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Smithtown News Sports 05 07-15

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Smithtown News Sports 05 07-15

  1. 1. The Smithtown News ~ May 7, 2015 ~ Page 31 SportsThursday, May 7, 2015 Page 31 By ANTHONY LIFRIERI Connectfour 22-second scoring outburst starts at the ‘X’ with Arceri, finishes with game in hand More than 2,000 vibrant fans packed the stands and were ready to rock the house Wednesday, April 29 for what always is one of the biggest— and loudest—games of the year: the annual showdown between the boys’ lacrosse teams from Smithtown high schools East and West. By halftime, however, you could hear a pin drop. Sparked by the usual face- off mastery of junior midfielder Gerard Arceri, Smithtown East scored four times during a 22-second span late in the second quarter to take a commanding six-goal lead and never looked back en route to an impressive 14-7 road victory. “We built momentum on the first goal [of the run], and I knew if I won the next face-off, we could score again and pull away,” Arceri said. “If we could do it again after that, we’d have an even bigger lead, and by the time they stopped us we were up by six [8-2], and that solidified the win.” Sophomore midfielder Connor DeSimone started the four-goal run with the goal that gave East a 5-2 lead with 3:42 left in the first half. Just nine seconds later, after Arceri won the ensuing face-off and sparked a textbook fast break, sophomore attackman Sean Barry buried an over-the- shoulder score to make it 6-2. Arceri followed with another fast-break-starting face-off win that was finished by a quick-stick score by junior attackman Dan Rooney of a feed from senior attackman Brian Willetts only seven seconds later. It was only fitting Arceri capped the four-goal flurry after winning his fourth straight face-off, this time sprinting downfield with the ball by himself and firing an overhand shot into the lower part of the cage to make it 8-2 with 3:20 left in the half. Willetts added another score with2:09remainingtoputEast up 9-2 at halftime, but Smithtown West coach Bob Moltisanti knew the damage had a l r e a d y b e e n done. “This game came down to the last four minutesofthesecondquarter,” Moltsanti said. “Give East credit— they’re explosive on offense and at the ‘X.’ A 3-2 game quickly became a deficit too big for us to climb back from.” BOYS’ LACROSSE: SUFFOLK LEAGUE II 1 2 3 4 FINAL SMITHTOWN EAST 2 6 3 2 14 SMITHTOWN WEST 0 2 1 4 7 “Our offense likes to share the ball,” said Willetts, who finished with three goals and two assists. “When we can move the ball around like that, it’s always a lot of fun, especially when you’re playing Smithtown West in front of a great crowd. To put on a show like that was exciting for us.” In a highly anticipated battle featuring two of the top face- off men in the nation—Arceri and Smithtown West junior midfielder Dan Varello—Arceri came out slightly ahead, 12- 7, including the decisive four wins in a row. “I knew this was going to be one of my toughest opponents, with the other being Northport’s Austin Henningsen [who Arceri beat, 20-10, in East’s 16-10 road loss, Saturday, April 18],” Arceri said. “I knew if I was going to have any success, I had to be on my ‘A’ game. I credit it to my quickness. I (Continued on page 24) WIN, LOSE OR DRAW: Smithtown East junior midfielder Gerard Arceri (above, #41) scoops up a ground ball on a face-off in front of Smithtown West junior midfielder Dan Varello (above, #22) during East’s 14-7 road victory, Wednesday, April 29. Arceri and Varello battled tooth and nail in a match-up of two of the nation’s top face-off specialists, with Arceri coming out ahead 12-7. -Richard Valeo photo
  2. 2. Page 30 ~ The Smithtown News ~ May 7, 2015 Sports Baker’sdozen Eagle diamondmen go to 13-0 in League V behind Fanti’s 14K, 2-hit shutout By ANTHONY LIFRIERI The Hauppauge baseball team’s bats gave senior pitcher Nick Fanti two runs in the first inning. It may as well have been 20. The Hauppauge senior left-handed ace was dealing Monday, May 4, spinning a two-hit complete- game shutout with 14 strikeouts—including six straight to start the game—during the Eagles 6-0 home victory over Kings Park, Monday, May 4 that made them a perfect 13-0 in League V play. “I was just going at them with the fastball,” said Fanti, who improved to 6-0 on the season and dropped his season ERA to 0.95 (see chart at right). “I make it a point to throw a first-pitch strike to try to get the fielders involved. They missed it though, so I didn’t even get a chance to work in the curveball until the fifth or sixth batter.” “That’s just Nick being Nick,” Hauppauge coach Josh Gutes said. “He goes right at the hitter, throwing strike after strike to pound the zone and make them DATE OPPONENT RESULT DEC IP H R ER HR BB SO 5/4 Kings Park W (6-0) W 7 2 0 0 0 3 14 4/27 @ Eastport-South Manor W (8-0) W 6 3 0 0 0 1 7 4/20 vs. Bellport W (13-3) W 5 2 3 3 0 5 9 4/13 Huntington (@ Ducks Stadium) W (6-0) W 7 0 0 0 0 1 16 4/6 @ John Glenn (NL) W (7-0) W 7 0 0 0 0 1 11 3/30 vs. Deer Park W (9-2) W 5 2 2 2 0 4 11 TOTALS: 6-0 record, 0.95 ERA, 0.65 WHIP 37 9 5 5 0 15 68 WEEKLY FANTI-SY UPDATEWEEKLY FANTI-SY UPDATE Hauppauge senior left-handed pitcher Nick Fanti is in the midst of a record-breaking season. His next start is slated for Monday, May 11 at West Babylon at 4 p.m. (Continued on page 25) BASEBALL: SUFFOLK LEAGUE V R H E KINGS PARK 000 000 0 0 2 3 HAUPPAUGE 201 003 X 6 10 1 SWEET STROKE: Hauppauge junior shortstop Billy Huber (far-left, #24) blasts a triple and Kings Park sophomore centerfielder Jake Feibusch (left, #5) goes back to make a catch in the Eagles’6-0 win overtheKingsmen,Monday, May 4. -Richard Valeo photos
