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Port Jefferson’s Shane DeVincenzo scored a hole in one at the Port Jefferson Country Club on Oct. 8. Photo from the Port Jefferson school district
Port Jefferson’s Shane DeVincenzo scored a hole in one at the Port Jefferson Country Club on Oct. 8. Photo from the Port Jefferson school district

It was one for the record books, as Royals freshman Shane DeVincenzo recorded his first hole-in-one during a game against Mount Sinai at the Port Jefferson Country Club on Oct. 8.

“Not many people can say they’ve made a hole-in-one, particularly during a competition,” Port Jefferson head coach Charles Ruoff said. “Shane has quickly become one of the strongest players in our league as a ninth-grader.”

DeVincenzo, who has been playing golf for the past two seasons, took the hole-in-one shot with a six iron on Hole No. 2, playing 166 yards. He went on to shoot 33 for nine holes, barely missing a 15-foot putt for 32.

“We are all very proud of Shane,” athletic director Debra Ferry said. “He works really hard.”

With DeVincenzo’s hole-in-one, the Port Jefferson varsity golf team went on to win the League VI game against Mount Sinai, with a final score of 8-1.

Senior striker scores hat trick in Tigers’ win over Copiague

Charlie Theofield gets ready to score his hat trick goal for Northport. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Senior striker Charlie Theofield scored again, again and again Tuesday, to help propel the Northport boys’ soccer team to a 4-2 win over Copiague.

Northport's Joseph Malico sends the ball into Copiague’s zone between two opponents. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Northport’s Joseph Malico sends the ball into Copiague’s zone between two opponents. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“Everyone was working hard and we played well,” he said following the win. “The first goal came after my goalie Kiernan Kirby kicked it up, and I wasn’t expecting it at first, but it went in, and the other two came naturally — I was in the right place in the right time, like I should be.”

Theofield got the Tigers on the scoreboard first when he chipped a shot in, over the Copiague goalkeeper’s head, as he came out the box to try to make a save, for the early 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the matchup.

Fewer than 10 minutes later, Theofield did it again, with the same shot straight up the middle and over the goalkeeper’s head, to give his team a 2-0 advantage.

“We pressed up a lot,” Theofield said. “Even thought we know we clinched playoffs, we should still be playing for first, and we’ve got to keep our offense up.”

With 25 seconds left in the first half, sophomore midfielder Joseph Malico gained possession of the ball with a defender on his hip and sent his shot to the center of the net for a 3-0 lead heading into the halftime break.

Northport's James McKenna tangles with a Copiague player in a race for possession. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Northport’s James McKenna tangles with a Copiague player in a race for possession. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“I thought we played really hard all game long,” Northport head coach Don Strasser said. “I though Copiague played really strong — they never gave up and they battled, but putting away a couple of goals early on in the first half helps the team.”

Less than three minutes into the second half, Copiague put its first point on the board, with a shot into the far left corner.

After a long scoring drought, and a save by senior goalkeeper Ahmad Timsah to keep the score unchanged, Theofield scored his hat trick goal.

With 4:25 left, the Copiague goalkeeper came out of the net to make a save, and punched the ball away amid a flurry of opponents. He pushed the ball straight toward the feet of Theofield, who seized his opportunity and knocked it in past the diving keeper for a 4-1 lead.

With 45 seconds left on the clock, Copiague scored its second goal of the game, to bring the final score to 4-2.

Northport's Jordan Amella dribbles the ball downfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Northport’s Jordan Amella dribbles the ball downfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We sort of died out at the end, but most of the game we were taking it to them, and that’s what we need to do for the rest of the season,” Theofield said. “We’re going to playoffs, and we’re hoping to take it to states.”

The team moves to 8-3 in League II with the win, has only let an opponent score three goals once, and has only given up two goals twice this season.

Despite losing two players in senior midfielder Dimitri Mendrinos and junior defender Ryan Pedersen, the team continues to rack up the wins.

