Locals compete at Spartan games

Posted on 13 June 2019 by LeslieM

Jennifer Roberts, right, and Braden Roberts finish running the Spartan Race at South County Park in Boca Raton. Photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri
Jennifer Roberts and Braden Roberts went for a little trip in the park that included crawling on their stomachs under wires, climbing ropes and covering 22 other obstacles before finishing the race jumping over a wall of fire.
The mother-son duo from Deerfield Beach competed in their first Spartan Race at South County Regional Park in Boca Raton, and together, they enjoyed every minute of it.
“These races are awesome,” said Jennifer, 40. “This was our first one together because he is just old enough (14-year-old) to run an adult race. It was pretty cool because there were times when I needed a little help; and he was there, and times when he needed some pep talks to get him through. We carried each other for sure.”
Braden had competed in three Spartan Races as a kid.
“This one was much harder,” he said. “It really tests your physical strength on the rope climbs, the monkey bars and stuff like that. Mentally, it is tough because you have to run long distances, and you have to be mentally tough to get through it.
“It was pretty cool running with my mom,” Braden added. “Probably the most exciting part of the race was jumping over the fire at the end.”
Roberts said her family will volunteer ahead of time and then run races. She said they like to give back because Spartan Races is a “great organization.”
“I am so proud and overjoyed to be able to run his first adult race with him,” Jennifer added. “Knowing I have run so many races, but knowing he was there with me, was so cool. We kept high fiving each other. I am so proud of him.”
“In life, you have to be able to push through anything,” she continued. “You wake up in the morning and something hard hits you, you’ve got to get through it. It is the same here. Once you start, you are running and, until you cross the finish line, you have to be able to push through. You have to be able to persevere.”
It was the first Spartan Race held in Boca Raton. The Sprint course was composed of 3 miles and 25 obstacles of fast, mostly-flat running. Since it was a course laid out over flat terrains, there were some back-to-back obstacles and heavy carries. Some competitors challenged themselves by running the Sprint on both Saturday and Sunday. The Sprint is the shortest distance race in the Spartan Race series, but it’s still a favorite amongst both new and returning racers.
Garfield Griffiths produces eight of the 63 Spartan Races in the United States annually and over 200 worldwide. There are three in Florida, one in Orlando and another in Jacksonville in addition to Boca Raton. The two-day event in Boca Raton attracted more than 8,000 people, which included about 1,000 children and spectators. Griffiths said the Spartan Race concept began in 2010 in Vermont with about 200 people and has grown to what it is today.
“From there, it just took off and they started doing 10-12 across the country and other countries jumped it,” Griffiths said. “Last year, we did over one million people worldwide. I think it is one of the best and all-around fitness challenges because it has everything.”
There are several types of Spartan Races – Sprint, which is an entry race consisting of 3-4 miles and about 22 obstacles; a Super, which is 8-10 miles, and then the Beast, which is 15 miles. There is the Ultra, which is 30 miles and more than 65 obstacles.

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Ely’s Williams wins two state track titles

Posted on 06 June 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Jevon Williams proudly shows off his two state championship medals that he won in sweeping the 110 and 300-meter hurdle events at the Class 3A state championships. Photo by Gary Curreri.

Jevon Williams concluded his junior year at Blanche Ely High School with a bang and two state championships in track. Williams, 17, of Pompano Beach, swept the 110-meter hurdles (14.08) and a personal best in the 300-meter hurdles (36.54) for the Tigers at the FHSAA Class 3A state championships at the University of North Florida.

Williams’ fastest time in the 300 (36.54) is the fourth fastest in the nation, while his personal best time of 13.87 in the 110-meter time earlier this season is good enough for 18thin the country.

“My year was pretty big,” said Williams, who is also a wide receiver for the Tigers football team. “I accomplished a lot in winning the 300 hurdles back-to-back and I look forward to next year and doing the same thing. Winning the 110-meter event at state was somewhat unexpected.

“This year, there was a lot of pressure since I was coming from a winning season last season in the 300 hurdles,” Williams said. “Winning the 110 was a blessing. I worked hard for it this season. My mind was set on just coming back and winning the 300, but when I got to state I wanted to win both.

“It wasn’t a surprise,” Williams said. “I knew I could do it. If you put your mind to anything, you can achieve it. I am always going to remember the 300-hurdles at state. It was probably the toughest race I have ever run, to be honest. States 2019 is something I will always remember.”