  3. 3. Page 28 ~ The Smithtown News ~ May 7, 2015 By ANTHONY LIFRIERI Six individuals, one family and an athletic team will be inducted into the Smithtown Athletic Hall of Fame at the Hyatt Regency in Hauppauge, Saturday, May 9 at 8:30 a.m. The class of 2015 includes Lou Gambeski, Jen Maget, Scott Perri, Kristofer Xippolitos, Drew Duff, Dave Cummings, the Eagan Family and the 2003 Suffolk champion Smithtown boys’ lacrosse team. Sports Headoftheclass Gambeski part of 6-member HallofFameinductionclass also including Eagan family LOU “GAMBO” GAMBESKI How many individuals can say he or she has been involved in Smithtown Athletics for six decades? Only Lou GambeskI. Gambeski lettered in cross country, tennis and basketball before graduating Smithtown high school in 1968. He returned to Smithtown in 1973, beginning a 33-year career as a health teacher, but also coaching as a varsity coach that spanned 41 years. In that span, he guided six boys and girls’ tennis teams to league championships, winning League I Coach of the Year in 2013. However, Gambeski is best known for being the face of Smithtown boys’ basketball. He spent 34 years as head coach of Smithtown East and Smithtown Central, winning 326 games en route to five visits to the Suffolk Final Four and a League I championship in 1999. He also won League II Coach of the Year in 1983 and League I Coach of the Year in 1999, the last year his team made it to the county semifinals, where it lost to eventual Suffolk champion North Babylon. Gambeski resides in St. James, where he is finishing up his final season coaching boys’ tennis before retiring from coaching and moving to North Carolina. JEN MAGET Few athletes in the history of Smithtown athletics are more decorated than 2001 Smithtown High School graduate and Nesconset native Jen Maget. A star of both the girls’ soccer and lacrosse teams, Maget was the first All-American in school history playing lacrosse and also was All-County and All-Conference in soccer, starting all four years of high school in both sports. Maget also played four years of lacrosse at Hofstra University, starting all four of them. After graduating from Hofstra, Maget served on the coaching staff of Smithtown West’s varsity girls’ soccer team and the junior varsity girls’ soccer team from 2007-2009. She also coaches the Legacy Girls’ Lacrosse team as of 2015, and is a personal trainer and speed enhancement specialist. SCOTT PERRI There have been many three- sport athletes in the history of Smithtown West, but Scott Perri was its first four-sport player. Perri played lacrosse for four years, soccer for three, basketball for two and football his senior season, during which he broke the school record for longest field goal with a 43-yarder. In lacrosse, the 2007 graduate was All-County and All-Conferenceandsetaschool record with 86 goals in his senior season en route to the Team MVP award. In soccer, Perri was All-County and All-Conference, and ranked second in Suffolk County with 21 goals his senior season, also a school record. On the hardwood, he was All-League and Defensive MVP. Perri followed up his successful high school career with an even more successful collegiate career. He won the John Semanik Award in 2011, given to Drexel University’s top scholar-athlete, and was a United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association All- American. He ranked second in the nation in scoring with 4.8 points per game and ranked in the top 10 in all three major offensive categories: total points, goals and assists. He also had a stint in Major League Lacrosse, playing at one point for the New York Lizards and re-teaming with best friend, former Smithtown West teammate and Class of 2014 Hall of Famer Rob Pannell. A Smithtown resident, Perri currentlyworksasanassociate in the Equities Department at the Credit Suisse Group. KRISTOFER XIPPOLITOS Late in the tenure of the original Smithtown East, 1991 graduate Kristofer Xippolitos made history as the first player Topcatsoftenniscourts CougarssweepN’portinpushtowardsplayoffs By ANTHONY LIFRIERI It came as no surprise to both teams that Commack defeated Northport in a Suffolk League I boys’ tennis match Thursday, April 30. And it also came as no surprise that the match—which was decided by a 7-0 score— was still a hard-fought affair in which the outcome did not truly reflect the competitive nature of play. “Our effort is always there,” Northport coach Peter Quinn said. “I liked the way we moved and hit the ball, so I