“Every game is really a battle, so we just always have to play our best game,” Strasser said. “Since Dimitri’s injury, we are 2-1, and this is the first game without Ryan, so the first half we were 5-2, and the second half, right now, we’re 3-1, so all is good so far. At any given day, some team can beat you, so you just have to be on task and play hard from whistle to whistle; so we have to continue to play well.”

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The Middle Country girls’ cross country team poses for a group photo at Sunken Meadow State Park. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Middle Country girls’ cross country squad were handed the victory by forfeit, as they took on Commack Tuesday afternoon at Sunken Meadow State Park. Both teams were released together as the pack disappeared over the wooden footbridge for the 2.7-mile event, but Commack ran the wrong course, leaving the Mad Dogs the victors by a score of 50-15.

It was a multischool meet with schools from all over Suffolk County pairing off in front of a large crowd of onlookers.

Camila McCusker runs for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon
Camila McCusker runs for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon

Middle Country head coach Bill King said both teams were evenly matched and knew the meet would be determined by a couple of points. Nearly 20 minutes after the start of the race, the best runners of the day turned the corner and headed down the home stretch. The only problem was, it was only Commack crossing the finish line, without a Middle Country runner in sight.

King said he couldn’t understand the disparity, and Middle Country senior Olivia Rogers said the Commack runners didn’t complete the same course that her team ran.

“The times are a little messed up because Commack ran a different course than we did,” the co-captain said. “We ran a different distance than they did —  they took a shortcut, so I don’t know if there’s even going to be a score.”

It turns out that King’s suspicion was right, and after a lengthy postrace investigation, the Commack runners were found to have turned off the official race route and ran a shorter distance. The Commack head coach admitted his team’s mistake and handed the victory to Middle Country.

“It should’ve been a very close meet, but I knew something was wrong when I saw them coming in one, two, three and four,” King said. “It should’ve been much closer, and the difference should have only been a couple of points [between us].”

But before the dust settled, the first across the finish line for Middle Country was senior Samantha Plunkett, who said she wasn’t happy with her performance because she had done better at her previous meet.

Samantha Plunkett runs for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon
Samantha Plunkett runs for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon

“I’ve run faster than I did today, so it wasn’t my best,” she said. “I ran faster two weeks ago when we versed Lindenhurst, but today, the conditions were OK.”

Crossing the line in second was sophomore Camila McCusker, who has similar feelings as Plunkett regarding her own performance.

“Today wasn’t my best — I was a couple of seconds off,” McCusker said. “It was a little hotter today than normal.”

Crossing the line for third was Rogers, followed by sophomore Kayla Juran, and finishing in the final points paying position was eighth-grader Nevaeh Kallon.

“We have a close group of girls — [myself], Camila McCusker, Kayla Juran and Samantha Plunkett,” Rogers said. “The team we versed last time was Sachem East, I think they’re the best in the county, so they pushed us really hard. We wanted to stay as close as we could with them; gain some respect.”

Middle Country competed with just nine girls, where most other teams field many more runners. King said that his team puts the emphasis on quality, not quantity.

With the win, Middle Country improves to 3-1 in League II and hits the road next for a tri-meet with Sachem North and Central Islip on Tuesday at Sunken Meadow State Park at 4 p.m.

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Huntington's Douglas Taylor rushes through traffic. File photo by Darin Reed

The Huntington football team lost little time getting down to business on Sunday afternoon, scoring on the second play from scrimmage and going on to topple previously undefeated Deer Park on its home field, 26-6.

Infinite Tucker gains yards for Huntington. File photo by Darin Reed
Infinite Tucker gains yards for Huntington. File photo by Darin Reed

Infinite Tucker took the handoff from quarterback Will Wright and scooted 36 yards for the opening touchdown, setting the game’s tone. Tucker scored again on a 1-yard plunge in the second quarter after breaking a long run two plays earlier. A few minutes later, Wright hit Exzayvian Crowell on a slant pattern over the middle and the track star sprinted 68 yards to the corner of the end zone for Huntington’s third touchdown of the first half.

