Anayeli Guzman is tagged out at second base as ECS lost to The First Academy 3-0 in a Class 2A state semifinal in Clermont on Tuesday, May 24.

CLERMONT — MacKenzie Thompson stole a bunt single to start Evangelical Christian’s night at the plate, but The First Academy senior Hannah Harper stole the show with a dominant outing in the circle in Tuesday’s FHSAA Class 2A State Semifinal.

Harper, a West Florida signee, allowed just two hits and struck out 13 Sentinels as the Royals shutout ECS, 3-0, at Legends Way Ballfields.

“She did a super job,” said ECS head coach Johnny Manetta. “Hats off to her.”

More: Evangelical Christian softball wins first regional title to clinch first state Final Four trip

More: Evangelical Christian looking to make history in first trip to state softball championships

Coming in, Manetta thought Harper could give his lefty-heavy lineup trouble. The memory of a two-hit shutout from Sickles left-hander Robyn Herron at the Longshore Memorial Tournament in Naples last month didn’t help.

“She gave us fits and we lost to them 1-0,” he said. “I had an idea that we may struggle. We’ve struggled all year against lefties. It’s something we can improve on next year. I love having all the left-handed bats in the lineup, but sometimes you just run into the wrong opponent.”

ECS sophomore Zoe Yzaguirre dueled with Harper for two scoreless frames. In The First Academy’s third, the Royals got a one-out double from Harper, who advanced to third on Morgan Duling’s base hit. Four pitches later, Camille Mackendon hit a triple just inches inside the third-base bag that rolled into left, scoring Harper and Duling. Molly Sheridan, the Royals’ cleanup batter, bunted into a suicide squeeze that brought Mackendon in.

The First Academy’s three spot in the third was all the run support Harper needed.

“Just one bad inning,” Manetta said. “Couple pitches that maybe weren’t where they were supposed to [be]. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.”

ECS lost to The First Academy 3-0 in a Class 2A state semifinal in Clermont on Tuesday, May 24.

ECS lost to The First Academy 3-0 in a Class 2A state semifinal in Clermont on Tuesday, May 24.

Yzaguirre bounced back with a 1-2-3 fourth, then she worked around a leadoff single in the fifth. The right-hander retired 12 of the final 14 batters she saw to give the Sentinels offense a chance to come back.

“She’s another underclassman. Just a sophomore. We’re going to bring her back for two more years and she’s just going to get better and better,” said Manetta, who doubles as Yzaguirre’s travel ball coach. “Her velocity has gone up 2-3 mph every year, we expect another jump this summer. She’s just a warrior out there.”

Yzaguirre finished with 11 strikeouts, her third consecutive game in double figures. Even after allowing three earned runs in the state semifinal, the sophomore posted a career-low ERA at 1.06 to lead ECS. At the plate, Thompson added a second bunt single in the sixth to finish her sophomore campaign with a career-high 49

The Evangelical Christian softball program will make its Final Four debut in Clermont Tuesday night at 7 against The First Academy.

Despite their lack of experience on the big state stage, the Sentinels have an old pro guiding them on their historic run.

ECS coach Johnny Manetta has been a regular participant in the Final Four since 2017, winning the Class 7A state title with the Green Wave in 2017 and the 5A crown last year with two other state visits in between.

He said he’ll have very simple advice for his young club, which has only two seniors and otherwise starts middle schoolers and underclassmen in the field.

Evangelical Christian softball wins first regional title to clinch first state Final Four trip

Island Coast baseball heads to state; Fort Myers, Naples, ECS softball on to regional finals

“You know, just play it as one game at a time,” Manetta said. “You know, because there’s enough stress that the game puts on itself, don’t put any pressure on yourself to be you know, any better than you were the day before. Go out there and just do your job and hope that the person next to you does their job. And just be excited for the opportunity. Because it doesn’t come every day.”

It also helps to have a stud pitcher on the mound, which Manetta was blessed with during his runs at Fort Myers with Vivian Ponn, Hannah Perkins, and Julia Knowler last year. The Sentinels have sophomore Zoe Yzaguirre, who has allowed just one unearned run over her team’s first five playoff games and has 139 strikeouts and 19 walks over 92 innings with a  .91 ERA.

