hamilton in the first round on Krista Conzo’s firsthalf goal. In the quarterfinals, the Huskies’ Ashley Beccia tied the match with Nottingham at 1-1 in the second half. Neither team scored again in regulation or overtime, and it went to a penalty kick shootout, which Matawan won, 3-2.In the semifinals, the Huskies trailed Ocean Township 1-0 at the half but scored three times in the second half to advance to their first-ever sectional final. Conzo scored twice and Labinger notched the other. Both Conzo and Labinger had assists, as did Lisa Pabon. It was now on to Freehold for the final, where the upstarts were facing one of CJ Group III’s powerhouses. The Colonials were playing in their fourth sectional final in the last six years, having won three straight from 2006-08.It was a tall task, but the Colonials were facing a very motivated Husky team with seven seniors who wanted to do something special before they graduated.McCabe said he had a talk with his club prior to the start of the state tournament, putting everything in perspective for the girls.“I told them they’ve had a good season,” he said. “I asked them how they wanted to be remembered: as a team that had a good season, or one that would be remembered forever. They will be remembered forever.”Before the Huskies would become Matawan’s forever team, they had to hold off a spirited Colonial effort in the second half. They were not going to go out quietly on their home pitch.“I knew they would pressure us the second half,” said McCabe. “We did a good job of keeping the ball deep in their zone.”Keeper Karen David was a difference maker with her aggressiveness playing corner kicks and restarts.When the horn sounded to end the game, a huge celebration followed with a large contingent of Matawan students and parents joining the celebration.“This is great for Matawan soccer and the community,” said McCabe.The Huskies still had one game to play, against Moorestown in the Group III semifinal Nov. 15 at Toms River North High School. The Huskies’ (13-8-1) unforgettable playoff run ended with a 1-0 loss to South Jersey champion Moorestown (16-4-2). It hardly diminished the indelible memories that the 2011 Huskies made for themselves, the school and the Matawan soccer community. BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer last_img read more

Roggy is still inspiring Hornets’ javelin throwers and students

first_imgBy TIM MORRIS Staff Writer The Bob Roggy Plaza at the Holmdel High School football field honors the memory of late Holmdel graduate Bob Roggy, who held the American record in the javelin throw. I t was as if Scott Cannon had pulled Excalibur out of a stone. He was in possession of something very special — javelins used by the late Bob Roggy, the Holmdel High School graduate who competed on the world stage in the javelin and was once ranked No. 1 in the world.After the death of Roggy’s parents, Cannon, who was a neighbor, helped the family get their house ready for sale. While going through the attic, he discovered five of Roggy’s javelins, much to his surprise and delight. As a friend of Roggy’s, the family gave the spears to Cannon.After Roggy died two days shy of his 30th birthday in a 1986 accident in which he fell off the back of a pickup truck, a scholarship fund was set up in his name at Holmdel. Each year, Holmdel’s best male and female track athletes receive Bob Roggy scholarships. Cannon, Holmdel’s throwing coach, was looking forward to the year a Hornets thrower would receive that honor so that he could present one of the javelins to him. Holmdel High School’s Eric Williams, a 2013 graduate, holds the two javelins he cherished. The one on his right was the one he used in setting the school record this spring, and the one on his left was used by the late Bob Roggy in competition. Roggy’s javelin was given to him by Scott Cannon, his throwing coach at Holmdel and a friend of Roggy. Roggy set the American record in the javelin in 1982 and was ranked No. 1 in the world. STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ERIC SUCAR That year arrived this spring, when Eric Williams set a school record of 195-9 while finishing second at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions (MOC). He had captured the Group II state title on the way to the MOC.“I was very honored to win the award,” Williams said. “It was a great moment in my life.”“I think it’s awesome we can bring the scholarship back to a javelin thrower,” he added. “[Roggy’s] spirit lives on.”Williams was touched by Cannon’s gift of the javelin used by Roggy in competition.“It has incredible sentimental value,” the Hornets’ thrower said. “It’s going to hang on the wall with the javelin I set the school record with.”Roggy’s javelin means so much to Williams that he hasn’t even been tempted to throw it for fear it might break, he noted.Williams pointed out that Roggy is still inspiring Holmdel students 27 years after his tragic death.“Everybody knows his story,” he said. “He’s a hero.”Williams said he believed the Hornets are “honoring his name” by competing in the event.A statue of Roggy throwing the javelin sits atop Roggy Plaza near the entrance to the football field and track as a reminder to everyone of his importance to the school and the community.It was only fitting that Cannon had the opportunity to present a javelin that Roggy used in competition to one of his athletes. He grew up in the same Holmdel neighborhood as Roggy, which is not far from the school itself, and was a friend of his. He took up football and throwing because of him.“Bob led the way,” Cannon said. “We all looked up to him. Bob inspired a lot of people.“Bob Roggy put Holmdel track on the map, let’s face it” the Hornets’ coach added. “In track, Bob Roggy will never go away.”The map that Cannon referred to was global thanks to Roggy’s accomplishments.After starring at Holmdel, Roggy went on to Southern Illinois University, where he won the NCAA championship in 1978 and set a championship meet record with his 293-0 throw.From 1977 until his death, Roggy was ranked in the top 10 in the country every year, reaching the pinnacle in 1982.That was the year the ex-Hornets star was ranked No. 1 in the world, the same year he set the American record at 314-4. That 1982 season was a magical one for Roggy, as he broke the American record three times. He broke the record first with a 307-6, followed by a 309-11 and finally out to 314-4 in Stuttgart, Germany. He was the first American to be ranked No. 1 in the world in javelin. He was the top-ranked American four times. But Cannon knew Roggy as more than just a tremendous athlete.“He would walk into a room and just light it up,” he said. “He’d give you the shirt off his back.”“Adding to the tragedy, the world lost a good man,” Cannon added “He died too young.”Roggy’s death hit the Holmdel community hard.“I can’t describe the feeling,” Cannon said. “The neighborhood was in shock.”Roggy would be proud of the javelin tradition he began at Holmdel, which was carried on this year by not only Williams, but also teammate Travis Closs, who finished 10th at the MOC. The Hornets had the best one-two in the event with Closs, a junior, coming up with a personal best of 181-5 at the MOC.Williams, at 6 feet tall and 160 pounds, was the smallest competitor in the field, but it takes more than size and muscle to throw the spear well.Williams ran cross-country for the Hornets as a freshman. He said he gave the javelin a try in the spring because he used to be a catcher in baseball and knew the throwing motion. He just tried it and liked it, finding that his crosscountry running would come in handy.“For me, everything is speed and getting the perfect technique,” he said. “Then I work on power.”With the help of Cannon, Williams, who is headed to Arizona State University to major in civil engineering, broke down every facet of the throw.“Everything has a point and a purpose,” he said.Point and purpose came together at the MOC, where the recent Holmdel graduate “did it right finally,” uncorking his school record of 195-9. It was a throw that would have been met with approval from Roggy.last_img read more

