Pompano swim team fares well in Jos

Posted on 20 August 2014 by L.Moore

sports082114By Gary Curreri

Victoria Miyamoto likes to wear funny hats; but, when it comes to swimming, it is serious business for the Pompano Beach Piranhas swim team member.

Miyamoto, 14, of Boca Raton, competed in seven events for the local swim team in the recent Florida Gold Coast 14-Under Long Course Junior Olympics championship at the Plantation Aquatic Complex and finished in fourth place in the 13-14 girls high point standings. She said she wears the funny hats for good luck.

My parents swam, so I just got into it when soccer and softball didn’t work out,” said Miyamoto, who started swimming when she was 8. She is a freshman at Boca Raton High School. “I like how you swim for yourself and not for a team. If you mess up,it is on yourself, not other people. It is cool to have teammates cheering for you though.”

Miyamoto swam in seven individual races and one relay for the Piranhas.

It is pretty tiring, but my parents do a great job in bringing me everything and taking care of me at home,” added Miyamoto, who has Olympic aspirations. “I get a lot of rest. Swimming is pretty important. I don’t know what I would be doing without it.”

The Junior Olympic swim meet featured more than 50 teams and 700 swimmers in Florida Gold Coast Swimming. The South Florida Aquatic Club (SOFLO) totaled 802 combined points to easily out-distance the runner-up North Palm Beach Swim Club (398 points) and Azura Florida Aquatic (349 points) to win its fifth consecutive Junior Olympics title. The South Florida Aquatic Club (SOFLO) also won both the girls (424) and boys (378) team overall titles.

The Pompano Beach Piranhas placed 14th overall with 133 points. Pompano Beach Piranhas placed 12th in the girls’ standings with 59 points, while the boys’ team tied for 10th in the boys with Plantation with 74 points.

Pompano Beach Piranhas head swim coach Jesse Vasallo brought 26 swimmers to the meet. He had hoped for a Top-10 finish, but knew it would be a difficult proposition.

We have managed to finish 13th, which was our best position,” said Vasallo, who has been with the program for three years. Pompano Beach has been a USA Swim Team program for the past four years. “We knew the Top- 10 was going to be a little hard because we had some kids who couldn’t make the meet due to other commitments with families. We gave it our best shot.”

Pompano Beach has shown steady improvement after going from 33rd place in its first year as a USA Swim team.

I think we are doing alright,” Vasallo said.

The commitment from the kids is bigger. You see them starting to get a little bigger and doing bigger things in the water. Victoria won a couple of events and we had a couple of kids who moved up from 11-12 to 13-14 and they are making finals and scoring.”

Other top performances from the local swim club came from Caroline Makara, Jake Schulte, Christian Henderson, Sloan Sizemore, Mia Marquez, Tyler Zuyus and Mattheus Santos.

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Frankie Foundation tourney a ‘success’

Posted on 14 August 2014 by L.Moore

SPORTS081414By Gary Curreri

Rain failed to dampen the spirits of a sellout crowd of 244 golfers and netted an estimated $25,000 for the 7th annual Frankie Foundation golf tournament recently at the Woodlands Country Club in Tamarac.

The event, which withstood a 40-minute rain delay, raises money and awareness for Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and honors Frankie Speciale, who died of a massive heart attack while playing in a recreational men’s soccer league match in Deerfield Beach in 2007.

Even though the 1982 graduate of Pompano Beach High School was given CPR immediately, his life could not be saved. It is believed an automated external defibrillator might have made the difference in him surviving.

Frankie Foundation President Scott Henratty, 42, of Lighthouse Point, said the popular tournament has grown over the years. The first tournament at Colony West drew a capacity crowd of 144 golfers. It then moved to Palm Aire Country Club in Pompano before ClubLink, owners of both Palm Aire and Woodlands, suggested the tournament move to Woodlands because its banquet facility can accommodate the 244 golfers.

