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Bill Landon

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Smithtown West’s Jimmy Caddigan dives and shoots the ball past Riverhead’s goalkeeper in the Bulls’ 14-0 win over the Blue Waves on Friday, May 1st. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Smithtown West boys’ lacrosse team blew the Riverhead Blue Waves out of the water in a dominating performance on its home turf Friday afternoon.

In a tune up game for the playoff-bound Bulls, the team controlled the draw, the clock and the time of possession, and shut out Riverhead, 14-0, to improve to 8-2 with two games left to play in regular season, League II play.

Smithtown West’s Jarrod Wilkom maintains possession with a Riverhead defender at his hip, in the Bulls’ 14-0 win over the Blue Waves on Friday, May 1st. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown West’s Jarrod Wilkom maintains possession with a Riverhead defender at his hip, in the Bulls’ 14-0 win over the Blue Waves on Friday, May 1st. Photo by Bill Landon

Smithtown hit the scoreboard quickly and often, and freshman attack Kyle Zawadzki put away a pair in just over three minutes of play. The first, was off a feed from senior midfielder Jarrod Wilkom.

The Bulls rattled off five more goals to take a 7-0 lead into the second quarter.

Smithtown sophomore attack Jimmy Caddigan got on the scoreboard first, and sophomore midfielder Danny Riley tacked on the next. Senior attack Brennan Laforge found the cage twice — on his second, the ball ricocheted off the pipe and he snagged the rebound and drove his shot home — and Riley struck again for the final goal of the quarter.

“In the second half we took over on offense, but they’re a tough team,” Riley said.

Smithtown junior midfielder Dan Caroussos fed a diving Zawadzki in front of the cage, and while airborne, Zawadzki buried his shot before touching ground, for his hat trick to put his team out front 8-0.

Zawadzki wasn’t finished, and scored his fourth goal of the game off a feed from senior midfielder Garrett Brunsvold, to lead by nine to end the half.

The Bulls opened the second half with possession thanks to junior midfielder Danny Varello’s mastery at the faceoff “X,” and from there, they slowed the tempo of the game. Smithtown’s passing remained solid and deliberate throughout the game, as the team circled the cage looking for any opportunity. Opportunity came knocking three minutes into the third quarter, and Caroussos fired a shot between the pipes to surge ahead 10-0.

“We played very well today, our defense communicated very well and Zach Lamberti, our goalie who’s been playing great all season, had some big stops,” Smithtown West senior defenseman Chris Weider said. “Dan Varello at the ‘X’ won almost all of our face-offs today, and when you do that it means time of possession.”

With the heavy lead, Smithtown went to work on running down the clock. The team’s assistant coach, Tom Rotanz, barked from the sideline: “Zero-zero, get big, get wide,” as the Bull’s offense dropped back, spread out and snapped the ball around the circle, first one way, and then the other, as time bled off the clock.

Smithtown West’s Brett Disalvo passes the ball in the Bulls’ 14-0 win over Riverhead on Friday, May 1st. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown West’s Brett Disalvo passes the ball in the Bulls’ 14-0 win over Riverhead on Friday, May 1st. Photo by Bill Landon

Riverhead’s goalkeeper, fresh off a big stop, looked to clear the ball to a defender at his right, only to have Smithtown junior attack Nick Cascone take flight and snatch the ball from the defender’s waiting stick.

Upon landing, Cascone fed the ball to Caddigan in front of the cage. Caddigan snapped one by the startled keeper and put his team up 11-0.

“One of the things we’ve focused on all year is limiting our turnover,s because when you play the better teams, they’re going to beat you on it,” Caddigan said. “When you have the ball, they don’t, and when you have a face-off guy like Varello, you control the game.”

Rounding out the final three goals for Smithtown was freshman attack Matt Miller, Laforge, for his hat trick, and junior midfielder Brett Disalvo.

Smithtown head coach Bob Moltisanti was pleased with all aspects of his team’s game, and in particular, that of his senior goalkeeper.

“Danny Varello had an excellent game at the ‘X,’ and Zach Lamberti did a nice job in the cage turning away some of their good chances,” he said. “Our defense played close and we were able to shut the door on [Riverhead] a few times. Our attack did an excellent job on the ride — turning them over — and that created scoring chances for us in transition.”