Rivera leads CBA to wrestling title at District 22 tourney

first_imgBy MATTHEW ROCCO Correspondent Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) ruled the NJSIAA District 22 wrestling tournament for the second year in a row.Three Colts grapplers earned gold medals on Feb. 21 at Red Bank Regional High School. CBA’s Sebastian Rivera, a 113-pound junior, completed back-to-back District 22 titles when he defeated Jason Hernandez of Raritan High School in the finals. The win extended Rivera’s undefeated record this season.Junior Chris Koutzen became a district champion despite being the underdog at 160 pounds. The third-seeded grappler upset Raritan’s Nick Bohal, the top seed, to give CBA its first title winner of the day.Later, Rich Koehler continued an impressive freshman season when he pinned 106-pound finalist Sean Deering of Middletown High School North.The Colts defended their team title with a total of seven finalists. CBA amassed 176.5 points, ahead of Long Branch High School’s 165 points, for its third district championship. Ocean Township High School took third place.Four members of CBA’s junior class were runners-up. Jack LaCorte earned a silver medal at 182 pounds, falling victim to a pin by Middletown North’s Anthony Vetrano. Fellow junior Will Oxley (220) also lost to a Middletown North wrestler, Chad Freshnock, in the finals.Carl Vasti (120) placed second after falling to first-seeded Jake Benner of Ocean Township. At 126 pounds, Dylan VanSickell lost to Long Branch’s Andy Hernandez, marking his first loss of the winter. Middletown North, which finished fifth in the team rankings, had a strong showing. In addition to Freshnock and Vetrano, Paul Capaldo was victorious in the 145-pound championship bout against Mike Chadwick, a No. 2 seed from Raritan.Crosstown rival Middletown High School South had a champion at 152 pounds. Matt Best defeated T.J. Saldutti of Ocean Township for the title.Ocean Township’s Zack Hertling, who pinned Long Branch’s Mike Shohet for the 170-pound title, was named Most Outstanding Wrestler at the District 22 tournament. Hertling won gold after missing the postseason last year because of an injured knee.Unbeaten Keansburg High School senior Tyree Sutton won his second district title — and his first since 2012. Sutton (195) pinned Middletown South’s Sean Killeen for the win.Long Branch junior John Tomlinson won the heavyweight title against Ocean Township’s Brian Olesen. His pin gave the Green Wave a late boost on its way to a second place finish.Raritan capped the 2015 District 22 tournament with two champions. Dylan Seidenberg was a winner at 132 pounds over No. 1-seed Marcus Iwama, a standout senior at Rumson-Fair Haven. The Raritan senior became the third Seidenberg brother to bring home gold from districts. Older brothers Dave and Dan were two- and three-time champions, respectively.Eric Drake, also a Raritan senior, defeated Red Bank Regional’s Jack McMahon for the 138-pound championship.The road to Atlantic City continues this week. The top three District 22 wrestlers in each weight class will hit the mats in the Region 6 tournament.Those who won their third-place consolation matches to extend their seasons are Alex Erven, Keyport High School (106); Davie Tieto, Ocean Township (113); Russell Benson, Raritan (120); Chris Donnelly, Ocean Township (126); Jiovani Gomez, Long Branch (132); Tommy Flannagan, Long Branch (138); Thomas Hinz, Red Bank Regional (145); Garrett Fitzgerald, CBA (152); Lamont Reid, Long Branch (160); Fred Svenson, Middletown North (170); Tucker Briggs, Rumson-Fair Haven (182); Viet Le, Ocean Township (195); Joey Jasio, Long Branch (220); and Malcolm Daniels, Raritan (heavyweight).The first round was scheduled to begin Feb. 25 at Pine Belt Arena in Toms River. Quarterfinals will take place on Feb. 27, and the tournament will wrap up a day later.The NJSIAA individual championships will be hosted at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall from March 6-8.last_img read more