think we played well today. The score was not indicative of how we played.” Commack coach Shane Helfner was not only impressed with the Tigers’ effort but marveled at how gentlemanly they carried themselves despite one of the most intense school rivalries in the county lingering in the background. “Northport is always a team that brings 100 percent,” Mr. Helfner said. “Coach Quinn prepares them well, and there were some tight points we had to win. I also like that Northport is one of the nicest teams in terms of sportsmanship. It’s always good to play a team that acts the right way.” Both League I teams have already clinched playoff spots, which begin May 13. Although match-ups had not been announced at press time, Helfner likes the position his Cougars (10-3, 7-3 in League I) are in. “We’re in a good spot,” Helfner said. “We lost 4-3 to Hills East with a lot of three-set matches that could have gone either way, and 5-2 to Hills West with a lot of three-setters we couldn’t get at the end of the day. My guys know they can win any match against any of those guys, so hopefully we can make a run in the playoffs.” At first singles, Northport (4-8, 2-8 in League I) was missing its eighth-grade phenom Cannon Kingsley. Instead, the Tigers moved Jack Maline up from second singles to first against Commack’s Peter Yu. Although Yu controlled most of their match, the scrappy Maline still managed to push him before Yu pulled away with a 10-5 victory. “I hit my usual shots and used my usual strategy—I went offensive until I got down, then I took less risky shots,” Yu said. “I like to take the risky shots to finish games but when I’m down I like to play more conservatively to let them make mistakes.” Kingsley missed the meet because he was on a school field trip to Washington D.C. And although Yu said he wanted the challenge of facing Kingsley, he also thought Maline played well. “I knew this was going to be a challenge because I played him outside of school,” Maline said. “I just tried hitting as hard as I could, and took advantage whenever I saw an opening. I knew if I hit hard and consistently enough, I could play up to his level to some extent.” At second singles, Commack’s Sol Yoon won defeated Northport’s Daewoo Jeong, 10-5, while Commack’s Gabe Green defeated Northport’s Ian Buitenkant at third singles, 10-4. Commack’s Steven Slepian completed a clean sweep at singles, besting Northport’s Daijin Jeong, 10-0. “My game is all about consistency,” Slepian said of his win. “I don’t try to go too hard, just keep it in play and let them miss.” Slepian was also happy to help his Cougars score a perfect 7-0 victory as they continue their push for a county title. “It feels good not just to win but to contribute to the team,” he said. “We’re really looking to push for the Suffolk County championship, so I hope to continue contributing and help the team do well.” Commack also had a clean sweep at doubles. The Cougars’ first doubles pairing of Andy Zhou and Nick Fox bested Northport’s JC Unser and Evan Labott, 10-2, while Connor Burke and Brandon Kramer lifted the Cougars to victory at second doubles over Northport’s Zack Melchione and Zack Friedman, 10-2. The Cougars’ most dominant performance at doubles came from Jason Gerbs and Connor Wright, who won 10-1 over Northport’s Matt Semenaro and Dan Aranson. In its next matches, Commack edged out Ward Melville at home 4-3, Friday, May 1 before losing at Half Hollow Hills West, 6-1, Tuesday, May 5. However the Cougars fare in the playoffs, Helfner knows the spring 2015 can be considered nothing other than a success. “We have a lot of seniors, and it’s been nice to see them develop over the years,” he said. “It’s a little bittersweet to lose them after this year, but I’m proud of them and honored to watch them grow into young men. They’ve given a lot to the program and I can’t thank them enough.” Sean Eagan Kelly Eagan Kyle Eagan
  4. 4. The Smithtown News ~ May 7, 2015 ~ Page 29 in the history of its boys’ basketball team to achieve All-Conference, All- County and All-Tournament honors after leading East to the Suffolk semifinals at Stony Brook, where his Indians lost to eventual Suffolk champion Bay Shore. Theslithery,streakyfastXippolitosset a pair of school records in basketball for free throws and free-throw percentage en route to becoming a Long Island All-Star. In track, he was All-League in the long and triple jumps and was All-League in soccer. He also won the Section XI Gold Key award during his tenure at Smithtown before heading to Cortland State. Xippolitos is currently the Director of Fixed Income Strategy at Citi Private Bank. DREW DUFF While most dedicate their lives to serving their own personal purposes, 1979 Smithtown West graduate Drew Duff served his country. The United States Naval Academy graduate spent 36 years serving his government in the Navy, Department of Homeland Security and as a Diplomat, listing “Dedication to Faith, Family and Country” as his top achievement. For Smithtown, Duff excelled in soccer. A three-year starter, Duff was All-League for all three of them, held two school records and was on Long Island’s Empire State Games boys’ soccer team in 1978. He also coached and mentored hundreds of children in his 18 years of coaching soccer, basketball and lacrosse. DAVE CUMMINGS Already in the Smithtown Hall of Fame as part of the Cummings Family, 1984 Smithtown East graduate Dave Cummings can now call himself a two- time Hall of Famer for his contributions as an athlete, teacher and coach. Lou Gambeski Dave Cummings Kris XippolitosJen MagetDrew DuffScott Perri (Continued on page 27)
