Blues third in nation at Jr. College World Series

first_img BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer By any measurement, the 2006 season was a huge success for the Brookdale Community College baseball team. Johnny Johnson’s Jersey Blues defended their Region XIX and Northeast District titles, and finished third at the Division II Junior College World Series, held in Millington, Tenn. They finished the season 48-10. “They came out and played unbelievably, overall,” Johnson said of his team’s play at the World Series. “They played with their hearts. “Talent-wise, we were right there,” he added. Pitcher Bill Lawson, who tossed a shutout and picked up a save, third baseman Paddy Matera and outfielder Carlos Guzman were the Blues who made the All-Tournament Team in Millington. The Blues were oh so close to reaching the final, losing to eventual champion Louisiana State University-Eunice, 6-4. In that game, the Blues had a 3-0 lead before an uncharacteristic error opened the door for three unearned runs that allowed Eunice to tie the game and eventually win. The Blues had a rested Lawson waiting to pitch the championship game had they gotten past LSU-Eunice. Lawson opened up the tournament by registering one of just two shutouts thrown at the Series. The Blues beat Allegheny College, 8-0. That was followed by a 10-5 loss to Grand Rapids. With wins over St. Louis-Forest Park (8-6) and Allegheny (7-6), the Blues climbed back into contention and were just one game away from the final, when they lost to LSU-Eunice. Matera led BCC in hitting during the tournament (May 27-June 2), batting .43 going 7-for-16 with five RBIs. Joe Schiettino batted .400 with a team-high eight hits (8-for-20) and six RBIs. Guzman was 7-for-21 for a .333 average. He slammed the team’s two home runs and was tops in runs scored (seven), total bases (14) and slugging (.667). Joe Arminio batted .350 (7-for-20) and scored five runs, and Pedro Nieves was the other BCC batter over .300, hitting .333 (6-for-18). Lawson was 1-0 with one save and an earned run average of 0.00. Besides his shutout, he picked up a save in the 8-6 win over St. Louis-Forest Park. Johnson wasn’t going to bring it up as an excuse, but it didn’t help that the Blues were the only team in the tournament to have two weeks between games. They won their District playoff on May 14, and the Series didn’t begin until May 27. It was easy for hitters to lose their momentum with that much time off. From the start of the season back on March 1, Johnson saw a lot of potential in this year’s club. He pointed to the team’s depth from one-to-nine in the lineup, and how well they played as a unit. “I was very excited about the team,” he said. “I thought they had the talent to exceed last year. “They had to bring their A game each game,” he added. “They left everything on the field. They deserved everything they got.” There was another way to measure Brookdale’s season, and that is where the sophomores are going. Eight have won college scholarships to four-year schools, where they will continue their careers. Center fielder Damian Walcott was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 37th round of the amateur baseball draft, and the Freehold Borough High School grad is leaning toward signing with the National League Club. Catcher Nick Mullins, a Brick Township High School grad, is going to the University of Pittsburgh. Pitchers Kevin Rickert, Nick Riker (Red Bank Catholic) and Ramon Guzman, and first baseman Joe Arminio are headed to Lynn University in Florida. Shortstop Joe Schiettino (Lakewood) will be going to Lambuth College in Tennessee. Pitcher Ryan Beard has signed with Rutgers, and Lawson will be deciding among Western Kentucky, University of Alabama, South Alabama and Seton Hall. The college scholarships may be the best way to judge the success of this club, and on that basis, it was a championship season. Eight Brookdale players offered scholarships to four-year schools last_img read more

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Messi hits out at transfer ‘lies’