We maxed out,” said Henratty, who gave out five AEDs and four $1,000 scholarships at the tournament. To date, they have given out 25 scholarships and 48 AED units. “We have been sold out for a while. We sell out every year. We believe we put on a quality tournament. The main sponsor is One Beat CPR.”

Henratty also said he can’t understand why there isn’t a statewide law requiring AED in public places.

The idea is, ‘why isn’t that a state-wide law?’” Henratty said. “The frustration is that we can give 5 or 6 AEDs away, and they save lives, but why aren’t they everywhere? If you are in an airport, or a governmental building, you are okay, but if you don’t have one someplace else, you could be in trouble. We are going to draft a bill that basically requires an establishment opening to the public an AED on the premises; that costs less than $1,000 as a safety feature.”

Long ago, they didn’t require fi re extinguishers; now they do,” Henratty added. “Things have progressed where they know they save lives and they should be everywhere. An AED is like a fi re extinguisher or anything else. It is a proven fact that they save lives and they are in most buildings and most airplanes; but they are not in private facilities.”

Coconut Creek’s Jason Cheshire, 42, is a treasurer with Frankie Foundation. He said they are set up with the schools and they know their criteria.

It can go to any athlete and it is a $1,000 scholarship,” Cheshire said. “We have a committee that will review them and we chose our winner from that. Anybody can apply and we look for the person who needs them … the one who needs help.”

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Murphy, Calix following their dreams

Posted on 31 July 2014 by L.Moore

Jordon Murphy boxes in the recent Boxing at the Creek VII card at the StrikeGym in Coconut Creek. Photo by Gary Curreri

Jordon Murphy boxes in the recent Boxing at the Creek VII card at the StrikeGym in Coconut Creek. Photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri

Anthony Calix calls boxing the hardest thing he has ever done in his life.

It was just pure energy,” said Calix, 17, of Margate, who recently graduated from Coral Springs High School and is going to Palm Beach State College. “It doesn’t come easy like school and working. Nothing to me gets more intense than this.”

Calix fell to 0-2 in his amateur career after he dropped a Jorge Torres in the recent Boxing at the Creek VII card at the StrikeGym in Coconut Creek. Calix, who fights for the Deerfield Beach BSO PAL, has been boxing since he was 13 and recently started competitive matches.

Calix said it isn’t nervewracking being in the ring.

When you are in there, you get the most powerful feeling ever,” Calix said. “It is like everybody is there to see you work and perform. Most people don’t know what it is like to be an athlete. They just see people doing things that you, yourself, as a normal person, wouldn’t do. It is inspiring. It is more energy for me.”

Boxing presents different challenges for Calix than other sports. Calix used to run track.

Compared to boxing, track is really boring,” Calix said. “It is a really static sport. Somebody is going to run faster than somebody else and that is it. Here, somebody can be losing the whole match and win it back in the last round. Someone might get knocked out of nowhere. It is dynamic. The exciting part about it too is that you could be trailing, and it only takes one punch to win it.”

When Calix first started, he used to take the 2-1/2 hour bus ride from Margate.

It’s good,” Calix said. “That’s all I got. Without them I wouldn’t be here. It kind of is a team sport. We support each other and we make each other better at the end of the day.”

Deerfield Beach’s Jordon Murphy, 14, won his bout in the Coconut Creek event. Murphy, a six-year veteran of boxing, won Ringside World and Nationals and was hopeful of repeating this year.

Murphy, a freshman at Monarch High School, improved to 56-10 with the win.

My coach and I don’t really worry about the local shows,” Murphy said. “It is all about practice. He wants to see what we can do before we go to the big shows. I wanted to work on my footwork and beating him to the punches. I don’t think I did that good. I could have worked on more. I think I could have done better.”

As long as he wins, it’s okay.

If he were to lose at a local show heading into a big competition, it would give me a bad reputation and people would be thinking other stuff about me,” Murphy said. “They would say that I slacked off.”

His favorite fighters are Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez.

I like how they are smart fighters,” Murphy said. “Manny works punches and Canelo hits hard and fast.”