Supersubs break records, hearts with late goals galore

first_imgBy Erik KirschbaumSubstitutes have been lighting up the scoreboards at the World Cup with dazzling performances that have sparked their teams back to life and secured wins or draws that have made their coaches look like geniuses.When Germany fell 2-1 behind to Ghana late in the second half of their Group G match, Miroslav Klose came off the bench to equalise with his first touch less than two minutes later.Klose’s goal not only saved his team from humiliating defeat but it was also the striker’s 15th World Cup goal, putting him level with Brazil’s Ronaldo atop the all-time scorers list.An unusual accomplishment for a bench warmer? Not at this World Cup.There are several theories as to why there have been so many goals scored by substitutes at the finals in Brazil.The record-breaking 24th goal was scored on Tuesday and 18 percent of the total 133 goals scored after the last group stage match on Thursday were by substitues.The previous World Cup record for goals scored by players off the bench was 23 in 2006 – or 16 percent of 147 goals.By comparison, in 2010 in South Africa 15 of the 145 goals (10 percent) were scored by substitutes.Some coaches have talked openly about the need to have 14 top players – not just the starting XI – primed and ready for action in this tournament in part due to the tropical heat.BEST PLAYERSGermany have used some of their best players off the bench in Klose, Lukas Podolski and Bastian Schweinsteiger.“With temperatures over 30 degrees and the high humidity, substitutes have special importance here and we need to use all three to bring new energy and impulses for the team – and not just replace someone,” said Germany coach Joachim Loew.“It’s simply impossible to go all out for 90 minutes in these conditions, and using all three substitutes is a good way to really hurt your opponent,” said Loew. “I’m glad I’ve got so many good players. It can be a big advantage here.”Brazil’s heat and humidity has taken a toll in particular on the defence and the heavy legs open up space for late chances.On top of that, using all three substitutes strategically is becoming a part of smart modern soccer.“I tend to focus just as much on those that aren’t playing,” said Belgium coach Marc Wilmots, whose team came from a goal down to beat Algeria 2-1 – with both goals scored in the final half hour by substitutes Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens.“We have a very good backroom with very good substitutes.”Wilmots pulled another rabbit out of the hat when he sent Divock Origi into a scoreless match against Russia and the teenager’s goal sent Belgium through to the second round.“The substitutions paid off,” Wilmots said. “I took risks to win the match and it worked. Once again we snatched a win.”DUTCH SUPERSUBSBoth goals in Russia’s 1-1 draw with South Korea were scored by substitutes. After Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev inexplicably fumbled a shot from Lee Keun-ho, Russia’s Aleksandr Kerzhakov saved the day with a late equaliser.Netherlands got both their late goals in the 2-0 victory over Chile from substitutes – Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay, who now has two goals off the bench after scoring the winner in the 3-2 victory over Australia.Humble Depay has an ideal attitude for coach Louis van Gaal.“With incredible players like (Arjen) Robben and (Robin) van Persie, it is logical that I sit on the bench,” he said.Van Gaal first tried to downplay his role in sending in the right player at the right time: “That’s luck,” he said.But he added it was also his strategy.“We analysed that Chile gives away more space in the last 15 minutes so if you field a creative football player you have a chance to cash in,” he said.Substitutes gave the United States heart flutters and then heartbreak. John Brooks scored in the 86th minute to give the Americans a 2-1 win over Ghana but Portugal substitute Silvestre Varela scored a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw.However, sometimes substitutions backfire.Greece won a dramatic match against Ivory Coast by 2-1 when Giorgos Samaras scored a penalty in stoppage time after he was tripped by Ivory Coast substitute Giovanni Sio – a defeat that sent the Ivorians home and Greece into the second round.last_img read more

