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Mustangs Make Trip to Dodgertown

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


News

Winthrop University Hospital employee Jeffrey Brenner, a hyperbaric technician with the Life Support Technologies group in Mineola, recently received the American Heart Association’s prestigious Louis J. Acampora Heart Saver Award at a dinner at the Crest Hollow Country Club. The award is named for a Long Island teenager who succumbed to a sporting injury that is understood to have been preventable if a cardiac medical device had been immediately on-scene and applied. 

 

“I hope that I have made a real difference in my town and the world around me to help prevent death and improve the quality of people’s lives” said Brenner.

The Wheatley School recently hosted an Item Writing Workshop for more than 100 language teachers representing districts across New York State.  The workshop was sponsored by the Foreign Language Association of Chairpersons and Supervisors (FLACS), the professional organization that has assumed responsibility for the creation and administration of the FLACS

Checkpoint A and B Exams (formerly the NYS Second Language Proficiency and Regents Exams).


Sports

After consecutive seasons of finishing runner-up in the men’s golf Player of the Year for the Skyline Conference, Christian Bleck of St. Joseph’s took home first place in a rather unlikely turn of events. 

 

After a herniated disc caused the Chaminade High School alum to miss every event after the first week of the season until the conference tournament, Bleck returned—without even having the luxury of practicing a full 18 holes—and competed with the best players the conference has to offer. 

Cross-Country Crowned Champs

The Mineola Mustang boys cross-country team won the division 4A championship recently at Bethpage State Park.  This is the first championship for the program since 1974, ending a 40-year championship drought. 

 

Mineola defeated Seaford, who also entered the undefeated in division competition, 38-20.  Overcoming rain and high winds throughout the race, many Mustangs ran personal records for the 5K in route to the victory.


Calendar

Mineola School Meeting - November 20

Fools Rush In - November 21

Mustangs Face Roosevelt - November 22 


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com