Simply Soccer camp

Local residents have an opportunity to take advantage of World Cup soccer fever this summer as the Simply Soccer camp closes out its 26th year in Coral Springs.

There have been record numbers this year for the camp, which was also previously held in the city of Pompano. The soccer camp is for boys and girls, ages 5-14, of all skill levels, who will be taught a variety of soccer skills from dribbling to shooting.

Remaining dates are July 28-Aug. 1; August 4-8; August 11-15. There are three sessions each day ranging from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; extended hours camp from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a Tiny Tot program for kids ages 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to noon. Full day campers must bring a soccer ball, swimsuit, shin guards, water bottle and lunch. For information, call 954-345-2200.


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Kenoyer gets first ace

Posted on 16 July 2014 by L.Moore

SPORTS071714By Gary Curreri

Although Lighthouse Point’s Linda Kenoyer doesn’t have an official handicap, she at least shares something in common with her professional golfer daughter Stefanie.

The 64-year-old Kenoyer recently picked up her firstever hole-in-one when she hit a 9-iron, 95 yards to ace the Par-3 hole at the Winding Hills Country Club in Montgomery, NY.

It was pretty crazy,” said Kenoyer, who was visiting family in New York and was able to get away for a round of golf. “I’m not a great golfer, and Stefanie has three hole-in-ones, so, for me to do it, it was such an amazingly fluke thing.”

Kenoyer, who says she plays to about a 22 handicap, called it the “right club for the right distance” on the executive course.

I kind of heard it and we walked up to look and see and I said, ‘I think it is in the hole. How did that happen?” said Kenoyer, who was playing with her husband Steve. “I hit it a little left of the hole and it kind of banked down. It rolled right in. I heard it hit the pin. It was exciting. We found the ball in the cup.”

I didn’t expect myself to get one,” Kenoyer added. “It was a shock really. I hit the ball very cleanly. It was a good shot. It was a perfect connection. I was pretty lucky to get it to bank correctly and fall into the cup. It takes quite a lot of luck and some skill because it has to be the right club and the right distance.”

Stefanie, 24, a professional golfer on the Symetra Tour, and two-time participant on the Golf Channel’s Big Break television series during 2013, started playing golf 12 years ago and took lessons from Bob Loring, the head golf professional at the Pompano Beach Golf Course.

Linda Kenoyer also started playing golf at the same time and took a few lessons from Loring. She found it ironic that her daughter got her first hole-in-one at age 14, while she was 50-years older when she got her first. Stefanie had three career hole-in-ones.

I’ve had very, very few lessons, just a couple of lessons,” Linda Kenoyer said. “I’ve gone out with Stefanie when she has been around and she’s given me some tips. I just never really had the time to take the lessons.”

Following her round, she sent a text to her daughter.

It said, ‘you won’t believe this. I just got my first hole-in-one,’” the elder Kenoyer said. “She was all excited. I think all of my friends were more excited than I was. I guess it is a big deal in a lot of ways because you don’t know if you are going to get another one. That could be it for my whole life.”

She was surprised to find out a short time later that Stefanie made a post on her Facebook page congratulating her mother on her milestone.

That was very nice,” Linda Kenoyer said. “It was very, very touching when she said how proud she was of me. It was very sweet and she wrote a nice post about it. It is so funny because we are always so proud of our kids and the things that they do, and we try and be supportive, so here it was in reverse. I thought it was a very thoughtful thing she did.”

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Beach tennis destined for Olympics

Posted on 03 July 2014 by L.Moore

sports070314By Gary Curreri

Adrienne Cerra believes Pompano Beach can become the mecca of beach tennis and a springboard for an Olympic sport.

Cerra, the International Federation of Beach Tennis- U.S.A. president, said players from all over the U.S.A., as well as Brazil, Italy, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Aruba, Peru, Columbia and Germany, represented their countries at the recent 6th annual IFBTUSA Beach Tennis World Cup event on Pompano beach.

We are growing every year and we are really happy,” Cerra said. “We are getting more sponsors and the local business people are very positive. The hotels, restaurants and transportation … it also creates an awareness about the community. We also had food trucks this year, which was new and exciting. People loved it. It added a nice touch to the event.”