His college options are open. Williams said he is being recruited by Mississippi State and Texas A&M and has interest in LSU, Texas, University of Miami, Kentucky and Oregon in addition to Mississippi State.

“I am proud of how I improved in my major events and I am now a three-time state champion,” Williams said.

Simply Soccer registration begins

Area residents are invited to take part in the Simply Soccer camp series that is about to begin its 31styear of soccer camps for children 5-15 in nearby Coral Springs.

There are three sessions each day ranging from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; extended hours at camp are 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. You do not have to be a city resident to attend.

The dates are June 10-14; June 17-21; June 24-28; July 1-5 (No camp 7/4); July 8-12; July 15-19; July 22-26; July 29-Aug. 2; Aug. 5-9.

You can register daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Coral Springs Gymnasium, 2501 Coral Springs Dr., Coral Springs. For information on the camp, call 954-345-2200.

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Deerfield Beach Little League concludes season

Posted on 30 May 2019 by LeslieM

The Majors Division champion Demons managed by Neile Thomas, who grew up playing with the Deerfield Beach Little League, and Coach John Cecil. Submitted photo, courtesy of Jason Siracusa.

By Gary Curreri

The Deerfield Beach Little League (DBLL) ended the 2019 season with a bang. The local league finished off the season with championship games in all of their divisions. The games started at 10 a.m. following a live singing performance of the National Anthem by longtime Deerfield Beach Little League coach Pete Lash’s daughter Sarah.

“Sarah did a phenomenal job,” said Deerfield Beach Little League President Jason Siracusa. “Overall, our season-ending championship Saturday was a big hit. The Deerfield Beach Parks Department did a phenomenal job getting our fields groomed and ready, and everything looked great. I can’t thank them enough.”

Siracusa said they ran the championship games on all four fields at the same time, something DBLL has never done before. At the end of the games, all players and family members were treated to free food from concession and the day ended with a trophy ceremony for the champions and MVPs.

Championship game results: Minors Red Sox managed by Charlie Silveria beat the Orioles, 10-2; Majors — Demons managed by Neile Thomas beat the Wahoos, 4-2; 50/70 — Yankees managed by Warren Fronte beat the Red Sox, 5-3, and the Juniors — Nationals managed by Bobby Williams beat the Dodgers, 12-2.

Several MVP awards were handed out in the various divisions (Minors) Lucas Pujol, (Majors) Sam Stanley, (50/70, co-winners) Robert and Roman Odierna and (Juniors) Salvatore Saccente. 

“It was a great day, the weather was perfect, the kids had fun, everything went smoothly,” Siracusa concluded. “I can’t think of a better way to end the season and lead us into the upcoming All-Star tournaments. The 2019 season was an incredible success.  Next year will be even bigger and better.”

Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Results

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association recently held two tournaments at the Palms Course at the Pompano Beach Municipal Golf Course.

The first tournament was an Individual Play (Low Gross & Low Net in classes) and the Low Gross winner in the Class A Division was Tom Pawelczyk with a 79. The Low Net winner for the class was Frank Cutrone with a 65 and the runner-up was Roy Wilhoite, who fired a 70 and won on a match of cards.

The Class B Low Gross winner was Tom Breur, who shot an 85, while Don Worrell (68) won the Low Net, followed by Harlen Tyler (71). In the Class C Division, Bart Valerio shot 89 to win the Low Gross honors, while Henry Lesburt shot a 67 and won on a match of cards over Willie Smith. The closest to the pin winner of hole No. 11 was Tom Breur.

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association followed that up with a Two Best Balls of Foursome event. The team of Oscar Aleman, Henry Lesburt, Robert Raser and Roy Wilhoite shot a 114 to win top honors, while the team of Dave Dowling, Jim Greeley, Dennis Sejda and Russ Smith finished second with a 122. The closest to the pin winner on hole No. 17 was Frank Cutrone.

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Ziol named ‘Coach of the Year’

Posted on 23 May 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

T.J. Ziol was recently named 2018 Coach of the Year by the First Tee of Broward County. Ziol, who is a Level II coach and has been involved with the program for the past four years, is headquartered at the Pompano Beach Golf Course.

“The kids are the best part,” Ziol said. “We have such a great group of kids. In the First Tee, we talk about core values, such as respect, honesty and integrity, and I learn as much from them as they do from me. We can’t forget about the parents and volunteers as well. They put in as much time to make every lesson work easily.”

