Michael DeBartolome, Middletown South senior and a member of the Eagle varsity baseball team, competed in the USABF World Series Aug. 1-10 in San Diego, Calif. The USABF World Series is one of the country’s premier baseball tournaments for ballplayers ages 18 and under. Forty-two teams from across the country played daily double-headers in preliminary rounds leading to the double elimination trophy round. The World Series is well-attended by major league scouts and college coaches. The Baseball Factory Inc., a nationally recognized baseball player development and college recruiting company, placed three teams in the World Series. DeBartolome was one of 50 Baseball Factory players chosen from their elite showcases held nationwide in July. Representing the Baseball Factory’s Bats Team, he pitched and played infield. With a 2.1 ERA over 12 innings and a batting average over .400, DeBartolome helped his team reach the quarterfinals, where they lost 4-2 to the eventual champs from California. The Hazlet Youth League will be holding registrations for its wrestling rec program for children in grades one through eight. Registration will take place at Raritan High School on Sept. 11, from 7-9 p.m.; Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon; and Sept. 19 from 7-9 p.m. Proof of age and residency is required (driver’s license not accepted) for all new registrants in the program. Registration fees are $75 for one child, $125 for two and $150 for three or more. A $100 refundable work/equipment deposit is required. Call (732) 264-3060 ext. 5 for more information. The Middletown Youth Athletic Association Little League, also known as Middletown Little League, is having its inaugural fall baseball and softball season. On-line registration is available at http://www.myteam.com/go/middletownllpa. The league is open to players who are residents of Middletown Township, ages 8-16. The season will run from Sept. 13 to Oct. 27; fee is $50 per player. Phone number is (732) 747-2410, or visit www.myteam.com/go/middletownllpa. Fall registration form with instructions can be downloaded from documents on the Web site as well. The Middletown Soccer Club Earthquakes U11 boys’ traveling team is looking for a few players to complete its roster for the 2002-03 season. Those trying out must have been born between Aug. 1, 1991 and July 31, 1992 to be eligible. For information regarding tryout date, contact Keith O’Neill at (732) 530-4577 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer Brookdale Community College’s (BCC) women’s basketball team has made it difficult for teams to defend against them. Armed with size and strength inside, a sharp-shooting guard and a savvy point guard to run the show, opposing teams will have to pick their poison when they play the Jersey Blues. “We have an inside game and an outside game,” said co-head coach Joanne Cobb. “You can’t defend one thing.” Up front, the Blues return one of the country’s best in 6-1 forward Amy Gaudious. The Long Branch graduate was the fourth-leading rebounder in the country last year and averaged a double-double for the season, 13 points and 12.5 rebounds a game. She had 12 double-doubles during the season and threw in a pair triple doubles for good measure. On top of all that, she’s a crafty passer. Because the Jersey Blues have other effective players in the paint, they can pull Gaudious out away from the basket and utilize her passing. Tammy Wood, better known for her goal-keeping with the soccer team, may eclipse what she did in the fall on the hardwood. The 6-0 South River grad played in just seven games last year and was a force with her defense and shot blocking. Having her around for the entire season will be gravy. Danielle Vitalone, a forward from Middletown South, also played in just a few games for BCC last year, but it was enough to demonstrate that she’ll make a contribution under the boards and on defense. Wood and Vitalone are sophomores. Two freshmen, 6-0 Ashley Healy, of Howell, and 5-11 Keneka Gordon, of Neptune, provide Cobb and co-head coach Marianne Campacci with a lot of flexibility on the front line. Last year, point guard Jess Williams was injured before the season even started and missed the entire campaign. In her place, shooting-guard Becky Piper moved to the point and responded with unexpected effectiveness, earning All-Conference and All-Region honors. This year, Williams, a Central Regional grad, has returned and Piper is back to her normal position and playing the best ball of her career. Through BCC’s first two games she is averaging 17.