first_imgBy Iain RogersBARCELONA forward Lionel Messi has denied he asked for coach Luis Enrique to be replaced or that he is seeking an exit from his boyhood club and a move to England.The Argentina and Barca captain was responding for the first time to widespread reports of a falling out with Luis Enrique, who took over from Messi’s compatriot Tata Martino at the end of last season.Messi’s apparent dissatisfaction with the coach’s management style and tactics was said to have prompted talks with Chelsea and Manchester City on a possible move to the English Premier League, while Catalan television claimed Messi had demanded Luis Enrique be sacked.“I haven’t asked for anything to stay here because I have never wanted to go anywhere else,” Messi told Barca’s TV channel after Sunday’s 3-1 La Liga win over champions Atletico Madrid.“I have also heard that my father has spoken to Chelsea and City but it’s all lies,” added the 27-year-old.“There have been stories that I had bad relationships with (Pep) Guardiola, (Samuel) Eto’o, (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic and Bojan (Krkic), that I have got rid of people.“That is in no way true. I never asked for them to get rid of the coach or anyone else. There is no rivalry betweenLuis Enrique and me.”Messi’s status as a hero to Barca fans for his key role in their most successful era makes him a powerful figure at the club but he dismissed claims that he has influence over important decisions.“I am tired of hearing things about me,” Messi said. “They say that I run the club when I am just another player. I don’t make those decisions, nor have I asked them to be made.“It hurts because (the stories) have come from the Barcelona-based media and not from Madrid.“There are people who want to damage the club and it’s important that now more than ever we are united because there are important things ahead.”Messi had a busy night against Atletico, netting one goal, setting up Neymar and Luis Suarez to score and conceding a penalty for the first time in his professional career.He also picked up a rare booking for a high-footed challenge on Atletico goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya.The win lifted Barca to within a point of leaders Real Madrid, who have a game in hand, with Atletico are three points further back in third.last_img read more

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Atletico struggling for goals before Leverkusen clash

first_imgBy Iain RogersAtletico Madrid will need to put an end to a recent goal drought if they are to have any chance of overturning a 1-0 deficit in Tuesday’s Champions League last 16, second leg at home to Bayer Leverkusen.Atletico, last season’s beaten finalists, have only scored once in their last four outings in all competitions and slipped nine points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona after Saturday’s 0-0 stalemate at Espanyol.Their chances of beating Espanyol were hampered by the dismissal of centre back Miranda shortly before half-time, Atletico’s third red card in their last five matches, which prompted coach Diego Simeone to replace forward Fernando Torres with defender Jose Gimenez.Forwards Mario Mandzukic, Antoine Griezmann and Torres have been off colour in recent weeks and Atletico have failed to score in three consecutive away games in La Liga for the first time since Simeone took over at the end of 2011.Leverkusen, by contrast, have rattled in 11 goals without reply in winning their last five games in all competitions, including Friday’s 4-0 drubbing of VfB Stuttgart.“Not conceding of course gives you more confidence for the following matches, above all for Tuesday, and we wouldn’t complain if it could last another few games,” Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno said on the club’s website (www.bayer04.de).Atletico midfielder Tiago, who is suspended after his red card in the first leg along with centre back Diego Godin, said he was sure the goals would start to flow again for the Spanish champions.“The team looked strong even when we were playing with 10,” the Portuguese told reporters.“We had clear chances and it’s true that we didn’t put them away but I see a team that is sure of itself and in good shape.“We know our strengths. We have to keep trying so that the goals and the victories come.”Although Atletico have only won a European tie twice before after losing the first leg away 1-0, their home form suggests they have a good chance of pulling it off against Leverkusen.Looking to reach the quarter-finals of Europe’s elite club competition for a seventh time, Atletico have won 20 of their last 22 European matches at the Calderon.Their only defeat was a 2-0 reverse to Rubin Kazan in the Europa League last 32 in February 2013.last_img read more

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Last-gasp Pedro strike hands Barca Super Cup in thriller

