The Matawan Renegades, an independent travel baseball team in the 13-year-old division, took first place in the Middletown BYAA Baseball Tournament on Aug. 10. Chris Arrington, pitcher, also earned MVP in the division. Despite rain postponing games several times, the Renegades’ team spirit persevered and they moved on to the championship. Along the way, the Renegades overcame the Matawan-Aberdeen All-Star team in a well-fought battle. Tom Adamshick, team manager, along with coaches Rob Arrington, Gene Hickey, Dominick Albanese and Kevin Dillion were very proud of their team. The Renegades players include Jarred Adamshick, Anthony Albanese, Chris Arrington, Kevin Bucco, Kevin Burns, Sean Corrigan, Kevin Dillion, Craig Delisi, Vinny Galya, Ed Hickey, Sid James, Mike McGuinness, David Panella, and Anthony Schifini.
BY JOHN CANNIZZARO Correspondent Switch to wood bats takes game full circle The Fair Haven SummerHeat Tournament returned to the roots of baseball by switching to wood bats for this year’s tournament. Left: Fair Haven Diamonds 1’s Robbie Coene tries to earn a hit against the Millstone Mudhens in the Fair Haven SummerHeat Tournament on June 27. Right: Diamonds pitcher Sebbie Severio fires one to homeplate. “There is a general movement in the baseball community about going back to wood bats,” said tournament co-director Mark Kelly. “Wood bats enhance and highlight the technique that is needed to be a good hitter.” The tournament was started eight years ago, but this is the first year that players were required to use wood bats. The SummerHeat Tournament took place from June 25-28 at the Fair Haven Fields complex and included age groups ranging from under-8 to under-15-16. Each team was required to pay a fee to enter the event and to supply a dozen baseballs. The entry fee for the tournament was $450 per team and there was a three-game guarantee for each team. First-place teams received team and individual trophies, while second-place teams received one trophy for the entire team. The SummerHeat Tournament was only open to town-affiliated teams and all of the players on a team were required to be from the same town. The tournament was community friendly and had local sponsors, including Athletes Alley, the Fair Haven PBA and the Fair Haven Yacht Works. The SummerHeat Tournament also renewed its partnership with the Jersey Shore Bat Co. for this year’s tournament. The partnership was started last year and encouraged SummerHeat directors to switch to a wood bat tournament this year. “We’re both traditionalists,” said Kelly. “The partnership is young and it is re-educating people about wood bats and the tradition of the game.” The Jersey Shore Bat Co. was founded in 1998 in Freehold. The owner, Vic Yuhas, started out making wood bats for his son and never intended for it to be an actual business. In addition to making individualized custom bats, Yuhas is also making bats for entire teams. Although his business is flourishing, Yuhas has said he wants to keep the business small because he likes giving his customers personal attention. In a nod to baseball tradition, wood bats were used for the first time this year at the Fair Haven SummerHeat Tournament. He showcased his collection of bats at the SummerHeat Tournament this past weekend. The partnership allowed both parties to establish a local connection and to stay involved with the community. “We wanted to do business with local companies and we were referred to the Jersey Shore Bat Company,” said Kelly, adding that Yuhas’ ideas and capabilities have encouraged the revival of wood bats in the baseball community. Not only did the tournament bring the local community together for a weekend of baseball, it brought back some of the game’s rich tradition as well.
