By doug mckenzieStaff Writer Young American Legion team loaded with talent, pitching depth By doug mckenzie Staff Writer VERONICA YANKOWSKI Bayshore Colt Matt Griffin fires a pitch during his team’s 13-1 win over the Red Bank Shamrocks on Saturday at Count Basie Park in Red Bank. The Bayshore Colts American Legion team may be off to a bit of a slow start, but head coach Marty Kenny is confident his team will rebound. His squad, which is made up of primarily players from Christian Brothers Academy’s JV and varsity teams, was 2-4 heading into last night’s game with the Red Bank Pirates, but was coming off an impressive showing on Saturday against the Red Bank Shamrocks. The Colts overcame its early season offensive struggles to post a 13-1 win over the squad from RBC. Though the Colts have played only six games following a series of rainouts, they have already proved to have plenty of talent and a luxury that most coaches dream of — pitching depth. “We’ve got a pretty young team with a lot of sophomores, but they’re all looking to become impact players for us next year on the varsity level,” Kenny said. “So far, I’m happy with the pitching and defense, both of which have been solid. VERONICA YANKOWSKI Red Bank’s Brian Ahearn tries to slap a tag on Bayshore’s Matt Arnella during Saturday’s game at Count Basie Park. “We’ve struggled a bit with the bats so far and have lost a lot of low-scoring games. I think we have about five total runs in our losses.” But Kenny is confident that his team’s bats will come around. “We’ve shown glimpses of improvement, but that has been the problem area,” he said. “But I’m happy that the pitching and defense have been there, because they have to be the constants if we’re going to be successful.” The Colts’ pitching staff is headed by Kevin Lillis, who posted a 7-1 mark on the varsity squad at CBA this year despite being a sophomore. In fact, Lillis’ one loss came in the Parochial A championship game against Seton Hall Prep, an 11-inning thriller. “Kevin did a real nice job for us this season, and I expect him to continue to excel this summer,” Kenny said. “He’ll be the No. 1 guy for us, but there are a lot of very good arms behind him. Those guys know that they’ll all be competing for innings this summer, and I think that’s a good thing.” Among the guys Kenny will be looking to bolster the rotation are a number of underclassmen who saw some varsity action this past spring but spent most of their time pitching for the JV squad. Guys like Matt Griffin, Jeff Schneider, Kyle Seibit and Sean Driscoll should keep the Colts in games this summer. Kenny added that he has a couple of other young arms that he expects to contribute to the CBA varsity squad next spring, but he has them playing elsewhere. “I have some guys playing junior legion ball, and have a couple of guys up in New York playing in the Bayshore Yankees Organization. They play something like 80 games up there, and I can’t compete with that down here, so it’s good for them.” Jordan Warnke, a freshman shortstop/ pitcher who played on the JV team this spring, and Matt Bock, a second baseman/ pitcher who would have seen significant varsity time this spring if not for a serious eye injury, are the players in New York whom Kenny expects big things from next year. As for the lineup, it’s pretty young, with just a handful of varsity players scattered throughout, starting with center fielder Ryan Murphy. “Ryan is kind of our leader,” Kenny said. “He’s a two-year varsity starter and the only real veteran on our team.” Other players from this year’s varsity squad include catcher Phil Cahill, shortstop Pete Delleani, right fielder Frank Lombardi and left fielder Todd Burnaford. “Phil split time at catcher with a senior and did a real nice job,” Kenny said. “Pete started for us all year and was solid. Todd started two-thirds of the games for us and played well. He’s a good hitter.” John Minio is the team’s first baseman, while Ryan Driscoll will split time with Lillis at second base, when Lillis isn’t pitching. At third base, the Colts feature Dan Gallagher and Mike Luciano. Lombardi starts in right field, with Joe Durso also seeing time in the outfield. “Joe played mostly JV for us last year as a sophomore, but we project him to be a pretty good hitter,” Kenny said. Other players who will look to contribute for the Colts this summer include Matt Arnella and Brian Shubsda, a second baseman/catcher who played JV last year. Thus far, the Colts’ offense has been inconsistent, though Kenny said some players have looked good in the box. “Durso has swung the bat well for us,” he said. “He’s a left-handed hitter with good power. And Delleani is struggling a bit right now, but he will be fine. I’m also expecting big things from Gallagher and Minio, and Lombardi and Burnaford are proven hitters.” The Colts have the rest of the week off following last night’s game but will be very busy over the next few weeks, trying to make up all of the rainouts. “We should be playing four to five games a week throughout the month,” Kenny said. That kind of stretch can take its toll on a pitching staff, which has been the strength of the team thus far. If the bats catch up to the pitching and defense, it should make for a very productive summer for the Colts.