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists a game. Piper, a Colts Neck graduate, made the All-Tournament honors at the recent Mercer Thanksgiving Classic. Williams is averaging more the five assists and running the offense like clockwork. Piper and Williams are a very formidable backcourt duo. Both Piper and Williams can force teams to extend their defense because of their three-point shooting. Guard Cara Capestro, a freshman from Brick Township, can also light it up from beyond the arc. Vitalone and Gaudious can step outside and hit jumpers as well. Teams are forced to defend the entire court because of Brookdale’s balance. If teams try to take away the inside game, Piper, Williams and Capestro will make them pay for it, and likewise, if they try to defend the three, Brookdale will get the ball into the paint. Even with all the talent and versatility on offense, Cobb and Campacci know that if Brookdale is going to repeat as the Garden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) champions, it will be on the defensive end where the Blues really get after teams. “Defense is our forte,” Cobb pointed out. “We love to play a fullcourt press.” Brookdale utilizes its quickness, size and bench to go after teams for a full 40 minutes. At the Thanksgiving Classic, the Blues uncharacteristically had to play a zone defense because preseason injuries had them down to just five healthy starting bodies. They did get through the Classic at 1-1 with a third-place finish. “We started on Nov. 6 and when we had a practice on Nov. 23, we had only three kids who could suit up and practice,” noted Cobb. “We had a series of injuries early, but we have everyone back now and everything is looking real good. “We expect a lot out of them this year,” she added. “It’s going to be tough in the league with everyone gunning for us.” Brookdale was 20-7 last year and a perfect 12-0 in GSAC play. The Blues have no more home games before the New Year. Their next game in Lincroft is Jan. 6 against Mercer. The Blues will be spending the Holiday season in Las Vegas, Nev., playing in the Dixie State College of Utah Invitational, Dec. 28-30. BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer Blues are defending GSAC champions read more
Despite a tough, season-opening, 2-1 loss to its crosstown rival, prospects look bright this fall for the Middletown High School South field hockey team. The Eagles are coming off of an 11- 5-1 campaign that saw Middletown South finish second in the Shore Conference’s Class A North division. Coach Sarah Boyce’s girls also qualified for the conference and NJSIAA North 2, Group III tourneys, losing in the first round to Wall and Voorhees, respectively. Several key players are back from last year’s squad, including junior Kate Bruno, who led the team with 11 goals, fellow forward Jordan Hickman, who scored 10 times, and talented twoway midfielder Chelsea Keelen, who contributed five goals and five assists. Middletown South played well in the opener, outshooting Middletown North, but fell in overtime, 2-1. The Eagles were set to play at Howell on Monday and will host Colts Neck on Saturday. “It was a tough loss, but our defense really played well,” Boyce said. “If the girls play that well in most of our games, they’re going to be in good shape. We’ve got a lot of experience across the team and we’re well balanced from front to back. Even though we lost the first one, one of our goals is still to win the division.” The coach also believes her team is capable of going beyond the first round in the Shore and state tournaments. In addition to Hickman and Bruno, Jen Baccillieri, Tara Brons and sophomore Laura Rabuffo will see action on the front line. Boyce noted that all five can but the ball into the net. Keelen anchors a strong midfield that also includes sisters Kathleen and Megan Pierce, the latter is a junior; juniors Katarina McKee and Samantha McMahon,as well as sophomore Kerri Healy. The defense is strong and deep with Michelle Irwin in the middle and promising sophomore Kelly Scheurer playing sweeper. Other fullbacks include Erinn Madsen, Alyssa Quirk, Rebecca Weimer, Lauren Wolfe, juniors Kourtney Maloney and Ashley Slate, and sophomore Amanda Galanti. Lauren Petach, who recorded a pair of shutouts a year ago, and junior Katie Johnson split time in goal. “After doing so well last year and with so many players back we have higher expectations,” said Boyce, who was a standout player at Keyport during her high school days. “The girls expect more of themselves, too. Many of them have been together for three years and the seniors certainly want to finish their high school careers with a big season.” BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer read more
After opening the campaign with three straight losses, the Holmdel High School softball team faces four games this week as it looks to rebound.The Hornets opened the season with a 10-0 loss to Red Bank Regional, then dropped 3-1 decisions against both Jackson and Rumson-Fair Haven. Coach Jim Gelpke’s team was slated to return to action on Monday on the road,with Shore Regional providing the opposition.Yesterday theHornetswere to visit Manasquan before returning home for games this afternoon with Red Bank Catholic and tomorrow vs. St. John Vianney.”I really think we’ve played better than our record shows,” Gelpke said. “The girls have been working hard and I see the improvement. Our team is getting better and better.”A year ago the youthful Hornets struggled out of the gate andwere 1-9 before going 5-5 over the final 10 games to end with a 6- 14 mark. Holmdel lost three players to