first_imgBarcelona substitute Pedro scored deep into extra time to secure the European Super Cup with a 5-4 win over Sevilla in a thriller on Tuesday night after they surrendered a three-goal lead in Tbilisi, GeorgiaUnsettled Pedro had said in the build-up to the game that he wanted to leave the club but he came on, as he did in 2009, to win the trophy, pouncing on a rebound from a Lionel Messi shot.Barca’s fifth triumph in the competition, which means they have now won four trophies this year, moved them level with AC Milan on the all-time UEFA Super Cup winners list.“For the fans it was a great spectacle and something rarely seen,” said Barca defender Javier Mascherano.“Aside from the win though we feel frustrated as we had gone ahead and were in control but let it slip. I am happy with the win but there is a lot to improve on.”Ever Banega had given Europa League winners Sevilla the lead with a free-kick after three minutes but Messi stamped his mark on the game with stunning free-kicks after seven and 16 minutes.The Argentine’s double for the Champions League holders means he is again joint-top scorer in European competition with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo on 80 goals.Rafinha slotted home a Luis Suarez pass just before the break and the Uruguayan scored himself after the restart having been found by Sergio Busquets to put Barca firmly in command.Sevilla, though, fought back with goals from Jose Antonio Reyes, after 57 minutes, and Kevin Gameiro, with a penalty in the 72nd, before Yevhen Konoplyanka equalised with 10 minutes left to force the game into extra time.Pedro fired the winner into the roof of the net from close range with five minutes left as Barca stayed on track to win six trophies this calendar year on the back of last season’s treble.last_img read more

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Serena loses Grand Slam bid in shocking U.S. Open upset

first_imgBy Larry FineSERENA Williams’ bid for a rare calendar-year Grand Slam came to a shocking halt at the U.S. Open on Friday when the defending champion suffered one of the greatest tennis upsets to unseeded Italian Roberta Vinci.The 32-year-old Vinci ended Williams’ run of three straight U.S. Open titles and her bid to become the fourth woman to sweep all four grand slam singles titles in the same year with a 2-6 6-4 6-4 win that stunned the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd.“I thought she played the best tennis in her career,” said 33-year-old Williams. “You know, she’s going for it at a late age.“Actually, I guess it’s inspiring. I think she played literally out of her mind.”For world number one Williams, whose remarkable streak of 33 consecutive match wins in the grand slams was also snapped, it marked the first time she lost to Vinci in five career meetings after a string of easy straight-set wins against her.Vinci’s extraordinary win set up an all-Italian women’s final on Saturday against 33-year-old Flavia Pennetta, who routed second seed Simona Halep of Romania 6-1 6-3.The 46th-ranked Vinci, appearing in her first grand slam singles semi-final, took advantage of some loose points from the American, who appeared to feel the pressure of her pursuit.Vinci, a winner of five grand slam doubles titles, played with extraordinary composure and used her net-play skills to advantage with an inspired performance.“This is an incredible moment for me,” Vinci said after taking a long moment to compose herself for the on-court interview. “It’s amazing. It’s like a dream. I’m in the final. I beat Serena.”last_img read more

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AEK Athens appoint former player Ketsbaia as new coach

first_imgAEK Athens has appointed former player Temur Ketsbaia as coach, the Greek Superleague side said, after a deal to hire Frenchman Philippe Montanier fell through last week.The 48-year-old former Georgia international, who scored 24 goals in 84 matches during his playing career with AEK from 1994 to 1997, has signed a two-year deal to succeed Gus Poyet.“I enjoyed some amazing moments here as a player, playing good football in a team which back then had top Greek and foreign players,” Ketsbaia said on the club’s website.“As soon as I started my coaching career I hoped that one day I might get the chance to come back.”A former forward, who also played for Newcastle, Wolves and Dundee, Ketsbaia began coaching at Anorthosis in Cyprus in 2004, before a short spell with Olympiakos Piraeus in 2009.He then coached Georgia for five years before returning to Cyprus for APOEL FC until April this year.He inherits an AEK team which made a stunning return to Greece’s top flight by winning the Greek Cup with a 2-1 victory over Olympiakos Piraeus last month following two years in the wilderness after bankruptcy in 2013.“There’s no need for me to talk about the clubs goals, they are clear. We have to play a leading role at the top of the table. It won’t be easy, a lot of hard work is needed but the club has obvious potential as is demonstrated by the fact the team won the Greek Cup this year,” he said.Under Poyet, AEK enjoyed an impressive league campaign, ending the regular season behind Olympiakos and second-placed Panathinaikos, before finishing third in the playoffs and securing a spot in the third qualifying round of the Europa League.last_img read more