“You know, she’s very composed, she has been in a lot of big situations,” Manetta said. “She understands the moment, the moment’s never too big for her, she’s gonna go out there, she’s gonna give you everything she has, and she’s not gonna let little things affect because she knows that behind her sometimes is a little bit more inexperience. So she feels like she has to sometimes carry a little bit more of a load and she does a great job with her composure doing so.”

Although this will be her first time competing in Clermont at the state level, Yzaguirre has played at those fields during travel ball tournaments. And she’s enjoyed watching her team grow and mature around her this season as a team leader and is excited to see what they can accomplish next.

“Because you get to see how they grow and how they play and just emotionally and physically help them get through their tough times as a teammate is just amazing,” Yzaguirre said. “I think we’re just going to work really hard at practice on Monday, and just work on the basic things so that we know our little mechanics are there and that we can just fall upon them like whenever we get nervous.”

Action from the regional final softball game

Lidia Gomez Carrera went undefeated during her first year of high school tennis as a junior at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield but never got the chance to prove where her game stood compared with her statewide competition.

The native of Caceres, Spain, a city of just under 100,000 residents in the west central part of the country near its border with Portugal, was unable to participate in the 2021 state singles tournament due to COVID-related travel and quarantine mandates in the aftermath of a trip back home.

A year later, Gomez remains undefeated in high school competition while leading the MCI girls tennis team to the top spot in Class C North with a 9-1 record. This weekend she’ll get the chance to test her individual skills further as the No. 1 girls seed for the 2022 state singles tournament at Lewiston High School.

The first two rounds are scheduled for Friday, with the Round of 16 and quarterfinals on Saturday and the semifinals and championship matches on Monday.

“There were a lot of people who saw her play last year who were disappointed she couldn’t be in the tournament because they were excited to see what she could have done,” said John Buys, who coaches the MCI boys and girls tennis teams with his sister Jocelyn.

Gomez hasn’t been heavily challenged in a match this year, advancing through the Region 2 qualifying tournament without losing a game.

Her toughest competition to date has been against sixth-seeded Fabienne Nowak, an international student from Germany attending Piscataquis Community High School in Guilford whom she has defeated twice in pro-set matches.

Much of her fiercest tennis this spring has come from within the MCI program, particularly three members of the boys’ team from Italy who also have qualified for states singles play, Marco Milano, Mattia Meucci and Alberto DeGirolamo.

That trio has led the MCI boys to the No. 2 seed in Class C North with a 9-1 record.

“I’m so much better this year because I have them to play,” said Gomez, who plans to continue her studies and tennis career next year at Westcliff University in Irvine, California. “They’re at my level so we can train better with each other.”

Truth be told, Gomez more than holds her own against her male Huskies’ counterparts.

“It’s been really great for Lidia and them to all be playing with each other,” Buys said, “and I’ll be honest, Lidia kind of outschools Marco and Mattia and Alberto pretty handily.”

Buys describes Gomez’s game as one of precision through her ability to narrow her target areas to small portions of the court,

“She has a lot of variety in her game, but what I enjoy the most about her game is the amazing way she sees the court,” he said. “Her ground-stroke placement is amazing. She moves her opponents well, even in moments when I think she’s in a defensive position. It’s this great style of turning her defense into offense that creates

Mavrick Bourdeau belted three hits and four RBI, including a big three-run home run in the second inning, as the Shawsheen baseball team blanked Whittier 20-0. With the win Shawsheen (10-1 CAC, 15-1) clinched its second consecutive Commonwealth Athletic Conference title.

Shawsheen pounded out 16 hits on the day with Brendan Lee (three hits, four RBI) and Ryan Santini (three hits, three runs) leading the charge. Every player in the lineup had a hit and scored at least one run in a total team effort. Winning pitcher Aiden MacLeod held Whitter to two hits, fanning three

Shawsheen plays next on Saturday, as we travel to North Reading in a big non-league matchup.

 

Baseball

Dracut 10 Billerica 1

Senior Jake Pynn powered the Middies lineup drilling a pair of doubles and four RBI, as the Dracut defeated Billerica.