With two games remaining in the regular season, Moltisanti said his strategy is to continue to take the season one game at a time.

“I’m happy if we get better every time we’re on the practice field, and we get better every game we play,” Moltisanti. “And right now, all we’re thinking about is getting ready for Copiague.”

Smithtown West hosted Copiague Wednesday, but results were not available by press time. The Bulls will conclude the regular season with a game at West Islip on Tuesday, May 12, at 5 p.m.

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Kings Park’s Rachel Slagle looks up the field to make a play in the Kingsmens’ 12-10 win over East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson Monday. Photo by Bill Landon
Kings Park’s Rachel Slagle looks up the field to make a play in the Kingsmens’ 12-10 win over East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson Monday. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

At 3-6, it was a must-win game for the Kings Park girls’ lacrosse team to keep its chances of a postseason appearance alive, with four Division II games remaining before the playoffs. The Bonackers of East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson led by two, but the Kingsmen turned up the heat late in the first half to surge ahead by three and held onto that margin for most of the second half, to pull out a much needed win, 12-10, Monday afternoon.

“Coming in we thought they were a little better than us, but we knew we could beat them,” Kings Park sophomore Shannon Savage said. “We took our time, we worked together and we slowed it down on offense, and we didn’t force anything in the middle.”

The Bonackers struck first, but Kings Park junior Shannon Donovan evened the score early in the half.

Kings Park’s Shannon Savage shoots the ball play in the Kingsmens’ 12-10 win over East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson Monday. Photo by Bill Landon
Kings Park’s Shannon Savage shoots the ball play in the Kingsmens’ 12-10 win over East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson Monday. Photo by Bill Landon

Again trailing by one, Kings Park junior Alexa Cebulski answered the call six minutes in, to retie the game, and sophomore Jillian Winwood drove her shot home next to give the Kingsmen their first lead of the game, 3-2.

Savage scored next to double the lead, but the Bonackers responded by rattling off four unanswered goals in just over three minutes of play to jump out in front, 6-4.

Cebulski and Winwood both found the cage with 10 minutes left in the half to again tie the game.

Savage, on a penalty shot, found the back of the net to edge ahead 7-6, and from there, Kings Park never looked back.

Kings Park junior Rachel Slagle dished one off to junior Haley Mango, who split the pipes to bring the score to 8-6.

The Bonackers’ goalie looked to clear the ball from the crease after a save, but Slagle leaped in the air and snagged the pass. She drove the ball in past the startled goalkeeper to close the half ahead 9-6.

“We played better in the first half where we scored more goals,” Cebulski said. “And we played really well on both sides of the ball today.”

The Bonackers opened the second half hitting the scoreboard first to trim the deficit.

Kings Park’s Jillian Winwood passes the ball from midfield in the Kingsmens’ 12-10 win over East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson Monday. Photo by Bill Landon
Kings Park’s Jillian Winwood passes the ball from midfield in the Kingsmens’ 12-10 win over East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson Monday. Photo by Bill Landon

Winwood struck again for her hat trick goal, this time, off an assist from Savage, to get back up by three goals. The Kings Park lead grew to four when Winwood dished one up to Mango for an 11-7 advantage.

“We did well in transition and we slowed the offense down,” Winwood said. “They came out fast, but we came out stronger and we came to play today, so I’m really proud.”

A man up, the Bonackers took advantage of the extra stick and fired another shot home to draw within three goals, and two minutes later, found the net again to trail by two, 11-9.

Kings Park junior Kristin Frizol finished the scoring for the Kingsmen with four minutes to play, and the Bonackers wouldn’t go quietly, as they scored with 30 seconds left to play, but it was too little too late.

“The second half we took control of the game and held them defensively and we stayed calm,” said Kings Park head coach Sally Ayres. ”We kept winning the draw and we kept that three-goal lead through most of the second half.”

After Winwood’s hat trick, Savage, Mango and Cebulski added two goals each, and Slagle, Donovan and Frizol rounded out the scoring with one goal apiece.