Middletown 50-and-over Slow-Pitch team is looking for players for the upcoming season, which runs from early May to August and includes 22 games plus playoffs and a state tournament. The team plays in the Monmouth County Senior Softball League. Tryouts will be held as soon as possible. Contact coach David Goldstein by e-mail at email@example.com for more details. A 5K walk and run for Haiti will be held 1 p.m. April 9 in front of Wilson Hall at Monmouth University, West Long Branch. Free T-shirts will go to the first 100 who register. Proceeds will benefit Lamp for Haiti, a nonprofit human rights foundation. Register by emailing kdooley@monmouth. edu or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Lincroft Knights baseball club, with teams based out of Middletown, seeks competitive players for spring and summer for age 12 and under (born after April 30, 1997) and 14 and under (born after April 30, 1995) for tournament teams. For more information, email email@example.com or call 732-213-8216 Adult baseball players and teams wanted for the Amateur Baseball Association of New Jersey. There will be multiple wood and metal skill level leagues. Games are played mainly on Sundays with some Saturday games. For details visit www.All- StarTeamStats.com/aba, email NJBaseball4all@ aol.com or call Jason at 201-873-3349 The U13 girls Old Bridge Thunder soccer team seeks dedicated players for the spring and fall seasons. The team is professionally coached and trained by a UEFA B licensed full-time coach and play in the MAPS division of JAGS. Practice facilities are conveniently located (players are from Middletown, Holmdel, Matawan, Morganville, Manalapan and Staten Island). Fees, not including overnight travel, registration and uniform, are about $500 per year, including fundraising. Tryouts are in May. Those interested in attending a training session, guest playing or wanting more information, contact Chuck Mantione at 732-241-2441 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matawan Matawan Regional High School’s baseball team is off to its best start in 20 years at 12-4, as players show little problem adjusting to new coach Bobby Carnovsky, an assistant for 14 years under John Kaye.When Kaye, a longtime football assistant to Joe Martucci, became the head football coach, he turned the job over to Carnovsky, who paid his dues by providing a good feeder system as the coach of the junior varsity team, which went 16-2 last season. Carnovsky had a 137-100 record as JV coach.Virtually all of the players on the varsity team played at one time under Carnovsky, a former Husky himself.“It’s different with a lot more responsibility, but I worked closely with John Kaye for many years,” said Carnovsky, who has also run the Husky Baseball Camp.Jim Scheuing, who coached baseball in the elementary system for many years, is a varsity assistant along with Rick Pelechailo.“We have 11 seniors, which is key,” Carnovsky said. But there is talent for the future on the 11-3 junior varsity and the 10- 3 freshmen teams, the latter winning nine straight coming into this week.Justin Bloss and former Matawan player Nick Citro coach the younger players.“Our pitchers are doing really well and are averaging less than one walk a game,” Carnovsky said. “We’re hitting really well and came back six times for wins. And one or two losses ended for us with the tying and winning runs on [base].”Matawan saw its hopes for a Shore Conference B North Division title all but dashed on May 3 when it lost for the second time this season to Wall High School, 5-3. Wall broke out for four runs in the last inning to beat Matawan the previous time, 7-2. The Huskies also lost to Freehold High School, 7-6, and Marlboro High School, 2-1.Matawan bounced back from the second Wall loss on May 4 to hold off Carteret High School, 3-2, which had a runner stranded at third base in the last inning.“We’re all starting to come together,” said Justin Harnett, a senior right-handed pitcher with a 5-3 record and a 2-86 ERA. He also bats .520 and plays second base, and he is replaced there by senior Scott Thompson when he pitches. Shawn Johnson, a senior, is 4-1 with a 1.90 ERA. Senior Robbie Marshall has six saves and a 0.60 ERA.