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Wanyama completes move to Tottenham

first_imgTottenham Hotspur have completed the signing of Southampton’s defensive midfielder Victor Wanyama on a five-year deal, the Premier League side said on Thursday.The move reunites the hard-tackling Kenyan with former Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino, the Argentine who took over at White Hart Lane in May 2014, as Spurs’ first signing of the close season.No financial details were given by the club, who secured a place in the Champions League by finishing third last season, but British media put the deal at 11 million pounds ($16.38 million).“The midfielder has agreed a contract with the Club until 2021,” Spurs said on their website (www.tottenhamhotspur.com).The Kenya international, who turns 25 on Saturday, helped Southampton to sixth place last season under Ronald Koeman, who has since taken over as Everton manager.Wanyama had asked to leave last year after Tottenham first expressed an interest, but stayed on at St Mary’s.last_img read more

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Montella named as new AC Milan manager

first_imgAC Milan have appointed former Fiorentina and Sampdoria boss Vincenzo Montella as their new manager on a two-year contract, the Serie A club said on their website on Tuesday.The 42-year-old will begin work with the Italian side from July 1 and will replace Cristian Brocchi, who took charge on an interim basis after Sinisa Mihajlovic was sacked in April.The former striker has also managed at Catania after a playing career that took him to Empoli, Genoa, Sampdoria and AS Roma, as well as a brief loan spell at English side Fulham in 2007.Montella, who took over at Sampdoria last November and led them to 15th in Serie A, represented Italy 20 times between 1999 and 2005, scoring three times for his country.“It is the belief of the club that the style of play of the new Rossoneri coach will be the basis of an important, fruitful and positive collaboration,” the club said in a statement on their website (www.acmilan.com).“Heartfelt thanks to Cristian Brocchi for the enthusiasm, preparation and intensity with which he approached his career as Milan coach with the youth sides and the first team.”Milan, who lost to Juventus in the Coppa Italia final last month, finished seventh in the league last season and will miss out on Europe for a third successive campaign.last_img read more

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First Brazil gold spurs last-minute ticket sales

first_imgBrazil’s first gold medal has boosted Olympic ticket sales and organisers expect attendances to pick up in coming days, although some venues including the Copacabana beach volleyball arena are still struggling to fill seats.Judoka Rafaela Silva, who grew up in Rio’s notorious Cidade de Deus favela, burst into tears on Monday as she held up her medal to a roaring crowd as the Brazilian national anthem played.“There is nothing better for ticket sales than when the country wins its first gold,” Games spokesman Mario Andrada told reporters on Tuesday.“Brazilians, as has been widely said, are late buyers, but it’s impossible to resist when you have the Games at home,” he said.Some 100,000 new tickets were taken up on Monday, much better than the average of 10,000 per day about two weeks before the Rio 2016 Games kicked off. Around 82 percent of tickets available for Monday were sold, Andrada added.“We wish we could have done this before but we’re not complaining, we’re looking to the future and we’re going to sell more and more,” he said.A late surge could help compensate for a shaky start, with organisers admitting this week that only Friday’s Opening Ceremony had sold out.Even iconic venues like beach volleyball on Rio’s famous coastline have had a good chunk of empty seats. Not even Brazil’s soccer team in their first match at the Games attracted a capacity crowd.Prices for the Rio tickets range between $10 and about $1,150 for the Opening Ceremony. More than half the tickets cost $17 or less, about half the price of London 2012 tickets.But for many poor people in Brazil, a developing country, those prices remain cruelly out of reach.The Latin American powerhouse is also struggling with its worst recession since the 1930s and there is strong opposition to hosting the Games amid the crisis.In addition, long delays at security checkpoints on the first day of full competition frustrated spectators.Brazilians tend to show up late and trickle in and out of events, but exuberant crowds have helped compensate for empty seats.“I would say that it seems really loud (on the court), so I can’t imagine if it was full and everyone was cheering that loud,” said American tennis player Madison Keys.“As long as you can feel the energy and you feel that the crowd is really into it, I don’t think it really matter how many people are there.”last_img read more

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Usino Bundi claim soccer title

first_imgThe boys from the Madang- Ramu Highway inland were too strong, scoring in the first half leading 2-0 into the break.Madang District on the other hand played a classic game but could not find the net despite numerous opportunities by the strikers.Usino Bundi District defended well in the second half all to win the game. Bogia finished third after forfeiting Sumkar.last_img

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