“It was an amazing feeling to receive such an honor,” Ziol added. “The First Tee of Broward is doing great things for junior golf, and, knowing my involvement is helping our mission to grow, the game of golf is the greatest feeling.”

“The First Tee staff makes the decision as to who wins the award each year,” said Jack Bloomfield, director of operations for the First Tee of Broward County. “We have 15 certified coaches.

“The criteria we use is to go over and above serving our participants with professionalism and goodwill,” Bloomfield added. “The coach is always on time, keeps up with his coach certification continuing education, works with our special needs children and more. T.J. is very deserving of the award.”

Pompano golf results

The Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association recently held two tournaments.

The first was a One Best Ball even holes, 2 Best Balls on odd holes and the winners of that event were Nancy Rack, Lori Tarmey, Brenda Joy, and Patty Davis, who recorded an 88. In second place, two shots back were Deb Brown, Lynn Goodman, Roseanna Nixon and Patti Van Zandt (blind draw).

The second event was a One Best Ball for holes 1-6, Two Best Balls for holes 7-12, and Three Best Balls for holes 13-18. In the A & B Combined Classes, Deb Brown, Georgie Wright, Nancy Rack and Sandra Gore shot a winning score of 125, while Deb Ladig, Vonnie Okeefe, Lori Tarmey and Patti VanZandt carded a 127 to take the C & D Combined division.

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association also held a two best ball of foursome tournament on the Pine Course.

The team of Robert Blau, Mike Grimaldi, Tom Joyce and Jim Muschany carded a 117 and won by a single stroke over the team of Scott Feinman, Dave Hall, Joe Patchen and Bob VanZandt, who shot 118. The team of Jim DeCicco, Al DiBenedetto, Tom Pawelczyk and Bob Stawitz shot 123 to finish third.

Winner of the closest to the pin contest on the third hole was Rocco DiZazzo.

Simply soccer registration begins

Area residents are invited to take part in the Simply Soccer camp series that is about to begin its 31styear of soccer camps for children 5-15 in nearby Coral Springs.

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. You do not have to be a city resident to attend.

The dates are June 10-14; June 17-21; June 24-28; July 1-5 (No camp July 4); July 8-12; July 15-19; July 22-26; July 29-Aug. 2; Aug. 5-9.

You can register daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Coral Springs Gymnasium, 2501 Coral Springs Dr., Coral Springs. For information on the camp, call 954-345-2200.

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Tornadoes reach the postseason, fall in Class 5A regional semifinal

Posted on 16 May 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The Pompano Beach High School girls softball team made a return to the postseason with a dramatic 5-0 win over Cardinal Gibbons in the district semifinals that pushed the team into the postseason.

The Tornadoes finished the season 13-7 after it lost to Coral Springs Charter in the Class 5A regional semifinals. Coral Springs Charter (26-1), ranked No. 4 in the state by MaxPreps and No. 8 in the nation by Xcellent 25, won for the 25th straight game. The lone blemish was a 5-4 loss to Western in the second game of the season.

“They are a great hitting team,” said Pompano Beach coach John McGuire, whose team downed Lincoln Park Academy, 10-3, in the regional quarters to advance. “Coral Springs Charter are nationally ranked, so the bloop hits were even harder to defend and it was deflating. You just try to work through it.”

With the game out of reach in the second inning, McGuire called time and emptied his bench replacing his six seniors on the diamond for one last curtain call for their families.

“I wanted to give one last hurrah,” McGuire said. “It has been four long years and they deserve it. I try and do it every year if the game allows it for the parents to say goodbye.”

McGuire said the win over Cardinal Gibbons was the highlight of the season since it helped them reach their goal of the postseason.

“Every year, we seem to finish second in the district and our challenging game is Cardinal Gibbons,” McGuire said. “We win that game and we make it back to here (regional competition). It was a good feeling. It was 0-0 for a long time and then we scored one in the fifth and four in the sixth inning to win.”

“I am going to miss this quite a bit,” said Jeritza Montero, 18, of Ft. Lauderdale, who played all four seasons for the Tornadoes and was one of six seniors on the squad. “They are my family. They grew up being my family and friends.”

“Beating Cardinal Gibbons this year was probably the highlight of my career at the school,” added Montero, who is headed to the College of Central Florida.