The categories included Men’s and Women’s Open Doubles, Men’s and Women’s Open Singles, Women’s and Men’s “A” (advanced) Singles, Women’s and Men’s “A” Doubles, Mixed Doubles and Juniors. Singles matches were held on Friday, Doubles on Saturday and Mixed Doubles on Sunday.

We had more than 100 players in Deerfield and more than 250 players in Pompano from all over the world,” Cerra said. “We had another 200 in Clearwater. There were a lot of international players. The prize money was $5,000 for Pompano, $1,000 in Deerfield Beach and $2,500 in Clearwater. “This was the first time we had the Triple Cup tour and it was a great success.”

Cerra said it was nice to have Pompano Beach as a host. The 10 permanent courts make it the largest beach tennis training center in the United States.

This is what we have been shooting for since we started,” Cerra said. “Finally, we are established. We have courts all over the United States, but not this many.”

They will hold a tournament nearly every month all along Florida, in addition to tournaments throughout the United States in California, St. Louis, New York and internationally in Barcelona, Cancun and Puerto Rico. Cerra said the sport is continuing to grow and that more and more children are starting to play.

There were a total of 25 juniors from the tri-county area who played in the tournament. Among them were Pompano Beach brothers Ryan and Christopher Mays. They have been playing beach tennis for the past two years after their father Jay introduced them to the sport. They finished second in the tournament after dropping the championship match 5-3 to Gaspar Cecchi and Florencia Labellia.

This is so much fun,” said Christopher Mays, 12, who also plays basketball, baseball and soccer. “I like hanging out with your friends and playing around. I don’t mind getting dirty. I just go wash off in the water. It is hard when it accumulates.”

Ryan Mays, 10, said he rides his bike to the beach to practice. He plays soccer, baseball, beach tennis and also swims. He and his brother have played in six tournaments and placed second in the past two tourneys.

I like beach tennis the most,” Ryan Mays said. “It is like tennis, but, in my opinion, it is easier and more enjoyable. I learned that you can’t do everything. Your partner has to do some stuff.”

A lot of these young kids are the ones who could be playing in the Olympics,” Cerra said. “We are hoping it will be an Olympic sport in 2022. How cool would it be if people came from Pompano to represent their country? Good things are coming for sure.”

We are growing every year and we are really happy,” Cerra added. “We are getting more sponsors and the local business people are very positive. The hotels, restaurants and transportation…it also creates an awareness about the community. We also had food trucks this year, which was new and exciting. People loved it. It added a nice touch to the event.”

The next tournament is slated for Pompano Beach on July 20.

For more information, send an e-mail to MyBeachTennis@aol.com.

Ryan Mays looks to return a shot during the 6th annual IFBT-USA Beach Tennis World Cup event on Pompano beach recently. Photo by Gary Curreri

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Local skater wins prestigious award at Sunshine State Games

Posted on 26 June 2014 by L.Moore


Pompano Beach’s Lara Annunziata won the Dorothy Dodson Award for the highest score in the Intermediate Division at the recent Sunshine State Games Figure Skating competition at the Ellenton Ice & Sports Complex. Photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri

Don’t let Lara Annunziata’s size fool you.

The 11-year-old Pompano Beach girl recently came up big at the recent Sunshine State Games Figure Skating competition at the Ellenton Ice & Sports Complex.

Annunziata brought h o m e the most prestigious honor from the Sunshine S t a t e Games as she captured the Dorothy Dodson Award for the highest score in the Intermediate Division. She finished third in the short program and won the long program in the division. “I wasn’t surprised I won it because I work hard every day,” said Annunziata, who will be entering the sixth grade at Shepherd of the Coast Christian School. “I like trying new things. I like doing jumps.”

It was a surprise,” Annunziata added. “The day before I was working on my double axel and I couldn’t do it. The day I was going to compete, I landed them. I was so shocked.”