Sandwiched in between the Blue Devils’ second and third touchdowns was a 41-yard touchdown run by Deer Park, which helped keep the Falcons in the game until late in the fourth quarter. Douglas Taylor scored Huntington’s fourth and final touchdown of the day on a 6-yard run.

“We stepped up our level of play today and did a lot of things right,” Huntington head coach Steve Muller said. “Our guys played hard and with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. They had their heads in the game.”

It was a productive day for Tucker, who rushed 13 times for 127 yards. The running back also recorded a team-high 11 tackles. Taylor tallied 50 yards on 11 carries. Wright completed two of four passes for 76 yards.

Huntington quarterback Will Wright passes the ball in a previous contest. File photo by Darin Reed
Huntington quarterback Will Wright passes the ball in a previous contest. File photo by Darin Reed

Huntington’s defense limited Deer Park to just 51 yards of total offense in the second half. Seven Blue Devils made tackles that resulted in a loss for the Falcons. Max Polster had nine tackles on the day, including one for a loss.

Playing a rare Sunday game after a fierce storm postponed Friday night’s contest, the Blue Devils needed a victory badly to stay in the hunt for a postseason berth.

Huntington led at halftime, 20-6 and was never seriously threatened, despite a few ill-timed penalties. The victory improved the Blue Devils’ record to 2-3, while the loss dropped Deer Park to 4-1.

Huntington plays at Centereach on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Blue Devils will look to even their record at 3-3. Centereach (3-2) fell on Saturday to West Islip, 41-0.

“We need a good practice week to get ready for Centereach,” Muller said. “There is always a lot of things to work on. We are looking to improve every aspect of our play.”

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Kings Park's Jessica Hoyt tangles with an opponent. Photo by Desirée Keegan

One bolt of lightning cut short the Kings Park girls’ soccer team’s chances of remaining undefeated Friday afternoon.

Kings Park's Genevieve Carpenter breaks away with the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Kings Park’s Genevieve Carpenter breaks away with the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

With 6:05 left on the clock, the referees saw lightning and immediately called the game as per Section XI rules, leaving Hauppauge ahead, 3-1, and ending the Kingsmen’s 12-game unbeaten streak.

“We’re playing very shorthanded — we’re down three starters, and they still played their butts off,” Kings Park head coach Bryan LoPalo said of his team. “We got girls filling in in positions they’re not comfortable in and they’re doing a pretty good job, but it’s a tough team that we just played.”

In the first half, with 21:53 left to play, senior forward and co-captain Genevieve Carpenter took a long shot from outside the right goal side, and as the Hauppauge goalkeeper came out of the box to make a save, the ball rolled past her and into the empty net for the early 1-0 lead despite Hauppauge dominating the time of possession up until that point.

Five minutes later, Hauppauge tied the game, 1-1, when Nicole Scudero scored off a foul kick. While Kings Park was still trying to set up blockers, Scudero saw an opportunity to take advantage of the Kingsmen’s scrambling and hit her mark with a straight shot to the top left corner of the net, past a diving Caroline Galdorisi.

Kings Park's Shakila Sevanan throws the ball into play. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Kings Park’s Shakila Sevanan throws the ball into play. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Coming into the second half like it was a new game, Carpenter had another early attempt, but couldn’t capitalize as her shot rebounded off the cage.

Again, minutes later, Hauppauge had its chance, but Lauren Mastandrea made sure her shot off a cross into the box just made it past a Kings Park defender who was guarding the goal after Galdorisi came out to attempt to make a save, giving the Eagles their first lead, 2-1.

With 6:22 left to play, Hauppauge made an attempt that was saved by Galdorisi but she couldn’t get a good grasp on the ball, and Scudero grabbed the rebound and sent it in for the 3-1 advantage. Galdorisi, a senior and co-captain, made nine saves on the evening.

