Cape May County Gazette Leader Sports

Pennington: If drafted, ‘I’m going to sign’

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, June 04, 2014 12:55 pm

JOSH PENNINGTON Josh Pennington may not throw another pitch for more than a year. But the injured senior righthander from Lower Cape May Regional High School is still optimistic he’ll be selected in the later rounds of this week’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

“It’s definitely not going to be how it was before,” Pennington said. “If I was healthy I might have gone in the (Round) 4-to-6 range. But now I’ll probably be much later than that.”

Prior to this season, Pennington was one of a handful of South Jersey high school pitchers drawing major interest from professional scouts due to a fastball that consistently reached into the low 90s. But he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow while warming up for a game during the Caper Tigers’ trip to Myrtle Beach in April. He is scheduled to have Tommy John surgery later this month, to be performed by famed orthopedic surgeon James Andrews.

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MTHS frosh selected for National Lacrosse Classic

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, June 02, 2014 09:13 pm

BRIDGET RUSKEY Middle Township High School freshman Bridget Ruskey, fresh off a record-setting first high school season, has been selected to participate for Team New Jersey in the 2014 Brine National Lacrosse Classic scheduled for June 30-July 3 in Boyds, Md.

The Brine National Lacrosse Classic features many of the top high school lacrosse players in the country at one venue, where regional teams compete to become the 2014 national champion. The tournament includes practices, games, seminars and other activities for all players. Scores of college lacrosse coaches from every division are expected to attend.

Team New Jersey is made up of some of the top high school girls lacrosse players on track to graduate in 2017.

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Cape Express team falls in State Cup final

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, June 02, 2014 10:41 am

The Cape Express U-15 boys soccer team’s glorious run through the New Jersey State Cup tournament ended one victory shy of a championship.

After a scoreless first half, Marlboro scored twice in quick succession and held on for a 2-1 victory to win the title in the age group Sunday afternoon.

The New Jersey State Cup is a single-elimination tournament involving youth soccer teams of the same age levels from throughout the state. Separate tournaments are held during the fall and spring seasons.

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Vogdes helps Catholic tie Middle for CAL golf title

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Written by Brian Cunniff Friday, May 30, 2014 11:22 am

BLAKE VOGDES Blake Vogdes tied his career best for nine holes with a 3-under par 33 to lead the Wildwood Catholic High School golf team to a 163-186 victory over St. Joseph Thursday at Pinelands Golf Club.

The victory allowed the Crusaders to officially tie Middle Township for the Cape-Atlantic National Conference golf championship.

Vogdes, a junior, made three birdies and six pars in his round. Jake Ferry (40), Patric Vogdes (42) and Ana Pelayo (48) were the other scorers for Wildwood Catholic in the victory.

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Sectional title for Mighty Quinn

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, May 28, 2014 04:18 pm

LCM's Quinn Bithell, Jean Morano, Lizzy Sulecki and Carrie Wunder have each qualified for the state championship track meet If Quinn Bithell wasn’t already considered one of the best track athletes in South Jersey prior to last weekend, she sure is now.

The Lower Cape May Regional sophomore set a new school record in winning the high jump and finished among the top five in three other events at the South Jersey Group II championships Friday and Saturday at Egg Harbor Township High School.

Bithell highlighted the events by local athletes at the various sectional meets. She’s one of 10 from the area who will participate in state championship meets this weekend.

Bithell, who already owns four school records with at least one meet plus two full seasons to go in her high school career, bettered her own school record height by leaping 5 feet, 4 inches in the high jump. She won the event comfortably, with the second-place competitor, Woodstown’s Dominique Hickman, finishing six inches short of Bithell’s mark at 4-10.

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Hawks fly to competitiveness

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, May 28, 2014 03:30 pm

Cape Tech's Will Winter was the winning pitcher vs. Wildwood Catholic CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – The Cape May County Technical High School baseball team took, almost literally, a 30-second bus trip to an away game on Tuesday.

The Hawks have traveled much farther than that, however, this season.

Tuesday’s 16-6 victory in an offensive outburst against Wildwood Catholic improved Cape May Tech to 9-16 for the season.

More important to a program that has struggled in many seasons, especially locally, Tech further proved how formidable of an opponent it’s been this season for area teams. Tuesday’s win was the Hawks’ third over the Crusaders (in four tries) this season. The team also has one-run losses to both Lower Cape May and Middle Township on its resume.

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Middle falls short in playoff upset bid

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, May 28, 2014 03:26 pm

The Middle Township High School softball team had lost by scores of 10-0 and 9-3 to Buena during the regular season. So it’s stands to reason that the Lady Panthers were underdogs when they traveled to Buena for a third game against the Chiefs, this time in the South Jersey Group II semifinal round.

They didn’t play like underdogs, however.