“They are our rival and we wound up coming out on top. Last year, they knocked us out of the district tournament, and we came back for revenge and we got it.”

Teammate Sophia Akrouk, 18, of Coral Springs will miss the camaraderie of her friends.

“When I was 8, I started playing with Jeritza and now we are graduating together,” said Akrouk, who was taken back when McGuire emptied the bench. “I really didn’t think I would be so emotional, but it was a thing to remember. It was shocking, but I felt great giving the baton down to the next generation of players.”

Deerfield Beach’s Claire Finzel, 18, will continue her career at Keiser University and said she will always remember the emotion of beating Cardinal Gibbons to qualify for the postseason.

“I have never seen us act like that before after we won,” Finzel said. “This was probably my best year because there was never any drama this year. Usually, there is a little bit of drama each year; but, this year, we were all best friends and we have all just come together. This is my life basically, every day.

“I will miss the friendships I guess,” she continued. “These are my best friends. These are the people I hang out with. It is my softball family.”

McGuire said the team enjoyed being around each other.

“They played hard,” McGuire said. “Attitude and effort is what I preach. We are not a state champion caliber team. In those four years, we only have two going to college to play softball. We want them to have fun and enjoy high school ball.

“Our school only produces a couple of college players a year, but our GPA is probably higher than anyone else’s,” he said. “We have a 100 percent graduation rate. We will outsmart anybody. We are student-athletes in the truest sense.”

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Calvet in a ‘league of her own’

Posted on 09 May 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach’s Janelle Calvet could be considered a Swiss army knife for the Somerset Keys High School baseball team. The 14-year-old freshman, who plays in the Deerfield Beach Little League Senior League team, recently completed her first year on the high school program as one of their bright spots. She played shortstop, catcher and even pitched some games to help the Lions finish 4-5 in their inaugural season.

“It was fun,” Calvet said. “I was very accepted (by the boys). Everybody treated me the same and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed playing.”

She said there wasn’t much of an adjustment because she played with players that also play Little League with her. There were a couple of girls that we played against.

“It was everything I expected and I am definitely going to do it again,” added Calvet, who also plays for the GTB (Girls Travel Baseball) program that plays in tournaments throughout the country. Their last event was an International Tournament in West Palm Beach last November.

Two years ago, she was among a group of girls from South Florida who were flown out to California to compete in the inaugural ‘Trailblazer Series,’ a first-of-its-kind girls baseball tournament.

The event at the MLB Youth Academy in Compton, CA took place in conjunction with Jackie Robinson Day. It attracted a total of approximately 100 girls, ages 16 and under, representing 20 states across the country as well as Washington D.C. and Canada.

Calvet still has aspirations of playing Major League Baseball. In March, she was a part of MLB Grit, an inaugural high school invitational event designed specifically for 60 girls who play baseball.

It was held in Dallas, Texas. Calvert said she was able to meet members of the United States Women’s National Baseball Team and some professional players.”

“I absolutely want to play in the MLB,” she said. “It is going to take a lot of hard work.”

Calvet, who is the lone girl playing in the Senior Division of the Deerfield Beach Little League, said the ‘A League of Their Own’ movie inspired her to play baseball. When she went to California, two of the original members of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (1949-51) were in attendance and Calvet got to meet them.

“The most memorable thing going out there was meeting Maybelle Blair and Shirley Burkovich because it all started with them,” said Calvet following her trip at the time.

“I had her pitching and playing shortstop for us,” said Somerset Keys baseball coach Joe Silvia. “She was a force to be reckoned with. I’ll be honest. I had her batting second and she would get on (base), steal second and third and score.”

“She was one of my heavy hitters,” he added. “It’s great having her on the team. It’s different having a girl on the team. You worry about her not hurting her arm. We do long toss, quick hands, and all of these drills.”

Calvet finished the season with a batting average of .444 and Silvia said she averaged at least two walks per game this season. She had 10 RBIs to go along with her 8 runs scored. She pitched, played shortstop and also caught the last few games of the season. Every practice, he would talk to her.

“I always went up to her and said, ‘how’s the arm? Are you good?’” Silvia said. “I pitched her in some of our games. She is the real deal. We started to practice, and she was running with the guys…taking batting practice and throwing and I was like, ‘ok, what’s going on here?’” If I had nine of her, we’d be undefeated.”

