Island sports flashback: January-June
My how the time flies.
Another year, another year in review of the sports happenings on and around Anna Maria Island. In past years, I’ve compiled my top 10 as a review of the year, but I’ve decided this year to review the happenings, month-by-month, and then choose a sports story of the year.
This week reviews the first six months. As usual, the majority of my column is based on activities at the Anna Maria Island Community Center. Youth and adult sports results and statistics sent in by center athletic director Matt Ray and assistant athletic director Ray Gardner are the meat and potatoes in my weekly digests.
Other regular contributors include golf reports from the Key Royale Club sent in by Tom Nelson for the men and Joy Kaiser and Helen Pollock for the women, along with horseshoe news from Anna Maria City Hall regulars.
Here you have the first half of The Islander sports news flashback from 2014:
January and February saw adult volleyball and flag football, as well as youth flag football starting up. There were some good games, most notably a 14-17 division game between Swordfish Grill Browns and Waterfront Restaurant Cowboys. The Browns edged the Cowboys 25-24 behind strong play from Derek Polch, who completed 10 of 15 passes, including two touchdown passes to Mikey Ellsworth.
The first big story of February saw a pair of island siblings — Madeline Valadie and brother Luke Valadie — compete in their first half marathon, Feb. 23 Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa.
Madeline, then a sophomore at Bradenton Christian, finished with a time of 2:05, placing her 13th in her group. Luke, then an eighth-grader at King Middle, finished with a time of 1:53, placing him third in his group.
Appearing in the March 5 Islander was the crowning of the Key Royale Club’s men’s non-handicap champion and a hole-in-one. Gary Risner rolled past Ron Pritchard five and four in the men’s championship match, meaning he held a five-hole lead with four holes left to play in the Feb. 28 match.
Another achievement came Feb. 28 — a hole-in-one for Chet Hutton, who aced the 114-yard eighth hole with a hybrid 7-iron shot.
The March 12 Islander reported results of the Ron Pepka, The King Memorial Horseshoe tournament at the Anna Maria City Hall horseshoe pits. The late Pepka reported horseshoe results for many years before his death in November 2013. The team of Bob Palmer and Tim Sofran outlasted Rod Bussey and Bill Wright to win the inaugural tourney. Steve Doyle and Norm Good finished in third.
The Anna Maria horseshoe pitchers participated in the Gulf Coast Senior Games at G.T. Bray Park Feb. 20 and came away with some hardware. Jay Disbrow and Bill Wright led the way with gold medals, while Herb Puryear brought home silver. Sam Samuels, Steve Doyle, Bob Mason, Gene Bobeldyk and Bob Lee brought home bronze.
The NFL flag football season came to an end March 21 with Super Bowls for each of three age groups.
Tyler’s Ice Cream Vikings apparently caught a little bit of March Madness, as the No. 6 seed marched to the finals, and won in a blowout game, capturing the 8-10 division crown.
The Vikings dominated No. 1 seed West Coast Air Conditioning Dolphins 31-6 in the first of the Super Bowl matchups March 21. Quarterback Thomas Heckler and receiver Tuna McCracken were the driving force for the Vikings, hooking up for three touchdown passes.
The 11-13 division Super Bowl followed the seedings as No. 1 LPAC Cardinals and second-seed Sandbar Colts battled it out in a high-scoring, back-and-forth affair that saw the Cardinals hang on for a 38-34 victory..
The 14-17 division had a chance for an underdog champion, but The Feast Broncos put an emphatic end to that pipe dream with a 35-6 drubbing of No. 5 seed Integrity Sound Lions.
Island Real Estate Raiders outscored Ross Built Panthers 40-38 to win the 30 and over Super Bowl March 20 at the center.
Fourth seeded Duffy’s Tavern Eagles upset No. 1 seed Slim’s Place Bears 41-34 in the March 19 semifinals and then rolled to a 41-28 victory over No. 2 seed Beach to Bay Construction Dolphins April 2 to bring home the 18-and-over Super Bowl trophy.
April sports opened with the adult coed volleyball league playoffs at the center. The season ended April 2, with one-day playoff among the three-team league. Discount Signs & Wraps defeated Southern Greens 25-10, 23-25 and 25-10 in the semifinals before setting their sites on top seeded Duncan Real Estate, which earned a bye into the finals for taking first place in the regular season.
Florida Discount Signs won in straight sets, but they were close games, winning 25-20 and 25-16 to win the championship trophy and of course, bragging rights for the season.
