03/04/13 11:24pm
03/04/2013 11:24 PM
GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Matt Drinkwater is one of the Greenport pitchers expected to log a lot of innings.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Matt Drinkwater is one of the Greenport pitchers expected to log a lot of innings this season.

With apologies to the Kansas City Royals and the Milwaukee Brewers, when it comes to the term “small-market team,” there aren’t many baseball teams smaller than Greenport High School’s squad.

We are a small-market team,” said coach Chris Golden.

With a student enrollment of 179 registered with Section XI, Greenport doesn’t exactly have a wealth of baseball players to draw from, so Golden finds positions and uses for all of his players, sprinkling in a dash of fun here and there.

“It’s a small school,” he said. “You need players, so you need to make it so they want to be a part of something.”

Unfortunately for Greenport, two players who would have been significant contributors, will not be a part of the team this coming season. Golden had already known that junior shortstop Brian Tuthill was lost for the season because of a shoulder injury. Making matters worse, the coach learned on Monday, the first day of preseason practice, that pitcher Matt Dibble’s senior season ended even before it had begun. Dibble, Golden said, will need to undergo reconstructive knee surgery.

Golden said Dibble “was like David Cone. You put him out there and he would give you 120 pitches.”

The Porters, who went 5-15 last year, have a nice group of returning players such as outfielder Bryant Rivas, pitcher/first baseman Austin Hooks, pitcher/first baseman/outfielder John Drinkwater, pitcher/third baseman/catcher Matt Drinkwater, catcher Christian Angelson and the versatile Timmy Stevens, who can literally play any position on the field. Others like Ivan Novak, an outfielder who transferred from Bishop McGann-Mercy, outfielder Wilson Morales and infielder Eddie Rogers should also help out.

“They get along well with each other,” Golden said. “They’re good friends on the field and off the field. It doesn’t seem like there are too many distractions. Last year we had too many distractions.”

Golden said Stevens looked real good in the field, the Drinkwater twins look bigger and stronger than they did a year ago, and Hooks exudes reassuring confidence.

At their first practice, the Porters swung the bat, tossed balls and then played a seven-inning simulated game on a makeshift field. “It was a great day,” said Golden.

Golden said his primary concern, first and foremost, is arms. He wants his players to gradually build up their arm strength without injuring themselves by trying to do too much too soon.

“The big thing is arms — arms, arms, arms,” he said. “We make sure the kids take it easy and don’t overdo it.”

Greenport will open the season with a doubleheader at Shelter Island on March 25.

Hooks and the Drinkwaters are expected to handle a good deal of the pitching, with Stevens and Rivas also getting time on the mound.

Golden doesn’t believe that Greenport has reached the playoffs under its own banner since the 1980s. That is something he would like to see change this year.

“That’s our goal,” he said. “We’re out here to make the playoffs. … Making the playoffs is fun. That’s what you play for.”

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Southold/Greenport girls basketball coach Skip Gehring and his wife Brenda donated a golf cart to the Greenport athletic department, according to athletic director Chris Golden. READ

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12/14/16 6:00am
12/14/2016 6:00 AM

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The newcomers on the block made quite the first impression last year.

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11/16/16 6:04am
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Greenport School District is the latest recipient of a donation from Southold and Greenport IGA owner Charles Reichert amounting to nearly $17,000 for new athletic uniforms. Mr. Reichert on Tuesday presented a check to Greenport school superintendent David Gamberg and athletic director Chris Golden. READ

09/06/12 12:00pm
09/06/2012 12:00 PM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Jubilant Mattituck players celebrated after winning the team’s second straight Suffolk County Class B championship last year.

Goal scoring is something just about every high school boys soccer coach worries about every now and then. What coach hasn’t wondered on occasion, “Where will the goals come from?”

Mat Litchhult may be asking himself the same question these days. Last year his Mattituck team produced scoring opportunities aplenty, but sometimes ran into difficulty exchanging those chances for goals. Fortunately for the Tuckers, they didn’t need many goals. They had a tight defense that conceded 22 goals in 19 games, helping Mattituck (11-7-1 last year) to a second straight Suffolk County Class B championship. The Tuckers lost, 1-0, to Wheatley in sudden-victory overtime of the Long Island final.