graduation, and Gelpke’s roster for this spring includes a pair of sophomores and four freshmen.”We’re young overall and the girls just need to be a little quicker with their decisions in the field,” the coach said. “That’s coming, and it will get better with time. The experience these girls are getting right now will be very valuable down the road.”Holmdel relies heavily on junior pitcher Kate Brody. In her third varsity season, Brody is the team’s heart and soul and serves as its captain. A year ago she pitched every inning of every game, and may likely do that again this time around. Thus far, Brody has 20 strikeouts in 18 innings of work. She can also hit: her double against Jackson brought home theHornets’only run in the game.Gelpke has two seniors on the roster, and they have been the team’s best hitters in the early going. Shortstop Danielle Esposito is at .571 with six stolen bases and an RBI, while versatile third baseman Maggie Baisley is batting .286with an RBI. Baisley, who owns one of the best throwing arms on the team, can also play right and left fields as well as shortstop.In addition to Brody, the Hornets have three other juniors: Kristina Bushey, Danielle Critelli and SamChristie. The versatile Bushey is out with a hamstring injury and is expected back soon; Critelli, bothered by a back injury, is Holmdel’s DH and Christie is sure-handed at second base.Twins Alexa and Jamie Martinez play catcher and shortstop, respectively. Alexa Martinez is a solid defensive backstop with a strong arm. Jamie Martinez also excels with the glove, and her arm is equally as strong.Holmdel’s freshman contingent includes first baseman Autumn McFeeley, infielder Candace Fok, left fielder Melissa Koven and right fielder Allison Tracy. All four have shown much promise, Gelpke said, and Koven has displayed some pop at the plate.”The thing that will help us in the long run is that for the most part, the girls have been putting the ball in play,” the second year coach said. “Last year, as a team, we struck out too much, too often looking.”That’s not happening this year. We’ve cut down on our strikeouts and we’re making the opposition work for outs.”Despite the slow start, Gelpke’s goals are lofty ones. He believes his team can bounce back and qualify for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II playoffs.”We have a tough schedule early on, but I think that will help us in the long run,” Gelpke said. Holmdel has dropped three straight games BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer read more
Former Middletown South High School softball players Julia Kuhn and Jackie Bates embarked on college careers at Northwestern University and Rutgers University, respectively, and got in as much learning on the softball field as in the classroom.Kuhn saw spot action as she started off at third base and was moved to first base later in the season as Northwestern finished 29-29, getting an at-large invitation to the NCAA Tournament, where the Wildcats were eliminated in the opening round by Texas.“I thought it was a major adjustment from high school to college and balancing college [study] work and softball,” Kuhn said. “It was an awesome transition, but I stayed in an area [of the dormitories] with other student-athletes who were going through the same thing, and talking about it with them made it easier. The athletic community is so tightly knit. It’s easy to get along and get support there, to build relationships. You have to stay on top of your schoolwork and do it yourself, and in softball, put in extra hitting and extra fielding to make it work.” Kuhn had only six at-bats but said the graduation of the first baseman this spring opens up possibilities for her there going into next season.“It’s a corner position like third base, but it’s hard playing those positions because the ball comes off the bat so quickly. And at first base, you have to take all the throws and to try to make a play on the throw that might be off-line,” Kuhn said. “I’ll play wherever they put me.”Kuhn is used to moving over to a different position, because she played in left field, shortstop, pitcher, third base and catcher for Middletown South, which reached the NJSIAAGroup III finals her last three years there, winning the first two.In the NCAATournament, Northwestern beat Texas — which was then ranked No. 8 — 2-0, and then slugged out a school single game record-tying 17 hits in a 13-9 victory over Houston before losing the next two games to Texas, both by 5-0 scores.“It was an awesome experience to see, something we can build on,” Kuhn said. She said she is working in the offseason on every element of her game, including hitting, where she said you have to adjust from pitch to pitch.Bates likewise had to go from her familiar position of center field to right field, but she became an instant fixture there. She started 49 games for the 26-27 Scarlet Knights, one of their best seasons in recent years. She batted .216 with three homers and 12 RBI. In the outfield, Bates had 48 putouts, two assists and two errors.