Spanish league to block plans to suspend competition

first_imgBy Iain RogersSpain’s professional league (LFP) has begun legal action to block a decision by the football federation (RFEF) to indefinitely suspend competition from May 16 over a spat with the government on a new law on collective bargaining for TV rights.The law, which is strongly supported by the LFP, was signed off in cabinet last week and aims to create a more level playing field for clubs in Spain’s top two divisions by sharing out cash more equitably.However, both the RFEF, and its influential president Angel Maria Villar, and the players’ union (AFE) have come out against the legislation and the two organisations have backed halting competition across all Spanish football.The final two matchdays in La Liga would both be affected as well as the King’s Cup final between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao at the end of the month.In a statement late on Wednesday, the LFP said the RFEF’s decision was legally “invalid” and that it had initiated “the appropriate action with the pertinent administrative and legal bodies” to overturn it.Spanish law gave the LFP the right to organise professional competition and set the calendar for matches, the league argued, and called for those involved in voting for a suspension to be subjected to disciplinary measures.“The LFP wishes to reiterate the importance of the royal decree approved by the Spanish government and emphasise its importance as an historic milestone for Spanish football,” the LFP said.After a board meeting on Wednesday, the RFEF accused the government of a “lack of respect” and complained it had not been consulted properly on the TV law.The new regulations replace the current system under which rights are sold by individual clubs and could lead to a sharp price increase for broadcasters once it takes effect from the 2016-17 season.The status quo heavily favours Real Madrid, the world’s wealthiest club by income, and rivals Barcelona and, while the new set-up will still favour the biggest and most successful clubs, it will do so to a slightly lesser extent.Poorer teams, especially those with big outstanding tax bills, have for years called for rights to be pooled to help them make ends meet.The federation, which has been bitterly complaining in recent months of what it sees as government interference, believes the law will rob it of some powers and is also unhappy at what it says are government plans to use of money from soccer to fund other sports.The LFP called an extraordinary general assembly of the 42 professional clubs in the top two divisions for Monday.last_img read more

Leicester’s Vardy gets additional one-game ban

first_imgLeicester City striker Jamie Vardy will miss the Premier League leaders’ visit to Manchester United on Sunday after being banned for an additional game for improper conduct, the BBC reported.Vardy, the league’s second-highest scorer this season with 22 goals, angrily confronted referee Jon Moss after being picking up a second yellow card for diving during Leicester’s 2-2 draw against West Ham on April 17.After missing Sunday’s 4-0 win over Swansea, Vardy will now also be suspended for Sunday’s match at Old Trafford, where Leicester could wrap up their first ever Premier League title with victory.The 29-year-old, who was also fined 10,000 pounds, will be available for the final two matches of the season against Everton and Chelsea.last_img

Nine-man Roma miss out on Champions League

first_imgRoma, who drew 1-1 in Portugal, started as favourites but never recovered after Felipe gave the visitors an eighth-minute lead and the Italians imploded when Daniele De Rossi and Emerson Palmieri were shown straight red cards either side of halftime. Poland’s Legia drew 1-1 at home to Dundalk but progressed 3-1 on aggregate, Celtic squeezed past Hapoel Beer Sheva 5-4 on aggregate despite a 2-0 loss in Israel and Ludogorets held Viktoria Plzen 2-2 away to complete a 4-2 aggregate win. Monaco joined Porto in advancing with a 1-0 win over Villarreal, a 90th-minute penalty by Fabinho securing a 3-1 aggregate victory. AS Roma missed out on the Champions League group stage after having two players sent off and losing 3-0 at home to Porto in their playoff second leg on Tuesday night. Legia Warsaw, Celtic and Ludogorets Razgrad also qualified for the group stage, although none of them won on the night.last_img read more

Hekari United well ahead in NSL competition

first_imgHekari tops the southern conference after round six was completed on the weekend.PKA Rapatona FC is trailing on 10 points after its win on the weekend followed by Erema Gulf FC and FC Port Moresby both on seven points.Gigira Laitepo FC remains on five points after losing on the weekend while Huawei PS United FC is trailing on four points.In the northern conference, Lae City Dwellers lead the points ladder on 14 points followed by Welgris Morobe United FC and Madang FC both on 11 points.Admiralty FC only gained one point following a draw on the weekend, settling on eight points followed by Besta PNG United FC on six points.Struggling Goroka Gosiha FC is yet to put a mark on the score board after losing all its six matches so far this season.The competition still has four rounds to go before it enters the National League format.This is where the top two teams from each of the two conferences will play in home and away format to find the League Champions and the top four placings for the finals.last_img read more