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Smithtown East Bulls

By Steven Zaitz

Most times, a harmless looking “1-3” in the scorebook isn’t the most impactful play in a baseball game.

But with the Northport Tigers clinging to a skinny, one-run lead in the bottom of the 5th inning against Smithtown East on Thursday night, that 1-3 became a lucky 13.

Relief pitcher Vincent Staub entered the game in a bit of a mess. Smithtown East had already scored two runs in the frame and had cut a 5-1 Tiger lead to 5-3. Staub allowed an RBI single to short-stop Evan Schickler that brought the Bulls to within one.

After Schickler stole second base, the tying and go-ahead runs were on second and third.

East third-baseman Ryan Diffley hit a sharp one-hopper back to Staub, who managed to deflect the ball towards the first base foul line. Staub scampered off the mound and flipped the ball to Tiger first-baseman Dylan Sofarelli just in time to beat Diffley to the bag.

Northport retained its lead and Staub would finish the game, retiring the side in order in the sixth and seventh for a 5-4 win.

Liam Ryan, who pitched a courageous 4 ⅔ innings, recorded his second win of the year. He and Staub combined to pitch a no-hitter against Centereach in the season opener and are proving to be quite a one-two punch for Sean Lynch’s Tigers who improved to 3-1 with this win.

Northport jumped out to 4-0 lead with two in the first and a loud two-RBI double in the third off the bat of second-baseman Thomas Hardick. Sofarelli drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth to make it 5-1, but Northport had the bases loaded with nobody out after that, but did not plate anybody else.

Ryan, who is making his debut in the starting rotation this year, was effective through his 4 2/3, retiring the side in order in the fourth. But he tired in the fifth, setting up Staub’s houdini act to rescue him and the Tigers. The duo combined to strike out six Bulls.

The two teams moved west on Friday night and East got a measure of revenge with a 7-0 win. Northport is 3-2 on the year and Smithtown East 3-1. The Tigers will face North Babylon next week for three games and East will play Centereach.

– Photos by Steve Zaitz

The Bulls of Smithtown East, at 8-3, hosted William Floyd, at 5-6, in a Division I matchup opened the second half with a five-goal advantage, but the Colonials scored twice to open the third quarter while holding Smithtown East scoreless. 

Both teams traded goals in the final 12 minutes of play, but the Bulls kept their visitors at bay to win the game, 11-8, on Saturday, May 6. 

Sophomore Luke DiMaria led the way for the Bulls with a goal and five assists. Senior Ryan Rooney had four goals on the day, and Cameron James stretched the net three times. Brendan Carroll had 12 stops between the pipes. 

The win lifts Smithtown East to 9-3 in their division with two games remaining before post season play begins. 

Fabulous freshman attacker Kate Atkinson had an astonishing seven goals for Northport as the Lady Tigers beat the Smithtown East Lady Bulls, 17-11, on Tuesday.

Northport continues its undefeated season and moves to 7-0 and has won 61 of its last 62 games dating back to 2019. The only blight on this record is a loss to Baldwinsville in the New York State Championship final last June. Smithtown East falls to 4-2.

Northport spotted East the first goal of the game, and the Lady Bulls controlled the ball for a large portion of the opening five minutes. Jenna Mehlinger scored at 19:32.

The Lady Tigers got in gear after Mehlinger’s goal and reeled off the next seven in a 13-minute span, three of which coming off the stick of Atkinson. Northport took a commanding 10-3 into the half.

The two teams traded goals in the second half, and the Bulls outscored the Tigers 8-7 in the second session, but it was not nearly enough.  Kennedy Radziul had three goals, and Haleigh Greenberg and Grace McCarthy had two each. Goalkeeper Megan Morris had six saves.

Ava Aceri had five goals for Smithtown East, all of them coming after halftime. She also assisted on a goal by Jenna Soto, who had a pair of goals.  Mehlinger totaled three goals and an assist as beleaguered Bulls netminder, Grace McDonald, faced 24 shots on the afternoon, stopping seven of them. 

Northport has a non-league match coming up on April 22 against Westchester County’s Fox Lane High School, and Smithtown East will suit up next against Sachem East on April 20.

— Photos by Steven Zaitz

It was Luke Ciminiello’s bat that spoke first with a home run to drive in a run for the Bulls of Smithtown East in the opening inning for the early 2-0 lead in a road game against Centereach Thursday, April 13. The Cougars battled back, edging ahead to win 10-6 in the final game of a three-game series where Centereach won two out of three in the League IV matchup.

The win lifts Centereach to 2-6 in the early season as the Bulls drop to 3-5.

It was the Raiyah Reed show Tuesday night at Newfield High School. The junior co-captain peppered the scoreboard with 13 field goals and a dozen free throws to top the scoring charts with 38 points, leading her team to a 55-47 victory over Smithtown East. 