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Deerfield 50/70 team holds on for 8-5 win

Posted on 02 May 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Christian Osornio and Daniel Silveria collected multiple hits to lead the offensive charge, while Roman Odiernia blasted a two run home run to deep left field in the third inning as the Deerfield Beach Little League’s 50/70 team jumped out to an early lead and then held on for an 8-5 win over host Federal recently.

Osornio started on the mound for Deerfield Beach and tossed two innings of one-hit, one-run ball. He also struck out three and walked one as the local squad built an early 6-1 lead in the interleague contest.

Robert Odiernia and Alex Riveria pitched the middle of the game and gave way to closer Ryan Jarrett, who sealed the deal as he yielded no hits and no walks while striking out four and allowed 0 runs in 2.1 innings of work. 

Others contributing to the 10 hits for DBLL were Caleb Wahlers, Jarrett, both Odiernia boys, Donovan Campbell and Anthony Fronte. Federal was only able to manage three hits in the game.

Golf Course closes for reconstruction of new greens

The city of Pompano Beach has temporarily closed the Greg Norman Signature Golf Course for the renovation of their putting greens.

The Pines Course, located at 1101 N. Federal Hwy., is one of two courses located at the city’s public golf course. The second course, the Palms Course, will remain open during the reconstruction.

The re-grassing of the Pines Golf Course putting greens will provide a much-improved turf surface. Platinum Paspalm turf has been chosen based on the conditions at this facility. The city has been testing the Paspalm turf on four greens over the past year which has proven to be highly successful.

The process of re-grassing involves many steps, including applying herbicide in order to aid in the removal of the existing turf, applying soil amendments, frequent rolling of surfaces to develop a consistent turf stand, aerification, installation of the premium sod, etc.

The Greg Norman Design Pines Golf Course is tentatively scheduled to re-open by the end of June weather permitting.

Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association results

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held a One Best Ball of a Foursome tournament at the Pines Course and the group of Henry Lesburt, Bill O’Brien, Robert Raser and Tom Breur (blind draw) carded a 51 to win top honors.

Tom Breur, Bob Mascatello, Lance Naiman and Dave Hall (blind draw) shot a 53 and won on a match of cards with the third place team of Richard Anderson, George Duarte, Carlo Spirito and Bart Valerio. Finishing in fourth was Jim DeCicco, Jim Dunn (blind draw), Gary Gill and Richard Plasky with a 55. Frank Cutrone, Bill McCormick, Paul Murphy and Gene Stoller shot a 56 to finish fifth.  The closest to the pin winner on the third hole was Pat McClain.

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association followed that tournament up with another contest – Two Best Ball of Foursome at the Pines Course.

Paul Berning, Joe Patchen, Richard Plasky and Bob VanZandt carded a 117 to take first place. Placing second after a match of cards was Jim Blake, Frank Cutrone, Lee Hammer and Bill Sincavage, who shot 118. Andy Burt, Jim Dunn, Dave Hall and Harlan Tyler (blind draw) finished third with a 118.

Henry Lesburt, Bob Mascatello, Jay Thorn and Tom Joyce (blind draw) were fourth after shooting 120 and won on a match of cards. Jim Foster, Bill Hadersbeck, Mike Katawczik and Tim O’Brien finished fifth. Winning the closest to the pin contest on the seventh hole was Jerry Goodman.

Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association results

The Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association held a One Best Ball Even Holes, Two Best Balls Odd Holes tournament and the team of Sue Bardhi, Vonnie Okeefe, Nancy Oshea and Patti Matera (blind draw) won with an 86. Finishing second, just three shots back with an 89, was the team of Abby Ages, Deanne Baumann, Dianne Levanti and Anita Macmichael.

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All-STAR Buddies hold basketball event

Posted on 25 April 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The City of Deerfield Beach Parks & Recreation Department’s All-STAR Buddies program in partnership with the Special Olympics recently hosted the inaugural “Choose to Include” Basketball Event at the Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex.

Kenny Lawrence, who runs the special needs All-STAR Buddies programs for the City of Deerfield Beach, said the one-day event empowered athletes of all ages and abilities to engage in a fun, safe environment with an emphasis on sportsmanship. Approximately 150 people throughout the county attended the event.

Throughout the day, special needs athletes were helped by Buddies in the games and, at the conclusion, every special player received a Special Olympics Florida T-shirt and a medal.

