South baseball team set for a run at A North title Eagles off to a 2-1 start entering yesterday’s showdown with CBABy Warren Rappleyea Staff Writer An experienced group of returning starters has helped the Middletown High School South baseball team to a 2-1 start. The Eagles, 15-10 last spring, have downed Howell, 9-1, and Red Bank Catholic, 17-1, while losing to Manalapan, 5-3. Shortstop David Toma led the way in the Howell game going 2-4 with two RBIs. Lead-off man Andy Hooker poked a pair of doubles and drove in four runs in the RBC game. This week Middletown South is looking at three games. The Eagles were slated to host CBA yesterday and Middletown North this afternoon, and will travel to Toms River East Saturday. With a win over either the Colts or the Lions, the Eagles could make an early statement within the highly competitive A North division. Middletown South’s strength is hitting, as four players batted more than .400 last year. Hooker, who has signed on to play at Columbia University next year, was at .439 with 12 RBIs, pitcher/right fielder Steve Sakosits batted .429 with 22 RBIs, second baseman Mike McClelland hit .420 and catcher Bill Doll was at .414 with 17 RBIs. In addition, Toma is coming off a .390 season and pitcher/left fielder Marc Nevins hit .378 a year ago. On the mound, coach Steve Antonucci will rely on Sakosits and Nevins. Last spring Sakosits, who is heading to Xavier next year, was 7-3 with a 4.03 ERA, while Nevins was 5-2 with a 3.29 ERA. The other pitchers are junior Brian Skirka, who was 2-0 with a 4.10 ERA, and seniors Sean Murphy and Rod Murchie. “We’re a good hitting team and our pitching should be adequate,” Antonucci said. “We have some experience on the mound and that helps, but we’ll also have to play well on defense.” Other members of the team include senior catcher Jon Jandoli, first basemen Justin Distler and Mike Lyttle, and infielder Mike DeBartolome, all juniors; and Matt Miller, a sophomore infielder. As a well-rounded team with quality pitching and defense, the Eagles should be among a number of teams chasing the Colts for the division’s top spot this year. CBA is loaded once again, with dominant starting pitching and a number of dangerous hitters scattered through their lineup. But South is capable of playing with the Shore’s top teams and will look to climb the rankings as the season progresses. Currently, the Eagles are ranked sixth in the Shore.
The New Jersey Thunderbolts U12 travel baseball team seeks one or two players to complete its spring and summer roster. Summer program includes a week in Cooperstown, N.Y. Call (732) 742-0247 or e-mail Jweinstein@lightspeed.biz for more information. The Harlem MagicMasters professional entertainment basketball team will take on the St. Joseph Shamrock Stars on Feb. 26 at the Betty Madden Auditorium at St. Joseph School in Keyport. Doors will open at noon, with game time at 1 p.m. The 90-minute show will entertain young and old alike. There will be a full concession stand, souvenirs for sale and a free autograph session. Advance tickets are now on sale — $8 for students and seniors, $10 for adults. Tickets at the door will cost $10 for students and seniors and $12 for adults. To order tickets, call the St. Joseph PTA hotline, (732) 264-2350.