But after Middle, the fourth seed in the tournament, tied the game dramatically in the top of the seventh, first-seeded Buena got the fourth hit of the game from catcher Lynnsie Collins to chase home the winning run in the bottom of the seventh as the Chiefs prevailed, 4-3.

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Cinderella Crusaders march on

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, May 28, 2014 05:39 am

The WCHS softball team has upset two higher-seeded teams to reach the South Jersey semifinal round. The Wildwood Catholic High School softball team is going where no other Wildwood Catholic softball team has gone before – the semifinal round of the South Jersey Non-Public B playoffs.

The Crusaders, seeded 11th in the tournament, upset a higher-seeded team for the second time in as many games Tuesday afternoon, topping No. 3 St. Rose, 4-2, to advance to Friday’s sectional semifinal game at No. 2 St. Joseph. The victory marks the first time a Wildwood Catholic softball team has won two state playoff games in the same season.

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Wildwood’s season ends in controversy

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, May 22, 2014 07:21 pm

There may be a tougher way to lose a game, but don’t try telling that to the players and coaches from the Wildwood High School baseball team.

The Warriors’ season came to an end in controversial style when an overturned umpire’s call took away the tying run and ended the game as Wildwood lost a second-round South Jersey Group I playoff game to Gloucester Thursday afternoon, 2-1.

“As a coach, I don’t even know what to say to the kids, especially the seniors,” Wildwood coach Rich Hans said.

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Former LCM star in SJ soccer Hall

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, May 22, 2014 03:04 pm

MATT LUCAS Matt Lucas has long been recognized as one of the best high school soccer players ever in Cape May County. Last weekend, the 1996 Lower Cape May Regional High School graduate was recognized as one of the best ever in South Jersey.

Lucas, who scored 97 career goals for one of the Cape-Atlantic League’s best teams in the mid 1990s, was formally inducted into the South Jersey Soccer Hall of Fame on Sunday during a ceremony at Valleybrook Country Club in Blackwood.

Lucas said he was notified he had been selected for induction about a month ago.

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Syracuse runner wins Wild Half

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, May 21, 2014 05:01 pm

WILDWOOD – Marlton’s Shawn Wilson was the overall winner of the Wild Half half marathon race held in the Wildwoods Sunday morning.

Wilson, 19, a Cherokee High School graduate who recently completed his freshman season with the cross country and track teams at Syracuse University, finished the 13.1-mile course in 1 hour, 11 minutes, 25.2 seconds to beat the field by almost seven minutes.

The Wild Half began and finished near the Wildwoods Convention Center and traveled through parts of North Wildwood, Wildwood and Wildwood Crest.

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Middle marches into S.J. semifinal

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, May 20, 2014 09:43 pm

ALEX TERENIK CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – The Middle Township High School boys lacrosse team is now in uncharted territory.

An impressive 14-6 victory after an early deficit over Manasquan Tuesday afternoon has sent the Panthers into the third round of the state tournament for the first time in program history. Middle, the third seed in the South Jersey Group I Tournament, is set to host 10th-seeded A.L. Johnson in a sectional semifinal on Thursday.

“This making school history is one thing,” said senior Alex Terenik, who scored three goals and chipped in an assist in the win over Manasquan. “But to be out there grinding with the guys every day and having it pay off is great. There’s no better feeling that this. This is what it’s all about.”

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Late offense sparks Lady Panther playoff win

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, May 20, 2014 09:36 pm

Pitcher Tori Sittineri had the game-winning RBI in Middle's playoff win over Sterling CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – It was a critical moment of the game in the top of the sixth inning, and Middle Township High School softball coach Lauren Ruef had a decision to make.

Concede the tying run on an infield ground ball, or bring all the infielders forward to try to take it away on a ground ball, thus opening up more holes for a batted ball to find.

“How we play this year is that I trust our offense, that we can score runs,” Ruef said.

With Sterling runners at second and third with one out, Ruef decided to play her team’s infield back and gave up the tying run on a groundout. The next batter popped out to end the inning. The Lady Panthers then rewarded their coach’s instincts by scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth, leading to an 8-4 victory in a second-round South Jersey Group II playoff game.

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Johnson, Versage help Middle walk off vs. Lower

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, May 19, 2014 08:57 pm

BRANDON JOHNSON CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – From the professional ranks down to the high school games, the star players usually get the headlines, and rightly so.

But every so often, a role player gets his or her chance to shine and takes advantage of the situation.

Such is the case with Brandon Johnson of the Middle Township High School baseball team.

A three-year subvarsity player in the program, Johnson finally cracked the starting lineup for the Panthers as a senior this season. On Monday, he was at the forefront of a stirring Panther playoff victory.

Johnson went 3 for 4 and, after singling to lead off the seventh inning, scored the winning run on Jimmy Versage’s soft line drive hit to left field with one out as Middle walked off with a 4-3 victory over Lower Cape May in a first-round South Jersey Group II game.

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