“We have better senior leadership,” Harnett said. “Definitely our pitching is coming together. Our starters are all throwing strikes and making hitters put the ball in play, where our defense is making the plays.”Credit that to an infield that includes hefty hitting senior Dan Incle at first base, junior Mike Creamer at shortstop, Johnson at third base, and junior Corey Nusbaum and senior Matt Rackett at catcher. Sophomore Joe Piscopo plays in left field, senior Pat DePaolo is in right field and senior Mike Denino plays at center. DePaolo, a lefty, also pitches. Junior Nick Santuccio also plays in the outfield.Carnovsky said he saw signs of a good season when Matawan players on two different United States Amateur Baseball League teams met last summer for a championship. Many other players showed dedication in fall ball if they weren’t playing other sports.Seniors George Zirkel, a utility player and left-handed pitcher, and pinch hitter Brian Leibel, who Carnovsky considers the best bunter on the team, are also contributors.Senior Anthony Principe, the designated hitter with a .420 batting average, is one of the heavy hitters along with Johnson, Incle and Harnett.Matawan closed its division season against Ocean Township High School on May 7. The Huskies also host Manchester Township High School on May 9 and Keyport High School the following day.With the tournaments starting later this month, Carnovsky said the main thing the team has to address is costly errors. That was apparent against Raritan High School, which Matawan beat by scoring five runs in the last inning for a 13-12 victory.“I think we’ll do really well,” Harnett said. “Everyone is surprised how well things are turning out. Other coaches talk about how well we’re playing. If we keep on pitching and hitting, and our fielding comes along, we’ll go far.” BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent
By TIM MORRIS Staff Writer Middletown High School South track coaches Bill and Kathleen Clifton are flanked by the Eagles’ record-setting 4×800-meter relay team of Sylvie Evarts, Brianna Haspel, Christiana Rutkowski and Cassidy Weimer after they broke the school record at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions (MOC). The girls won the NJSIAA Group III state title this spring and finished second at the MOC. The Middletown High School South girls 4×800-meter relay team knows that every second counts, especially when chasing a record.Relay anchor Cassidy Weimer could hear the screams of her teammates as she was approaching the finish line at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions (MOC). She knew what the screaming was all about.“We had the school record on our minds,” said Sylvie Evarts, who runs the third leg on Middletown South’s relay team.The Eagles’ quartet of Brianna Haspel, Evarts, Christiana Rutkowski and Weimer were looking to take down a school record that seemed out of their reach just a couple of months before. It wasn’t just the time (9:18.89) that was formidable, but the fact that Middletown South legends Cate and Megan Guiney were a part of the team made the record seem so unapproachable.When the Eagles won the Group III state championship in 9:22.67, they began to realize for the first time that the record just might be within their grasp. They still had the MOC to run knowing that they would be going up against the best teams throughout the state.“We were really determined,” Weimer said. “The MOC was the perfect time to run fast.”Haspel pointed out that the Eagles hadn’t been pushed en route to their Central Jersey and Group III state titles this spring. That wasn’t going to be the case at the MOC.They would have teams to push them.So, here was Weimer on June 5 on the Frank Jost Field track in South Plainfield not only chasing Freehold Township High School, which won the race in a meet record 9:10.69, but history as well.“My coach [Kathleen Clifton] yelled out a time at 200 meters, and I knew I didn’t have a lot of time [to get to the finish line],” she said. “I needed to go as fast as I can.“I saw my teammates screaming and that helped me in the last yards.”The clocked clicked to 9:18 as soon as Weimer crossed the line. The Eagles had to wait for confirmation to see. Every 10th of a second counts, and they were unsure if she was under 9:18 or just over it — in which case, hundredths of a second could be the difference between setting a record or not. Minutes later, they heard the official time of 9:17.82 and they knew they had done it.“It was really exciting,” Evarts said.What made the record so much more rewarding for the quartet is how valuable each member is to its success. There is no superstar. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To break the record, it took a collective effort.“We’re a team. We all had to pull our weight in order to set the record,” Rutkowski said.Evarts said, “We are a solid group.”“We depend on each other,” Weimer said. “We trust each other.”Therein lies the secret to this team’s success. Not only are they a team, but they are also friends on and off the track.“We’re really close outside of track,” Haspel said. “It helps a lot. It brings chemistry to the team.”Evarts pointed out that the girls spend so much time training together that they are able to push each other to run faster.Rutkowski, who prefers longer races like the 3,200, credits her teammates with helping her learn how to strategically approach the 800.“I know how to run the race now,” she said.Weimer, who said, “I personally love relays,” remarked that she felt an obligation to finish off the record attempt because of how much her teammates had put into the race. She wasn’t going to let them down.