BY DOUG McKENZIEStaff Writer This time last year, both the Middletown South and Raritan High School football teams were well on the their ways to clinching state championships by posting impressive opening round state playoff wins. Last Friday night, they did it again. Both the top-ranked Eagles, the top seed in the North II Group III section, and Raritan, the third seed in Central Jersey Group II, rolled in their playoff openers, as they begin what they hope will be championship runs. The Eagles entered Friday’s game with Colonia as the heavy favorite, and played like it from the very first play. Eric Daneman took the opening kickoff and raced 86 yards for a touchdown. Colonia tried to answer, putting together a pair of first downs, before the vaunted Eagle defense forced a punt. That gave the ball back to the Eagles, and gave the Patriots their first look at Knowshon Moreno. It wasn’t a very good look. On first down from the Eagle 29, Moreno busted up the middle, bounced off a pair of would-be tacklers, and raced 71 yards for the score and a 13-0 lead just three minutes into the game. After the Eagle defense held once again, the Pats got their second look at Moreno, and it wasn’t much better. The brilliant senior fielded the Colonia punt and raced 63 yards untouched to the end zone, and just like that, it was 19-0. South added another score on its next possession when Matt Walsh his Mark Longo with a 16-yard TD pass to make it 25-0, before Moreno capped the quarter with his third TD — a 24-yard scamper. Up 31-0 after the first quarter, the Eagles were in cruise control the rest of the way. After Colonia got on the board in the second quarter with a touchdown, South’s Trent MacCray responded with a 48-yard TD run, before Moreno notched his fourth touchdown of the game just before the half, making it 45-6 at the break. Moreno, who added a fifth TD in the second half on a one-yard plunge, finished with 197 yards rushing on just 10 carries, as the Eagles won their 33rd straight game, and moved one step closer to a third straight sectional title. Up next for South is fifth-seeded Warren Hills, a 17-7 winner over Ferris last weekend. While the North I Group III section is new to the Eagles, they proved on Friday that they are anxious to prove their dominance over any and all comers. The Raritan Rockets were pretty impressive in their playoff opener as they jumped out to a 35-0 halftime lead en route to a resounding 42-0 win over North Plainfield on Friday. The Rocket offense was in high gear from the start, led by senior tailback Matt Fitzpatrick and senior quarterback Andrew Mandeville. Raritan scored on its first two possessions — on a 10-yard run from Fitzpatrick and a six-yard scoring strike from Mandeville to Mike Thaner — before Fitzpatrick added a 40-yard scoring run. Then, the defense contributed with junior linebacker Chris Mooney returning an interception all the way to the Canuck 15-yard line. Mandeville then made is 28-0 with a rushing TD, before Tim Collani forced and recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, setting up Raritan’s fourth TD — a 24-yard pass from Mandeville to Michael Bucceri on a broken play. With a 35-0 lead at the half, it was time to start thinking about the second round, where Raritan will take on second-seeded Rahway, a 35-7 winner over Governor Livingston in the first round. The Rockets (8-1) will need another solid performance from Fitzpatrick (16 carries for 195 yards and four touchdowns) and Mandville (5-for-6 for 61 yards passing) if they hope to keep their march toward a second straight title intact. The CJ Group II bracket is one of the toughest in the state, with any of the four remaining teams — Carteret, Manasquan, Rahway and Raritan — a legitimate threat to capture the crown. This is not the same Raritan team that rolled to a state title last year, but they certainly seem to have what it takes to become champions once again. By making it back into the state playoffs after struggling through a tough, injury-riddled season last fall, the Keyport High School football team reminded everyone this fall that the Red Raiders are still a force in Central Jersey Group I. Unfortunately, they ran into a stronger force in the first round, losing a lopsided 35-7 game to Brearley in Kenilworth on Friday. After Keyport took the opening drive and marched 78 yard in eight plays and scored on a 29-yard toss play to Joey Ware, it was all Brearley from there. The Bears immediately answered with a score of their own, capping a 64-yard drive to get within 7-6. Brearley then took the lead early in the second quarter as fullback Jake Floyd (158 yard and two touchdowns on 16 carries) began to exert his dominance against the Red Raider defense. By halftime, it was 20-7, and the Bears added a pair of scores in the second half to seal the game, and end Keyport’s season at 5-4. Though anything short of a sectional title is a disappointment at Keyport, this season marked a return to the type of play we’ve come to expect from the Red Raiders. And with a slew of talented players coming back next year, expect even more from head coach Mike Ciccotelli’s squad. The remainder of the local teams played their state playoff consolation games this past weekend. Among the local winners were Middletown North, who improved to 3-6 with a 26-3 win over Freehold Township; and Mater Dei, who beat Immaculate Conception, 35-7; while St. John Vianney (28-9 to Paramus Catholic), Matawan (27-14 to Point Beach) and Holmdel (28-19 to Ridge) all suffered losses. Top-ranked Eagles look eager to tackle new challenge BY DOUG McKENZIE Staff Writer