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By Nemanja BjedovMarcos Baghdatis lost in the quarterfinals of the ATP World Tour 500 Citi Open in Washington to American John Isner 7-6(5), 4-6, 4-6 late on Friday.The 28-year-old Cypriot was forced to save three break points in his opening service game, before steadying and eventually forcing a tie-break.Leading 6-5 in the tie-break, Baghdatis read Isner’s first serve and managed a quality return, prompting a forehand error from the towering American to claim the opener.Unforced errors proved costly for the Cypriot in the seventh game of the second set, and a double fault on break point gave Isner a crucial 4-3 lead which he used to level the match.The American then broke through at the same stage in the third set, breaking World No. 44 Baghdatis to love in the seventh game before serving out victory in one hour and 56 minutes.After returning to winning ways in Washington, Baghdatis will now take part in the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Coupe Rogers in Montreal, which begins on Monday. He has been drawn to face 13th-seed Fabio Fognini of Italy in the opening round.Fognini leads 2-1 the overall head-to-head series against Baghdatis, with all three of their matches played last year.The Italian celebrated twice early in the season on clay in Bucharest and at the Rome Masters, while Baghdatis recorded a convincing straight sets victory on hard surface at the Shanghai Masters.This will be the sixth participation at the Canadian Masters for Baghdatis, whose best result at the event came in 2007 when he reached the third round.Last season in Toronto he was eliminated by Croatian Marin Cilic in the second round.
By Mark GleesonGhana’s Football Association (GFA) denied British media reports on Monday that it had agreed to rig international matches and asked Ghanaian police to investigate two GFA officials the reports linked to the deal.The Daily Telegraph and Channel 4 television’s Dispatches programme in London said they uncovered the case during a six-month investigation into match-fixing.GFA president Kwesi Nyantakyi said the reports were “a representation of half-truths and half-lies.“It’s not true that we have agreed with match fixers or people who intend to organise matches of convenience between the Black Stars and any opponent in the future,” he said from Maceio in Brazil where Ghana are based for the World Cup finals.Nyantakyi has since added, in a BBC interview, that he intended to sue The Daily Telegraph and the Channel 4 show.FIFA said they had been contacted by the Ghana Football Association on the matter.“In line with standard procedures, FIFA’s Security Division is evaluating the matter. It is important to note that we have no indications that the integrity of the World Cup has been compromised,” a spokesman told Reuters.A reporter for the newspaper and a former investigator for world soccer’s governing body FIFA claimed to represent a company that would buy the rights to friendly matches.The two officials said they could help recruit referees who would rig the matches and the Daily Telegraph said a contract they submitted to the GFA spelled out conditions of the deal, including who would appoint the referees.The Telegraph carried a video on its website showing what it said was a meeting between the two GFA officials and the former FIFA investigator where the match-fixing was discussed.STRONG SANCTIONS“The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has requested the Ghana Police Service to investigate two persons for misrepresenting the GFA with an attempt to defraud,” the association said in a statement on its website.“The GFA did not sign the contract (and) the two gentlemen did not make such corrupt offers to the GFA or its officials,” it said.“We wish to assure the public that we will not tolerate such misrepresentations and we will seek strong sanctions against such individuals if such claims are found to be true.”Ghana held Germany to a 2-2 draw in one of the most exciting games of the World Cup on Saturday.“We have explained (the allegations to the players) and our motive is to insulate them from some of these challenging publications that are intended to disturb the focus of our team,” Nyantakyi added on Monday.“They seem to appreciate what we are trying to do. I can assure everyone that this negative reportage has no negative effect on the psyche and the focus of our players.” Telegraphs football match-fixing video