But Mattituck has lost its entire starting defense from 2011 and Litchhult is hoping for a more efficient offense this year.

“It was such a weird year for us,” said Litchhult, who takes a 131-41-13 (.708) record into his 11th season. “We never had that kind of regular season. It was such a roller coaster regular season. There were a lot of ups and downs. There were times when we played really nice soccer and created chances offensively, but we really couldn’t score.”

Litchhult knows full well how uneasy things can get when a team controls possession yet fails to crack the opposing defense as time winds down. “That tension mounts,” he said. “Once you break the ice, it becomes easier.”

Mattituck hasn’t had a pure goal scorer in the past couple of years, but it does have senior midfielder David Burkhardt, an all-county player in his third year as a varsity starter. “If we can get double digits from him, I think that would help out,” said Litchhult.

Seventeen returning players, including eight who started last year, also help. Litchhult said Burkhardt is the only one of his players who has won a position.

The Tuckers can be encouraged that they have skillful players such as senior forward Stephen Urwand, sophomore midfielder/forward Kevin Williams and sophomore forward Mario Arreola, who can help in the offensive third of the field. “I think we have some of the better attacking talent that we’ve had in a long time,” said Litchhult.

They are all returning starters along with senior defenders Ryan Finger and Evan Neighley, senior midfielder/defender Tyler Connell and sophomore midfielder Kaan Ilgin.

Further varsity experience is provided by defenders Connor Stumpf and Kevin Izzo; twins James and Paul Hayes, who can play defense or midfield; midfielders Dan Salice, Nick Sisino, Doug Beebe and Emre Ilgin; and forward Chris Baglivi.

Stephen Ostrowski, a junior, and K. C. Grathwohl, a senior, are competing for the starting goalkeeper position.

Among the new additions are strikers Oscar Puluc and Craig Birkmier, and defender/midfielder Walter Jacob.

“I think they all have the desire and the love just to play soccer,” Litchhult said. “They want to be out there every day.”

Mattituck has never won three county titles in a row during Litchhult’s time as coach. Being able to regularly put the ball in the net would go a long way toward achieving that end.

“I think we’re going to have some offensive chances,” Litchhult said. “That being said, are those chances going to turn into goals?”

That is the question that remains to be answered.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Southold senior center midfielder Evan Miller, an all-state player, scored 17 goals last season.

The Suffolk Class C final will not be played until Nov. 3, but one can already see the writing on the wall. Barring any upsets or unforeseen events, it appears likely that another showdown between rivals Southold and Port Jefferson will decide the county championship.

In last year’s county final, a powerful Port Jefferson team romped over Southold, 3-0. For Port Jefferson, it was its third straight county title and a step on the road to its first state championship. For Southold, the loss in the county final marked the start of its offseason and the process of working its way back to the county stage.

A postseason rematch may be in the works. The two League VIII teams will see each other twice during the regular season. Port Jefferson remains the loaded team that outscored Southold, 12-1, in the three games the teams played last fall. It sounds like the First Settlers have their work cut out for them.

“As long as we’re competitive and give ourselves a chance, that’s all we can really ask,” said Southold coach Andrew Sadowski, whose 18-year record is 208-96-16 (.650).

Southold (9-7-2) has a big plus in the form of Evan Miller. The senior midfielder, an all-state player entering his fourth varsity season, will undoubtedly be in the center of the action. Sadowski rates his 17-goal scorer from last year among the best players he has coached.

“I think it helps to have anyone of that caliber on your team,” the coach said. “But I think the biggest concern you have to have is that the rest of your teammates don’t end up ball-watching. Evan gets his teammates involved. He wants them involved. He wants to be successful.”

Miller has talented teammates to work with, too, such as senior midfielder Sean O’Donnell and junior midfielder Will Richter. O’Donnell was an all-conference selection last year and Richter was an all-league choice.

Prominent roles will be played by senior defender Rob Melley, junior midfielders Drew Sacher and Brian Hallock, and sophomore midfielder Zachary Ellis. Southold also received an unexpected plus with the transfer of Bereket Watts from Bishop McGann-Mercy. Watts, a sophomore midfielder, already has three varsity seasons under his belt.