“It gets you excited watching the girls in front of you run so well,” Weimer said. “The girls ran so hard. When it was my turn to close it out, I was going to run as hard as I can for as long as I can.”According to Bill Clifton, who coaches the Eagles along with his wife Kathleen, each of the relay members bring something difference to the table.Haspel has a 200/400 sprinter’s background, and that’s why she runs the leadoff leg.“She has good leg speed and goes right to the front,” he said.Haspel relishes running the first leg.“I like to lead off. I like to be the one setting the tone,” she said.Haspel’s background as a sprinter has helped the Eagles to always be up front and out of danger. Rutkowski’s job is to maintain.“Give Christina the baton and she will hold her position,” said Clifton.Evarts’ third legs keyed the team’s championship races this spring.“She’s broken [open] so many relays for us,” said the Eagles’ coach.In Weimer, Clifton pointed out, the Eagles have an anchor runner with the right temperament. “Cassidy is a tough runner,” he said, adding that she is up to any challenge.With everyone coming back next year (Evarts is a sophomore, the others are juniors), the Eagles are looking forward to lowering the school record even more. They also want to qualify for the Penn Relays Championship of America 4×800 final and take a shot at becoming All-Americans at the outdoor nationals.The outdoor nationals in Greensboro, N.C., earlier this month were a reward for the season. They were 18th overall in 9:25.31. Next year, they’ll have loftier goals.With the confidence the Eagles gained in setting the school record and winning the state championship, they can’t wait for the crosscountry season to begin. They have some unfinished business from last fall.As good as the 2012 season was, the Eagles did not qualify for the MOC — and that is their goal for this fall.“We want to see how far we can go,” Weimer said. “We are so driven. We have a lot of heart and we’re going to put in a lot of hard work.”Rutkowski said the Eagles are expecting “very big things” this fall.The girls will start meeting for cross-country training runs in the middle of July at Holmdel Park, Hartshorn Woods and Thompson Park as they look to build on their triumphs from the track season.
By Michael HannTottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane has been included in the provisional England squad for this year’s under-21 European Championship in the Czech Republic, manager Gareth Southgate said on Wednesday.The 21-year-old Kane, who has scored 30 goals in all competitions for Spurs this season, earned his first England senior cap in March when he scored within two minutes of coming on as a substitute against Lithuania.“He’s had a fantastic season first and foremost and he’s been a big part of our team and I think that’s important for all of the group,” Southgate told a news conference.Southgate has selected an initial 27-man squad which will be reduced to 23 before the team meet up on June 2 to begin their preparations for the tournament.Manchester United’s Luke Shaw has been left out by Southgate following discussions over the left-back’s fitness with club manager Louis van Gaal.Fellow United defender Phil Jones, Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling were all eligible to play but not selected.England are in the same group as Italy, Portugal and Sweden for the June 17 to 30 tournament.
Usain Bolt, running the penultimate race of his career, led Jamaica safely through their semi-final in the 4×100 metres relay at the World Athletics Championships in London on Saturday, while the United States ran the fastest time of the year.Bolt, who announced on Monday that he would also run in the heats, will race for the last time in the final on Saturday when he hopes to bow out with his 20th global championship title.Running the last leg, Bolt eased home, looking over his shoulder, as Jamaica won the second of the two semi-final heats in 37.95 seconds, ahead of France (38.03) and China (38.20).Jamaica are aiming for a fifth successive world title in the event but will face a stiff challenge from the U.S. who won the first heat in 37.70 seconds, with Christian Coleman, silver medallist in the 100 metres, running the anchor leg.“It feels like second nature because we work well together. We are confident we can win. We will go and prepare well for tonight,” said Michael Rogers, who ran the first leg for the United States.Britain were second in the first heat in 37.76, also faster than Jamaica’s time, while Japan were third. Canada and Turkey also qualified as the fastest losers.Bolt’s presence ensured a capacity crowd for the morning session. “It’s hard to be sad because of the energy I’m getting from the crowd,” said the Jamaican, who suffered a rare defeat in the 100 metres when he took bronze.