By Graham WoodUnder-pressure Greece coach Claudio Ranieri was publicly backed by Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) president Giorgos Sarris on Thursday amid doubts over the Italian’s future after his team’s dire start to the Euro 2016 qualifiers.Ranieri, who has been in charge for three matches since succeeding the Portuguese Fernando Santos following the World Cup, has come under intense scrutiny from the Greek media after a 2-0 home defeat by Northern Ireland in Athens on Tuesday.The result left the Greeks, the 2004 European Champions, second bottom in Group F with just one point gleaned from their opening three games.“In my personal opinion, he must stay,” Sarris told radio station Sport FM.Sarris and other EPO officials held a meeting with Ranieri following Tuesday’s miserable defeat at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium, when the hosts were taught a harsh footballing lesson by a hungrier and more direct Northern Ireland side.“It’s my understanding (from the meeting) that some of the players he had put his trust in, because of their experience and personalities, didn’t produce the expected level of performance that they are capable of. He felt very disappointed and let down by this and is thinking very differently now,” Sarris added.Greece, who made it to the last 16 of the World Cup in Brazil before being eliminated on penalties by Costa Rica, still have time to turn things around.There are seven matches remaining in qualifying and a good performance in their next game at home to the Faroe Islands on November 14 may ease some of the pressure on Ranieri.
By Tim HanlonAtletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres believes coach Diego Simeone’s clear understanding of the team’s weaknesses has been the key to their success as they seek revenge against Real Madrid on Tuesday for last season’s Champions League final defeat.With the determined Argentine at the helm, Atletico have belied their economic inferiority to become one of the most dangerous sides in Europe and now the La Liga champions take on Real aiming once again for a place in the semi-finals of the continent’s elite competition.In the past Atletico were accustomed to being swept aside by the footballing aristocrats, who claimed their 10th European crown against them in Lisbon, but now they are more than capable of trading blows.In fact since that final, when Atletico were agonisingly close to a victory before a Sergio Ramos header forced extra-time and then Real ran away with the match, Simeone’s side has had the upper hand in the Madrid clashes.Atletico beat Real to win the season’s Super Cup curtain-raiser, knocked them out of the King’s Cup and defeated them in both La Liga clashes. The manner of their 4-0 demolition of Real in February’s league meeting even led to questions about the future of coach Carlo Ancelotti.“It is his character as a player and his character as a coach that drives the team,” Torres told UEFA.com of Simeone ahead of Tuesday’s home quarter-final first leg.“He knows we are a team that needs to know what we are about, our weaknesses and our strengths, but above all our weaknesses so we can then implement our qualities.“We don’t have the options that Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Chelsea have, we cannot drop points and make up for them later. We are a team that plays at our limit.”The pressure is very much on Ancelotti going into the game with Real having surrendered their La Liga lead and dropping two points behind Barcelona.Even so there are positive signs with the team finding its form in recent weeks following the return of Luka Modric and James Rodriguez from injury.Cristiano Ronaldo is also firing on all cylinders with eight goals from four games.“Ronaldo is able to take advantage because we are now playing with more speed and this gives him space in front of goal,” Ancelotti told a news conference.“This intensity will be one of the important factors against Atletico.”