With the central theme of breaking down social barriers for individuals with special needs, the event included basketball games, a family festival, along with a dance.

“The concept of unified programming allows for individuals who don’t have a disability compete alongside those who do,” Lawrence pointed out. “This concept helps promote unity and acceptance which is what the city’s program, All-STAR Buddies, was based around.”

The city also presented Buddy Benches at this event. The Buddy Benches were created as a part of an anti-bully movement the city has adopted. 

“Children from each of the city’s aftercare programs decorated these benches,” Lawrence said. “The benches will eventually be installed throughout the city and neighboring schools, including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The bench being installed at Stoneman Douglas was created as a memorial bench in honor of the 17 who lost their lives last year.” 

“I created the idea of this event as a way to share with the community a program that I fell in love with while working with the Special Olympics over the last 12 years,” Lawrence said. “Outside of being a head coach for the Special Olympics, I am also a unified player on a basketball and volleyball team. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity over the years to work side by side by my idols and wanted to share this experience with everyone.”

Among those who attended the event was Lawrence’s close friend, Kevin Sutton, host of the Kevin Sutton Show for ESPN sports talk radio out of Orlando. Sutton and his family made the trip down from Orlando to spend the day with the kids and announce the basketball games.

Lawrence said the program known as All-STAR Buddies started August 2018.

“The program was created to be an all inclusive program designed to promote inclusion and acceptance for all participants,” he said. “The program allows for everyone to join regardless of having a disability or not and provides a safe non-judgmental environment that encourages socialization and understanding.”

Here’s a list of the programs All-STAR Buddies currently offers and their locations: basketball (Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex), soccer (Middle School Athletics Complex), track (Middle School Athletics Complex), kickball (Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex), photography (Hillsboro Community Center), fishing (Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier), art (Highlands Community Center), music (Teen Center), bowling (Strikes in Boca) and clay animation (Hillsboro Community Center).

Clay Animation is a class that brings clay to life using older cartoon techniques in creating videos out of individual still frames using cameras.

The city also offers S.T.R.E.A.M. (Constitution Park). This class offers a different themed project each week based off of the class’s abbreviated name. Week 1 – Science, Week 2 – Technology, Week 3 – Recreation, Week 4 – Engineering, Week 5 – Art, Week 6 – Math.

“These are six-week programs that run throughout the year,” Lawrence said. “Each class is based out of a different location throughout the city. It was designed this way to provide the All-STAR Buddy programming throughout the city.”

Currently, the city is working on its summer camp programs which start June 10 and will run through Aug. 2. This summer’s All-STAR Buddy summer camp program will run Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“This will be the first time the city has offered a full camp for individuals with special needs,” Lawrence added. “As for future programming, we are planning on adding several new programs to the year as well, including future ‘Choose To Include’ events.”

For more information on the Buddies programs, contact Lawrence via e-mail at klawrence@deerfield-beach.com.

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Somerset Key wins first game on the diamond

Posted on 18 April 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Somerset Key Academy [which is where Zion Lutheran used to be in Deerfield] recently won its first baseball game in school history.

Somerset Key picked up an 18-4 win over Donna Klein for the first victory in school history. Shaq Rolle clubbed a home run, while Paul Rolle had an inside-the-park home run for the Lions. The winning pitcher was Paul Rolle.

“It was very cool to pick up that win against Donna Klein,” said Silvia, a fixture with the Deerfield Beach Little League program, who has also coached high school baseball throughout the county. He has coached high school and travel baseball for 31 years.

“We put the schedule together late and had like three weeks to practice before our first game. It was a really big deal. It was a huge win. You can only practice so much,” Silvia added. “It is a different experience when the umpires say, ‘play ball.’ As a coach, practice is my time and when the umpires are there, it is the players’ time. They show us what they learned. It was a lot of fun.”

The Lions are currently 2-2 this season with a game scheduled for Thursday against Atlantic Christian at 4 p.m. They also beat Somerset Miramar and lost to Highlands Christian, and dropped a 5-4 decision against Sheridan Hills.

“We were leading in the last inning and gave it away,” Silvia said. “My closer couldn’t throw strikes and we lost it. We could easily be 3-1 right now. It’s okay because we are learning.”

Silvia had to be prodded to take over the program. He was an assistant coach at Northeast High School last season and was planning on taking the year off — until six members of Somerset Keys came to his house and sat in his living room and convinced him to coach because they didn’t have a coach.