With the win, Kings Park improved to 4-6 and needs to win three out of the next four games to ensure a postseason appearance.

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Port Jefferson’s Corey Carnahan makes a catch at the plate before firing the ball to second base for a pickoff attempt in the Royals’ eighth inning, 6-5 loss to Southold Monday. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Fresh off their three-game sweep of Greenport last week, the Port Jefferson baseball team, at 6-0 in League IX, looked to keep their winning ways when they hosted Southold (5-1) Monday afternoon.

The Royals struck first and led by four runs before Southold rallied late to tie the game at 5-5 and force an extra inning. Southold scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth, and the team’s defense held it down to win 6-5 and hand Port Jefferson its first loss of the season.

Port Jefferson’s Kristopher Cheslock fields a throw from catcher Corey Carnahan in the Royals’ 6-5 extra-inning loss to Southold Monday. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson’s Kristopher Cheslock fields a throw from catcher Corey Carnahan in the Royals’ 6-5 extra-inning loss to Southold Monday. Photo by Bill Landon

“We stayed in the game,” Kluender said. “We had a couple of errors, but we got over those. They have a couple of guys who can hit the ball and they can field the plays.”

With the game only a few pitches old, play was stopped as the trainers examined Royals starting pitcher Benjamin Kluender. With a back strain, he remained in the game only to take a line drive to his foot in the next inning. Hobbling around the mound, Kluender shook it off and got back to the business at hand and retired the side.

Port Jefferson senior James Murphy crossed the plate first on a Southold error at the bottom of the inning, for the first run of the game.

“We both came in with the mentality that we’d fight to the end, and that’s what happened,” Murphy said. “We expected them to be tough. We played well and everyone did their part.”

Southold drove in a run in the top of the second to tie the game with the go-ahead runner on first. On the next pitch, Southold’s base runner took off to steal second, as senior catcher Corey Carnahan threw a bullet to the second baseman for the pickoff play, retiring the side.

“Southold is certainly a strong team in this league — they played a very clean baseball game today,” Port Jefferson head coach Jesse Rosen said. “They were pretty much what I expected in terms of their talent level.”

Port Jefferson sophomore Ryan Walsh punched a line drive to right field to load the bases in the bottom of the third, and sophomore Sean Griffin showed patience at the plate as he drew the walk. His RBI brought home Matthew Keresztes for the lead, and Kluender smacked a sacrifice fly to right field to give his team a 3-1 advantage, leaving runners on second and third.

With two outs, sophomore Kristopher Cheslock battled at the plate, looking to keep the inning alive. He ripped one deep to left center that almost went out, but both runners were able to run home standing up for a two-run double. With the scores, the Royals broke out to a 5-1 lead.

“I thought we hit the ball pretty well today and we had strong pitching and good cuts at the ball,” Cheslock said. “But I thought we could’ve cleaned up our infield today.”

Port Jefferson pitcher Benjamin Kluender, who threw all seven regular innings, hurls the ball from the mound in the Royals’ first loss of the season, an extra-inning 6-5 loss to Southold at home, Monday. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson pitcher Benjamin Kluender, who threw all seven regular innings, hurls the ball from the mound in the Royals’ first loss of the season, an extra-inning 6-5 loss to Southold at home, Monday. Photo by Bill Landon

Southold answered back in the top of the fourth inning by driving in three runs to draw within one, 5-4, and on an overthrow to home plate, a Southold runner scored from third to tie the game at 5-5.

Port Jefferson followed with a missed opportunity at the plate with a runner in scoring position, and with the batter caught looking, the go-ahead run on second was stranded.

Rosen said Southold is the team’s strongest opponent in the league, and he thought his team could keep pace even though it was the first time the Royals have seen the Settlers this season.

“Moving forward, I think we can certainly hang with them,” he said.

Neither team threatened in the seventh to force an extra inning.

Port Jefferson relief pitcher Neil Alvarez, a lefty, took over at the mound, and Southold opened the inning with a deep hit to centerfield for a double. A sacrifice fly advanced the runner to third, who scored on another passed ball at the plate for a 6-5 advantage.

