Triumphs of the will
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).