Annunziata landed the element in practice, but fell in both the short and long program. It still didn’t take away from her efforts.

I was happy that I landed it in practice because it was clean,” Annunziata said.

Her performance at the Sunshine State Games didn’t go unnoticed by Nancy Mariani, the director of skating development for the Panthers Figure Skating Club.

The fact that she won the (Dorothy Dodson Award) is huge since it is her first year in the division,” Mariani said.

Annunziata was a bronze medalist in the juvenile division last year at regionals and a finalist at sectionals where she placed seventh. The top 4 qualify for Nationals. This is her first year in the intermediate division and she’s been skating for six years. She got her start at the same time her sister, Gabby, 14, began skating. Gabby is taking a break from the sport.

I want to skate in the Olympics,” Annunziata said. “I will have to try new jumps.”

After coming so close to advancing to nationals last year, there is hope of making it this year.

Hopefully, I will make it,” Annunziata said. “I will have to land all of my jumps.”

Annunziata also has post- Olympic plans.

After the Olympics, I want to coach,” said Annunziata, who trains three hours a day, every day. “Sometimes, I go to school and get out an hour early. Sometimes, I will miss some work in school and, sometimes, I can’t go to parties. I take ballet class once a week and that helps me with my skating too. It is all worth it though.”


Several local golfers recently turned in strong performances in the Junior Golf Association of Broward County tournament at the Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club and Springtree Golf Club.

Pompano Beach residents Isak Nilsson (40-41-81) and Wyatt Rubin (36-45-81) tied for third in the Boys Championship Division.

Pompano Beach’s Dylan Glatt carded a 47 to finish in a tie for fourth in the Boys A Division, while Deerfield Beach’s Katie Williamson carded a 39-39-78 to win the Girls Championship Flight.

Pompano Beach’s Lara Annunziata won the Dorothy Dodson Award for the highest score in the Intermediate Division at the recent Sunshine State Games Figure Skating competition at the Ellenton Ice & Sports Complex. Photos by Gary Curreri

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Highlands hosts 29th annual hoops camp

Posted on 19 June 2014 by L.Moore

By Gary Curreri

Herman Robinson and Danielle Domino each look forward to the Highlands Christian Academy basketball camp every year.

Robinson, 16, of Deerfield Beach, and Domino, 15, of Parkland, are both sophomores and starting point guards for their respective boys’ and girls’ teams at the school.

This is good,” said Robinson, who attended the camp in his fifth grade year and the past three years from his 7th, 8th and 9th grade years. “I get a lot of drills out of it and I get better. It depends on how hard you work.”

Robinson, who has attended Highlands Christian Academy since the fifth grade, followed up his week of learning with a week of giving back. It is also his second year working the camp.

It’s interesting because I get to see what I am like to the coaches that are here,” Robinson said. “I also see what I was like when I was their age. I want to give them my full attention and teach them things that I already know like respect.”

Basketball delivers hard work and patience and mostly everything, including teamwork,” Robinson added. “I have a passion for it … a strong passion for it. I want to go all the way to the professional ranks, whether it is NBA, D-League or overseas.”

Domino is the youngest of three siblings to play at the school. Her older brother, Derek (college football) and Drew (college basketball) also prepped at the school. She’s been at the school since the 2nd grade and been on the varsity since the 7th grade after she moved up late in the season from the JV and has been on the varsity ever since.

It teaches me to work hard and how to work with people,” said Domino, who has attended the camp since the 2nd grade. “Especially when we are playing 5-on-5, it builds teamwork and good work ethics.”

This is her 3rd year working the camp.

It is a lot of patience because I am with the little kids, the third graders, but I like working with them because I get to show them how it is done and build them up for the future,” Domino said. “I like to teach them to work hard. You just have to be quick with it (your message) because they have a short attention span. We teach a lot of the fundamentals. Whatever you do best, you try and teach them.

I love working with little kids,” Domino added. “I want to coach when I get older, if I am not playing. I want to go to the WNBA, but college is my first priority right now. I want to play college basketball.”