  5. 5. The Smithtown News ~ May 7, 2015 ~ Page 27 CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF BLACK BELTS: Empire State Karate, located at 86 Terry Road in Smithtown, will celebrate 50 years of providing Martial Arts to the community this Saturday, May 9 with its 50th Anniversary Black Belt Graduation. The ceremony for this year’s 43 Black Belt candidateswillbeheldatthe UpSKY Hotel in Hauppauge and led by senior staff (from left) Troy Bouton, Gordon Glucksman, lead instructor Ralph Bertelle, owner Hanshi Joyce Santamaria, John Hewlett Jr., Dave Korcz and Sean Quinones. Suffolk County Comptroller John M. Kennedy will be in attendancetopresentowner Hanshi Joyce Santamaria with a Proclamation of Service. Call 631-265-1555 for additional information. (Continued from page 29) Sports Originallaxchamps enterS’townH.O.F. Cummings dominated the wrestling mat, earning All-League honors four times and All-County honors twice, winning the county championship in 1984 before placing fourth in the state tournament. He also excelled wrestling at North Carolina State, winning a team ACC championship and was ranked eighth nationally before an injury derailed his quest for a national championship. But Cummings’ greatest impact came in coaching and teaching in the Smithtown School District since 1994. On the soccer pitch, Cummings’ teams won two league championships, a county title, Long Island title and finished fourth in the state, while also taking home Suffolk Coach of the Year honors. Cummings built a powerhouse on the wrestling mat, winning seven league championships and a county championship and earning Coach of the Year honors three times. THE EAGAN FAMILY The Eagans, consisting of Kelly, Sean and Kyle, are among the most decorated athletes in Smithtown Athletic history, while their mother, Kathy, is among the longest-tenured head coaches, serving as head coach of the varsity gymnastics team for 27 years. Sean, the eldest, graduated Smithtown High School in 2004 and excelled in wrestling and gymnastics. On the wrestling mat, Sean was twice All-County and a Suffolk finalist. In gymnastics, he was All-American in the parallel bars and vault. He earned Booster Club MVP in both sports. Kelly, a 2006 Smithtown High School graduate, is one of the greatest girls’ soccer players in Smithtown School District history. In her four years on the varsity team, Kelly was Suffolk County Player of the Year, All-Long Island, All-New York State and Booster Club MVP while also helping her team win a county championship. Kelly’s entrance into the Hall of Fame makes her a two-time Hall of Famer, as she was inducted as an individual in 2012. Kyle, the youngest, was a star football player, as well as following in the footsteps of his older brother Sean on the wrestling mat. On the gridiron, Kyle was Section XI MVP while being a four-time All- League wrestler as well as Booster Club MVP and Jack Spates Award winner. 2003 SMITHTOWN BOYS’ LACROSSE TEAM Until last year, the 2003 Smithtown team had the district’s only county champion in boys’ lacrosse. Entering the playoffs as the No. 4 seed, the Bulls edged out No. 5 seed and rival Sachem, 8-7, on a late quick-stick from Chris Born to Tom Burk. Smithtown then edged top-seeded and three-time defending county champion Northport, 6-5, thanks to a late goal from senior Matt Donovan, setting up a showdown with No. two seed West Islip—the same team East defeated for the 2014 Suffolk crown. In the 2003 title game, Donovan logged another clutch goal with 10.8 seconds left in regulation while goaltender Bryan Maggio helped stem the tide in a 5-4 victory. The 2003 team was led by longtime coach and Smithtown alum Kevin Huff, while current Smithtown East head coach Jason Lambert served as an assistant coach on the staff. FIRST-TIMERS: In a photograph that first ran on the front page of the June 5, 2003 edition of The NEWS, S m i t h t o w n laxmen (from left) Michael Petrucci, Tom Burk, Bryan M a g g i o a n d K e i t h L i z z i celebrate the school district’s f i r s t - e v e r boys’ lacrosse championship at Stony Brook U n i v e r s i t y ’ s t h e n - b r a n d - new LaValle Stadium. -Richard Valeo file photo