“It’s a great team, they’re a very talented group, they’re just a little shorthanded right now and they’ll get it back together,” LoPalo said of his players. “They showed toughness, they showed heart. They don’t stop; they didn’t quit. We know what we’re doing, but it’s not our best game of the year.”

Kings Park's Noelle Perciballi winds up to strike the ball out of midfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Kings Park’s Noelle Perciballi winds up to strike the ball out of midfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Play was stopped just seconds later on account of the lightning, and with that it was up in the air as to whether or not Kings Park was still undefeated. As per Section XI on Tuesday, the results have officially counted. With the loss, the Kingsmen drop to 8-1-2 in League IV (9-1-3 overall) but are still top, while Hauppauge moves to second place (9-2-0).

Moving forward, LoPalo said he needs his team to remain healthy, in the hopes that it can make the playoff push he’s looking for.

“Hauppauge was giving us their all — they played hard and they played well,” LoPalo said. “But our goal is to be state champs. That’s always the goal. If we can stay healthy, we have a lot of ability and I think at this point in time, it’s just that our bench got shortened, so girls are playing more time than they really should have to.”

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Will Tye celebrates as he competes for Stony Brook University. File photo from SBU
Will Tye competes for Stony Brook University. File photo from SBU
Will Tye competes for Stony Brook University. File photo from SBU

Former Stony Brook University tight end Will Tye made history on Sunday when he became the first former Seawolves player to appear in a game in the National Football League. Tye was signed to the New York Giants’ active roster off the franchise’s practice squad on Saturday.

The tight end made his debut in the first quarter and was in on multiple plays, including being the target of Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning on a passing play in the second quarter. In the game, he caught the ball three times for 40 yards.

The Middletown, Conn., native played for Florida State University before transferring to Stony Brook. He played in 23 games for the Seawolves and pulled down 79 catches for 1,015 yards and nine touchdowns in his two seasons. He also returned 30 punts for 166 yards.

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Senior running back Bryan Hurley and sophomore running back Kai Cochrane each run for over 120 yards for the Warriors in the loss

By Joe Galotti

Coming off back-to-back blowout losses, the Comsewogue football team showed plenty of fight in their homecoming matchup against Hauppauge Saturday, but ultimately came up short on the scoreboard, falling 35-21. Senior running back Bryan Hurley and sophomore running back Kai Cochrane each ran for over 120 yards for the Warriors in the loss.

“We dug ourselves a hole with turnovers in the first half,” Comsewogue head coach Sean Tremblay said. “We battled back into the fourth quarter, but some untimely penalties and poor third and fourth down defense really cost us.”

The Warriors also lost starting junior defensive end Andy Suarez for the season in the game, after he suffered a broken leg in the third quarter. Suarez marks the fifth starter Comsewogue has seen go down with a season-ending injury this year.

“We’ve been playing with a lot of guys that at the beginning of the season weren’t starters,” Tremblay said. “But to the kids’ credit, they’re still fighting.”

After falling behind early in their previous two games, the Warriors did the same against the Eagles. Hauppauge opened the game’s scoring in the first quarter with a 5-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Thomas Balcom to  wide receiver Dominic Paresi. In the second quarter, Balcom and Paresi connected in the end zone again, this time, on a 10-yard reception.

Hurley got Comsewogue back in the game with a 1-yard rushing touchdown, cutting the Eagles lead to just 14-7 at the halftime break.

“All eleven guys [on offense] played their hearts out on every play,” he said. “Our line was able to get a great push, and when our backs weren’t running the ball, we blocked for each other.”

After a scoreless third quarter, Hauppauge’s star running back, Marcus Bisono, began to take over the game. The senior delivered a 15-yard and 10-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.

The running backs for the Warriors also stepped up in the final 12 minutes of the game. Hurley and Cochrane each registered a touchdown run as Comsewogue trailed by just seven points late in the contest.

But, the duo of Balcom and Paresi would come up big again for the Eagles. Balcom delivered a 60-yard touchdown pass to his wideout, a play that would secure the win for Hauppauge.

