Scholastic Roundup: The cup returns for the Skyline Conference

June 10, 2022 Andy Furman
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The President’s Cup is back – and after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Skyline Conference restarts its annual President’s Cup, announcing the United States Merchant Marine Academy was winner of the 2021-22 distinction.

The award measures all-sports excellence in league competition. A school earns points toward the President’s Cup based upon the conference finish in each sport in which it competes.

Brooklyn’s St. Joseph’s University was conference champion in Baseball, Women’s Cross-Country and Men’s Volleyball.

The 12-member Skyline Conference competes in the NCAA’s Division III. The 12-member league was originally chartered on May 16, 1989 as a men’s basketball conference and now sponsors 19 sports – 10 for men, nine for women.

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Ones Basketball League (OBL) – the first-ever elite competition that celebrates the most-skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady – crowned its Fourth Regional Champion recently at Brooklyn’s Major R. Owens Community Center.

A total of 28 top-area and national-level basketball players competed for the $10,000 prize, which was won by Isaiah Brown. The 25-year-old Brown, who played at SUNY Potsdam defeated Zach Radz from Troy, New York, 9-5 in the final for the crown.

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Spencer Ross, the New Utrecht High grad who sat behind the microphone and called games for every New York team – and the Boston Celtics for a season – during a stellar career was touched with the recent passing of former Dodger Joe Pignatano.

“I loved Piggy,” Ross wrote, “I got close to him because of my long-term friendship with Ralph Branca. I remember him telling me when he first heard about coming back to New York. Gil (Hodges) was managing Washington at the time,” he continued, “and had been mentioned about becoming the next manager of the Mets. Gil called him, said three words, ‘We’re going home,’”.

Gil didn’t have to explain a thing. Ross added: “Piggy said it was one of the happiest days of his baseball life.”

Pignatano, a Westinghouse High grad, played for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Athletics, San Francisco Giants and New York Mets.

He served as bullpen coach for the Gil Hodges’ Mets – he passed at the age of 92 last month, and was the last living coach from the 1969 Miracle Mets – World Series champions.

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The 2022 United States Handball Association and Junior National Small Ball Championship are set for this weekend (June 11-12) at the Coney Island handball courts.

Darnell Williams, a 1995 grad of Nazareth High was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame this month.

The 6-7 Williams enjoyed a tremendous four-year career at Cincinnati’s Xavier University, and ranks 16th on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,572 career points. He won 66 games over his final three seasons, helping XU capture NCAA berths in 1997 and 1998, and NIT berth in 2000 as a redshirt senior as well as two A-10 regular season and one A-10 tournament title.

He was inducted into the Xavier Hall of Fame in 2018.

Speaking of basketball, LIU men’s team will open their season at Utah, Nov. 7th. The Sharks went 16-14 overall last season, and 12-6 in the Northeast Conference.

LIU women’s golfer Vera Arrebola Granes was off to a quick start at the Spanish women’s championships.

Competing in the IV Memorial Emma Villacieros, Arrebola Granes shot a 74 during her opening round. The performance put her in the top 15 after Day 1 of the four-day evet – four strokes off the lead. Arrebola Granes was named team MVP at the Sharks’ end-of-year banquet.

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Anthony Hernandez, a sophomore outfielder for St. Joseph’s University, has received 2022 All-Region Third Team honors from both and the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings.

A two-time All-Skyline selection, earning first-team honors this season, lead the team in nearly every offensive category. He is the first Bear to receive All-Region honors since Brian Lubecke (2016) was named to the second-team in 2016 and the first to receive ABCA/Rawlings recognition since 2017.

Hernandez started all 37 games and paced the offense in batting average (.381), slugging (.627), on-base percentage (.442), runs (30), hits (30), (RBI (26), home runs (3), triples (4), doubles (14) and stolen bases (16).

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Al (The Bull) Ferrara, the former Lafayette High star who later played for the Dodgers (’63, ’65-’68), San Diego Padres (’69-’71) and the Cincinnati Reds (’71) had some kind words for the late Tommy Davis – the Boys High star who also starred with the Dodgers.

“He was a superstar athlete, he was a hard-working man, a family man, a great husband, father and boy did he love his grandkids,” The Bull wrote. “He was everything that was great about America. He was a great fan of all sports. He loved the Dodgers and then he became a devoted Mets fan when the Dodgers left Brooklyn.”

Ferrara said they both graduated in 1957 – Davis from Boys High where he also starred in basketball. “I could not have asked for a more loyal friend,” he added, “and, of course my condolences to Angie (wife) and his entire family, who he loved so dearly.”

Tommy Davis was a left-fielder and third baseman who played for ten different teams in the major leagues from 1959 to 1976. He was a two-time National League batting champion when he played for the Dodgers – he left us in April at the age of 83.

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR

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