Since their inception in 1986, the promotion deciding matches have produced some classic encounters.Here, we recount some of the best Championship play-off finals.For more articles and the latest soccer news, check out 90min.com
By Toby DavisFormer England manager Steve McClaren was appointed Newcastle United head coach on Wednesday after the club earlier said interim boss John Carver and his assistant Steve Stone had left.The 54-year-old McClaren, who was in charge of Newcastle’s north-east rivals Middlesbrough from 2001-06 before taking over as England boss, has agreed an initial three-year deal that could be extended to eight.“I am privileged to be appointed head coach of Newcastle United,” McClaren said on the club website (www.nufc.co.uk).“St James’ Park is like a cathedral on a Saturday afternoon, a symbol for the city and I am excited to be given this opportunity.”McClaren arrives at Newcastle after two seasons at Derby County, which ended in disappointment when they failed to make the Championship (second tier) promotion playoffs last month.He was an unsuccessful manager of England, failing to qualify for the 2008 European Championship finals after replacing Sven-Goran Eriksson.The Yorkshireman re-established his reputation, however, while working in the Netherlands with Twente Enschede.“From my first meeting with Steve I knew he was the perfect fit for Newcastle United,” said Newcastle’s managing director Lee Charnley.“I am delighted that we have secured the services of one of the best coaches in English football.”McClaren faces a major rebuilding job at a club that narrowly avoided relegation from the Premier League after a dreadful second half of the season.Long-serving coach Carver was handed the reins at the turn of the year following Alan Pardew’s move to Crystal Palace, but the team won only three games under his stewardship.Despite keeping Newcastle in the top flight, Carver’s long association with the club ended on Wednesday.“After discussions with John it was mutually agreed that in the best interests of the club moving forward, and to enable the new head coach to build his own coaching team, we would go our separate ways,” Charnley said.“He is a man of great character and dignity and will always be welcome at Newcastle United. We wish him every success in the future,” he added in a statement.Carver said: “It has been a privilege to serve as head coach of this great football club. The fans and the region deserve a successful team and both myself and my support staff worked very hard with the squad that was available to us.”Stone, a former England international, had been a coach at the club since 2010.
By Julien PretotMonaco forward Anthony Martial is poised to join Manchester United after being allowed to leave the France training camp to sign his contract on deadline day, the French federation said on Monday.“He asked Didier Deschamps the authorisation to travel to England to sign a contract with Manchester United. Given the exceptional circumstances, the coach has granted that authorisation to the player,” the FFF said in a statement.British media reported that United have offered 36 million pounds for the 19-year-old, who scored nine goals in 35 Ligue 1 appearances last season.The uncapped Martial was called up by Deschamps for friendlies against Portugal in Lisbon and Serbia in Bordeaux.
FANS of Germany, Poland and Ireland will be scratching their heads and sporting furrowed brows as they try to figure out their team’s chances of qualifying for Euro 2016 ahead of Sunday’s final round of Group D matches.In football parlance, everything is still to play for as one point separates the top three after world champions Germany suffered a shock 1-0 defeat away to Ireland and Poland secured a last-gasp 2-2 draw against hosts Scotland on Thursday.Group leaders Germany, with 19 points, remain in the box seat and will go through with a win or a draw in their final encounter against Georgia. Should they lose that match, however, they could find themselves outside of the top two.Poland and Ireland face each other in Warsaw. A win for either team will send them through, but the complexities of the group mean that both could qualify with a draw.After the first match between the two teams ended 1-1 in Dublin in March, a 0-0 draw on Sunday would ensure Poland finish above Ireland because they would have scored more away goals in meetings between the sides.Poland would also finish above Ireland with a 1-1 draw due to their superior goal difference in all their group matches. Should their final match end 2-2 or a higher scoring draw, then Ireland would finish above Poland, having scored more away goals in matches between the sides.Should the unthinkable happen and world champions Germany lose their final match at home to Georgia then any draw between Poland and Ireland would see all three teams finish on 19 points and Germany would go out due to an inferior head-to-head record.However, Poland’s hopes were dealt a blow on Saturday with three players ruled out by injury.Striker Arkadiusz Milik, defender Maciej Rybus, and midfielder Tomasz Jodlowiec were all injured during Poland’s 2-2 draw with Scotland in Glasgow on Thursday, the squad’s medical chief Jacek Jaroszewski confirmed.Milik, who plays for Ajax Amsterdam, is facing a two week layoff with a muscle tear, while Rybus who plays for Terek Grozny in Russia and Jodlowiec, who plays for Legia Warsaw, also picked up muscle injuries.Milik and Rybus both started the match but came off in the second half when Jodlowiec replaced Milik.