While the Warriors defense as a whole struggled to contain the Eagles, Tremblay said senior defensive back Austin Haynia was a standout in the game. The senior defended two passes, and came up with several key tackles. Tremblay also liked what he saw from Suarez, before he exited the game.

On the flip side of the ball, Comsewogue’s head coach was very pleased with what his team was able to do on the ground.

“If there’s any silver lining to losing the game, it’s that we ran the ball very well,” Tremblay said. “I was happy offensively.”

Cochrane agreed.

“The offensive line did a great job getting off the ball quickly and creating holes so our backs could make the right cuts and get first downs,” he added.

The Warriors’ fan base showed their passion for the team on Saturday. Even with Comsewogue entering its homecoming weekend without a win, the school’s supporters created an exciting atmosphere for the game.

“The community is fantastic; they always come out and support,” Tremblay said. “With us entering the game at 0-4, it would have been easy for them just to stay home, or just do the parade and go home. But, they all came to the game and cheered us on till the very end.”

Even at 0-5 in Division III, the season is far from over for the Warriors. Entering as the No. 7 seed will help Comsewogue’s standing come playoff time, and if the team is able to win at Harborfields next week, and come away with a win in one of its final two games against highly ranked and undefeated Sayville and East Islip, a postseason berth would still be a possibility.

Harborfields ties game to end 3rd quarter, Eagles score three touchdowns to pull away, 48-33

By Bill Landon

The Rocky Point football team pulled out a 48-33 victory in Saturday’s homecoming game, halting a late rally by visiting Harborfields, which tied the game at 27-27 after three quarters of play. The Eagles watched their first-half 27-12 advantage disappear in the third quarter, to make it a new game in the final 12 minutes of play. Rocky Point was able to outscore its opponent with three touchdowns in the final quarter in front of a capacity crowd, to move to 2-3 in Division III.

Rocky Point sophomore running back Peter LaSalla broke free from the line of scrimmage four minutes into the game and jetted down the left sideline for a 60-yard touchdown run and the first score of the game. Although the extra-point attempt failed, the team took an early 6-0 lead.

A minute later, the Tornadoes were unable to convert on downs, and punted the ball away to junior receiver Sean McGovern, who returned the punt 65 yards for the Eagles’ second touchdown of the game.

“We got a big play from Sean on that punt return,” Rocky Point senior quarterback Harrison Lynch said.

McGovern, also the kicker, finished what he started, and split the uprights to help his team break out to a 13-0 lead.

Harborfields answered back when quarterback Cody Cunningham, on a keeper, punched in for the score, but the Eagles blocked the extra-point kick attempt, to trail the Eagles, 13-6.

Lynch and sophomore Damian Rivera shared quarterback duties all afternoon, and Rivera, under center, passed the ball over to Lynch, who broke outside and went the distance for the touchdown. McGovern’s point-after was good, and the Eagles stretched their lead to 20-6.

Harborfields, on the longest sustained drive of the afternoon that consumed four minutes off the clock, ended its march across the field with a score, despite a penalty-plagued campaign that included a 15- yard unsportsmanlike conduct call. The extra-point kick attempt failed again, and the Tornadoes settled for a 20-12 deficit with just over two minutes left in the half.

Rocky Point looked to put the game away when Lynch, on a play-action pass, found LaSalla open down the right sideline. The running back gathered it in on a catch-and-run play, and recorded a 46-yard score. With the point after, the Eagles took a 27-12 advantage into the halftime break, but that lead didn’t last for long.

Harborfields moved the chains to open the second half only to cough the ball up four minutes in, as Rocky Point took possession on their own 25-yard line. Unable to capitalize, the Tornadoes were on the move again.

On a play-action pass, Harborfields quarterback Cody Cunningham found wide receiver Christian Mullings in the end zone for the score, and after a successful two-point conversion, made it a one-score game, 27-20.