Junior Golf of America’s (JGA) 2006 Summer Tour begins tomorrow at the High Bridge Hills Golf Club. Tee-off is 8 a.m. There is an added feature to the JGA, which is in its seventh season – a Junior College Showcase. The two-day tournament will be held July 10-11 at the Battleground Country Club in Manalapan. It will feature guest speakers including a seminar by college coaches from Fairleigh Dickinson University and Long Island University. They will discuss college golf and scholarship tactics. Players participating in the two-day event will receive individualized evaluations and Player Video Highlights Reel on their own DVD. Promotional packages will be sent to the player’s choice of five requested colleges. The showcase is just right for those ages 14-18 looking to play collegiate golf. The JGA is for players ages 8-18. Those 8-11 will play nine holes of golf and those 12-18 a full 18-hole round. Tournament prices range from $50-$70 for nine-hole tournaments and $70-$90 for 18-hole tournaments. The remaining 2006 schedule is: Monday and Tuesday, Stanton Ridge Golf Club, Stanton and Heron Glen Golf Club, Ringoes, 11:30 a.m. tee time; June 29, Sun Eagles Golf Club at Fort Monmouth, Eatontown, 11 a.m. start; July 6, Cranbury Golf Club, West Windsor, 11 a.m. tee-off; July 10-11, Battleground Country Club, noon; July 12-13, Hawk Point Golf Club in Washington Township, 8:30 a.m. and Beaver Brook Golf Club, Annandale, noon; July 18-19, Colts Neck Golf Club, 1 p.m.; July 20, Eagle Ridge Golf Club, Lakewood, noon; July 24-25, Peddie School Golf Club, 10 a.m., and Knob Hill Country Club, Manalapan, noon; July 27, Miry Run Country Club, Robbinsville, 1 p.m.; July 31 and Aug. 1, Open Championship, Blue Heron Pines, Cologne and Galloway National Golf Club, Absecon, TBA; Aug. 3, Shackamoxon Country Club, Scotch Plains, 1:30 p.m.; Aug. 7, Fox Hollow Golf Club, Somerville, 8:30 a.m.; Aug. 14, Shadow Isle, Colts Neck, noon; Aug. 15, Colonia Country Club, (two-man scramble) 8:30 a.m.; Aug. 17, Links Golf Club, Marlton, 8 a.m.; and Aug. 21-22, Year End Championships, Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club, Bedminster, 11:30 a.m. The Shadow Isle and two-day tournaments are for golfers 12 and up only. This year, the JGA will keep statistics on all of the participants and provide shorts biographers of them on the association’s Web site. For more information on the JGA, log on to juniorgolfamerica.com.
Saint Benedict Knights of Columbus Council 11349 is hosting a basketball competition 3-5 p.m. Jan. 10 at the school gym, 165 Bethany Road, Holmdel. The event is open to all boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 14. There will be a free throw and a three-point competition. The winners from each age group and category will receive an award, and winners from the free throw event will also eligible to move to move on to the next level of competition. There is no fee or registration. Participants must present a birth certificate or other valid documentation for proof of age and have parental consent. For details, call John at 732- 526-7045. The Lincroft Knights Travel Baseball Club is looking for 15/16U competitive players for the spring 2010 season. Games are played on Sunday. For details, call 732-213-8216 or email lincroftknights@ yahoo.com. The Lady Knights Travel Softball Club, a competitive travel club based in Middletown, is looking for players for its 10U, 12U and 14U teams for the spring season and summer tournament. For information, call 732-213-8216 or email lincroftknights@yahoo. com. St. Mary’s Athletic Association is holding online sign up for the 2010 spring soccer season for boys and girls ages 4-14. Games will be played Saturdays, April 3 to June 9, at the Nut Swamp School fields on Nut Swamp Road in Middletown. The cost is $77 for one child; $117 for two or more in a family. To sign up go to www.active. com/event_detail.cfm?event_i d=1815517. Questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s been at least six years total and two years since Trish Misciagna became head coach since Middletown High School North’s girls soccer team has had a winning season.That could come to an end by November.Last year’s team was only 6-13 and lost six players, but top-notch defender Samantha Binn is the only graduated player of note. That means good talent returns for the Lions as they prepare for their Sept. 8 opener against new neighboring school in Middletown, Trinity Hall, at Croydon Hall ina4p.m.start.TheLionstraveltoJackson Memorial High School Sept. 10.“I’m very happy,” Misciagna said of the offseason commitment. “We have a core group of players who worked really hard in the offseason, and I think that’ll help.”Misciagna stressed that last year’s team ended the season on a positive note, upsetting Summit High School, 2-0, in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III tournament before being eliminated by Somerville High School, 3-0. In their first two scrimmages against Raritan High School and Monmouth Regional High School, the Lions did not allow a goal as junior Sophia Goos and freshman Haley Martin battle for the start in goal.“They’re motivated to do as well as the end of last season and to improve on it,” said Misciagna, who is assisted by junior varsity coach Michael Halloran.An impressive scrimmage schedule that included a quad scrimmage at Pinelands Regional High School Aug. 28 against Pinelands, Holmdel High School and Lacey Township High School; another Sept. 1 against Hamilton High School West; and a final one Sept. 3 at Sayreville War Memorial High School is expected to sharpen the Lions for their run in the Shore Conference A North Division.