Southold finds itself in the enviable position of having two reliable goalkeepers in senior Preston Jolliver and junior Kenji Fujita. Jolliver started last season in goal before a knee injury forced him to sit out most of the season, giving Fujita time between the goalposts. Sadowski said the two goalies are so even that the question of who plays on a given day may come down to which one is playing better at the time.

Among the returning players are defenders Rommel Reyes and Ben Glue and midfielders Muhammit Ilgin and Cole Hiney. Michael Shade, a midfielder, and Ryan DiGregorio, a defender, are new to the team.

“I’m pleased with their work rate as a team,” Sadowski said of his players. “They motivate each other, they push each other, and I think they have a lot of respect for each other.”

To ready itself for Port Jefferson and the rest of League VIII, Southold has a challenging non-league schedule that includes Southampton, Center Moriches and Hampton Bays.

“I think that we’re [going to be] competitive in every game,” Sadowski said. “I think that’s the first part of being successful.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Shelter Island has a varsity team, but not a lot of players.

Player numbers are down for Greenport/Shelter Island (7-8-2) this year, so much so that one might have wondered if the Porters would be able to field a varsity team this year.

No need to worry on that front. Greenport/Shelter Island has a varsity team, just not a lot of players on it.

“We’re going to be thin on numbers,” said coach Chris Golden.
Golden expects the Porters to have no more than 13 players, but he said, “We’ll make it work.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean it will be easy. For one thing, the Porters have next to no room for injuries.

With the low numbers comes uncertainty. The team has only five returning players, but senior forward/midfielder Camilo Torres (9 goals, 7 assists), junior all-around player Erick Ramirez, senior defender Jesus Duran, junior midfielder Ryan Weingart and senior defender/forward Matt Dibble were all starters last year. Torres, a five-year varsity player, was an all-county pick last year, and Ramirez made the all-league team.

The returning players will not get much rest. “Those guys are going to be expected to play, to log serious minutes,” said Golden, who goes into his sixth year as the team’s coach with a 36-44-6 (.419) record.

Angel Colon, a sophomore defender who played in a few games last year, and Bryant Rivas, a senior midfielder who played sparingly last year, will have bigger roles this year. Rivas’ younger brother, freshman forward Bryron Rivas, is also on the team as is junior midfielder Eddie Rogers. Omar Machado, a junior, will play in goal. One Shelter Islander may make the team, junior midfielder Charlie Binder.

“We have some nice talent, but we’re also incorporating a lot of new players,” Golden said. “Sometimes that works out well and sometimes that doesn’t.”

Golden is envisioning a 4-4-2 formation, with Dibble and Bryron Rivas up top, and Torres and Ramirez in the midfield.

“Camilo’s a workhorse out there,” Golden said. “He’s been very nurturing with the younger players, a lot of on-the-field talk. You have to instill confidence in these younger players.”

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10/18/12 7:29pm
10/18/2012 7:29 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Shelter Island’s Erick Ramirez and Southold’s Benjamin Glew in an aerial duel.

FIRST SETTLERS 3, PORTERS 0

Just in case there was any misunderstanding, Evan Miller showed that there is quality to go with the quantity of his goal production. That quantity is sizable, too.

With the two goals Miller bagged for the Southold boys soccer team on Thursday, the senior forward raised his season total to 24, which is remarkable enough, coming from 14 games. But it was Goal No. 23 for Miller — his first in Southold’s 3-0 defeat of visiting Greenport/Shelter Island — that really caused jaws to drop in amazement.

Drew Sacher initiated the sequence, supplying a ball on the right side for Ryan DiGregorio. DiGregorio, in turn, pushed a centering pass toward Miller, a supremely talented player who is full of surprises. Miller allowed the pass to run between his legs before he deftly used the heel of his right foot to direct the ball inside the left goalpost. The goal, which came 94 seconds into the second half, was the product of finesse and ingenuity, the sort of goal one doesn’t see every day.

“That was something crazy,” marveled Greenport/Shelter Island right back Angel Colon.

“Great goal,” Greenport/Shelter Island coach Chris Golden said. “You got to tip your hat to that type of finish.”

Even for a player of Miller’s ability, it was a special goal. He said he may have scored on a back heel once before for a club team. “That’s the first back heel for Southold,” he said.

