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Tuesday, June 30, 2015: GW ace Rodriguez needs Tommy John surgery
Leading off today: The PSAL's dominant pitching prospect from the just-completed baseball season has been roughed up by the three words that no hard-throwing righthander wants to hear: Tommy John surgery.
Wesley Rodriguez, the George Washington ace whose fastball was consistently in the 95 mph range until the latter portion of the season, tweeted over the weekend that he needs the surgical procedure to repair his pitching arm, The Daily News reported.
When reached by the paper on Monday, Rodriguez directed all questions to his advisor, agent Larry Reynolds. George Washington coach Steve Mandl also declined to comment.
Rodriguez was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 12th round of the recent MLB draft after being scouted by numerous teams, and he has not signed a professional contract. He was projected to be selected higher until his velocity started to tail off by mid-season.
After an MRI and the advice of two prominent sports medicine physicians, I will be having Tommy John Surgery.
More on pitchers: Newsday did a nice piece in the aftermath of Steven Matz's sensational debut with the New York Mets on Sunday, talking with family and friends jammed into a suite at Citi Field.
Besides throwing 7 2/3 innings of five-hit, two-run baseball vs. the Cincinnati Reds, the Stony Brook native went 3-for-3 at the plate to drive in four runs.
Ward Melville baseball coach Lou Petrucci and assistant Tony Nunziato recalled a game in 2009 in which Matz pitched against Patchogue-Medford's Marcus Stroman, currently with the Toronto Blue Jays.
"Stevie won that one, 1-0," Tony Nunziato said. "Great one to watch."
Look for the scorecard for that game to show up on eBay and bring in a few bucks some day.
Seeking baseball help: New York State Sportswriters Association baseball editor Tom Vartanian is working on the annual all-state team and on schedule to deliver it early next month. At this time, however, he could use a hand identifying candidates from Long Island's private and CHSAA schools.
If you're a coach or administrator who can help, please email Tom at email@example.com in the next few days.
Wambach winding down: One of the great careers in international sports by an American -- and a New York product, no less -- is winding down. There are almost certainly a few friendlies to be played this summer on what the U.S. Women's Soccer Team hopes will be a victory tour (look for the announcement in about two weeks of a game to be played in Rochester), but Abby Wambach's time on the big international stage is just about over.
The United States plays Germany on Tuesday in the World Cup semifinals, and Wambach may or may not be in the lineup after scoring more goals in international competition than any man or woman ever. At age 35, her legs are pretty much shot, so Wambach has come off the bench a couple of times in the World Cup, the only jewel missing from a stellar resume she began building as the Gatorade and NSCAA high school player of the year in 1998 for Our Lady of Mercy.
Though she would almost certainly want to play in another Olympics next year in Brazil, the odds are stacked against her, so this last game or two of the World Cup amounts to her final chance to put an exclamation point on her career.
Democrat and Chronicle reporter Jeff DiVeronica, who has covered Wambach for two decades, checked in with yet another very strong read on Wambach.
More soccer: An alum of St. Francis Prep in the CHSAA made history this month. Flushing native Michelle Betos became the first goalkeeper to score in the National Women's Soccer League when she headed in the tying goal of the host Portland Thorns' 1-1 tie with FC Kansas City on June 19. Down 1-0 in second-half stoppage time, she stepped into a corner-kick cross and scored on a header.
Betos was a two-year captain at St. Francis Prep and the team's 2005 MVP.
Veteran Sec. 5 coach dies: Tony Merola, successful in the 1950s and '60s as a head coach and then highly regarded as an assistant later in his football career, died Friday at the age of 82.
Merola was 75-51-5 as head coach at Mount Morris and Cardinal Mooney. Later, he assisted on Fairport teams that rolled up more than 200 varsity and JV wins.
"Kids loved him, he had a way with them," retired Fairport head coach Don Santini said. "He made them work, but he made it fun, an outgoing guy. He got along with everyone, players, teachers, parents, coaches."
Coaching appointments: James Tyler has been named football coach at LaFayette, replacing Karl Seemann at the Section 3 school. Tyler, 26, previously the quarterbacks coach at Syracuse Nottingham, inherits a team that went 10-0 in the section's National Football Foundation league for struggling programs. LaFayette moves back into Class C West this fall.
Fifth-year JV coach Ryan Goux, 32, will replace the retired Mike Durr as boys basketball coach at Utica Notre Dame. Durr won a school-record 335 games and six Section 3 championships in 21 seasons.
I haven't seen it written yet, but Kevin Devaney Jr. of MSG Varsity tweeted last week that Brian Connolly is back as football coach at Edgemont, where he won three NYSPHSAA titles. Connolly, who spent the last four years at Hackley after losing his position in 2010, is also slated to be named interim AD at Wednesday's school board meeting.
Devaney also reports Palisade Prep girls coach Mike Denman will take over as the Yonkers boys basketball coach.
Danielle LaRoche, the athletic and wellness officer at Ithaca High for nearly three years, is leaving for a job at a private school in California. It's not clear what the district will do to fill her position; lacking an advanced degree, LaRoche was unable to take the role of physical education director.