“Working as a team and possessing the ball nicely,” Misciagna said of the times when the team was playing at a good level last season. “We need to do that and if we do that, it’ll help for the season.”Seniors Carly Jankowski, one of the top finishers on the team last season with six goals as a forward, and Shannon Spangler, who can play in the midfield or on defense, are the captains, and their leadership is vital. Jenna Reid, a junior, has flashing speed at forward.There are incoming freshmen who should make their presence felt, including Martin, Misciagna said. Gabriella Triolo has looked sharp on defense, Casey Bogues can play on defense or in the midfield and Lindsay O’Keefe can keep things steady at midfield.Beyond that nucleus, Misciagna said it’s wait and see. By WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent
By Mike CollettENGLISH football’s new head Greg Dyke has painted a potentially bleak future for the country’s national team unless the spiralling influence of foreign players in the Premier League can be curtailed.In a wide-ranging speech, the newly-appointed chairman of the Football Association said on Wednesday he was setting up a commission to investigate the decline of the number of English players in “the most successful league in the world”.He stressed, however, he was not blaming the Premier League for the ills affecting the game.“The issue, quite simply, is this. In the future it’s quite possible we won’t have enough players qualified to play for England who are playing regularly at the highest level in this country or elsewhere in the world,” he said.“As a result, it could well mean England’s teams are unable to compete seriously on the world stage.”The FA approved the creation of the Premier League, which began in 1992, because it was sold the idea that overseas players coming to England would improve the standard of English players.Yet the opposite happened, according to Dyke, who at that time was chairman of a TV company that helped bring the League into being.“What none us could have foreseen was because of the very success of the Premier League we would end up with a league largely owned by foreign owners, managed by foreign managers and played by foreign players,” he said.“And that, as a result, the England set-up has been weakened rather than strengthened by the creation of the Premier League.”Dyke, 66, who became FA chairman in July, continued: “The England team does not have a history of success.“One World Cup win on home soil and a few semi-finals does not compare with the records of Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Italy and more recently, Spain and France.“However, just because we have not been as successful as we think we should have been in the past doesn’t mean we should accept the same going forward.“England should aim to win the World Cup in 2022 and at least reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020.”He said things had to change to give England any chance of ending decades of under-achievement.“English football is a tanker that needs turning,” he said announcing he was setting up and chairing an FA commission to help make it turn.Emphasising his concerns about the decline in the number of English players starting matches in the Premier League, he said: “I think the situation is serious, very serious. So the question I am asking today is a simple one.“Do we let this trend continue or do we actually try to do something about it ?”The commission, which will meet for the first time this month and report early next year, will ask why England are in this situation, what could be done and how any changes can be implemented.The chairmen of the Premier League, Football League, Professional Footballers’ Association and League Managers’ Association have all been invited on to the commission.Dyke has also urged all in the game to come forward to give evidence about how matters can improve.England have only won the World Cup once, on home soil, in 1966 and have not reached the semi-finals since 1990 and Dyke stressed that the foreign influence in the Premier League was having an adverse effect on England teams.He said the number of English Under-21 players competing in the Premier League dropped to its lowest level last season.Then in June, the England Under-21 side lost all their three group games in the European Championship in Israel.“In the 1992-93 season the figure for English players in the starting line-ups of Premier League clubs was 69 per cent. Ten years later that figure was down to 38 per cent. Last season, another ten years on, the same figure was down to 32 percent.“We can’t say we weren’t warned. Six years ago, the PFA produced a remarkably prescient report entitled ‘Meltdown’ in which it outlined the emerging problem.”Despite these comments he said his speech was “not designed to start a blame game”.He added: “We want to work hand in hand with the Premier League whose clubs had made a huge investment in academies but so far the game had not seen “a huge return on that investment”.He also highlighted the limited playing opportunities that eligible English players receive at club level, saying there were issues getting youngsters out of academies and into first-team line-ups.“If the best of our emerging young players can’t get a game here, then we have a serious problem,” he said.