While Southold coach Andrew Sadowski said he has seen Miller score even better goals than that one, he could appreciate the talent behind it. “I would attribute that type of a goal to a player that can smell the goal no matter where he is,” said Sadowski.

The win was the sixth in a row for Southold (11-3, 9-1 Suffolk County League VIII), which has outscored opponents by 23-4 during the winning streak and has pumped in 16 goals in three games.

“I’m very pleased with the goal production,” Sadowski said, “and most of the goals that we’ve been scoring are quality goals with very good team play.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Drew Sacher of Southold holding off Greenport/Shelter Island’s Nick Droskoski before firing in a right-footed shot for his 12th goal of the season in the 46th minute.

Ever since a 4-0 loss to Port Jefferson on Oct. 1, October has been kind to Southold. Sadowski moved some players around, and the First Settlers responded in a positive fashion.

“We were a little shaken up after that [loss to Port Jefferson], so we wanted to get back on our feet,” Miller said. “We couldn’t have done a better job, to be honest with you. We recuperated.”

Overshadowed somewhat by Miller’s goal scoring has been the play of Sacher, a junior forward who didn’t have a bad day himself on Thursday. Sacher was involved in all three Southold goals, including the one he scored himself in the 46th minute from an assist by Benjamin Glew. It was Sacher’s 12th goal of the season.

Sacher also assisted on the third goal, which Miller slammed in with 2:26 left in the game.

“They’re an excellent team,” Colon said. “They finish really well. I think we played with a lot of heart, a lot of intensity. Towards the end we kind of broke down. It’s something we have to work on.”

Kenji Fujita made five saves for his seventh shutout of the season. The best of those stops was a diving parry of a fierce blast by Erick Ramirez in the first half. It was a big save.

“Unfortunately, we’re the type of team that if we get the first goal, that helps us with our momentum,” Golden said. “So, we really need the first goal, and we had a couple of chances, and then we get frustrated a little bit if the ball doesn’t go into the net, and then we start to press and press.”

It was the fourth game in a row without a win for Greenport/Shelter Island (4-8-2, 4-4-2). The Porters need a win or two ties from their remaining two regular-season games against Pierson/Bridgehampton and The Ross School in order to secure their fourth playoff berth in six years.

Southold, which last won the league title three years ago, is chasing first-place Port Jefferson, the defending New York State Class C champion, for the league crown. Even without one of their senior captains, Rob Melly, who scored in a 1-0 win over Greenport/Shelter Island earlier in the season but was absent because of illness on Thursday, the First Settlers looked sharp in the rematch between the two rivals, who are based only eight miles from each other.

“We’re heading in the right direction,” said Sadowski.

Miller was his usual active self, taking seven shots, connecting on 9 of 13 passes and touching the ball 31 times. But it was one touch more than any other, the back-heel flick, that stands as the highlight of the game.

Said Miller, “Those are fun.”

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10/16/12 8:14pm
10/16/2012 8:14 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Shelter Island’s Nick Droskoski lining up a kick that Smithtown Christian’s Charles Bellini tries to block.

KNIGHTS 0, PORTERS 0 (OT)

The old saying states that ties are like kissing your sister. Sometimes, though, a tie isn’t a bad thing, as both the Smithtown Christian and the Greenport/Shelter Island boys soccer teams would readily attest following their goalless draw on Tuesday.

In one sense, both sides may have felt like winners as they walked off Greenport High School’s Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field. At least it wasn’t a loss, and it didn’t hurt the playoff prospects for either side. In this case, a tie was virtually as good as a win.

Both coaches, Pat Nieto of Smithtown Christian and Chris Golden of Greenport/Shelter Island, indicated that they weren’t disappointed with the result of the Suffolk County League VIII match.

“This is in our favor,” Nieto said. “A tie works. We’ll take it.”

Golden pointed out that one win from Greenport/Shelter Island’s final three regular-season games would bring the Porters (4-7-2, 4-3-2) their fourth playoff berth in six years.

Through 100 minutes of soccer (including 20 minutes of golden-goal overtime), the game offered excitement, shots, saves — just about everything except a goal, although there were chances aplenty. Both teams took 20 shots each. Not all soccer games are going to have goals, and this was one that didn’t.