  6. 6. Page 26 ~ The Smithtown News ~ May 7, 2015 Sports SOFTBALL: SUFFOLK LEAGUE I R H E COMMACK 300 000 3 6 8 0 Northport 001 000 0 1 9 1 By ANTHONY LIFRIERI It’s one down, two to go for the Commack softball team. Alyssa Persich allowed one run on nine hits with 14 strikeouts and the Lady Cougars scored three times in the first inning en route to a 6-1 win at Northport, Tuesday, May 5 that kept them in position for the outright Suffolk League I championship. Commack (15-3) has leads of one game over Connetquot (14-4) and two games over Patchogue-Medford and Sachem East (both 13-5) with two games remaining. The Cougars can wrap up the league title by winning both of their final two games or clinch at least a share of the crown with one more win. They host William Floyd, Friday, May 8 at 4 p.m. and travel to Longwood, Monday, May 11 at 4:15 p.m. “I was hitting my spots and had a strong defense behind me,” said Persich, who s c a t t e r e d n i n e h i t s , walked none and fanned five of the first six batters she faced. “I was using mostly curve and screwballs, and I felt everything was strong today because we came out strong with our bats. It gave me confidence I carried through the game.” In actuality, though, the Cougars cameoutstrongwiththeireyes.Despite not registering a single hit against Northport pitcher Alexa Gonzalez until the fourth inning, they drew five first- inning walks to help generate three runs. Drawing bases on balls were Persich, shortstop Christina Rayfield, designated player Michelle Principe, first baseman Gabby Gambino and third baseman Jillian McFadzen. Catcher Nicole Michaels reached base on a throwing error by Gonzalez and second-baseman Gianna Venuti hit into a fielder’s choice as Commack took a 3-0 lead without logging a single hit. “They were seeing the ball well in that inning,” Commack coach Harold Cooley said. “It worked to our advantage then, but I think we got a little complacent as the game progressed.” Gonzalez,whoalsowentthedistance, took the blame for her lack of control in the first inning. “It was all mental,” she said. “I mentally wasn’t in the game and wasn’t exploding off the mound.” Rather than fold, though, Gonzalez willed herself back into the game, blanking Commack for the next five innings to keep it close. With the game already in hand, Commack scored thrice in the seventh. “I bore down and didn’t think,” Gonzalez said of her in-game adjustments. “My mechanics were off, so I regrouped, calmed down and had fun.” Gonzalez also showcased the ability to put her opponents away, striking out Cougarscloseinonleaguecrown Persich fans 14 as Commack keeps hold of first place with two games left 10 batters. “I was spinning the ball,” Gonzalez said, “threw a lot of balls up and inside to get outs. It worked so well, I didn’t throw my change-up, which is my put-out pitch, once.” Northport’s only run came in the third inning off a two-out double to deep centerfield by shortstop Jess Conforti, which scored second baseman Danielle Petrunti. The Tigers’ best chance to rally came in the bottom of the fourth when a single by leftfielder Abi Buell and a ground-rule double by catcher Emily Davenport put runners at second and third with no out. But Persich retired the next three batters in order (strikeout swinging, groundout and strikeout looking, respectively) to get out of the jam unscathed. “I stayed calm and didn’t let anything get to me,” Persich said. “I wanted to get those outs so I could get our bats back up.” Persich’s toughest challenge in the game was pitching to her Northport counterpart, Gonzalez, who went 3-for-3 with two singles and a double. “I tried to clear my mind and hack away,” Gonzalez said. “Whenever I see a good pitch, I go for it. I saw she was throwing outside so I waited for a curveball and served it to right.” The Tigers’ loss capped a senior day in which the team recognized and said goodbye to three key players. Next year, Northport (6-11) will be without the services of centerfielder Jackie Mauro (Scranton University), rightfielder Jessica Keller (Cazenovia College) and Gonzalez (Susquehanna University). “To come back one last time and pitch here means a lot to me,” Gonzalez said. “I had a lot of fun on this team. I had a lot of good memories and got to know some really good people.” Northport wraps up its season at Sachem North (10-7), Thursday, May 7 and at home against Sachem East, Monday, May 11. CLOSE CALL: Commack pinch runner Annamarie Santangelo (below, #2) slides into third base, centerfielder Alexa Corben (above, #21) takes a pitch and pitcher Alyssa Perisch (right, #7) deliv- ers a pitch in the Cougars’ 6-1 win over Northport, Tuesday, May 5. -Richard Valeo photos
  7. 7. The Smithtown News ~ May 7, 2015 ~ Page 25 Sports Trench Coat’s Take By ANTHONY LIFRIERI “You got a gift. When you wereababy,thegodsreached down and turned your right arm into a thunderbolt.” Those were the immortal words of Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) describing the natural talent of pitcher Ebby “Nuke” LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) in the baseball classic motion picture “Bull Durham.” The same could be said of Hauppauge senior Nick Fanti, whose team has Harnessed arm Hauppauge pitcher hits new heights on the mound as he reels in his mind swing and miss or put it in play.” The first two innings was just the beginning of his dominance, as Fanti fanned eight more batters en route to a 14-strikeout day, his most since fanning 16 in the second of his back-to-back no-hitters April 13. “I had my best fastball