Written by Vinny Messana, email@example.com Thursday, 01 May 2014 08:57
Sometimes it’s best to make a change in your life. It’s possible something was holding you back from reaching your potential. In the case of Cliff Brantley, he just needed a change of scenery.
“Things were not working out for me at my previous school, baseball-wise,” said the junior who played at Wagner College in Staten Island. “I was in a position where I needed somewhere to play and I remembered receiving a letter from Coach Dom Scala my junior year in high school. I took the chance in telling him I was interested in playing. I visited the school and came down with my parents. I am extremely grateful to Adelphi and Coach Scala for giving me the opportunity to play.”
Through 29 games, it has been a tremendous decision. In a matter of one year, Brantley has gone from fighting for a lineup spot with a .170 average, to being the team’s leading hitter from the first day of the season and the first player on Long Island to compile 50 hits.
To this point, he has an incredible 51 hits in 114 at bats (.447), including eight doubles, one home run, 20 runs and 15 stolen bases and stellar defense in center field.
“He’s been the leadoff hitter we’ve been missing the past few years,” said relief pitcher Mike Cranston. “A great teammate, hard worker and one of the fastest players I’ve played with,” he added.
Brantley has made the Northeast-10 look easy. Those who have played in the conference know that is not generally the case. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the nation’s lowest team ERAs in 2011.
1. UMass-Lowell 1.83
2. Adelphi 1.98
3. Southern Connecticut State 2.12
4. Franklin Pierce 2.45
Even with that No. 1 ranked ERA, UMass still found a way to lose 14 games. Additionally, No. 18 and 19 on this list were also in the conference.
Essentially, the Northeast-10 is where batting averages go to die. The wood bats account for a big chunk of the power outage. It’s one of few conferences in the country that enforce it. There is also a bevy of professional-caliber pitchers that come from this conference.
Regardless, Brantley had found a way to put together 15 multi-hit games, including nine three-hit games. It has been nothing short of remarkable.
Brantley attributes the start to two things. First off all, he credits his father, also Cliff Brantley, who played two seasons in the Major Leagues (‘91-’92) to teaching him how to hit at a young age.
“Starting when I was about eight he would always throw the ball as hard as he could at me and told me to swing no matter where it was,” he said. “So I could build up the hand-eye coordination and be able to gain the confidence that I could hit any pitch with two strikes,” he added.
He also credits one of Adelphi’s coaches, Bill Ianniciello.
“We spent hours upon hours, day-in and day-out before the season working on keeping both my hands on the bat throughout my swing. I always finished my swing with only my bottom hand on the bat. Keeping a strong top hand allowed me to hit the ball harder and hit more ground balls and line drives which is very beneficial to my style of play.”
His father was a pitcher in the big leagues, which means he needed to find a hitter to emulate.
“Growing up I admired Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins and Dustin Pedroia. Currently, I’m starting to like Dee Gordon of the LA Dodgers and Carlos Gomez of the Milwaukee Brewers.”
Having watched Brantley’s style of play, he does resemble those players to varying degrees. That is saying something, considering their success at the highest level.
Brantley still has a way to go to approach them, but in the meantime he is focusing on getting the Panthers to the playoffs. They are in the midst of a dogfight for a postseason berth.
“We have a strong chance for sure at the playoffs,” he said. “Our offense is starting to put up more runs these days and our pitching is continuing to do a good job. We can take this season as far as we want,” he said.
Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00
The Senior Center Expansion and Rehabilitation Project took a major step forward this month when the Garden City Board of Trustees unanimously voted in a special meeting to accept the gift of the model house from the Doubleday Court Development on Franklin Avenue. Project developers, The Engel Burman Group, graciously donated the house to the
Incorporated Village of Garden City. The one-story structure was originally built to serve as a model and sales office for the Franklin Avenue project.
“We are glad to have The Engel Burman Group as part of our village and thank them for this most generous gift. We look forward to providing a state-of-the art facility for our seniors in Garden City,” Mayor John Watras said.
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 00:00
The Garden City Public School District is excited to welcome Lynette Abruzzo as its new director of Pupil Personnel Services (PPS). The position was vacated by Catherine Wheeler, who retired this summer. Abruzzo began working in the district earlier this year in January as the assistant director of PPS.
“I look forward to supporting the students here. To support their growth, help prepare them so that they have all the tools they need to be successful when they leave here. To be successful in their life and maximize their potential,” Abruzzo said of her plans for the new position.
Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00
The Garden City Recreation Department’s Dance Conservatory Program is pleased to announce the start of registration for its upcoming 2014-15 season. Director Felicia Lovaglio, along with Mary Searson and the rest of her staff, are excited to start off another fantastic year. The dance conservatory offers classes to Garden City residents ages 3 through adult which are non-performance based. Age is determined by the start date of the desired class.
Note: Registration is by mail only until Sept. 23. Participants MUST be the required age by the start of the program in order to register.
Each session costs $220 for 22 weeks of class. The schedule and fees for this year’s youth classes are as follows (all classes are 55 minutes long unless otherwise noted):
Thursday, 11 September 2014 00:00
Fall Children’s Tennis Classes
Registration for the start of the Fall 2014 Indoor Tennis Program for Children has begun at the Community Park Tennis Center. Walkins and non-resident children attending Garden City Public Schools* will be accepted beginning Sept. 11. Please make checks payable to the “Inc. Village of Garden City." Please note—classes are not considered day care and can not be declared for tax exemption.
* Non resident children who would like to register for the tennis program must prove they attend one of the Garden City Public Schools. Proof must accompany registration. An additional $50 fee will pertain to anyone in this category.
10 weeks of classes—classes will begin Thursday, Sept. 18