“After the AD and a couple of dads called, they asked me to help out,” Silvia said. “I couldn’t say no. The kids said they would do all of the work. I just wanted them to learn the game of baseball, have fun and grow the program. They are having fun and have won games. With our loss to Highlands Christian, I told the boys that was a good, established program and we hope to be there in a few years.”

Silvia hoped to have a middle school team too, but there weren’t enough players to form a middle school team, so several of those players are on the varsity. They have just three seniors on the team and the rest are underclassmen and middle schoolers.

“I didn’t really know what to expect because I am used to coaching the bigger schools and the travel teams,” he said. “We had tryouts and I had kids coming out in shorts and sneakers and didn’t know what to expect.

We had kids falling off at the beginning of the year because they couldn’t handle the conditioning. These kids are ball players. We have 10 games left and I am hoping to win out.”

Because they are a first-year, independent team, they will not compete in the playoffs this year.

“We have some really good younger players, so I am really encouraged,” Silvia said. “Since they never had a program there before, they would lose players to the neighboring schools and we wanted to keep them there. We want to put the baseball program on the map.”

The team is composed of Shaq Rolle, Zack Johnson, Paul Rolle, Kobe Rolle, Rogelio Vargas, Janelle Calvet, Sergio De Armas, Armari Santana, Marcus Febuzzi, Seidel De Armas, Jeb Yanto, Matt DeOlivera, Jesus Garcia, David Davila, Trent Hussy and Nate Reid.

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Knights help with Miracle League

Posted on 11 April 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Highlands Christian Academy’s baseball team loaded up in their bus and made the 35-minute drive up to the Miracle League of Palm Beach County’s “field of dreams.”

Along the way, they played games, built on some team bonding, but when they arrived at Miller Park in Delray Beach, they were consumed with helping others.

The Miracle League, a baseball league for special needs athletes, gives its participants an opportunity to play the sport with others. Its players hail from Wellington, Jupiter, Port St. Lucie, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Coral Springs, Ft. Lauderdale, Parkland, and Boca Raton.

Julia and her husband Jeff incorporated the league in 2005 and used the Bucky Dent Baseball School infield from 2007 to 2010 until they started to play their games on their own field.

The Kadels, through grassroots efforts and public and private donations and monies, raised $550,000 to build a handicapped-accessible field complete with recycled rubber and ramps for wheelchairs. They opened a handicapped-accessible playground and recently raised nearly $100,000 to resurface the field this summer as 250 people turned out for the Dinner on the Diamond event.

There are six teams in the league this year with about 16 players on each and a cheerleading squad with seven members. There are also about 160 buddies. Garrich Phelipa, a senior pitcher/1st baseman for the Knights, enjoyed his time.

“This is fun,” said Phelipa, 17, of Pompano Beach. “It’s great. The children like it. This is my first time doing anything like this. It makes it fun for the team because we get to be together and do a good thing.”

Teammate Isaac Dominguez, 17, a sophomore catcher/infielder, of Pompano Beach agreed: “This is awesome. It gets you thinking as to how privileged you really are and being able to do things by yourself.

Anytime you get a chance to help the kids that are in need, it is an awesome time. It just gives a good feeling to your heart just to help people that need it.”

“The team had a fun time coming over here on the bus,” Dominguez added. “We played a game on the bus where we named MLB players and now that we are at the field, we are just having fun with the kids and enjoying our time together.”

Knights head coach Bruce Charlebois said it was an eye-opener for his players.

“We sometimes think that we are coming to these things to bless others and serve the Lord and we are the ones that continuously get blessed,” Charlebois said. “We have a heart for special needs. My mother was very involved in the Special Olympics. I have had a couple of special needs clinics at my field and I just feel it does a world of good for the world.

“Nowadays these kids are kind of stuck in their technology and a lot of them are really in their own world,” Charlebois continued. “They struggle with communication skills and the things that happen when we come out here change their life. We would like to think permanently, not short term, and they start to appreciate life and what they have. I think it is a great thing for everybody involved.”

This is the first time that Highlands Christian helped the Miracle League as a team and Charlebois said they were excited about the opportunity.

José Dennis Martínez Ortiz, nicknamed “El Presidente” a four-time major league all-star was on hand to pitch at the opener.

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