“Scoring goals is funny,” Golden said. “Sometimes you score goals in bunches, and other times it’s really hard to do.”

Greenport/Shelter Island can be grateful for the efforts of its goalkeeper, Austin Hooks, who put his 6-foot-2 frame to good use. Hooks made six saves for his second shutout of the season. The biggest of those saves came in overtime when the junior darted off his goalline to block a dangerous shot by Jesse Eyoma.

“He’s come up with a big save or two every game that we need it, which is why we’re above water,” said Golden.

Hooks received help from a defense that featured sweeper Jesus Duran, left back Matt Dibble, right back Nick Droskoski and holding midfielder Eddie Rogers, who was applauded by Golden for his play in what the coach said was Rogers’ first “real full-game varsity experience.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Matt Dibble of Greenport/Shelter Island rising above Smithtown Christian’s Ron Linsalato for a head ball.

In the other goal, George Flores was kept busy with eight saves for Smithtown Christian (4-5-1, 4-4-1).

After a fairly quiet first half in which Erick Ramirez took all six of Greenport/Shelter Island’s shots up to that point (Ramirez finished with 10 shots and 62 touches), the number of serious scoring chances picked up. A long punt by Hooks bounced at the top of the Smithtown Christian penalty area and Greenport/Shelter Island’s Bryon Rivas got a foot to the ball, only to send it wide of the mark. A Ramirez pass found Camilo Torres with only Flores to beat, but the shot ended up in the side netting after a slight deflection. Charles Bellini almost put Smithtown Christian on the scoreboard, lining a blazing shot that barely cleared the crossbar.

Things got even more interesting in overtime. Torres pulled a shot from the goalmouth wide. Smithtown Christian’s Brandon Miller sprayed a shot that just missed the target. Another Smithtown Christian player, Nikita Grob, misfired on a golden chance. Then, in the final minutes, Smithtown Christian defender Giovanni Cervini made a game-saving goal-line clearance during a melee in front of the Knights’ goal.

Although Tuesday’s tie didn’t bother Golden, what he perceived as a lackluster performance by his team did.

“Obviously, there was a lack of effort and we were very lethargic, not everyone, but enough people that it was like we were slogging through mud,” he said. “We couldn’t get any traction. We couldn’t get any rhythm. We didn’t get a feel for the game. We really just didn’t get on track. We were spinning our tires. We were stuck in the mud.”

Dibble, one of the team’s three captains, said Greenport/Shelter Island’s play was “not what it should have been. We did not give full effort as a team. Some people did, some people didn’t.”

What was lacking?

“Intensity and heart,” Dibble answered. “We just didn’t want it like a Southold game or a Port Jeff game or any other game we played.”

The Porters might have felt fortunate to come away with a tie against a team it had beaten, 3-0, last month in Smithtown.

“It was an off game for us,” Hooks said. “We didn’t play a hundred percent, and we really needed to because they were giving 110 [percent] out there.”

Greenport/Shelter Island midfielder Omar Machado left the game with a shoulder injury after taking a hard fall to the ground from a collision. The Porters, who don’t have much depth to begin with, were already without the services of defender/midfielder Ryan Weingart because of a broken nose.

When it was suggested that perhaps fatigue was a factor in Greenport/Shelter Island’s play, Golden replied, “I don’t want to make any excuses.” He added: “We try to build in days off and time off. It’s a long season and you got to work through it. You got to play the games.”

And hope the goals will come.

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09/03/14 10:00am
09/03/2014 10:00 AM
Mattituck's Kaan Ilgin was the Suffolk County small schools player of the year in 2013. (Credit: Garret Meade file photo)

Mattituck’s Kaan Ilgin was the Suffolk County small schools player of the year in 2013. (Credit: Garret Meade file photo)

PREVIEW

Not only do Suffolk County high school boys soccer coaches feel Mattituck will win the League VII and county Class B titles for the fifth consecutive time, but they think the Tuckers are the best small school in the county. In their preseason poll, they ranked Mattituck No. 1 among Class A and B sides.

“After last season and coming off a couple of good seasons in a row bringing back essentially our entire team, a lot of people would know that we’re good,” coach Mat Litchhult said. (more…)