Jim Good has been Athletic Director at the school for the past four years and the school’s varsity boys’ basketball coach for a decade.

The camp featured 53 boys and girls in its first week of camp, including students in grades 7 through 12. It has nearly 50 children in this week’s camp, including students in grades 2 through 6.

Good said it was rewarding to have students/athletes who grew up attending the camp now coaching the younger campers in the second week. Good has been involved in the camps for the past 17 years.

Any time you have a player who goes through that camp and then comes around the next week and switches roles and now they are the coach, it’s rewarding as a coach, to see them give back,” Good said. “They are great role models for the younger kids.”

sports061914It marked the 29th year of basketball camps at Highlands Christian Academy. Former athletic director and boys varsity basketball coach Reg Cook started them in 1985. It is the most popular of all the summer athletic camps offered by the school.

The camps featured a morning devotion followed by warm-up runs and stretches, followed by an emphasis on ball handling and dribbling. The group was divided up into stations to work on lay-ups and shooting. A certain skill was emphasized each day. Several contests were done throughout the week, which included 1-on- 1, 2-on-2, free throws and hot shots. Full court, 5-on-5 full games were played in the afternoon after lunch.

We update the drills and we also had an all-star game with the older group,” Good said. “We select the 10 best players in the high school groups, break out the uniforms, and they play the coaches. The coaches are undefeated in the four years we have played.”

Good said about 70 percent of the campers attend Highlands Christian Academy and the remaining players attend schools in the surrounding communities. The two most notable campers to attend the Highlands Christian Academy basketball camp include Brandon Knight (Milwaukee Bucks) and Andrew Smith (now a senior at Liberty University).

Knight attended the camp when he was in the 4th grade and went on to star at Pine Crest School, and played a year at Kentucky, before being a first round pick of the Detroit Pistons.

It is the only two weeks of basketball that the school offers. In future weeks, they will offer softball, soccer, track and field, volleyball and golf.

We have three goals,” Good said. “One is for them to have fun, the second is to work hard and the third is to glorify God

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Simply soccer camp offered

Posted on 05 June 2014 by L.Moore

sports060514By Gary Curreri

Residents have an opportunity to take advantage of World Cup soccer fever this summer as the Simply Soccer camp returns for its 26th year in Coral Springs.

Soccer camp is for boys and girls, ages 5-14, of all skill levels, who will be taught a variety of soccer skills from dribbling to shooting. Simply Soccer, the longest running soccer camp offered by the city, will be held at Mullins Park behind the Coral Springs gymnasium. There won’t be a similar camp this year in Pompano Beach.

There are three sessions each day ranging from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; extended hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tiny Tot program for ages 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to noon. Full day campers must bring a soccer ball, swimsuit, shin guards, water bottle and lunch.

Dates are June 9-13, 16- 20, 23-27; July 7-11, 14-18, 21-25, 28-Aug. 1; Aug. 4-8, 11-15.

For information, call 954- 345-2200.


Blanche Ely High School ended its spring football contest against visiting Miami Jackson on a high note as it chalked up an impressive 31-14 victory.

The Tigers’ star basketball player, Therrell Gosier, who has been turning heads off the basketball court and on the football fi eld this spring, didn’t disappoint. He caught two passes totaling 55 yards on the team’s fi rst drive to set up a 1-yard run by Teddrick Moffett for a 7-0 lead, and added a 3-yard TD catch for a 14-0 fi rst quarter lead.

I’m just trying to help my team win a state title,” Gosier said after the game. He is being heavily sought after by Clemson, West Virginia and Nebraska, among others. “I’m looked at as the leader of the receiving corps. I think my ability to stretch the fi eld will mean a lot. It will give our slot guys more room to work with, open the fi eld.”

After Miami Jackson cut the lead in half on a 75-yard TD run by Desmond Phillips, Ely put the game away on a 28-yard scoring toss to Ladderick Smith and rolled to the win to give fi rst year head football coach Nakia Jenkins some momentum heading into the season.

Jenkins said the Tigers wouldn’t be doing too many 7-on-7 tournaments during the summer heading into the school year.