By Larry FineTiger Woods was at a loss to explain his latest struggles after an error-strewn return to competitive golf on Thursday at the Isleworth course he knows like the back of his hand.The former world number one sputtered to a five-over 77 in the opening round of the Hero World Challenge that left the tournament host last in the 18-man field.“I shot 80 a bunch of times here actually,” said Woods, who estimates having played the course 500 times before. “Usually when it’s a cold north wind and it’s about 30 (Fahrenheit, -1 Celsius) out. But not like this. Today was weird.”Playing in warm sun and in front of a friendly gallery on his former home course, Woods struggled with his tee shots and short game in a round that left him a staggering 11 strokes back of tournament leader Jordan Spieth.It was far from how Woods had planned his first competitive round since shutting things down in August due to back issues.Woods, 38, foreshadowed his round on the first tee as he stood in front of a massive sculpture of a charging bull before sending his first shot through the fairway of a dogleg right and just short of a pool in a former neighbor’s yard.Looking slimmer and less muscular than in recent years, and playing with zero pain, Woods had trouble controlling the ball. He did not hit his first fairway until the sixth.His worst hole came at the par-four eighth.Again he came close to an unscripted visit in his old neighborhood when his tee shot soared left, carried over trees and bounced off a metal fence fronting a home.With a limited backswing, Woods tried to punch out but his ball ricocheted off a tree. As he walked away he backhanded his club against the fence, sounding a clank of frustration on the way to a double-bogey.The pattern changed at the turn.After finding only two fairways in his five-over 41 on the front side, Woods hit all seven fairways on the back nine.Unfortunately, his short game deserted him.“It certainly is surprising that I could hit chips that poorly,” admitted the 14-time major winner, who flubbed three of them.
By Michael HannManchester United, buoyed by five successive Premier League victories, head into Sunday’s derby against Manchester City (6pm) a place and a point above their rivals and believing they are poised to restore red ascendancy in the city.Champions City have won the last four league meetings against United, including a 1-0 victory at the Etihad Stadiumin November, but their hopes of retaining the title have faded.They have dropped down to fourth after four wins in 11 league games and trail leaders Chelsea by nine points.United, meanwhile, have put their early season struggles behind them to climb to third, eight points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool in the race for Champions League qualification.“It was another Manchester United (last November), I believe,” United boss Louis van Gaal told reporters after Saturday’s 3-1 win against Aston Villa.“That was more in the start of the process and now we are in the end of the process.“Now we have developed the team. I think also the confidence of our players is very high at the moment.“This next game is the decisive game… you have to win these kinds of matches.”City arrive at Old Trafford on the back of a 2-1 defeat by Crystal Palace but captain Vincent Kompany believes form counts for nothing in a derby.“It doesn’t matter what place you are in the league, it’s a derby,” Kompany said after the Palace loss.“If anything, it’s a good moment to go into a derby.“I guess the momentum is a little bit with our neighbours at the moment, but it’s the perfect place for us to go and try to rectify what we’ve had.”Chelsea, who need 16 points from their remaining eight games to win the title for the first time since 2010, travel to relegation-threatened west London rivals Queens Park Rangers on Sunday (3.30pm).“I’ve never played at QPR as a Chelsea manager,” Jose Mourinho told the club’s website (www.chelseafc.com). “But I know history and I know that for QPR to play against Chelsea is a special match.“The most difficult job is the job of the others that come from behind, because… if they draw one game, they are in trouble. They have to win every game.”Second-placed Arsenal, who have won 10 out of 11 league matches, travel to struggling Burnley on Saturday (7.30pm), while fifth-placed Liverpool will be aiming to close the gap on the top four with victory over Newcastle United at Anfield on Monday (10pm).
The water in the Olympic diving pool appeared to turn a bright green hue on Tuesday, causing puzzlement among divers and audiences as the women’s 10 metre platform final progressed.Britain’s Tom Daley tweeted “Ermmm… what happened?!”, alongside a picture of the green-coloured pool in the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre, which contrasted sharply against the still-blue colour of another pool beside it.A number of unconvincing explanations have been circulating on the internet, ranging from algae to oxidized copper, some have suggested it may be the quality of water in Rio.The official Rio 2016 twitter account tweeted:The water quality at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre was tested and there were no risks for the athletes. We are investigating the cause.— Rio 2016 (@Rio2016_en) August 9, 2016The centre plays host to the diving and waterpolo events. The pool appeared blue during the men’s 10 metre platform event on Monday, in which Daley won a bronze medal alongside teammate Daniel Goodfellow.