and off-speed I’ve had all year,” Fanti said. “Knowing I can put the fastball by them and get a swing-and-miss with a curve or change gives me confidence, and that confidence gets even greater when I know the fielders behind me are making plays, especially [junior shortstop] Billy Huber.” Huber brought it defensively throughout the entire game but showcased his glove in the sixth inning with a pair of sparklers. With Kings Park sophomore centerfielder Jake Feibusch leading off the inning, Feibusch poked a ball into the hole between second and third base. Huber ran into the hole, snagged backhanded the grounder and turned and fired a bullet to first base to rob Feibusch of a base hit Derek Jeter-style. In the next at-bat, Kings Park senior second baseman Anthony Fiorentine hit a scorcher to short, but Huber went down to one knee, handled a tough hop and threw a bullet to first to get the out. Huber also brought it at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and sparking a two-run first- inning rally with a leadoff triple to right-center. “Coach always says to buckle down with two strikes [1-2 count] and hit anything close to the zone,” Huber said. “Sometimes you just have to put your hands out and hit it hard.” Like Huber, Fanti also brought his bat bashing a double to right-center in the next at-bat to score Huber for the first of his two hits. Fanti came around to score when Kings Park junior pitcher Jake Shickler couldn’t handle a bunt off the bat of Hauppauge junior center fielder Bryan Seltenreich, giving the Eagles a 2-0 first-inning lead. “He started me out with a good pitch on the outside corner, but the next one was left over the middle of the plate,” Fanti said of the double. “I hit it over the middle and into the outfield. I was just looking to pull it over the right side to bring in Billy because he’s always on base. I think I might lead the team in RBIs because of him.” Hauppauge added another run in the bottom of the third off a single by Huber, another double by Fanti and a sacrifice fly to center field by senior catcher PJ Contreras that scored Huber. Ahead 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Hauppauge added three more insurance runs with a rally of consecutive singles by junior third baseman Tyler Sanderson, Seltenreich, and sophomore pinch hitter Matt Overton, who laid a perfect bunt down the third-base line that the Kings Park defense had to eat rather than risk an error. Junior pinch-hitter Kyle Wood ground into a 5-3 fielder’s choice, but Sanderson scored on the play to up the Eagles’ lead to 4-0. Shickler picked Overton off second base, but junior pinch hitter Devin Jenny blasted a triple to deep center field to score Seltenreich before an infield single by senior leftfielder Nick Scozzari brought him in to increase the Eagles lead to 6-0. While Hauppauge (14-1 overall, 13-0 league) pounded the ball to the tune of six runs on 10 hits, Kings Park (5-10, 5-8) only mustered two—a double by senior designated hitter Mike Romano and a bloop single to shallow center by senior second baseman Rich Woesnner. “We basically did what we’ve been doing all year— we came out flat and made too many mistakes,” Kings Park coach Mike Luzim said. “We let the game dictate itself instead of going out and doing something.” The win reduced Hauppauge’s magic number to clinching the league title to two. The result of the Eagles’ next game at Kings Park, Wednesday, May 6 was not available at press time. The Kingsmen will wrap up the three game series at Hauppauge, Thursday, May 7 at 4 p.m. Kings Park, which was eliminated from playoff contention with the loss, finishes the season in a three-game series with Huntington. The Kingsmen will be home, Monday, May 11 and Wednesday, May 13, while at Huntington, Tuesday, May 12. The first pitch for all games is scheduled for 4 p.m. Hauppauge wraps up its season with a three-game series against West Babylon. The Eagles will play on the road, Monday, May 11 and Wednesday, May 13, while at home, Tuesday, May 12. The first pitch for all three games is scheduled for 4 p.m ridden his flame-throwing left arm to the brink of an undefeated league championship season. Fittingly, Fanti’s fantastic season has hit Long Island like a thunderbolt. After playing his first three years of varsity baseball in relative anonymity—a period during which Fanti, like “Nuke,” could be erratic on the hill—Fanti has settled down, zoned in and “crashed” the scene hard this spring, delivering back-to-back no-hitters and four complete-game shutouts while drawing the attention of major- league scouts and NCAA programs. Mixed with a timely chosen change-up and a wicked curveball, Fanti has the kind of stuff that makes him capable of throwing a no-hitter every time he takes the mound. His control on the hill really comes down to his control of his mind. “Mental toughness goes a long way,” Fanti said. “In the past, I was an absolute head case when things didn’t go my way. I became a baby when that happened, so I worked hard to negate and minimize it.” If anyone is becoming a ‘baby,’ it’s opposing hitters when they face