I really don’t believe in them too much because, to me, it throws you off a little bit because your quarterback needs to get used to an offensive line,” said Jenkins, who said his team will be a part of the 7th Annual Miami Dolphins 7-on-7 High School Football Tournament presented by Under Armour and the National Guard from June 13-15.

They have been great to us the last few years,” Jenkins said. “We may do one or two local ones, but my focus is to get my seniors in some camps so they can get looked at so the kids don’t fall through the cracks. The camps are really big to give them some notoriety.”


Continental will play the International squad in the city of Pompano Beach’s Men’s Thursday night softball league championship on June 5 at 7 p.m.

A win by the International squad would give the team the title, while a loss to Continental would force an 8:15 p.m. winner-take-all contest.

Levinson Jewelers/Jacks Hamburger won the Men’s Softball A Division playoff bracket with a 19-7 victory over Lifetime Kia.

A new competitive league will be starting soon, and games will be played on Monday nights at the Four Fields Complex in Pompano Beach.

Any bat will be allowed and a pitching screen will be placed in front of the pitcher for protection,” said Bobbi Palat, a recreation leader for the city. “Twelve home runs will be allowed.”

The fee is $400 for residents and $500 for non-residents. There will be a 12-game season with a double-elimination tournament at the conclusion of the regular season. The winning team will receive a free entry into next season.

Leagues are also starting for Tuesday and Wednesday nights. It will be the same entry fee of $400 (residents) and $500 (non-residents). There will be a free entry into the league for next season and there will be two separate brackets for playoffs.

For more information, contact Palat at 954-786-4119.

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Ely coach hopes for playoffs next season

Posted on 29 May 2014 by L.Moore

By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely first year head football coach Nakia Jenkins hopes he has the perfect recipe for success this season.

The first ingredient was discipline. The other things added into the mix will come from the players – hard work and determination.

Jenkins, 38, who was named interim coach for the spring workouts, hopes that label will be gone by the first week of the season.

Jenkins, originally from Belle Glade where he played with former NFLers Fred Taylor and Reidel Anthony at Glades Central High School, started as the offensive coordinator in 2004 at Blanche Ely and returned to the school last year in the same capacity after the team started 0-4. He was the offensive coordinator at his alma mater in 2006-2007 when the team won the Class 3A state championship.

Blanche Ely has made it to the state championship game twice when it finished second in 1987 losing to Tallahassee Godby, 31-3, in the Class 4A game before winning in 2002 in the Class 5A game when it defeated Wharton, 22-10.

This is where I have been off and on.

This is like being home in Belle Glade,” Jenkins said. “This is like home to me. I like the community. I like what I see. I like the environment. I love it. They want what is best for the kids and I do too.

We went on a run last year and ended up being district champs,” said Jenkins, who succeeds Charles Hafley as head coach. The team defeated West Boca, 44-20, in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs last year before falling in the regional semifinals to the eventual state champion Dwyer, 49-7.

We wound up 6-6 and the job just kind of fell in my hands,” Jenkins said. “Coach (Malcolm) Spence (the school’s assistant principal) and Mr. (Karlton) Johnson (the school’s principal) are great friends of mine and I respect those guys to the fullest. They are doing an incredible job here trying to get everything going in the right direction. I got a phone call from them and they said, ‘Coach, we want you to take over the team on an interim basis,’ and, of course, I said, ‘Yes.’ I don’t have to prove myself. They know what I bring to the table. They know I bring discipline first and foremost. I treat the players like they are my own kids.”

Jenkins is relying on several key players this upcoming season, including Therrell Gosier, a 6ft., 7in., 210lb. receiver, who is being highly recruited; Kevin Williams (CB/FS), already committed to West Virginia; wide receivers Laderrick Smith, Thomas Geddis and Terrance Henley, a senior CB. The Tigers also added cornerback George Heck, a transfer from Northeast. They will all be seniors in the fall. (CB).

Junior quarterback Teddrick Moffet will be the key, however.