Middies sophomore pitcher Sean Bosia appeared in control for the entire game. He held the Indians to six hits and one unearned run, in his complete game victory, walking one, while fanning six.

Meanwhile, the Middies offense came to life sparked by big hits from Anthony Fazio (three hits, RBI, two runs). C.J. Rosado (two hits, double, RBI), Colin Arsenault (hit, RBI), Andrew Chenevert (RBI), Ben Pashoian (RBI) and Colby Forestell (hit), also made solid contributions. Billerica hurler Wes DeOliverira was touched up four hits, three walks, and six runs (four earned) in 3.1 innings for the loss.

Softball

Bedford 12, Newton South 4

Bella Fernald hammered three hits including a two-run homer, as Bedford beat Newton South.

Cassidy Schuman had three hits, three RBI. Maggie Carluccio collected three hits, two RBI. Ellie Mitchell had a pair of hits with two RBI. Pitcher Coco Steele (2-1) went seven strong innings striking out eight in the win.

Girls Lacrosse

Billerica 15, Andover 9

Julia Trainor had a 10-point game, tallying six goals and four assists, as Billerica (8-4 MVC, 11-4) beat Andover.

Paige Murphy peppered the Andover net with four goals and adding a helper, as the Indians grabbed an 8-5 lead at halftime. Audrey Toce (three goals), Sara MacLeod (two goals, five points) and Giovanna Gulinello (assist) also added to the attack. Goalie Keira Moore made 14 saves.

Pembroke 15, Alvirne 5

Seniors Madison Nicolosi and Halle Miller each celebrated Senior Night with two goal games, as Alvirne lost to Pembroke. Elsa Ferullo rounded out the scoring for her squad. Makayla Meehan provided strong defense.

Boys Lacrosse

Tyngsboro 9, St. Bernard 6

Thomas Michaud buried seven goals for the Tigers, as Tyngsboro topped St. Bernard.

North Middlesex 14, Littleton 1

Middie Brian Marrese netted the lone goal for Littleton, as they fell to North Middlesex.

Cam Noyes picked up the lone assist.

Volleyball

Westford 3, Chelmsford 1

Middle hitter Matthew Zegowitz recorded 21 kills, seven blocks and three digs, as Westford beat Chelmsford.

The Ghosts grabbed an early 2-0 lead winning in four sets 25-23, 25-19, 22-25, 25-14. Outside hitter Jake Aylward was awesome hitting 19 kills, three blocks and two digs. Outside

Even after a night’s sleep, Clarendon Hall softball coach Jeffrey Bays found it hard to put into words what his team accomplished Tuesday night.

The Lady Saints traveled to Wardlaw Academy and defeated the Lady Patriots 10-6 to clinch the SCISA Class A softball state championship.

“It’s hard to describe (the feeling),” Bays said. “It means more having to go through Wardlaw, being able to avenge those losses from last year. I overheard a Clarendon Hall alum talk about never being able to get a win at Wardlaw.”

McKenley Wells led the Lady Saints with three hits and three RBIs in Tuesday night’s win.


HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: B-E advances in Lower State bracket

“It was a rewarding experience,” Wells said Wednesday. “We put in a lot of hard work and extra practice, winning the state championship makes all that worth it.”


T&D REGION SPORTS: Calhoun County track wins Upper State title

Clarendon Hall had the majority of its team returning after losing one senior to graduation.

“There were a lot of expectations put on this team,” Bays said. “We knew it was still going to be a tough road to get here, but entering the season we knew we definitely had a shot.”

People are also reading…

Wells, the lone senior on this year’s team, said beating Wardlaw was exciting after last year’s loss.

“Wardlaw is a good team, but we wanted to prove that we were better,” Wells said. “(This season) has been a challenge, but I try to encourage my teammates and bring out the best in them. We share a bond.”

The two teams met in the SCISA state tournament held in Sumter over the weekend. Clarendon Hall rallied from an 8-2 deficit early in the game, and needed two runs in the bottom of the seventh to knock off the Lady Patriots 13-12.

Bays said Saturday that win gave his team the confidence they could beat Wardlaw.