Fanti. Thus far, Fanti has struck out 68 batters in 37 innings, leading to an intimidation- factor that does in some teams before he even throws a pitch. Fanti also has minimized much more than just losses, WHIP and ERA this season. With a velocity that normally hovers in the upper 80-mph range but consistently topped 90 miles per hour against Kings Park, Monday, May 4 (see story, page 30), the humble Fanti has kept his mind in a much lower, steadier gear as he has reached new levels of athletic success. “It’s awesome, but it was never easy for me,” admitted Fanti. “Sitting there watching the game, you might say I’m just making it look easy. But I put in a ton of hard work and have gotten really strong over the last year. It’s helped me with my hitting and my pitching because my velocity is up and I’m hitting the ball farther.” Fanti has also established a camaraderie and internal competition with his battery mate, senior catcher PJ Contreras, that is somewhat similar to that of Crash and Nuke. “Even when I’m not throwing a no-hitter, people lookattheteamandsayHauppaugeisnotjustabout me. You have guys like [senior catcher] PJ Contreras hitting,” Fanti said, “and a great defense behind me that keeps the score low every day. Having a team like that helps boost my own performance.” Fanti, who also has helped himself at the plate with a .545 batting average, has the backing that gives him even more confidence every time he trots out to the hill. “Every time I go out, I think I’m going to shut the other team down,” Fanti said. “I throw strikes to get outs and believe no one can hit me. It’s more a competitive thing than actual ability, and one thing I’ve developed over the last couple of years.” A team-first mentality, however, often cannot be taught. But it clearly is inherent in Fanti’s genetic makeup. In every interview he cites his coach, Josh Gutes, several of his teammates, and always his catcher, Contreras as inspirations. Perhapsitisthatcohesiveness—thatappreciation for his teammates and mentors—that has the Eagles at 13-0 in League V, on the cusp of a league title and possibly the top overall seed in the playoffs. “It feels like we can do no wrong,” Fanti continued. “If I’m slumping, PJ is hitting, if he’s slumping, there are four other guys hitting. That’s why we’ve won so many games— there’s always someone stepping up to hit, field or pitch.” As of now, Fanti is committed to attending Division I Marist of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). But his reputation has fast spread far beyond Hauppauge to all corners of Long Island. Each time Fanti pitches, numerous Major League scouts come to watch, and Fanti continues to wow. “It makes me want to play better,” Fanti said of the extra attention lurking behind backstops and in the stands. “I’ve pitched in front of scouts for college, but these are Major League scouts. They give word to the main guys [of their organization] on whether they should consider me for the draft or not. “Playing in the majors is the dream. All I’ve ever wanted to do is play baseball as a professional. However, you can’t let it get in the way of the task at hand, because you’ve got to win the game first.” Northport’s John DeMartini has coached more than 1,000 games in his 30 years as coach of the Tigers baseball team. None of his pitchers have ever thrown a no-hitter, let alone two in a row like Fanti. “It’s pretty unique,” DeMartini said. “You don’t see too many no-hitters, so to have back-to-back no-hitters, you have to have something special. You have to have command of your pitches, keep the batters off-balance, and have a little bit of luck behind you along with a good defense.” While DeMartini may not have seen a no-no from one of his aces, he is accustomed to the hype a possible Major League draft pick like Fanti is receiving. At least two players during his tenure—1992 graduate David Sumner and 2008 graduate Ian Dickson—were followed by Major League scouts during their senior seasons. Dickson currently is pitching in the Washington Nationals’ organization, while Sumner chose to forego a professional baseball career to pursue a greater passion of football at the University of Pittsburgh despite being drafted in the fifth round by the New York Mets. “It was a lot of fun, especially the year with Sumner,” De Martini said. “We were invited to Shea Stadium the year he was drafted to meet a number of scouts from different teams like the Mets and Toronto. We also had meetings at his house, so I had to represent him in a way. It was a very interesting situation and experience. I remember when we went to Shea another time, we met one of the Mets’ executives who told him if he signed with them, he could see him playing the outfield in Shea in five years.” With his senior year in full swing, the best thing Fanti can do is enjoy the ride. DeMartini feels the same way. “Just be yourself,” De Martini advises. “Enjoy the moment, because you obviously have the talent.” Fantasticagain (Continued from page 30)
