Cape May County Gazette Leader Sports

LCM baseball coach steps down

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, June 18, 2014 05:38 pm

MIKE KUEMMERLE Mike Kuemmerle gave the Lower Cape May Regional High School baseball program 12 seasons. He now wants to give the time spent doing that to his young family.

Kuemmerle, who recently finished his 11th season as head coach after first joining the program as an assistant under Craig Markley, has resigned as coach.

“It’s bittersweet but this is something I had to do for myself and my family,” said Kuemmerle, who is married with a 13-month-old son.

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Nearly 1500 Escape the Cape

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, June 11, 2014 03:56 pm

NORTH CAPE MAY – A triathlon event that began with a major leap of faith ended with lots of smiles Sunday morning.

The Escape the Cape triathlon, one of the most unique public participation races anywhere, drew approximately 1,500 athletes to the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal for a swim-bike-run race unlike any other.

The second annual race, staged by local race company DelMoSports, begins with all participants leaping off a ferry boat into Delaware Bay for the swim, with the bike and run portions traveling through parts of Lower Township. The finish was in the grounds of the ferry terminal.

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Wildwood football gains Hall of Fame coach

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, June 10, 2014 07:34 pm

BRUCE LAZARUK A pretty well known and successful coach throughout South Jersey has taken over the Wildwood High School football program.

Bruce Lazaruk, a member of the South Jersey Football Hall of Fame and former head football coach at three different high schools in the region, was recently approved by the school district’s board of education as Wildwood High’s new head football coach.

Lazaruk replaces Rich Hans, who resigned after last season’s 2-5 season. Hans will remain as the school’s head baseball coach.

Lazaruk, a retired schoolteacher, was most recently an assistant coach at Hightstown, serving for three seasons. He said he is in the process of moving to Villas.

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Red Sox select LCM's Pennington

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Written by Brian Cunniff Saturday, June 07, 2014 04:23 pm

JOSH PENNINGTON Josh Pennington admitted he was feeling “really nervous, really anxious and really frustrated.”

All those feelings immediately went away when the Lower Cape May Regional High School senior pitcher finally heard his name called.

Pennington, currently unable to pitch due to an elbow injury, was selected by the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox in the 29th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft late Saturday afternoon.

“This is a dream come true,” Pennington beamed during a telephone conversation just minutes after learning of his selection. “That’s all it is, a total dream come true.”

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Warrior 50 Club's generosity continues

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, June 05, 2014 01:38 pm

Warrior 50/Byrne Foundation scholarships of $4,000 each were awarded to (from left) Nicole Toland, Shelby Thornton, Chelsea Mole and Mackenzie Huber. WILDWOOD – Sometimes it can be difficult being a student athlete at Wildwood High School.

Toiling for the smallest regular public high school in South Jersey, many of them are part of teams without a lot of depth. While some of the school’s teams do well, some others struggle to compete. A couple teams even have issues simply finding enough players to field teams.

But one of the major benefits of being an athlete at Wildwood High School comes to fruition each year at this time at the school’s Warrior 50 Booster Club annual awards dinner. That’s because, through a variety of successful fund-raising efforts and an extremely generous endowment from the Byrne Foundation, the graduating student athletes have access to an extraordinary amount of college scholarship money.

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LCM’s Smith enjoys excellent season

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, June 05, 2014 01:30 pm

JEFF SMITH There has been a lot of outstanding sports activity this spring at Lower Cape May Regional High School.

Quinn Bithell, just a sophomore, won a South Jersey title and has been assaulting the school record books in track.

The boys lacrosse team won the most games in program history and qualified for the state tournament for the first time, and the girls lacrosse team captured its first-ever state playoff victory.

And senior baseball Josh Pennington, despite a horrific elbow injury, could see himself selected in Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft later this week.

But one sports story at the school that practically went unnoticed this spring was the quiet but excellent season posted by tennis player Jeff Smith.

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

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, June 04, 2014 11:55 am

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 08:13 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 09:41 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 10:22 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 03:18 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 02:30 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 02:26 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 04:39 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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