April 30, 2014 —
SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY—Though the weather felt anything but spring-like this past week, there were nevertheless a spate of heartwarming moments to offset the chill of the week’s outdoor athletic events. In some instances teams reached down to mine that extra determination and grit needed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. In other stirring moments, success evinced itself as a product of sheer talent born of the rigors of unrelenting practice. And finally, in the remembrance of a dearly departed athlete, a celebration of the triumph of the will and an affirmation of life authored a new name for a time-honored track meet.
Yes, this was a week that brought smiles to many and augured hope for continued success for the duration of the season. In softball, the Tri-Valley Lady Bears 5-3 (1-2 OCIAA) erased a 4-0 deficit to Chester 4-2 (-0-2 OCIAA) with a 5-4 nine-inning victory. Ashley Exner’s two-out, two-strike, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth plated the winning run in a game fraught with drama amid freezing temperatures and blustery winds. For details, read “Warm Hearts in the Big Chill” on www.sportsinsightsny.com . For the Sullivan West Bulldogs baseball team, which had lost its series opener to rival James I. O’Neill, a 4-1 win over the Raiders sparked by a three-run, sixth-inning outburst made Patrick Pierce’s pitching gem even more noteworthy. Pierce struck out 11 for the Bulldogs. The Dawgs (3-6; 3-3 OCIAA) lost subsequent games to O’Neill, Deposit and Burke. In their win, Devin Mirch drove in two runs and Gavin Owen scored twice as the Dawgs found their batting acumen against O’Neill hurler Nick Van Skyock. In boys golf, Eldred’s David Powers showed his mastery, shooting a 44 on the front nine at the Villa Roma as the Yellow Jackets 5-1 (4-1 OCIAA) beat Sullivan West’s. The Dawgs’ 10-year divisional title run appears to have come to an end. In girls golf, it was former Section IX contender Daphne Muzuruk leading the way for the Lady Bulldogs, who improved to 2-0 (1-0 OCIAA), as she led the way to a win over Roscoe. But the highlight of the week was the Jessica Fingers Memorial Invitational track meet. A number of speakers including this writer, her former coach Pete Wysochanski, Monticello Superintendent Dan Teplesky and her dad, school board member Robert Bellamy, remembered her before a plaque in her honor was unveiled to go along with a Japanese red maple tree planted in her memory. The meet featured 13 schools and produced a number of local winners and medalists. Monticello’s girls placed third while the boys took fourth. Monticello’s Terry Duncan was named as the Outstanding Male Track Performer for the second straight year. Duncan won the 100 (11.2), the 200 (32.4), the 400 (51.8) and ran the anchor leg in 53.4 for the third place finish of the 1600 relay. Sullivan West’s Mitch Paciga won the 110 hurdles (15.75). He also won the high jump (6-0) and took third in the 400 hurdles (62.0). Teammate Anthony Rydell won the hammer throw (130-08). He was second in the discus (121-01). Port Jervis’ Brittany Fuller was the outstanding female track athlete. She took first in the 3000 (10.53) and the 1500 (5.04). Other Sullivan County top three finishers included (listed by event and place, boys first, then girls): 400 relay: 2. Liberty 46.8; 800 relay: 3. Monticello 1:38.6; 1600 relay: 3. Monticello 3:46.8; long jump: 3. Butch Halloran (Eld) 19.4.25; Triple jump: 2. Peter Vorstadt (Eld) 39-10.75; Shot put: 3. Travon Rainey (Mont) 45-10; 1500: 3. Kelsey Dutton (SW) 5:26.6; 3000: 2. Camryn Johnson (Mont) 11:32.4; 400 Hurdles; 1. Laura Doherty (Mont) 70.5; 2000 Steeplechase: 2. Laura McEneaney (Mont) 9:21.1; 400 Relay 3. Port Jervis 53.1; 1600 Relay: 2.Monticello 4:40.5; 3200 Relay: 3. Monticello 11:38.6; Shot put: 3. Nyasia Harris (Falls) 29-8; Hammer throw: 2. Heather Giza (Mont) 81.8; 3. Nicole Komonczi (PJ) 70-7; Javelin: 3. Sydney Johnson (Mont) 66-6. Visit www.sportsights.smugmug.com  for the photos from the meet as well as events. The stories of local sports including the complete results of the Jessica Fingers Memorial Invitational can be found at www.sportsinsghtsny.com .