  8. 8. Page 24 ~ The Smithtown News ~ May 7, 2015 Sports tried beating him off the whistle, got 50-50 balls, and pushed as many fast breaks as I could to keep the momentum going.” East also opened the first period with three straight goals, starting with a quick-stick goal from Willetts to Barry with 6:12 left in the frame. Junior midfielder Trent Starr followed, ripping a high-velocity shot through the left side with 5:20 remaining, and DeSimone scored with 2:50 left to make it 3-0. It wasn’t all good news for East, however, as Starr went down with a torn posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) minutes after his goal. And then, just nine seconds into the second period, West finally got on the board. Varello won the period’s opening face-off and hit attackman Dan Caroussos, who found attackman Kyle Zawadzki in front of the crease. Zawadzki wasted no time after receiving the pass and put the ball into the cage before falling to the ground, cutting East’s lead to 3-1. Midfielder Dan Riley’s sidearm-shot into the lower-left corner of the cage with 7:35 left in the second quarter made it 3-2. West, despite its seven-goal deficit entering halftime, continued to fight in the second half, adding a third-quarter goal from Caroussos (2:16) and four more in the fourth quarter, including a pair from midfielder Jarrod Wilkom, one from Riley (9:59) and another from attackman Jimmy Caddigan (8:55). But it wasn’t nearly enough to offset East’s five second- half goals. “Any time you can win at game like that at your rival’s place is always a good thing,” Smithtown East coach Jason Lambert said. “Smithtown West is a good team that’s always up to the challenge. They’re an opponent we respect, and they respect us, so when we play them it’s always a good thing.” Although disappointed in the result, Smithtown West coach Bob Moltisanti was not disappointed with his team’s effort. “We played them 5-5 in the second half, so there’s no quit in our team,” Moltisanti said. “This is a loss we can learn from and be better for it.” For Barry (three goals, one assist), the key to East’s win came not during the game but in his team’s preparation. “We had two good days of practice leading up to the game, and were really focused,” Barry said. “We moved the ball, moved well off the ball and took advantage of any opportunity we could.” Smithtown East senior midfielder John Daniggelis (one assist) was happy with a win in his fourth and final lacrosse matchup with his intradistrict rivals. “Some of the best memories of my life were made in these games,” Daniggelis said of the East-West matchups. “These are the kind of things we’ll all talk about when we get back together at our reunion years later. I got to play with and against guys I love for the last four years. Our rivalry is friendly because we compete hard on the field but are best friends off it.” Willetts, East’s other four-year varsity player, echoed Daniggelis’ sentiment about the rivalry. “This means everything to us,” he said. “When I first came up to varsity, the first thing I could think of was the East-West game. It always puts a smile on my face. It’s such a nice thing to be part of, because we’re two great programs in the same town.” Following the loss, West (9-3, 8-2 League II) rebounded in a big way against Riverhead, scoring a 14-0 win at home against Riverhead for its second shutout of the season, Friday, May 1. Smithtown East continued its dominant play with a 17-5 win against visiting West Islip on Friday, May 1 in a rematch of last year’s county final. Senior goaltender Sean Turner made a career-high 22 saves in the victory. “I’m really proud of them to avoid an emotional letdown less than 48 hours after a tough opponent,” Lambert said. “[West Islip] did a good job of slowing the game down in the beginning, but Turner played his best game and bailed us out left-and-right. Once we got to the third, Arceri heated up, we were able to share the ball and we did some nice things.” Smithtown East and West both wrap up their regular-season schedules with a pair of road games. Smithtown West will play at Copiague, Wednesday, May 6 and at West Islip, Tuesday, May 12, with both games scheduled for 5 p.m.; Smithtown East will play at Riverhead, Wednesday, May 6 and at North Babylon, Friday, May 8. Both games are at 4:30 p.m. In the Eastport-South Manor — Kings Park softball game, sophomore pitcher Amanda DeLaura came in to relieve junior pitcher Gianna Cancemi, allowing one hit and one unearned run over 1 2/3 innings. The relief pitcher was incorrectly reported in the April 23 edition of The NEWS. * * * In the St. James 5-Mile Run follow-up story in the April 23 edition of The NEWS, Tracey Epstein was omitted from the race results. Epstein finished first in the female masters division and third overall among women with a time of 38 minutes, 19 seconds. Corrections (Continued from page 31) Eastlaxmendouble-upWestinBattleofBulls HEAD OF STEAM: Smithtown West midfielder Garrett Brunsvold (left, #37) leads a fast break for Smithtown West, and Smithtown East junior attackman Dan Rooney evades a Smithtown East defender in the Red Bulls’ 12-7 victory. -Richard Valeo photos

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