On Rocky Points’ ensuing possession, the Eagles fumbled and Harborfields recovered the ball on the 34- yard line with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter. On the second play from scrimmage, the Tornadoes cashed in and tied the game 27-27.

McGovern said he was surprised that Harborfields was able to even the score.

“It was a little bit of a shock, but we knew we could get back in it,” McGovern said. “Harry Lynch led us — he motivated. He sure can play; he’s a baller.”

Moving into the fourth quarter, the Eagles knew they had to finish the game the way they started.

“We just had to keep going, so we started the fourth like it was 0-0,” LaSalla said. “We put up the first two touchdowns [to start the game], so we knew we could do it again.”

The Eagles went to work in the final 12 minutes., and Lynch got the ball moving when he fired deep to the senior running back Paul Dominguez for a touchdown pass, as Rocky Point jumped back out in front, 34-27.

Cunningham looking to retie the game, and dropped back to pass, but had to check down, or look for his secondary receivers, and was blindsided just as he released the ball. Rocky Point junior tight end and defensive back Brendan Heggers found himself under the ill-fated pass, and grabbed possession for the interception.

“We came out a little flat after halftime,” Lynch said, “but we picked it up after that interception, and just got things rolling after that.”

The Eagles wasted no time in cashing in on Harborfield’s miscue, and sophomore running back Alec Rinaldi plowed his way up the middle to find the end zone. McGovern split the pipes once again, and the Eagles surged ahead 41-27 with seven minutes left to play.

Harborfields wouldn’t go quietly, and Cunningham bulled his way up the middle for six points, but the extra-point attempt missed. Rocky Point put the game away with just under two minutes remaining when Rinaldi struck again, and the successful point-after brought the final score to 48-33.

“Harborfields is a tough team,” Lynch said. Opening the fourth quarter, the quarterback said: “We gotta get it done. We’ve just gotta find a way to get it done; it’s as simple as that.”

And the Eagles did.

Rocky Point will hit the road Saturday as the team heads to Miller Place. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

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Yogi Berra was an iconic major league baseball catcher for the New York Yankees. Public domain

By Rich Acritelli

Yogi Berra may have grown up playing baseball in Missouri, but when he was a catcher for the Yankees he was Mr. New York.

Yogi Berra was an iconic major league baseball catcher for the New York Yankees. Public domain
Yogi Berra was an iconic major league baseball catcher for the New York Yankees. Public domain

The legend died a few weeks ago at 90 years old, but he will be remembered by Long Island baseball fans for years to come.

Born in 1925, Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra grew up in the Italian section of St. Louis, the son of immigrants who worked many hours to make ends meet for their family. As a kid, Berra discovered his love for baseball and would play at every opportunity, though his equipment was not always very advanced — coming from a poor family, he used old magazines as shin guards.

The Hill neighborhood of St. Louis produced outstanding ball players such as catcher Joe Garagiola, who played against Berra. However, the legend did not get to the major league right away.

Berra’s grades were poor and education was considered a luxury during the Great Depression, so he went to work in a coal mine. But Berra was meant to play baseball — he lost his job because of his habit of leaving work early to play the game with his friends. His parents did not understand or like baseball, but their son excelled and became one of the best players from their neighborhood. In 1942, the New York Yankees brought him into their dugout.

At 17 years old, Berra was away from home for the first time. His career began slowly, and he committed 16 errors in his first season as a catcher, although his hitting was consistent. Times were tough for the young man — he made $90 a month, before taxes were deducted, and there was little leftover after covering his living expenses. There were times Berra was close to starving. At one point, his manager loaned him money to buy cheeseburgers and adoring fans made Italian heroes for him to eat. He sold men’s suits in the winters to get by.

“What you have to remember about Yogi is that all he ever wanted was to be a baseball player.”
— Jerry Coleman, hall of fame broadcaster

Soon into his career, America’s priorities changed. With World War II raging, Uncle Sam started to draft baseball players into the military. Berra joined the U.S. Navy and was in the middle of the action in Europe on one of the most important days for the Allied war effort: June 6, 1944. On D-Day, Berra was on a rocket boat that fired armaments against the German fortifications at Normandy.