Leicester City have signed Malian forward Fousseni Diabate from French Ligue 2 side Gazelec Ajaccio on a four-and-a-half-year deal for an undisclosed fee, the Premier League club announced on Saturday.Diabate, who can operate as a central striker or on either wing, has played 20 times in all competitions for the French second division club after joining them in the close season following two years with Guingamp.The 22-year-old, who was a product of the Stade Rennais academy youth system and made his professional debut in December 2016, had represented Mali at the under-20 and under-23 level, Leicester said on their website (www.lcfc.com).“In the past, Leicester have signed good players from Ligue 2 in (Riyad) Mahrez and (Anthony) Knockaert,” Leicester boss Claude Puel told the Leicester Mercury before the deal was announced.“Diabate has a lot of quality. He has pace and good penetration. He has very good feet and he can make the difference… It is a good opportunity for the future and an interesting player.”Eighth-placed Leicester take on defending champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the league on Saturday.
Mauricio Pochettino says his brave Tottenham Hotspur team must play with freedom against Juventus on Wednesday as they seek to book their place in the Champions League quarter-finals.Tottenham battled back from 2-0 down with goals from Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen to earn them a 2-2 draw in Turin last month – a result that means they are favourites to progress.“We need to feel free. If we do that and enjoy the game we will perform nearly at our best or at our best and if we do then we will have the chance to win,” the Argentine told a news conference on Tuesday.Tottenham’s progression since former Espanyol coach Pochettino arrived in 2014 has been impressive.They finished third in the Premier League in 2015-16 and second last season, although they are yet to win any silverware and flopped in last season’s Champions League.Pochettino resents the suggestion that success can only be measured in trophies, saying he is part of a project to establish Tottenham as one of the strongest clubs in Europe.They have beaten European champions Real Madrid and former winners Borussia Dortmund home and away this season and the clash with an experienced Juve side offers another chance to move the club a step closer to that goal.Asked what he could ultimately achieve at the north London club, Pochettino refused to be drawn.“We can’t set a limit. I don’t do that. I am a dreamer. I don’t set minimums,” the 46-year-old said.“We improved a lot from two seasons ago. You can see that the team is more mature and more competitive every season.”Tottenham are on a 17-match unbeaten run in all competitions, sit fourth in the Premier League, have an FA Cup quarter-final ahead and are within touching distance of the business end of the Champions League.There is a feeling that Pochettino is on the cusp of something special, but he urges caution, preferring to concentrate solely on the job in hand against a club who have reached two of the last three Champions League finals.“I think we have a very good opportunity but in football you need to earn things,” he said. “Tomorrow we are going to face one of the best teams in the world and in history.“But we are a brave team, very positive people that love the challenge, and tomorrow is a massive challenge.“We are going to compete, and at the same time try to enjoy, because it’s a game to enjoy. We need to think we can win, then what happens will be a consequence of our performance.”
Manchester City playmaker Leroy Sane has hailed Pep Guardiola as the “best coach in the world”, crediting the manager for improving the team’s overall performance which culminated in their Premier League triumph this season.German Sane has been key to City’s title charge this campaign, with the 22-year-old scoring nine goals and providing 12 assists which also earned him the PFA’s Young Player of the Year award.“He is, for me, the best coach in the world,” Sane told Sky Sports of Guardiola. “Everyone can see that we’ve improved a lot and have taken the next step.“He always tries to get the best and show us the way to play good football.”Sane, who joined City in 2016, also described the team as “perfect” and credited their efforts in helping him win the award.“I’m really grateful because the team is perfect,” Sane added. “They are all really good guys and we work really hard.“To play with fantastic players like we have in our team is great. Thankfully the club gave me the chance to do it and I enjoy it a lot.”City, who blanked Swansea City 5-0 on Sunday, will be eager to continue their blistering league form when they travel to West Ham United next weekend.