Written by Geoffrey Walter Thursday, 08 May 2014 00:00
Most high school varsity baseball teams in Nassau County only have to travel 30 miles at most for an away game. During spring break, Mineola traveled a little over 1,170 miles for eight scrimmages. The team flew to Vero Beach, FL, to Dodgertown, USA, the former spring training facility of the major league Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, for an extended training vacation, and won seven out of eight scrimmages against the likes of Poughkeepsie, Carmel, Brooklyn-based Midwood, Aquinas Institute, Jesuit McQuaid, Connecticut-based East Granby and Roth high schools.
The Dodgers moved their spring training home from the Florida-based Grapefruit League in Florida to a new facility in Glendale, AZ in the beginning of the 2009 season to be closer to their Los Angeles fanbase.
“Many of the Brooklyn [Dodger] fans have unfortunately passed on, so there’s not really too many of them left,” coach Helmut Bohringer said. “Dodgertown became like a Disney sports village.”
The week-long trip was the brainchild of Bohringer, a former minor leaguer in the Dodgers organization in the single-A advanced, or “high-A,” league—two levels away from the majors.
“One of my seasons was actually in Vero Beach so a couple of people that worked there remembered me—the old man—and they got programs and they gave me little gifts, it was really nice,” Bohringer said. “For me it was a week of memory lane.”
Bohringer had only organized one other training trip for players during his 19-year coaching career—2010 to North Carolina with Garden City High School as partners on the excursion. Like the trip four years ago, the inspiration for the 2014 trip came from the players themselves.
“With this group of seniors, there were four that were on the varsity as sophomores and there were a couple others that could have been but I said to them ‘I don’t know how much playing time you’re going to get,” Bohringer said of John Lusardi, Vinny Bieniek, Nick Iadevaio and Ryan Kelly.
“Those four guys made it but guys like Kenny Faith... and Brendan Healey, Mersim Redzematovic, all those guys, I said, ‘if you do everything that you’re supposed to do, be a good student in school,’ I said ‘we’ll try to have a trip.’
In all, 18 players from the varsity squad and two JV players accompanied Bohringer and JV coach Chris Schacca on the trip.
The cost amounted to about $1,100 per player for the entire week, A variety of fundraisers were used to lower costs, which included a recent plant and Christmas tree sale, a McDonald’s night and donations from Dominic’s Italian American Deli, Bucky Demelas & Son Landscaping and the Mineola
Booster Club which benefited the whole team. While at Dodgertown, the team was treated to three meals a day, had complete use of the facilities, stayed at the villas instead of staying at a hotel, had access to a player lounge and even a swimming pool.
“I wanted to give them a week of what it’s like to be a professional baseball player and the fact that this is what you would do if you were a professional baseball player,” Bohringer said.”
Though the Mustangs managed to win their April 21 game 3-2 thanks to a pitching performance from Iadevio, who struck out 14 Locust Valley batters, Bohringer was critical, saying that the team “didn’t play like we had been practicing all week.”
After sweeping Locust Valley, Mineola (8-4) is currently in a three-way tie for third place in battling for a playoff spot in conference IV. But while the Mustangs typically are in that same predicament every year, the 2014 season is different because of the change in the number and quality of teams in the new conference structure which used to be comprised of four teams: Seaford, Clarke, Valley Stream North and Mineola.
“That’s four really good teams where generally three out of four usually made it,” Bohringer said.
But now the conference totals have added Locust Valley, Cold Spring Harbor and Island Trees, a semi-finalist in the county playoffs five of the last six years.
For more photos, visit the Mineola American Facebook page at facebook.com/MineolaAmerican
Friday, 25 July 2014 00:00
Only once a year a 25-foot movie screen sits in the middle of Wilson Park in Mineola, ready to entertain residents. This year’s Movie Night in the Park feature The LEGO Movie, sponsored by the Village of Mineola and Mineola Chamber of Commerce on Friday, July 18.
The event, which was free of charge to all of the moviegoers, was meant to help promote local Mineola businesses, according to president of the Mineola Chamber of Commerce Bill Greene.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the American industry, and we feel that this is a great way of giving back to the community with hopes that they’ll remember to shop locally,” said Greene.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Mineola resident Frank Zuniga and his wife, Charlotte, were heartbroken. It was bad enough that they had to take Mollie, their rescued beagle/terrier mix to the veterinarian on July 4, but it wasn’t until last week that they found out what happened to her until last week.
It started on Independence Day when Mollie, who the Zunigas adopted in February, started vomiting. Their regular vet was closed for the holiday, and the couple found that the Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center of Westbury would see them.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Runners from all over Long Island came to run at the fourth annual Katie Oppo Memorial 5K on Sunday, June 15. The runner first across the finish line was Mineola resident Michael Mariotti, general manager, owner and host of the famous local restaurant Cafe Continental in Manhasset.
The day was glorious as the runners and walkers began their trek through Flower Hill from the starting line at Flower Hill Park. Organizers of this year’s event made the race a USATF Certified 5K race, timed by Long Island Race Timing.
Thursday, 17 July 2014 00:00
Mineola Hurricanes lost a battle of the bats on Sunday, June 29, at St. Joseph’s Field in Kings Park, falling short in a 9-8 ball game against the St. Joseph’s Saints in the first game of a doubleheader.
The top of the first saw the Hurricanes take an early 2-0 lead. The runs came home for the Hurricanes when T.J. McManus scored on an error and Connor Eakin scored on a fielder’s choice. The Saints never surrendered the lead after the first inning, scoring five runs on two errors and an RBI single by Jonathan.