“Last year, we were a victim of youth,” Bays said. “We were inexperienced with tournament play at the high school level. These girls are used to success, but most of it comes on in travel ball where there is a tournament every weekend. In high school, it’s only one shot.”

Bays said his team was better prepared for what they would face in the series that began Monday at Clarendon Hall. The Lady Saints defeated Wardlaw 15-5 in six innings to take a 1-0 series lead. Calli Yount led CHS with four hits and seven RBIs. Mandy Wells added four hits while McKenley Wells and Autumn Osteen each had two RBIs.


IN PHOTOS: Andrew Jackson wins SCISA state baseball championship

Bays said Yount, who missed all of last season due to surgery, has led the team in average and RBIs during the Lady Saints playoff run.

As the celebration began to wane Tuesday night, Bays said he called his players together for a huddle.


TheTandD.com: $1 for the first 26 weeks

“I just told

In what has been a storied Volleyball history at Mar Vista, both girls and boys, neither has ever won a CIF title, until last Friday. The Mariners Boys finished up a dominant season with a CIF Division Four title over Del Lago Academy, 23-25, 25-13, 25-18, 25-22.

Mar Vista (28-7) went into the CIF San Diego Section Division 4 tournament as the number one seed, and met up with number two seed Del Lago Academy in the final. To get there, the Mariners cruised to victories against West Hills, in four sets, and Sweetwater, in three sets. The championship game served as a rematch between Mar Vista and Del Lago, as the Mariners were victorious in their meeting earlier this season.

After dropping the first set, the Mariners rallied back in set two with a vengeance. According to Head Coach Sean Matthews, “We knew the boys would be a little nervous in the first set but we wanted them to focus on being relaxed and focus on having fun. We told the players there is a reason we are the number one seed.”

Mar Vista took control of the match from there on out, behind the execution of senior setter Hunter Thomas, who ended the day with 51 assists. Thomas was supported by a dangerous crew of hitters led by senior Ethan Hastings (15 kills), junior Gabe Anaya (13 kills), and junior Nate Ramos (10 kills). Senior Josh Dupree and junior Paul Lotayo also added five kills a piece. Sophomore libero Mauricio Barquin had a stellar defensive day as he led the team with 22 digs, which was important in helping the Mariners to establish a solid offensive attack. “The great part about this team is that each player plays their role extremely well. It’s really fun to watch. We also have some great competitors on this team,” said Matthews.

The Mar Vista Boys Volleyball team will now travel to Los Angeles, to take on the number four seeded Mendez High School, for the first round of the CIF State Tournament.

Vol. 38, No. 20 – Thursday, May 19, 2022

Placeholder while article actions load

Welcome to The Work Day, a series that charts a single day in various women’s working lives — from gallery owners to stay-at-home parents to chief executives. In this installment, we hear from former Miss Universe Ireland Fionnghuala O’Reilly, who’s now a CBS correspondent and start-up founder. She recorded a workday in March.

Interested in contributing to a future installment of The Work Day? Fill out this form.

Job title: Correspondent on CBS’s “Mission Unstoppable”; fonder of tech start-up, Space to Reach

Previous jobs: In 2019, I spent my year in the role of Miss Universe Ireland. But my true first job was at 19 as a model in Milan. At the time, I was attending George Washington University, where I studied systems engineering. I balanced my semesters off working in Italy, and after graduating, I joined a tech start-up in D.C. to hone my skills in data science.

Shortly after, I became a NASA Datanaut working within the agency’s open innovation program, until I became the first woman of color and Black woman to represent Ireland at an international beauty pageant — the Miss Universe competition. I used my year as Miss Universe Ireland to become a global advocate for women and diversity in STEM.

What led me to my current role: In my current role, I work as a correspondent for CBS’s Emmy-nominated science show “Mission Unstoppable,” whose goal is to create more visibility for women in STEM to teach and inspire the next generation. Since high school, when I first learned how to code, I knew that I was interested in becoming an engineer. I had some rock-star teachers and mentors who showed me that I could pursue a career in STEM.

