PORT CHARLOTTE — Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said during spring training that Drew Vettleson’s path to the majors would follow his bat.
When he was selected with the 42nd pick in the 2010 MLB draft, front office personnel were equally impressed by his strong arm from the outfield.
But it was with both arms back home in Bremerton, Wash., that a teenage Vettleson initially started to make a name for himself.
Vettleson was part of a rare breed, able to throw a baseball fast with either arm. That led to coaches, teammates and scouts watching him pitch wherever he went. Read More…
Run date: 12/2/12. Original article
FORT MYERS — Before Charlotte High School’s wrestling match, Anthony Molieri knew that the championship round of the Gary Freis Duals was going to come down to him.
He knew how strong Christopher Columbus High has been, and its ranking of third in the state this season is no exception.
Molieri was right in every sense of the word.
But when his Tarpons teammates needed it most, the senior stepped up, delivering a crucial 11-2 win in the 182-pound weight class over the Explorers’ Carlmichael Leiva to power a 37-29 victory Saturday night.
“It’s a monument in my life,” Molieri said. “It’s gonna be a moment that I’ll never forget.”
Charlotte was leading by four until the final match but had lost five of the previous six individual matches.
The win by Charlotte capped an 8-0 weekend that left the squad — and coach Evan Robinson’s vocal cords — completely drained.
“It was a long two days,” a happy Robinson joked. “… They really passed up my expectations, and I was very impressed with our young guys. The future is bright.”
Cody Cope at 195, Bucky Dennis at 285, Ethan Goff at 106, Jordan Fountain at 113, Dylan Mooney at 120, Ethan Tenney at 126 and Joey Marques at 160 all picked up wins in the final match.
Robinson called the match, and the weekend as a whole, a “complete team effort.”
“Everybody this weekend did their job,” Robinson said. “Heavyweight to our light guys. Every one of them really just performed well and steady.”
Among Charlotte’s wins on the weekend was a 56-10 victory against local rival Lemon Bay, which went 5-3 on the weekend and finished sixth behind Columbus, Palmetto, Manatee and Ida Baker.
After Friday, the Manta Rays found themselves 3-0 and tied atop the standings, but fatigue set in and the school went 2-3 on Saturday.
Lemon Bay coach Gary Jonseck compared the tough schedule to playing five basketball games in two days, but he was still happy his squad picked up the experience.
“We have a lot to take to the chalkboard but you always know that when you have a two-day tournament,” Jonseck said. “The physical stress on the kids is pretty high but we see a lot of things we have to work on. I think they enjoy it.”
Jonseck was optimistic about his team’s chances later in the year thanks to having various football players back practicing with the wrestling squad.
“We’re about where we should be,” Jonseck said. “The big thing is keeping everybody healthy and academically eligible.”
Run date: 11/19/12
ENGLEWOOD — Lemon Bay High School junior Sean Winterstein remembers what it was like two years ago playing for the Manta Rays boys soccer team.
Wins were hard to come by back then for a team that had talent that was yet to develop.
Now it has, and Winterstein demonstrated it when he delivered the only goal in a 1-0 victory against Charlotte on Monday that pushed the Manta Rays record to 5-0.
“We’ve got to keep working; we’ve got the thick of the season coming up,” a still hungry Winterstein said. “With more practice, hopefully we play a little better, move the ball around.”
The deciding goal came with about six minutes left in the first half as each team was clawing to be the first to put a mark on the scoreboard.
Winterstein gained possession in deep against the Tarpons defense and beat goalkeeper Austin Hartt to the left side.
It came as no surprise that Winterstein was the one who found the back of the net. Whenever the Manta Rays have needed a big goal in the early season, either he or senior teammate Corey Kern have usually been the one to provide it. Winterstein even admitted there was a friendly competition between them, although it doesn’t keep them from setting each other up.
“Our coaches are always telling us to work together, to play off each other,” Winterstein said. “Right now we’re playing well.”
For the record, they’re tied with goals apiece.
As good as the offensive pair has been for Lemon Bay, goalkeeper Joshua Kennedy may be even more impressive in the early going. The dual-sport athlete who just wrapped up the football season has yet to allow a goal so far, and it’s a welcome sign for Luzniak to have him back.
“He’s happy to be playing soccer again, and it’s showing,” head coach Zen Luzniak said.
But how do his skills as a kicker on the gridiron compare?
“As far as kicking field goals, I know he’s got a pretty decent foot, but I don’t know what his record was in football,” Luzniak said. “He’s definitely a better soccer player. I think soccer is his first sport and goalie is where he wants to be.”
Both teams came out of the gate strong, but goalkeeping on both ends was stellar until Winterstein was able to sneak his shot past Hartt.
But Hartt, who was supported by a solid defense, was able to keep his Tarpons in the game until the very end, denying numerous attempts from Kern to score as the last line of defense.
Original run date: Nov. 17 in Charlotte Sun
PUNTA GORDA — The sight of Martin County High School driving down the field to go ahead with little time remaining on the scoreboard was all too familiar for the Charlotte High School football fans.
History repeated itself Friday night as the Tigers scored the go-ahead touchdown when running back Dan Fillhaber punched the ball from a yard out with2:13 left on the clock. For the second year in a row, the host Tarpons found themselves on the losing end because of it, this time in a 35-32 decision that ended their season.
Fillhaber had two touchdowns and 159 yards, but the real star ended up being Jermohn Queen, who torched the Charlotte defense for three scores and 341 yards on 32 carries.
“We didn’t have an answer for it,” Tarpons coach Binky Waldrop said of the consistent seal blocks that opened space for the two running backs. “We put 10 people up there against that, and we still couldn’t stop it. They just out-physicaled us all night.”
Neither Queen nor Tigers coach Chuck Kenyon said they could have even imagined the video game-like numbers Queen put up, especially considering that he usually makes his name on the basketball court as one of the better players in the state. But Kenyon said it just showed Queen’s athleticism.
“We knew that he was going to be our feature … but Queen’s just special,” Kenyon said. “We know that this is fun for him, he’s tough as nails.”
Though Charlotte’s defense didn’t fare well, the same couldn’t be said of the offense, led by Clyde Newton.
The senior running back ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns and caught another 12-yard score in the losing effort. Tarpons quarterback Brennan McGill threw for 257 yards on the night and a pair of touchdowns with a pick on 13-for-22 passing.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Martin County had seized the momentum thanks to Janarie Jones interception and three touchdowns in the third to lead 28-17. But Charlotte fought back at the start of the fourth thanks to an 80-yard drive that featured 30 yards rushing from Newton and a 12-yard touchdown reception.
The Tarpons converted a two-point conversion to bring it to within three but finally took a 32-28 lead when Newton was able to punch it in again from a yard out.
That’s when Fillhaber took over, rushing for 55 yards of an 80-yard drive to give Martin County the lead for good.
Charlotte received the ball with two minutes left and had a shot but a pair of false start penalties backed the Tarpons up enough to stall any chance at pulling out a win.