“It’s nothing really different except you worry about foul balls [that are catchable for outs] and you don’t control things in right field like when you’re in center field,” Bates said. “It was a little more challenging, but not really as tough as I thought it would be. Pitching is not so much that they’re quicker, although some throw heat, but it’s that they have more movement, so you focus on hitting the ball properly with the right part of the bat.”Bates said her biggest emphasis in the offseason is to develop a more relaxed attitude around the game. “It’s more stressful when you’re a freshman starting with seniors,” Bates said. “I was a little surprised to be starting, but that was the coach’s decision. Toward the middle of the season, I was struggling offensively, but I was surprised that there was no juggling of the outfield and that I stayed in the lineup. Eventually, I hit better.”Like Kuhn, Bates said living on campus was the biggest adjustment, and balancing the demands of softball, traveling with the team and handling classes and schoolwork.“Sometimes we’d get back from a game at 3 in the morning and I’d have to be in class at 9:15,” Bates said. “You really have to focus on your studies and on softball. Our coach is big on dedication. In the fall workouts, you’d start your day at 6 in the morning, practice until 12 (noon), go to class and then practice later in the day. It is straining on your body.”But Bates said she got through her freshman initiation and has a better grasp of time management and what she needs to prepare for during the season. BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent read more
DORINE SHAPRIO Middletown High School North’s Dominiquea Trotter performs on the balance beam at the NJSIAA Individual Gymnastics Championships at Montgomery High School on Nov. 16. Trotter finished seventh in the all-around (37.400) and tied for fourth on the beam (9.550).
By Martyn HermanRuthless world number one Novak Djokovic thrashed Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3 6-0 as he closed in on a stunning climax to his season at the ATP World Tour Finals on Wednesday night.The Serb responded to losing the first two games to steamroller the Swiss who was unfortunate to meet the defending champion at his imperious best.Djokovic tops Group A with two wins and is now poised to qualify for the semi-finals.Djokovic, who will clinch the year-end number one ranking should he beat Tomas Berdych in his final round-robin match, dialled in his A game to counter an aggressive start by Australian Open champion Wawrinka, winning 20 of 23 points in a five-game burst from 0-2 down in the first set.Poor Wawrinka, a semi-finalist here in London’s O2 centre last year, was run ragged at times by the power, precision and finesse of the 27-year-old Djokovic who racked up a 29th consecutive indoor victory with laser-guided forehand winner.All eight round-robin matches have so far been decided in straight sets.Earlier, American world number one doubles duo Mike and Bob Bryan got back to winning ways as they came from a set down to read more
By Ed OsmondWith a new cricket director, coach and chairman, England return to the field of play in the first Test against New Zealand on Thursday following an extraordinary period of upheaval.Alastair Cook leads his team into a huge summer of cricket which will be defined by the Ashes, but first up they must deal with a vibrant and confident New Zealand side in a two-Test series.England should be warned not to take New Zealand lightly.The Kiwis are unbeaten in a Test series since losing in England two years ago and reached their first World Cup final in March, playing a brand of aggressive and innovative cricket that has become their hallmark under Brendon McCullum’s captaincy.England, in stark contrast, are in disarray following a dismal World Cup campaign and a disappointing 1-1 Test series draw in West Indies.New cricket director Andrew Strauss sacked coach Peter Moores 11 days ago and his next task was to reveal that Kevin Pietersen would not be recalled, despite the mercurial right-hander’s career-best innings of 355 not out for Surrey.Strauss, trying desperately to draw a line under the Pietersen issue which has dogged English cricket since he was axed 15 months ago, spoke of a complete breakdown of trust.An angry Pietersen responded by accusing the ECB of deceitful behaviour and the mud-slinging will rumble on.England have called up Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth to open with Cook.Nick Compton, Michael Carberry, Sam Robson and Jonathan Trott have failed to establish themselves as Cook’s partner and now the 27-year-old Lyth gets his chance.The compact left-hander has a first-class average of 43.2 and 15 centuries to his name, and England will desperately hope he has the right temperament to compliment his natural ability.Otherwise, the team has a familiar look.Gary Ballance, Ian Bell and Joe Root are an established middle-order while James Anderson and Stuart Broad should continue their potent new-ball partnership in home conditions.Cook made his first international century for nearly two years in West Indies and Jos Buttler is improving as a wicketkeeper and a potentially destructive number seven.New Zealand, however, have a superb attack with Tim Southee and Trent Boult, how England would love to have a left-arm seamer of his ability to call on, probably their best ever new-ball partnership.With the destructive McCullum and Martin Guptill at the top of the order and Kane Williamson, a cohesive presence at number three, the touring side’s batting looks dangerous and solid.England must front up. They must be positive and brave.Defeat by New Zealand will only ramp up the pressure before a bullish Australia side head over supremely confident of winning an away Ashes series for the first time since 2001. read more