Forty friends and golfers from Westbay Point and Moorings and Shell Point condominiums got together for a nine-hole scramble April 3 at Key Royale.
The team of Robert Hoffman, Joan Graham, Cheryl Schlehuber and Al Pollock combined on a 1-over par 33 to take first place and the day’s bragging rights. Second place went to the team of Bill Gallagher, Caroloe Homer, Bob McGlynn and John Lindwall, who finished one shot back.
Schlehuber won the ladies’ longest-drive competition, while Charlie Porter won the men’s longest drive. Helen Pollock and Bill Anderson won the closest-to-the-pin competitions.
When the tourney ended, the golfers were joined by significant others and friends for a get-together in the clubhouse.
Island resident Ryan Leestma took first in the eighth annual Gator Half Triathlon at Lake Manatee State Park April 13. Leestma, who lives in Bradenton Beach with his wife and kids, completed the course in 4:37:59, which was about five minutes faster than the second-place finisher. Leestma finished the 1.2-mile swim in roughly 20 minutes, the bike portion in 2:25 and finished the 13.1-mile run in 1:46.
The Smile Deep 4 v 4 soccer tournament was a rousing success that brought more than 100 adults and kids to the center for a day of soccer, fun and camaraderie. The tourney raised $7,000 from registrations, raffle sales and T-shirt sales.
The event defrayed some of the expenses for the treatment of coach Paul Hayward’s battle with renal cancer. Friends known as the Smile Deep gang, along with a host of generous sponsors, presented the tournament.
There was some good soccer, as well. The adult division had nine teams, but in the end, the kids won. A group of students from the Saint Stephen’s High School — Los Frijoles Blancos — won it all in dramatic fashion. After playing Big D to a 2-2 tie in regulation time, Los Frijoles Blancos won the game in sudden-death overtime thanks to a golden goal from Colin Yates.
The youth division, which also had nine teams, including five Manatee Magic entries, was captured by the Gesh Monsters, a team made up of Braden River Rage players. They defeated the White Magic 4-1 in the finals behind four goals from Tynon Dolan. The White Magic’s lone goal came from Robbie Fellowes early in the second half.
The youth basketball league at the center ended June 6 with championship games in three age groups. The higher seeded team easily “held serve” in the 8-10 division and the 14-17 division, but the No. 2 seed, BridgeTender Inn, upset the top-seeded Eat Here in a back-and-forth battle in the 11-13 championship game.
Beach Bums won the 8-10 division playoff with a 17-4 victory over Island Real Estate.
Dips Ice Cream ended the Cinderella story of fifth-seed Heritage Paper Company with a 75-51 victory in the 14-17 division championship game.
Heritage Paper had no answer for Christian Hampton, who lit the center gym up for 37 points including six, 3-pointers. Jake Parsons added 14 points for Dips Ice Cream.
In most sports leagues, teams battle throughout the regular season to earn favorable seedings to improve their chances of advancing to the championship game.
Top seeded Jessie’s Island Store fashioned an undefeated season in the center’s adult soccer league and a first-round playoff matchup June 19 with last place Slim’s Place, which had won only two games during the regular season.
So what happened? No. 8 seed Slim’s Place scored a 4-3 upset victory over the top seed and sent them home, but they were not alone. No. 3 seed Lapensee Plumbing and No. 4 seed Ross Built lost to lower-seeded teams in the first round of the Island Cup chase.
Slim’s defeated Jessie’s 4-3 in a penalty-kick shootout after playing to a 3-3 tie in regulation. Danny Anderson, Erin Vogel and Shawn Wampole converted their penalty kicks for Slim’s, while Aron Parkin and Danny Burton converted their penalty kicks for Jessie’s.
No. 2 seed Island Pest Control avoided the upset trend with a tight 2-1 victory over Beach to Bay Construction. Eric Pullen and Andrew Turman scored for Island Pest Control, while Ray Gardner finished with 10 saves in the victory.
Agnelli Pool & Spa continued the upsets with a 4-1 victory over third-seed Lapensee Plumbing behind a pair of goals from Alisha Keene and single goals from Matt Kretzman and Chris Klotz.
Sato Real Estate’s 3-1 victory over Ross Built was the third lower-seeded team to win in the first round of the playoffs. Josh Bernet scored two goals and Matt Plummer added a goal and an assist for the winners. Allyson Titsworth added an assist, while Jason Sato made 11 saves in goal to preserve the victory.
See you next week with news from the second half of 2014. And a happy new year to all.