At the same time, my first job was in fashion, and I had a passion for it early on. Like many of my millennial peers, I am a proponent for building new lanes for career paths that have yet to be carved out. I have often felt at odds while trying to balance working in several industries that haven’t necessarily intersected. I believe in the phrase, “If you can see it, you can be it.” My goal is to show more women and girls that it is possible to have a wide range of interests and that you don’t have to fit any stereotype of what it looks like to be an engineer.

How I spend the majority of my workday: Depending on the time of year, my day-to-day can look very different. If I’m filming an upcoming season of “Mission Unstoppable,” I travel all over the country to interview women from a wide variety of careers in STEM. Each segment I film is different: From searching for bears in Alaska with wildlife biologists to kayaking on the Chicago River with ecologists to attending astronaut trainings in zero gravity in Los Angeles with space researchers, my adventures take me far and wide.

When I am not filming the show,

Universal Pictures has entered into a first-look production deal with “The Notebook” author Nicholas Sparks to bring three of his more recent novels to the big screen, starting with last year’s runaway hit “The Wish.”

Sparks and Anonymous Content will partner to produce three feature films for Universal, each one based on one of his most recent books, though only a film based on “The Wish” was announced on Tuesday.

Zack Hayden will produce “The Wish” on behalf of Anonymous Content with oversight by Anonymous Content CEO Dawn Olmstead and CCO David Levine, alongside Theresa Park, Sparks’ longtime literary agent and collaborator, and Universal Pictures’ Vice President of Production Development, Lexi Barta. No director or screenwriter was set for the project.

“The Wish” begins in 1996 and follows a teenager named Maggie Dawes who is sent away to live with an aunt she barely knows in a remote village in North Carolina, only to meet the handsome Bryce Trickett, who has just been accepted into West Point Academy. The story picks up in 2019 as Maggie is now a renowned travel photographer grounded over Christmas who recounts the story of her old love to her young assistant.

“Nick Sparks’s evocative novels have served as beloved cultural touchstones, with strong characters and powerful themes that make them ideal for cinematic adaptation,” Universal Pictures president Peter Cramer said. “We are honored to partner with Nick, Theresa, and Anonymous Content on these new films, which we know will build upon his successful track record of captivating audiences around the globe.”

“Nicholas Sparks has given us over twenty novels and nearly as many films, each of which deftly evoke every single possible human emotion,” Anonymous Content CEO, Dawn Olmstead said. “Through page and screen, he pulls readers and viewers deep into these character’s lives and more than ever, we need these stories and feel so connected to their themes of love, family, hardships, and resilience. We are thrilled to team up with him, Theresa, and the team at Universal to bring more of these epic love stories to audiences.”

“An author could not ask for better producing partners than Anonymous Content, whose taste and history of making award-winning film and television are undisputed. Zack, David and Dawn are as savvy and sophisticated as they come,” Sparks said. “Furthermore, it has always been my dream to have my film adaptations at Universal Pictures –they are truly the gold standard, famous for their high-quality dramas of all kinds. As for longtime executives Donna Langley and Peter Cramer, their class, reputations and success speak for themselves.”

Sparks’ books have sold over 105 million copies across 23 titles, and 11 of those have been adapted into feature films, including “The Notebook,” “A Walk to Remember,” “Dear John,” “The Longest Ride” and more. And a Broadway musical adaptation of “The Notebook” is currently in development.

“The Wish” in particular published last September and hit #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list. Sparks 23rd novel “Dreamland” will

Kevin De Bruyne insists he is not interested in individual praise as he looks to close out the title for Manchester City.

he Belgian playmaker was at his brilliant best as he struck four times in City’s 5-1 thrashing of Wolves at Molineux on Wednesday.

It maintained a stunning run of form that has now seen him score 11 times in his last 13 appearances in all competitions.

After the first half of his season was marred by fitness issues, De Bruyne has undoubtedly been the key figure as City have moved to the brink of a fourth Premier League crown in five seasons.

He is arguably now in the best shape of his career but the 30-year-old is not interested in how his own performances rank.

De Bruyne said: “I think from the moment where my ankle was pain free, I have played a really good season.

“I have been consistently thinking I’ve been playing good and have also been playing games without any interruptions.