That August, the catcher aided landing troops during the amphibious invasion of southern France through Operation Dragoon. After fighting on D-Day, Berra said he was scared to death during those landings, because he realized the Germans could have killed his entire crew due to their proximity to the beaches. Despite his fear, he fought valiantly and went back behind home plate with a Purple Heart.

By 1946, with the war behind him, Berra returned to the ball park. He was one of the toughest and most talented players in the league, a three-time MVP who hit 305 homeruns and earned 10 World Series rings. Don Larsen, who in the 1956 World Series threw a perfect game to Berra, believed the catcher was the best pitch caller in baseball.

Yogi Berra was an iconic major league baseball catcher for the New York Yankees. Public domain
Yogi Berra was an iconic major league baseball catcher for the New York Yankees. Public domain

The all-star was at the center of many historic plays, including when Jackie Robinson famously stole home during the 1955 World Series. Berra, who was catching for pitcher Whitey Ford, attempted to tag out Robinson, but the umpire deemed the runner safe — a call Berra did not agree with.

Once he hung up his catcher’s gear in the 1960s, Berra became a coach and manager for the Yankees, the Mets and later the Houston Astros, among other business ventures.

For a man who did not earn an education past the eighth-grade level, Berra accomplished much during his lifetime, included being known for his creative sayings, commonly known as “Yogi-isms,” such as his famous quotes, “It ain’t over till it’s over,” and “It’s déjà vu all over again.” He was an American and athletic icon who represented the grit and character of his unique nation.

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Ashley Hart competes in the 100-meter backstroke, where she placed second with a time of one minute, 13.21 seconds. The Patriots lost, 97-81, to Half Hollow Hills on Oct. 9.Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Unlike years past, the girls swimming team of Ward Melville tasted something it hasn’t sampled in many years — a defeat.

The defending Suffolk County champions fell at Half Hollow Hills, 97-81, Friday afternoon in a League I meet, for the Patriot’s third loss of the season.

Ward Melville head coach Chris Gordon said that in the past, his team would field three or four swimmers in every event, but after losing more than a dozen seniors to graduation this year, this season’s team does not have the depth that past teams in the Patriots’ swimming dynasty had.

Liliana Ayer, who placed second in diving, tumbles off the one-meter board during the Patriots' 97-81 loss to Half Hollow Hills on Oct. 9. Photo by Bill Landon
Liliana Ayer, who placed second in diving, tumbles off the one-meter board during the Patriots’ 97-81 loss to Half Hollow Hills on Oct. 9. Photo by Bill Landon

“You saw it here today — they took second, third and fourth in several events, and when you can do that, you’re going to win the meet,” Gordon said of Half Hollow Hills.

Senior co-captain Katie Wang competed in the 200 medley, 50 freestyle and 200 freestyle.

“I felt good in the water,” she said. “I’ve been [focusing] on my technique.”

Placing second in the diving competition was freshman Liliana Ayer, and third place went to fellow freshman Hannah Goldhaber. Rounding out fourth place was the senior Jennifer Yavid, who is playing in her fourth season on the varsity squad.

Junior Ashley Hart competed in the 100-meter backstroke, where she placed second with a time of one minute, 13.21 seconds.

Senior so-captain Casey Gavigan easily won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:27.30, a performance that qualified her for a spot in the NYSPHSAA Championship competition in Ithaca in November. Gavigan has also qualified for the state championship in the 100 backstroke, and will look to defend her title in that event as the reigning state champion.

The co-captain said that despite her personal success, it’s been difficult for the team to live up to its reputation.

“After our championship season last year, we have a huge title to look up to, so it’s a lot of pressure,” Gavigan said. “But so long as all of the girls try their best, the coaches and we as captains are proud of them, and they should be proud of themselves.”

Ward Melville will host Brentwood next, on Thursday. The meet is scheduled to start at 4:15 p.m.

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