Still trailing by a run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, the Royals had their backs against the wall. Kluender battled in the box, and was hit by a pitch. Stealing second base proved too risky, so Kluender didn’t venture far from the bag.

Port Jefferson’s final batter struck out and the Royals were handed their first loss of the season. Although Kluender was left stranded on base, his coach was impressed with his performance overall, and especially from the mound.

“He tweaked his back a little bit, he gets hit with a come-back and yet he’s willing to battle back and throw 88 pitches today,” Rosen aid. “Ben had an awesome performance today.”

Port Jefferson is now tied with Southold and Pierson/Bridgehampton for first place in the league at 6-1. The Royals will take to the diamond Wednesday on the road and finish up at home on Thursday with first pitches for both games slated for 4:30 p.m.

“Often you look at the immediacy of the game — winning or losing as to whether it’s a success or not,” Rosen said. “A loss in a close game isn’t the worst thing because you can learn from it.”

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Rocky Point junior midfielder Tim Yannucci grabs possession of the ball in the Eagles’ 10-9 overtime loss to Elwood-John Glenn Thursday. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Despite leading 3-0 early and 8-5 at halftime, the Rocky Point boys’ lacrosse team let Elwood-John Glenn battle back to tie the game at 9-9 and force a four-minute overtime period, where the Knights managed to sneak one in past the Eagles to win 10-9.

Rocky Point senior attack Brendan Cain fires a shot at the cage during the Eagles’ 10-9 overtime loss to Elwood-John Glenn Thursday. Photo by Bill Landon
Rocky Point senior attack Brendan Cain fires a shot at the cage during the Eagles’ 10-9 overtime loss to Elwood-John Glenn Thursday. Photo by Bill Landon

Rocky Point hit the scoreboard first when junior midfielder Tim Yannucci’s shot found the cage off an assist by senior midfielder Alex Borja, and on Rocky Point’s next possession, Borja drove one home from 20 yards out unassisted, to jump out to a 2-0 lead.

With the game just over three minutes old, Rocky Point senior attack Brendan Cain fed a cross to freshman attack Jake Wandle, who fired between the pipes to break out to a 3-0 advantage.

The Knights responded with four unanswered goals to take their first lead of the game with 5:46 left in the half, but the Eagles didn’t let that lead last for long and swooped into the Knights’ territory with just over four minutes left in the half score two goals to tie, and then take the lead.

First, Rocky Point senior attack Christopher Vaden dished one to Yannucci. and senior midfielder Jack Sullivan served one to Wandle, who drove his shot home to retake the lead, 5-4.

“We came out hot, we went up 3-0 and then they started coming back — we got to half time up by three,” Yannucci said. “We just didn’t come out as good as they did and they ended up with the win.”

A minute later, John Glenn shot back to tie the game 5-5, but Wandle and Cain paired up again, this time, with Wandle feeding to Cain, who buried his shot to retake the lead, 6-5.

Rocky Point senior midfielder Jack Sullivan levels a Knights player to try to force a turnover in the Eagles’ 10-9 overtime loss to Elwood-John Glen Thursday. Photo by Bill Landon
Rocky Point senior midfielder Jack Sullivan levels a Knights player to try to force a turnover in the Eagles’ 10-9 overtime loss to Elwood-John Glen Thursday. Photo by Bill Landon

With 21 seconds left before the halftime break, the Eagles scored twice more.

Cain flipped one out to junior midfielder Anthony DeVito, and five seconds later, Borja’s shot found its mark off another assist by Cain, to take an 8-5 lead into the third quarter.

“We led 8-5 at the half, but we let them right back in,” Rocky Point head coach Mike Bowler said. “Mistake after mistake — little things and not converting when we should’ve converted [hurt us].”

John Glenn wouldn’t go quietly, and found the scoreboard twice in the third to trail 8-7 to begin the final quarter. Momentum continued to shift the Knights’ way with two more unanswered goals, and the team took a 9-8 lead with just over six minutes left.

Vaden said his team wasn’t expecting a zone defense and added a penalty at the end of regulation hurt his Eagles.

“We moved the ball well from behind with Jake Wandle quarterbacking,” he said. “And eventually we slipped up and let it get away from us.”