“So I’m really happy from that part but it’s not really what I want to do. I want to win the title and I want to get ready to win the game on Sunday. We’re not there yet and it’s going to be a really tough one, West Ham away.”

Close

De Bruyne began the rout after just seven minutes and had completed his hat-trick within 24 minutes (Nick Potts/PA)


De Bruyne began the rout after just seven minutes and had completed his hat-trick within 24 minutes (Nick Potts/PA)

De Bruyne began the rout after just seven minutes and had completed his hat-trick within 24 minutes (Nick Potts/PA)

City will have a chance to put one hand on the trophy when they travel to the London Stadium.

Wednesday’s rout restored a three-point advantage over second-placed Liverpool at the top with just two games remaining and also improved their goal difference to plus seven better than their Merseyside rivals’.

De Bruyne opened the scoring after just seven minutes and completed a sensational hat-trick of goals with his supposed weaker left foot inside 24 minutes. He added a fourth on the hour and even hit a post late on.

He almost created another goal for Phil Foden, who also hit a post, but City did register a fifth through Raheem Sterling.

We could have scored more goals but we did what we needed to do.Kevin De Bruyne

De Bruyne said: “I think we played well and then obviously we scored three quick goals, and that set the tempo and the game we wanted to play.

“I think in the second half we did really well, we controlled it. We could have scored more goals but we did what we needed to do.”

The downside for City was the loss of Aymeric Laporte in the second half with a knee injury while Fernandinho also suffered a muscular problem.

The pair had been the starting centre-halves in the absence of John Stones and Ruben Dias. With Kyle Walker also out and Nathan Ake not fit enough to start, City are running out of defensive options.

The GAC title race reaches fever pitch

Vusimuzi Mngomezulu Richards Bay FC


Staff Reporter

Friday May 06, 2022. 13:00

All eyes will be on Richards Bay and University of Pretoria as they head into the penultimate round of the GladAfrica Championship level on points, with all games set to take place on Sunday, May 8.

On matchday 28, Richards Bay lost two crucial points in their 2-2 stalemate against Uthongathi at the King Zwelithini Stadium, while Tuks made sure to capitalize following their 1-0 win over Venda.

The results meant that going into this week’s round of fixtures, Richards Bay and Tuks are level on points (50), making for an exciting end to the 21/22 campaign.

Richards Bay will travel to the Kabokweni Stadium as they face TS Sporting who will be fighting to avoid the drop. As for Tuks, the Pretoria side will take on Cape Town Spurs at the Athlone Stadium.

Over in the Mother City, Spurs will be hoping to shrug off their poor run of form and are currently three points from the drop zone. The Cape Town outfit have recorded just one win in their last five outings, recording three draws and a loss during this time.

Elsewhere, Venda Football Academy face a stern test in the form of Black Leopards, who are currently the most in form team in the league. Venda are currently in fourth place and off the back of a 1-0 defeat against Tuks. As for Lidoda Duvah, they are currently on a run of six consecutive wins in the league.

In other fixtures, Free State Stars will host Polokwane City at Goble Park, as both teams look to finish in the top half come the end of season. The visitors currently occupy 6th spot, while Free State Stars are 8th, as the two sides are separated by one point.

Jomo Cosmos, who were relegated from the professional ranks of South African football last week, will welcome Platinum City Rovers to the Tsakane Stadium.

Also, TTM will look to steer away from the drop zone when they face Uthongathi at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, as they linger just three points ahead of TS Sporting who occupy the 15th spot.

JDR Stars will host Pretoria Callies as they look to end the season on a high after recording four draws and a loss in their last five fixtures. Callies head into the tie with a slightly more favourable form sheet, after picking up a 2-0 away win against Polokwane City in their last outing.

Fixtures:

Sunday, May 8

15h00: Hungry Lions v CT All Stars

15h00: TS Sporting v Richards Bay

15h00: Free State Stars v Polokwane City

15h00: Jomo Cosmos v Platinum City

15h00: TTM v Uthongathi

15h00: JDR Stars v Pretoria Callies

15h00: Black Leopards v Venda Football Academy

15h00: Cape Town Spurs v University of Pretoria