He is a three-year starter,” Jenkins said. “He is the anchor of our offense. He is not that tall (5-10), but plays like he is 6-5. He has a great arm.”

Jenkins said the team would have won more games last season if it were disciplined so that has been his focus since he took over. He also brought back long-time Broward County coach Carl Wilburn to be his assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.

He has been coaching in Broward County for 30 years and, like me, he’s a disciplinarian,” Jenkins said. “Carl is a guy I look up to. We lost some kids from last year, but the coaches I brought in know these kids and have a good relationship with them. I think that was really big for us.”

Jenkins said he also realizes there are expectations from the community. Blanche Ely has produced 12 players – third most in Florida, who has been drafted by the National Football League, including this year’s selection of Jabari Price by the Minnesota Vikings in the seventh round.

There is no pressure,” Jenkins said. “My motto has always been getting the most out of the kids. Ely has never been a football school. They have won some ball games, but for us to get in the playoffs and win a state championship would be huge. That would be the exclamation point.”

A lot of people know me in the community and they want to see what I have done and what changes I have made,” Jenkins added. “We have great support. We have a booster club now that we haven’t had in a number of years. The support from the community has been great to this point, and I couldn’t ask for anything better, so my return to them is win some ball games. They are going to put the time in for the kids, and it is a good situation, and the best I can do is win some games.”

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Lions fall in regional final

Posted on 22 May 2014 by L.Moore

Pages 09-16By Gary Curreri

Zion Lutheran first-year coach Ray Ayala said his baseball team exceeded expectations this season.

The Lions (16-10-1) recently completed their season with a hardfought, 10-4 loss in 11- innings against visiting Miami Brito last week.

Miami Brito Miami scored six runs in the top of the 11th inning to snap a 4-4 tie as the Panthers won the Region 4-2A final and denied the Lions their first trip to the state semifinals in school history for the second consecutive season.

Zion Lutheran lost 11-0 to the eventual state champion, Westwood Christian, in the Class 2A regional finals last season. Jose Rodriguez pitched six innings in relief of Lions’ starter Blayne Baker to keep Zion Lutheran in the game. The team rallied from a 4-1 deficit to force extra innings with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Ivan Ortiz’s RBI single tied the game at 4-4.

We were very fortunate to get it tied,” said first year Lions coach Ray Ayala, who came over from Somerset Academy this season. “We had some opportunities, but we didn’t get it done.”

There were only two players back from last year’s team (Baker and Manny Rojas). Baker finished the season 6-4 on the mound, while Rojas batted .509 for the season and led the team with 35 RBI.

We played in two early season tournaments and went 0-6-1 in them,” Ayala said. “Honestly, if you go back to February, you will see we had a whole bunch of individuals. I put them in over their heads. It took us three months to become a family and we had won nine in a row since then. We had to find a way to have them come together.”

When I first took a look at it, I thought there was something to build there,” Ayala said. “There was nothing there. The cupboard was bare so to speak. I figured two to three years we could build something. As you can see, we moved at a little bit faster pace.”

Ortiz, who was a catcher at Olympic Heights last season, joined the team this season along with shortstop Jose Rodriguez and outfielder Joseph Renovales, who came over from Coral Glades High School.

They all know each other from playing summer ball together,” Ayala said. “We inherited five other kids from other schools.”

Ayala said the slow start showed the team there was work to do.

It made us realize that one through nine we weren’t better than anybody,” Ayala said. “If we played as a team, we could beat anybody. That’s where all of our losses came from and that was the turning point going through those tournaments learning that we could not win individually; we could only win collectively; once we stopped worrying about stats and worrying about who plays, our practices became more geared toward team drills and we were successful as a team and turned the corner.”

Ayala believes the program has a bright future. Ayala said parents who are interested in bringing their sons to the program are already contacting him.

I am already getting calls of interest,” Ayala said. “Parents are getting calls from other parents and telling them they want to switch schools, so that is definitely getting us on the map. We are getting a reputation that we play hard and I am fair to the kids.

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