Rocky Point freshman attack Jake Wandle eludes an Elwood-John Glenn defenseman in the Eagles’ 10-9 overtime loss to Elwood-John Glenn Thursday. Photo by Bill Landon
Rocky Point freshman attack Jake Wandle eludes an Elwood-John Glenn defenseman in the Eagles’ 10-9 overtime loss to Elwood-John Glenn Thursday. Photo by Bill Landon

From behind the cage, Cain looking for the cutter, jumped out front like he was going to pass, but spun around and air gaited the ball — jumping from behind the goal crease and scoring mid-air by dunking the ball over the crossbar — just inside the pipe.

“They came in a lot hotter and they came ready to play in that second half,” Cain said. “We went on a run, but then they took their run on us and tied the game, so they outplayed us in the second half.”

Rocky Point was penalized in the final seconds of regulation and started the first minute of the four-minute overtime period a man down. The Eagles survived the penalty, but the Knights ended up the victors after scoring a goal with 1:04 left to play.

With the loss, Rocky Point dropped to 2-3, the middle of the League III standings. The Eagles will look to break a three-game losing streak when they travel to Westhampton Beach Wednesday. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Above, Kim Plaspohl fires a pitch from the mound. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Both teams stranded runners on base after several innings, but the Smithtown West softball team left fewer players stranded, to pull out a 4-0 victory over visiting Newfield on a cold, dreary Tuesday afternoon in a League II matchup.

Newfield senior Jennifer Sarcone struck first with a deep shot to left center for a standup double but was stranded at the bottom of the first.

Danielle Balsamo reached for the ball but not in time to make the out. Photo by Bill Landon
Danielle Balsamo reached for the ball but not in time to make the out. Photo by Bill Landon

Smithtown West sophomore Tara Killeen drove in senior Kassie Furr on a sacrifice fly to give her team a 1-0 lead to start the second inning, and the duo did it again in the top of the third when Killeen smacked a fly ball to right field to drive in Furr to take a two-run advantage.

“I didn’t think we came out with as much energy as we normally do,” Newfield pitcher Tabitha Butler said. “We should’ve got more lift on the ball. All we were doing is driving balls into the ground right at them so we weren’t’ finding the gaps.”

Smithtown West head coach Dave Miller sent in freshman right fielder Madison Mulder to pinch run at first, who stole second base on the very next pitch, but again, the Bulls stranded a runner on base.

Newfield head coach Jessica Palmaccio said her team didn’t execute when the opportunity presented itself.

“They were exactly what we thought they would be,” Palmaccio said. “They’re a good team. We’re a good team, but we didn’t do what we needed to do today. That’s all.”

Smithtown West lit up the scoreboard once more when Furr drilled a hit to rightfield to drive in sophomore Kaitlyn Loffman to edge ahead 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth.

“We came out knowing what to expect and we came out ready to play with good communication,” Smithtown West senior pitcher Kim Plaspohl said. “I felt confident because I knew my team would back me up.”

Furr, who defensively collected two line drives in the dirt to stop both, was there for her pitcher.
“I just knew I needed to support my pitcher and a play like that could mean the game,” she said. “So I knew when it was hit I needed to do whatever I had to do to get to it.”

Kiley Magee makes a catch. Photo by Bill Landon
Kiley Magee makes a catch. Photo by Bill Landon

Newfield’s Butler thought that her movement could’ve been better to help her team not just from the plate but from the mound.

“I didn’t hit all of my spots and that’s where they took advantage of it,” she said. “That’s where they got their hits.”

Killeen, in scoring position, was driven home by Smithtown West sophomore Amber Meystrik’s bat to take a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth.

“Their energy was more than ours was today,” Sarcone said. “We had opportunities today that we didn’t take advantage of.”

Newfield threatened late, but couldn’t capitalize and fell to Smithtown West to drop to 2-3, while the Bulls improve to 2-1.

“I thought the girls played very, very well,” Miller said. “My pitcher was great. She didn’t walk anybody and our short stop [Furr] played better than I’ve ever seen her play. She’s a four-year varsity player.”

Smithtown West was scheduled to travel to Riverhead on Wednesday while Newfield was slated to host Copiague.

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