Reed’s performance was the spark the Wolverines needed to notch their first win of the season in this Div. II matchup Dec. 20. 

It was also Alumni Night, with former players invited onto the court at halftime to shake off some rust, putting on a three-point shooting exhibition. 

Darcy DeBenedittis topped the scoring chart for Smithtown East with 14 points, and teammate Ava Mueller added 13.

Newfield looks to score back-to-back victories when the team retakes the court in tournament play at Center Moriches High School Wednesday, Dec. 28, against Mount Sinai. Gametime is slated for 10:00 a.m.

Smithtown East (1-3, 3-3) is back in action Friday, Dec. 23, when they’ll host Connetquot at 5 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Under brilliant sunshine, the Cougars of Centereach hosted the Bulls of Smithtown East in their Homecoming weekend football matchup on Saturday, Sept. 24.

The game would go scoreless through three quarters of play. On the opening possession of the fourth quarter, senior linebacker Xavier Calixte scooped up a Bulls’ fumble and went the distance, covering 27 yards for the score. Jason Zaita’s foot tacked on the extra point, putting the Cougars out front 7-0.

Smithtown East began to move the chains when senior runningback Ryan Rooney, with less than a minute left on the clock, punched into the endzone on short yardage. Smithtown East went for the win, attempting a two-point conversion run. But this bold maneuver came up short, handing Centereach a 7-6 victory.

Centereach quarterback Riddick Drab had 20 carries for 106 yards in the Div. II contest. The win lifts Centereach to 2-1 in this early season while the Bulls drop to 1-2.

Centereach is back in action on Friday, Sept. 30, when the team will host Huntington at 6 p.m. Smithtown East will celebrate its homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 1, when it will host Connetquot. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

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Smithtown East cheerleaders led the way in the large school division in a multi-school cheer competition at Centereach High School Feb. 5. 

The Bulls placed first with a score of 86.75 ahead of West Islip and Connetquot.

The Bulls look to build on this momentum for the Suffolk County Championship finals at Hauppauge High School Feb. 19.

By Steven Zaitz

Sixty regulation minutes was not enough.

The extra 10 in overtime could not decide it either.

When the Northport Tigers field hockey team invaded Smithtown East March 22, the matchup pitted two of the elite teams on Long Island. They needed a shootout to decide it, and it was Smithtown East goaltender Gianna Festa who stood tall.

She did not allow a goal in the shootout, stopping all four Northport attempts. Dani Brady, one of Long Island’s top players scored on her mano y mano with Northport goalie Natalie McKenna, who was also excellent, that decided it for the Bulls.  The final score was officially 2-1.

Festa, who had 12 saves in addition to her four stops in the shootout, sparked a wild, equipment-flinging celebration seconds after making her final stop.  Brady, teammate Sydney Anderson and Northport’s Sophia Bica are all listed on Newsday’s Top 25 players of Long Island, but it was Festa that earned the Most Valuable Player of this star-studded affair, making several acrobatic saves throughout regulation, overtime and the shootout.

This game was a hard-fought war and the survivor — Smithtown East — has now equaled Northport’s record of 5-1. Ward-Melville, who beat Sachem East Monday, is atop the Suffolk County leaderboard with a record of 6-0.

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The Bulls of Smithtown East struggled in the first two quarters trailing by 10 at the half in a home game, against Eastport-South Manor in their season finale Feb. 26.

Smithtown East junior forward Tristan Davis was the spark that ignited the Bulls with a two-handed monster jam to fuel a late game surge. The Bulls closed the gap to a single point in the final seconds but it was too little too late falling 62-61.  

Smithtown East concluded their COVID-abbreviated season at 3-3 in League III and 4-4 overall. 

Davis topped the scoring charts for the Bulls with six from the floor and three from the line for 15 points. Jack Melore, the lone freshman on the roster, netted 13, while senior George Schwab did his damage from long distance with three triples and a field goal for 11 points. Teammate Ethan Cain added eight. 

Trailing the Bulls of Smithtown East, 15-2, late in the opening quarter the Cougars of Centereach clawed their way back to draw within 6 at the halftime break Feb. 14. The Cougars found their rhythm in the third quarter and closed the gap to a single point in the last three minutes of play, but the Bulls were able to hold off the late game surge and win the non-league matchup, 35-28.

Ava Mueller topped the scoring charts for Smithtown East with two field goals, a triple and 4 from the charity stripe for 11 points. Teammate Paige Doherty netted 8 and Josie Lent banked 6.

Two sophomores led the way for Centereach with Juliana Speziale netting 9 for the Cougars, and Ashlynne Gangji tacked on 7.

In this COVID shortened season, Centereach has three games left as Smithtown East has four before post season play begins on Feb. 26.