By Phil CaseyENGLAND’S Danny Willett claimed the clubhouse lead in a weather-affected 144th Open Championship on Friday, a day which ended at 9:55pm with five-time champion Tom Watson bidding an emotional farewell.As play stuttered to a halt around the course following a delay of more than three hours due to torrential early rain, Watson and playing partners Ernie Els and Brandt Snedeker opted to complete their second rounds in near-darkness.The trio and their caddies – with Watson’s son Michael on his bag – paused on the Swilcan Bridge on the 18th for the traditional photograph before Watson was left alone to take the applause of the spectators who had stayed on to salute the popular 65-year-old.A closing bogey, one of five in a row for a round of 80, barely mattered and was instead greeted with a loud cheer as officials and players applauded from the clubhouse steps.In truth it was not the finish Watson deserved with the grandstands largely deserted, but the alternative was a return at 7am on Saturday to complete the round, with those players making the cut to be sent out in groups of three to make up lost time.He hugged his wife Hilary as he walks off the 18th green and said, “It’s over.”Willett had finished more than five hours earlier and is 41 under par for his last ten rounds on the Old Course, adding a 69 to his opening 66 to reach nine under par, two shots ahead of Scotland’s Marc Warren, former Masters champions Zach Johnson and Adam Scott and Robert Streb.Dustin Johnson was 10 under par with five holes remaining, with 1999 champion Paul Lawrie and Jason Day eight under with six and seven holes left respectively.Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth, playing alongside Johnson, was five under par after three birdies and three bogeys in 13 completed holes.Meanwhile, England’s Luke Donald was left to rue an untidy start and finish to his round but he importantly remains in contention at the Open after some impressive play in between.The 37-year-old began at four under but mis-hit his approach into the burn for a double bogey at the first before staging a recovery with six birdies between the fifth and 16th to get to eight under and within two of the lead.However, back-to-back bogeys on his final two holes in the gathering gloom at St Andrews took some of the gloss off his round of 70 but he is only four behind leader Dustin Johnson, who still has five holes remaining of a rain-delayed second round.“To finish 5-5 leaves a sad taste after such a good middle part of the round but there are a lot of positives and I am still in a good position,” he said.“I misjudged the wind a little bit (at the first) and hit it heavy and came up short.“But I played some good golf in the middle, holing some good putts.“You can take making a five at 17 but 18 my drive unfortunately finished in a divot and I probably let it bother me a little bit too much.“It was getting gloomy and that last putt was a little hard to see the read but I thought I had made it.“Other than that I was glad to get finished.“I feel like I am hitting some good shots and am confident with my putter and I am in a good position.“It is meant to be a wild day tomorrow so we will see what happens.” read more
Britain reached the Davis Cup final for the first time in 37 years on Sunday as Andy Murray outclassed Australia’s Bernard Tomic in straight sets to give his side an unbeatable 3-1 lead.World number three Murray had teamed up with brother Jamie to win a thrilling five-set doubles rubber against Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth on Saturday to leave the hosts needing to win just one of Sunday’s reverse singles.The 28-year-old, who became the first Briton to win the Wimbledon men’s singles in 77 years in 2013, duly delivered his third point of the match, beating an increasingly dispirited Tomic 7-5 6-2 6-2 to wild cheers from a partisan crowd in Glasgow.Murray’s only moment of alarm came in the first set when Tomic briefly raised his level, breaking back from 2-5 down to level the set at 5-5 but the Australian ranked 23 in the world slipped 0-40 down at 5-6 and despite saving two set points was bamboozled by a Murray drop shot.After that the outcome became a formality as Murray dominated, setting up a final against either Belgium or Argentina.That semi-final was locked at 2-2 in Brussels with the final singles rubber still to be played read more